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17th Annual Clarksville Writers Conference scheduled for May 19-20

Clarksville, TN – The Clarksville Arts and Heritage Development Council is partnering with the Center of Excellence for Creative Arts at Austin Peay State University (APSU) and the Tennessee Arts Commission to bring new acclaimed authors in town for the 17th Annual Clarksville Writers Conference.

The event will take place Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20 at the APSU Art + Design Building on the campus of Austin Peay State University.

JT Ellison




JT Ellison, best-selling author of more than 25 New York Times and USA Today novels and co-host of the EMMY-winning Nashville literary television series A Word on Words, will deliver the keynote address at the conference banquet on the evening of Thursday, May 19, at F&M Bank’s The Franklin Room, overlooking the Cumberland River and offering incredible views of historic downtown Clarksville.

Ellison is this year’s recipient of the Patricia Winn Prize for Southern Literature, named after the conference’s founder. With millions of books in print, JT’s work has received critical acclaim, prestigious awards, been chosen for television and has been published in 28 countries and 16 languages. His novel The cold room won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Original Paperback, while his novels field of graves and Where all the dead lie were each nominated by RITA for Best Romantic Thriller.

This year’s conference features fifteen presentations and workshops for writers and avid readers.

The authors scheduled to speak are:

Sharon Cameron

Sharon Cameron is the New York Times #1 Bestselling Author for The Dark Unwinding (2012), A Spark Unseen (2013), Rook (2015), The Forgetting (2016), The Knowing (2017), The Light in Hidden Places (2020) and Blue Bird (2021), all from Scholastic Press.

His books have won the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, the Westchester Fiction Award, garnered star-studded reviews from Booklist, SLJ, and Kirkus, and been chosen for numerous lists, including Indie Next Top Ten, YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Junior Library Guild Gold Best Standard and Audible Books. Light in hidden places was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick of 2020 and has sold in 18 foreign countries.

Dana Chamblee Carpenter

Dana Chamblee Carpenter is the author of the award-winning bohemian trilogy. The first book in the series, Bohemian Gospel, won the 2014 Killer Nashville Claymore Award and was shortlisted for YALSA’s 2016 Alex Prize, with The Editor’s Weekly calling it “a deliciously creepy start”.

His second book, The Devil’s Biblewon the 2017 Silver Falchion Award for Best Novel, while the latest book in the series, Book of the Justwas a finalist for this year’s Silver Falchion in Sci Fi/Fantasy and was called a “wickedly good read” by Chapter 16.


Annette Saunooke Clapselle

Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, a citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, resides in Qualla, North Carolina. She graduated from Yale University and the College of William and Mary. His first novel, Even How we breathe (UPK 2020), was a Weatherford Award finalist, named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2020, and received the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award (2021).

Clapsaddle’s work appears in Yes! Magazine, Illuminated Hub and Atlantic. She teaches high school English and Cherokee studies, serves as editor of the Appalachian Futures (UPK) series, and serves on the board of the North Carolina Writers Network.

Tammy Room

Tammy Hall inherited her fondness and love for storytelling from her late father. Using call and response, percussion instruments, costumes and other props, and sometimes just her voice, Ms. Hall is known to hypnotize her audience. Her savvy and advocacy of literature has taken her around the world, where she has collected folklore from diverse cultures in the United States, Africa, Asia, Europe, Central America and of the Caribbean.

Mrs. Hall’s First Tales CD, Tales of black heritage from around the worldwas released in 2015. In 2017, she was sought out for her storytelling skills to be featured in the United States Postal Service Commemoration Ceremony that launched The snow day Forever stamp.

Bren McClain

Bren McClain’s critically acclaimed debut novel One Good Mama Bone won the 2017 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction and was named Pulpwood Queen 2017 Book of the Year, a 2017 Great Group Reads by the Women’s National Book Association and a Southeastern Independent Booksellers Association ( SIBA) Okra Pic.

