February 2017 News

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Spread the Word

Now is the time, friends, to help us spread the word about this new opportunity for women writers in all fields and genres, and from all experience levels in writing. One of our primary goals is to host as diverse a conference as possible, but that will only happen if this newsletter gets shared far and wide. Please pass it on via email or share our posts on social media.

Remember, our Call for Proposals deadline is March 15, 2017; we are looking for submissions from women and non-binary writers from all walks of life and all writing fields and genres. Writers are welcome to submit a proposal individually or as part of a pre-formed panel. Check out the website for full information and to access the submission form. Registration will open in April.

For those of you attending the annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) in Washington, DC, we had a wonderful time meeting you all and look forward to hosting you November 3–4, 2017, in Conway, AR.

As we continue our preparations, we wish you all happy reading, happy writing.

~ Sandy Longhorn, Director of the C. D. Wright Women Writers Conference

Tayari Jones to be Friday Night Keynote Speaker 

The C. D. Wright Women Writers Conference is thrilled to announce Tayari Jones as our keynote speaker for Friday, November 3, 2017. The conference will kick off Friday evening with Jones' reading, followed by a reception for conference attendees.

Tayari Jones was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and much of her writing centers on the urban South. Upon the publication of her most recent novel, Silver Sparrow, which has just been chosen for inclusion in the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read library, the Village Voice wrote, “Tayari Jones is fast defining black middle-class Atlanta the way that Cheever did for Westchester.”

Her first novel, Leaving Atlanta, a coming-of-age story set against the city’s infamous African-American child murders of 1979–81, won the Hurston/Wright Award for debut fiction. Her second novel, The Untelling, about a family struggling to overcome the aftermath of a fatal car accident, received the Lillian C. Smith Book Award from the Southern Regional Council and the University of Georgia Libraries. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College (BA), the University of Iowa (MA), and Arizona State University (MFA). She has since taught writing at several universities and was recently honored at Rutgers with awards for scholarly excellence and teaching excellence and with a Leader in Faculty Diversity Award. She has also volunteered for a number of mentoring organizations and is on the board of Girls Write Now, which matches teenage girls with writing mentors.

Jones has spoken at over 200 colleges and universities, libraries, writers conferences, and literary series all over the country. Her appeal to audiences and readers alike lies not only in her rich literary skills and her talent for witty dialogue but also in her ability to channel the lives of ordinary young women crossing into adulthood. Jones spent the 2011–12 academic year as a Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard, received an NEA grant for 2012, and is presently Associate Professor in the MFA Program at Rutgers University.

Call for Proposals

The C. D. Wright Women Writers Conference invites proposals for presentations at our inaugural conference to be held November 3–4, 2017 at the University of Central Arkansas.
C. D. Wright was a nationally acclaimed poet with Arkansas roots. Inspired by her legacy, our mission is to recognize, promote, and encourage a diverse range of women writers, including any writer who identifies as female. Participants will explore opportunities, challenges, and trends specific to women writers through keynote presentations, panel discussions, craft talks, a book fair, and workshops led by contemporary authors. The conference will offer writers a space to gather for inspiration, further education, support, and networking.
General Information
Sessions will be 75 minutes and may employ a variety of formats, including panel discussions, craft talks, publishing advice, readings, or workshops. Proposals may be submitted as individuals or as pre-formed panels. Individual proposals that are accepted will be grouped into panels by the conference organizers. 
To submit a proposal, please use the Proposal Submission Form.
Conference presenters and attendees must register for the full conference. The registration fee will cover all food services from Friday evening through Saturday evening, and there will be opportunities to apply for needs-based scholarships that cover registration costs.
Suggested Presentation Topics
The C. D. Wright Women Writers Conference is a space to celebrate, study, and advance the work of women writing in all genres, from journalism to mass market books, academic writing, literary endeavors, and beyond. We will address the value of adding women’s voices to the collective, cultural conversations about writing and the danger of limiting or excluding these voices. While we hope our audience will draw women from all over the country, there will be a special emphasis on women from the South. Participants’ work may focus on any subject area; however, the focus of the conference is not on those fields of study but on the writing itself.  
Possible topics for proposals may include the following: 

  • Navigating the publishing industry as a woman
  • Identifying challenges faced by women writers, particularly in the South
  • Balancing writing with work, family, and social groups
  • Collaborating with and mentoring other women writers
  • Making space for diverse voices and perspectives
  • Historicizing women writers and movements
  • Writing about trauma
  • Developing the writer’s craft
  • Gathering sources for information and inspiration
  • Finding and appealing to a target audience
  • Finding trustworthy feedback 
  • Dealing with publisher rejection

Please visit to access the Proposal Submission Form. Proposals can be submitted through the conference website, by email (, or by mail: ​C. D. Wright Women Writers Conference, University of Central Arkansas, Director, Sandy Longhorn, Thompson 306, 201 Donaghey Ave., Conway, AR 72035.
Proposals will be accepted from November 3, 2016 to March 15, 2017. Presenters will be notified of acceptances in April. 

Recommended Reading


We offer here a brief list of women writers whose work has made an impression on our lives. If you would like to send us a recommendation for consideration,* email the director, Sandy Longhorn, at Please include the author’s name and one representative title. Remember, we hope to support writers in all genres and styles from mass market to literary or academic, from bloggers to journalists. Help us spread the word about fantastic women writers of today or yesterday.

*The Executive Committee will make the final decision on which titles to feature.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche ~ Americanah ~ fiction (Anchor, 2014)

Maya Angelou ~ I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings ~ memoir (Ballantine, reissue 2009)

Edwidge Danticant ~ The Farming of Bones ~ fiction (Soho, reprint 2013)

Tayari Jones ~ Silver Sparrow ~ fiction (Algonquin, 2013)

Elizabeth Kolbert ~ The Sixth Extinction ~ non-fiction (Picador, reprint 2015)

Sylivia Plath ~  Ariel: The Restored Edition: A Facsimile of Plath's Manuscript, Reinstating Her Original Selection and Arrangement ~ poetry (Harper Perennial, 2005)

Rebecca Solnit ~ Men Explain Things to Me ~ essays (Haymarket, updated edition 2015)

Wislawa Szymborska ~ Poems New and Collected ~ poetry (Mariner, 2000)

Tayari Jones: keynote speaker and author of Silver Sparrow, an NEA Big Read Selection

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Call for Proposals
Nov. 3, 2016 - Mar. 15, 2017

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The C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference is supported and hosted by the University of Central Arkansas, with thanks to the University of Central Arkansas Foundation.
Copyright © 2017 C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference, All rights reserved.

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