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The general pass ticket for Saturday is $60 and allows access to all presentations except Evening with Rick Bragg. All events are also priced ala carte so you can enjoy just what suits your fancy. Tickets available on or at the door.

9:00 - 9:50 AM

Plenary Session

Interview with Rick Bragg

Edward R. Murrow award winning broadcaster, Matt Jolley interviews Rick Bragg about his illustrious writing career. Join us for this casual and entertaining conversation.

10:00 - 10:50 AM

A Midlife Journey to Publication

Robert Gwaltney


Put on a comfortable pair of walking shoes and take a stroll with Southern novelist, Robert Gwaltney, as he takes you down the path leading him to the publication of his debut novel, THE CICADA TREE. He will discuss finding his voice as a writer, a literary community, and the audacity to tell stories. Along the way, he will share his ongoing struggle with imposter syndrome, but mostly, he will share the glory of being in the middle of life and at the start of something new.

How Hard Times Shape Characters in Southern Fiction

Susan Beckham Zurenda and Terah Shelton Harris


“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin in Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin by A.A. Milne


Hardship doesn’t have to defeat us. It can be an opportunity to direct us, lead us to a place of empathy for others, and ultimately bring about positive change. Characters in Southern fiction often face seemingly insurmountable challenges, and their healing and survival are driven by remarkable resilience and strength. Southern writers Terah Harris and Susan Zurenda discuss their new novels One Summer in Savannah and The Girl From the Red Rose Motel and how the difficult circumstances in their characters’ lives lead to new beginnings.

From Table to Fable: A Cookbook Author's Journey to Fiction

Johnathon Barrett


Chef, storyteller, Southern gentleman, and critically acclaimed author Johnathon Scott Barrett discusses the proclivity of how Southerners love to dine and enjoy their bounteous culinary traditions - and then relates those meals and dishes to one another, both in oral tales as well as the written word.  He also shares how the penmanship of his initial cookbook came about because of the crossroads of loss and friendship, and the culinary sojourn that then led him to write his first novel, the recently released “Ship Watch.”

11:00 - 11:50 AM

Developing a Podcast to Gain Confidence

Gaby Anderson, Kim Conrey, Kathy Nichols,

and Lizbeth Jones.


Learn to use a podcast to become comfortable speaking about your project and to further your writing career. The Wild Women Who Write discuss developing a podcast using the 5 W approach: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. The discussion includes how using this approach can also help develop both fiction and nonfiction.

Keeping You in Suspense – How They Do It!

Hank Phillippi Ryan and Deborah Goodrich Royce


What are the secrets of sustaining suspense? Cultivate reader empathy for the characters…then create concern and doubt. Hook them with hints of impending danger…then escalate the tension. But how? And why does it work?  Learn how the masterful, award-winning authors of intrigue, Hank Phillippi Ryan (One Wrong Word) and Deborah Goodrich Royce (Reef Road), keep readers on the edge of their seats, turning every page and coming back for more. 

Setting: Space-Time and The Heat Death Of The Universe

Anthony Grooms



1:30 - 2:20 PM

Divas, Debaters, and Dilettantes: How to Tick Off Your Editor and Make the Revision Process Miserable for All (or Not!)

Angela McRae



Conversation with John Pruitt


Join John Pruitt, Legendary anchor man and reporter turned author, as he becomes the interviewee. In conversation with  award-winning broadcaster, Matt Jolley, John will share his amazing journey through an illustrious career and the trail that led him to pen his new book, Tell It True.

The Cozy Mystery

Cathy Tully, Susan Kiernan-Lewis, S. C. Merritt,

and Kathy Manos Penn


What sets a cozy mystery apart from other mystery subgenres? What do cozy readers expect when they pick up a book indicating it’s a cozy mystery? Tips on how to satisfy that reader’s expectations.

2:30 - 3:20 PM

How to Add Humor to Your Writing

Ray Atkins


Attendees of this presentation will learn about creating humor through dialogue and through visual cues. Situational humor will be explored, including how to distinguish between what is fair game and what is not. Attendees will also learn to differentiate between a character and a caricature, why one is funny and one is not, and to laugh with rather than laugh at. Word choice will be explored, and the power of understatement will be revealed. And finally, they will learn that sometimes, trying to be funny is the worst thing that writers can do.

3:30 - 4:20 PM

From Shiloh to Sapelo: The Challenges and Rewards of Writing Historical Novels.

T.M. Brown


Why write historical fiction? Is there a difference between historical fiction and historical novels? The three keys to writing a successful historical novel: credibility, plausibility, and believability. Research builds familiarity with your characters, settings, and events, and beware of taking shortcuts. Your fan base will test your knowledge as they read your story. What does it mean to seek original sources? Original voices? Eyewitness accounts? Can’t an author just search the internet to write stories today? What about using AI? In the med, HISTORY MATTERS.

2:30 - 4:20 PM

Conquering The Muddle in The Middle

Hank Phillippi Ryan 

Your fingers are poised over the keyboard. You have a rocking first act to your novel, and you even have an idea of how to end your story with a twist and a bang and a shot at certain bestsellerdom. But now what? You've hit 36,000 words–how are you going to get from that great beginning to the kickass ending? You've hit the muddle in the middle. Raymond Chandler once advised "when in doubt, bring in a man with a gun." What did he really mean by that? And how can it work for you?


USA Today best-selling author Hank Phillippi Ryan will show you how these central pages can be crafted to intrigue, surprise and delight your readers–and have them turning the pages as fast as they can. Never fear–with practical advice and specific tips, Hank will show you the way to the magic in the middle.

Paths to Publication

George Weinstein


Author of eight novels, executive director of the Atlanta Writers Club, and the Atlanta Writers Conference director for the last 16 years will discuss the ins and outs of the three paths to publication: traditional publishing, self-publishing, and hybrid publishing. He will offer a realistic preview of the challenges that each path poses and the tiers (and tears) within each category as well as the rewards that can be earned by overcoming those obstacles, with plenty of time for Q&A.

4:00 - 6:00 PM

Time with the Authors: Opportunity to chat with the authors, purchase books and have them signed!

6:30 - 7:30 PM

Rick Bragg - Featured Author

The highlight of the day will be a presentation by celebrated journalist and author, Rick Bragg.

Tickets will go on sale January 15 through the Carrollton Center for the Arts.

Free and open to the public

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