More recently, the French translation (renamed Red Mom) was shortlisted for the 2021 Maya Prize, an award given to the novel that best honors animals. Bren is also an essayist who has contributed to Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy. His next novel has already won acclaim, the Gold Medal of the William Faulkner Novel-in-Progress.


Michael Shoulders

Michael Shoulders has published 23 children’s books, including V is for Volunteer: A Tennessee Alphabet, now in its 16th edition, and his novel Crossing the Deadline, which follows a boy’s journey through the Civil War. His latest release The legend of the Christmas picklehas proven popular with kids of all ages, answering the question “Why does Santa Claus hide pickles in Christmas trees?”

Mike has spoken at International Literacy Association conferences in Chicago, Orlando, Atlanta and Boston and presented at six of that organization’s state meetings. In the non-Covid years, he visits nearly 80 schools and conferences across America and Europe, spreading the message that Reading IS Magic!

Shana Thorton

Shana Thornton is the author of four works of fiction, Ripe for the Pickin’ (2022), The Adventures to Pawnassus (2019), Poke Sallet Queen and the Family Medicine Wheel (2015) and Multiple Exposure (2012), and co- author of Seasons of Balance: On Creativity and Mindfulness (2016).

Shana has written a landmark play, countless magazine and newspaper articles, blogs and interviews with artists, musicians, authors and activists, and is the founder of Clarksville Montgomery County African American Heritage Trail (2019), a free community publication in print and online.

In 2012, she opened Thorncraft Publishing, an independent publisher of creative literature, novels and non-fiction by individual authors, as well as the BreatheYourOMBalance® series of yoga books.

SM Williams




SM Williams is the author of the All Would Be Kings trilogy of historical novels, which includes The Winter Prophecy, High Treason and Rosemary. Sarah is also the author of Chinquapin: The Last Greto hopea historical fiction novel set during the Siege of Atlanta.

Currently, she has two works in progress: Kelidairea romantic fantasy, and On the other side of the rivera historical fiction novel that follows the post-war life of a Confederate spy and the lost Confederate Treasury.

Born and raised in southeast Alabama, she wrote her first short story manuscript at the age of fourteen and since then her creative writings have generated over 800,000 words, not including articles and columns for various magazines and community newsletters.

In addition to scheduled presentations and workshops, free Criticism Circles with Cardinal Rule Press Acquisitions Editor Adam Blackman are available to conference attendees, where up to five attendees per session will offer and receive advice. on how to improve their manuscripts. As Acquisitions Editor at Cardinal Rule Press, Adam acquires realistic fictional picture books that help children grow into kind, caring adults. As a mid-level and picture book author, he strives for the intersection of heart and humor.

The closing of this year’s conference is HANDS OF TOBACCO: Habits of Mutuality, a 24-page installation of creative non-fiction telling the stories of four multi-generational black-tobacco families living in Montgomery County. Immediately following the final session, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 20, attendees are invited to join collaborators Cynthia Marsh and Marnie Powers-Torrey in the lobby of the Art + Design Building to celebrate these stories with homemade pies and sweets. tea. This event is free and open to all.

A complete package including all conference activities is offered, as well as “à la carte” options. Reduced rates are available for early bird registrations, which must be posted by May 5. Late registrations must be posted between May 6 and May 12. Visit the conference website at www.artsandheritage.us/writers for author bios, conference schedule, registration information, and more.


About the Clarksville Writers Conference

The 2022 Clarksville Writers’ Conference is made possible in part by the generous support of the Clarksville Arts and Heritage Development Council, Austin Peay State University, Tennessee Arts Commission, City of Clarksville, the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, and the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center.

Additional sponsors include Drs. Dave and Jennie Beth Johnston, Jacqueline and Ned Crouch, Dee Boaz, Sarah H. Darnell, Joan R. Harris and Laurina Isabella Lyle. The conference was developed in 2005 by Patricia Winn.

Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson