Duck River Writers' Conference

logo for Duck River Writers Conference

Duck River Writers' Conference will take place Saturday, April 16, 2016, in the Hickman Building on the Columbia State Community College campus.

The Duck River Writers' Conference is a day devoted to your love of the written word and will include craft lectures, workshops and a reading by Mark Jarman.

Registration will begin at 12:45 p.m. and conference events will continue through the afternoon followed by a catered dinner and reading by noted author and Vanderbilt professor, Mark Jarman.


The registration fee for the conference is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Columbia State students are free but must show Columbia State ID. An additional, non-refundable readers’ fee of $15 is required from those submitting personal manuscripts for the workshop sessions. Payment can be made by check or money order to CSCC – Duck River Writers’ Conference.

Craft Talks

The Duck River Writers’ Conference includes three craft talks for poets, fiction writers, and teen writers; specific topics will be chosen by the lecturers. Craft talks are open to all registrants. 


Three workshops are offered for poetry, fiction, and creative works written by teens. Workshop participants must submit manuscripts by March 18thto be considered. Please submit three to five poems for poetry; ten pages of fiction for fiction; teen writers may submit a manuscript in either category, or both. DRWC committee members will screen submitted manuscripts and make selections by March 25, 2016. Manuscripts will be forwarded to each workshop leader for review before April 16th. Attendees will receive email confirmations if their manuscripts have been chosen for the workshops. Registrants who did not submit manuscripts may attend the workshops as observers. 

Submit Manuscript

Writers can submit their work for a juried reading prior to the conference. Manuscripts must be received by March 18, 2016. 

Book Signing

At 5 p.m. all panelists and participants will convene in the Hickman lobby for refreshments and a book signing.  The Old Curiosity Book Shop will have selections for sale by our published panelists, as well as our panelists’ essential books on craft.


Following the book signing will be a catered dinner for conference panelists and staff. Conference attendees may purchase separate tickets to the dinner as an optional expense.  

Special Evening Reading

The conference will conclude with a reading and book signing by Vanderbilt Centennial professor and award-winning poet, Mark Jarman. This reading is free and open to the public.

After Conference Event

The Old Curiosity Bookshop, located on the square in Columbia, will host an informal get-together for our guest reader, panelists, staff, and attendees. The public is also invited.

Guest Panelists

Adria Bernardi

headshot of Adria Bernardi
Adria Bernardi
(fiction workshop) is the author of a collection of essays, Dead Meander and two novels, Openwork, and, The Day Laid on the Altar.  In 2007 she received the 2007 Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Fellowship to complete Small Talk, poetry of Raffaello Baldini. She has taught fiction-writing at the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and Clark University. She has taught at the Porch Writers’ Collective in Nashville, where she lives. She intends her fiction workshop to be a space for listening, where we become our own editors and learn a new way to talk to ourselves through this work.

Dana Chamblee Carpenter

headshot of Dana Chamblee Carpenter
Dana Chamblee Carpenter’s
(fiction craft talk) debut novel, Bohemian Gospel, won Killer Nashville’s 2014 Claymore Award. She currently teaches creative writing and American Literature at a university in Nashville, TN, where she lives with her husband and two children. Her fiction craft talk will discuss the practices and techniques we can use to hone the skills of seeing the world as writers.

Joseph Cook

headshot of Joseph Cook
Joseph Cook
(teen craft talk) received his M.A. from Auburn University. He's published social justice articles with Southern Poverty Law Center and Alternet. Cook is also a season spoken-word artist, has pioneered several poetry writing organizations, and has a poem awaiting publishing with Southern Humanities Review literary journal. He is on the full-time English faculty at Columbia State. His craft talk will explore how self-inquiry methods can be used to compose creative works of substance

Jeff Hardin

headshot of Jeff Hardin
Jeff Hardin
(poetry craft talk) has written four collections of poetry: Fall Sanctuary, recipient of the Nicholas Roerich Prize from Story Line Press; Notes for a Praise Book, selected by Toi Derricotte and published by Jacar Press; Restoring the Narrative, which received the Donald Justice Poetry Prize from West Chester University Poetry Center; and Small Revolution.  A limited edition letterpress collection, Until That Yellow Bird Returns, was printed by Red Hydra Press in 2015.  His poetry craft talk,  “The Brokenness of Lines:  the Where and the Why” will explore different conceptions of why poets break lines.

Carrie Jerrell

headshot of Carrie Jerrell
Carrie Jerrell
(poetry workshop) is the author of After the Revival, selected for the 2008 Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize and published by Waywiser Press. She is an Associate Professor at Murray State University in Murray, KY, where she also coordinates the undergraduate creative writing program and teaches in the low-residency MFA program. She has been an artist-in-residence with the National Park Service and a recipient of grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Kentucky Arts Council. In her workshops, she assists writers in identifying each poem’s virtues and working together in a spirit of encouragement and inventiveness to strengthen its weaknesses.

Beverly Mitchell

headshot of Beverly Mitchell
Beverly Mitchell
(teen workshop) is a writer and translator.  She received degrees from Hendrix College (French) and the University of Arkansas (MFA in Literary Translation). She has published original and translated essays and poetry, and is especially fond of writing what she calls, “Memoirs of Other People,” in which she recounts stories from her family. She has also written and directed plays. Mitchell is a Professor of English at Columbia State.

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