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16th Annual Clarksville Writers Conference keynote to be Critically Acclaimed Novelist Joshilyn Jackson, August 12th and 13th

Clarksville Arts and Heritage Development CouncilClarksville, TN – The Clarksville Arts & Heritage Development Council is partnering with the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts at Austin Peay State University (APSU) and the Tennessee Arts Commission to once again bring acclaimed authors and songwriters to town for the 16th Annual Clarksville Writers Conference.  

The event will be held Thursday, August 12th, and Friday, August 13th, 2021 at the Art + Design Building on the campus of Austin Peay State University.

Joshilyn Jackson, 16th Annual Clarksville Writers Conference keynote speaker.
Joshilyn Jackson, 16th Annual Clarksville Writers Conference keynote speaker.

Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist of ten novels, including gods in Alabama, Never Have I Ever and Mother May I, will deliver the keynote address at the conference’s banquet the evening of Thursday, August 12th, at F&M Bank’s The Franklin Room, overlooking the Cumberland River and featuring an incredible view of Historic Downtown Clarksville.

Jackson is this year’s recipient of the Patricia Winn Award for Southern Literature, named for the conference’s founder. 

Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, have won SIBA’s Novel of the Year award, have three times been #1 Book Sense Pick, have twice won Georgia Author of the Year awards, have three times been shortlisted for the Townsend Prize for Fiction, and have been a finalist for the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction.  

This year’s conference offers sixteen presentations and workshops for writers and avid readers.

Authors scheduled to speak include the following:

Kelly J. Beard, a successful trial attorney for nearly two decades, is the author of the memoir An Imperfect Rapture.  Her work appears in Creative NonfictionSanta Ana River ReviewFive PointsBacopa Literary Review and others.  In 2019, Beard received the Georgia Author of the Year Award, sponsored by the Georgia Writers Association

Dana Chamblee Carpenter is the author of the award-winning Bohemian Trilogy.  The first book in the series, Bohemian Gospel, was called “a deliciously creepy debut” by Publisher’s Weekly.  Her second book, The Devil’s Bible, won the 2017 Silver Falchion Award for Best Novel, while the final book in the series, Book of the Just, was called “a wickedly good read” by Chapter 16.

Debra Coleman Jeter, a Professor Emerita at Vanderbilt University, has published three novels, one memoir and a textbook.  She is also a co-writer of the screenplay for Jess + Moss, a feature film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, screened at nearly forty film festivals around the world and captured several international awards.



Joy Jordan-Lake is the author of the bestselling novels A Tangled Mercy, a dual timeline story set in Charleston, South Carolina, and Under a Gilded Moon, a historical mystery set at the Biltmore Estate in the tumultuous 1890s, among others.  Her next novel is a historical mystery set in coastal Maine in the 1950s.

Bobby Keel is a multi-gold and platinum-selling songwriter for such artists as Hank Williams, Jr., Confederate Railroad, David Allan Coe, The Carter Family, Whiskey Myers, Tammy Wynette, The Forest Sisters, Travis Tritt, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and other major recording acts.  A native of Dover, Keel began his songwriting career in earnest at seventeen.

Robert Mangeot‘s more than two dozen published short stories appear here and there, including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery MagazineThe Forge Literary MagazineMystery Weekly MagazineThe Oddville Press, and the Anthony-winning Murder Under the Oaks.  When not writing, Robert is talking about writing or serving as current Vice President for the Southeast chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

James Nihan is the author of ReVisions: Seeing Old Stories with New Eyes, a book that encourages brighter points of view.  An award-winning songwriter and poet, he has penned songs for many artists.  Songwriting legend and mentor Harlan Howard once likened James’ storytelling style to the works of Canadian poet Robert Service.

S.M. Williams is the author of the historical romance trilogy All Would Be Kings, which includes The Winter ProphecyHigh Treason and Rosemary.  At present, she has two works in progress: Kelidaire, a romantic fantasy, and Across The River, a historical fiction novel that follows the post-war life of a Confederate spy and the lost Confederate Treasury.

Renea Winchester is the author of several nonfiction works including Farming, Friends & Fried Bologna Sandwiches, which was nominated for the prestigious SIBA award, earned Renea a nomination for Georgia Author of the Year and received an endorsement from The Pulpwood Queens, the largest book club in the country.  Her debut novel, Outbound Train, is set in her hometown of Bryson City, North Carolina.

In addition to the scheduled presentations and workshops, free virtual editing consultations with Librum Artis Editorial Services editor Kiezha Smith Ferrell are available to conference participants.  Ferrell has worked more than 25 years in print media, editing everything from weekly news publications and legal education manuals to Amazon bestsellers and academic research publications. 

She has served at six universities, including Vanderbilt, the University of the South (Sewanee), the University of Georgia, and Western Michigan University, in areas of media relations, communications, and development.

A complete package including all conference activities is offered, as well as “a la carte” options.  Discounted rates are available for early registration, which is postmarked on or before July 29. Late registration is postmarked between July 30th and August 5th.  Visit the conference website at www.artsandheritage.us/writers for author bios, the conference schedule, registration information, and more.

The 2021 Clarksville Writers Conference is made possible in part through the generous support of the Clarksville Arts & Heritage Development Council, Austin Peay State University, Tennessee Arts Commission, City of Clarksville, Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts at APSU, and the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center.  Additional sponsors include Jacqueline & Ned Crouch, Drs. Dave & Jennie Beth Johnston, Dee Boaz, Jim B. Marshall, Joan R. Harris, James Moore, and Bill Colclough.  The conference was developed in 2005 by Patricia Winn.


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