On Choosing Sessions

The 2017 Conference features over 120 sessions organized into 10 time blocks. Each block features a mix of sessions on the craft of fiction and non-fiction (“Muse” sessions) and on the business of publishing (“Marketplace” sessions).


We have asked each presenter to articulate in their description what they hope to cover in their session, and to tell us the format that best describes their approach: Lecture with Q&A, Guided Writing or Discussion Class. Most sessions will be a mix of all three. Be sure to read all descriptions closely to pick the one that’s best for you.

Unlike at most literary conferences, there are no panels. We find the format tedious. More importantly, we don’t like the idea of a bunch of people sitting on risers talking down to an audience of fellow artists and colleagues. Instead, we have stressed to presenters the importance of keeping sessions interactive and collaborative. That said, expect to hear a lot of information from them, which we hope will be directly applicable to your project and your process, and which will be a mix of concrete, practical and theoretical. And expect to see some presenters on risers during special events like “Literary Idol” and the “NonFiction Idea Clinic,” each with their own terms of participation.

Most presenters have pitched their sessions to the intermediate/advanced writer. Sessions marked as “Essentials Of…” are geared toward newer writers and designed to be a thoughtful introduction to a particular craft element or publishing issue. Many of these are taught by GrubStreet instructors and Teaching Scholars.


We ask you to choose all of your sessions prior to the conference. Most sessions are offered one time only, but some sessions are offered twice, so be sure to look at the entire schedule before you commit.

Our best advice is to treat the weekend the way we have organized it: like a story. Start on Friday with sessions designed to contextualize your approach to craft or publishing. Develop those ideas on Saturday. Unwind on Saturday evening and night in a community of fellow artists. Think about revision and editing, your path to publishing, and/or generating new material on Sunday morning. Whatever sessions you pick, it’s unlikely you’ll go wrong with this accomplished group of presenters and your savvy co-participants.

You may revise your session choices at any time between the day you register and 12:00pm ET on Monday, April 2nd. After that time, we will not be able to accommodate any revisions to your session choices. You will receive a personalized itinerary at the conference that lists all of your session choices.


Most Muse presenters have been invited by GrubStreet because they have a reputation as excellent and generous teachers, and/or because they are actively publishing books that are making noise in the literary world.

Additionally, we put out a nationwide call for submissions from fiction and non-fiction writers to lead craft and publishing sessions as Teaching Scholars. Our committee selected these presenters from a record number of applications, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the conference for the full three days. Teaching Scholars will be attending sessions as well, contributing their expertise to the conversation throughout the weekend.