Beltway Poetry Quarterly

Conferences and Festivals


Artscape is an annual festival of the literary, visual, and performing arts in Baltimore in July.

Baltimore Book Festival

Annual book festival in September includes readings, book fair, food, family events.

Baltimore Playwrights’ Festival

This festival promotes plays by MD and DC authors with full productions and staged readings.

Bay to Ocean Writers Conference

Bay to Ocean, sponsored by the Eastern Shore Writers Association, offers this annual one-day conference (usually in February or March) in Easton, MD.  Speakers, networking lunch, manuscript review service. Fees charged.

Bethesda Local Writer’s Showcase

The Bethesda Local Writer’s Showcase includes readings, performances, exhibits, and book fairs each April in downtown Bethesda, MD. Also sponsors writing contests.

Black Writers’ Guild of Maryland, Inc.

The Black Writers’ Guild of Maryland offers monthly workshops and speakers, an annual conference, and special showcase events for members. Located in Baltimore.

Chesapeake Writers’ Conference

Hosted by St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the Chesapeake Writers’ Conference is a week-long gathering in June, with daily workshops in fiction, poetry and nonfiction, lectures, craft talks, readings, and panels. There is also a workshop for high-school writers. Fees charged. Jerry Gabriel, director.

City Lit Project

City Lit Project is a Baltimore-based organization that coordinates writers workshops, author readings, publication seminars, book festivals, youth events, and publishes books by regional authors through its City Lit Press imprint.

F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference

This annual conference, sponsored by Montgomery College, takes place each Fall in Rockville, MD.  Readings, workshops, competitions, individual critiques, and the naming of the Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature.

Fairfax County Public Libraries

Fairfax County maintains 22 library locations, and co-sponsors the annual Fall for the Book Festival (typically in September or October).

Frostburg State University Center for Creative Writing

Located in Frostburg, MD, the Center for Creative Writing aims to serve Western MD, parts of PA and WV with workshops, readings, slams, exhibits, a library, and more. Sponsors an annual Small Press Festival, a One-Act Play Competition, the Nightsun Writer’s Conference, the Spring Into Writing Retreat, and workshops for youth.

Furious Flower

Located at James Madison University, Furious Flower Poetry Center is devoted to African American poetry, and serves the university, the Harrisonburg, VA community, and scholars nationally. Houses visiting poets, sponsors workshops, hosts an annual poetry camp for students in grades 3 to 8, produces videos, books and articles, and holds panels, seminars and conferences. Joanne V. Gabbin, executive director.

Hampton Roads Writers

Hampton Roads Writers runs a writing center in Virginia Beach, VA that offers workshops, readings, contests, critique groups. Hosts a annual two-day Fall conference with keynote speaker, workshops, breakout sessions, ten-minute agent pitches.

Hollins University

Hollins Critic is published five times a year, with critical essays, poems, and book reviews.  Based on the campus in Roanoke, VA; R.H.W. Dillard, ed., Cathryn Hankla, poetry ed. Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop is held each summer (typically in June), with a week of workshops, craft seminars, one-on-one conferences, readings. The university also hosts the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference every January, a day-long event with workshops and readings.

Hurston/Wright Foundation

Hurston/WrightHurston-Wright-Logo-Emblem is a resource for Black writers.  They offer workshops for teens and adults, an annual award for college writers, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards for new books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Iceland Writers Retreat

The Iceland Writers Retreat is an annual 5-day conference held each April with small-group workshops in fiction and nonfiction, and cultural tours designed to introduce participants to Iceland’s rich literary heritage. Administered in Iceland and Washington, DC; all events in English.

International Day of the Book

This annual street festival takes place in April in Kensington, MD.  Readings, musical performances, and family activities.

James River Writers

James River Writers offers readings, lectures, and classes throughout the year, as well as an annual two-day conference, presented with the Library of Virginia, in Richmond, VA.

Library of Congress

LoC interior (roof)The LoC is an amazing resource. Information on the extensive collections (books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, prints, recordings, etc.), as well as the numerous public programs including readings and films and author talks. Special features of the site include “This Day in History”; web exhibits on such topics as Thomas Jefferson, Russia, and Bob Hope; the American Memory section with connections to original reference materials; a children’s section, “The Poet and the Poem” webcasts, the Archive of Recorded Poetry and “Poetry 180,” an initiative begun by former poet laureate Billy Collins to provide daily poems designed to be read by high school students. LoC Publications prints books, catalogues, and pamphlets about the library and its holdings.  Also of special interest is the National Book Festival, the Center for the Book, with affiliated centers across the nation, the US Copyright Office, and the Office of the US Poet Laureate.

Literary Hill

The Hill Rag, a monthly newspaper, has long included a regular column, “The Literary Hill,” with short-format reviews and notices about upcoming literary events.  They have more recently added “The Poetic Hill,” a poem-of-the-month by residents of the neighborhood, edited by Karen Lyon.  Poets can submit work for consideration to  The newspaper also sponsors an annual one-day Literary Hill Bookfest, with readings and a bookfair celebrating the authors of Capitol Hill.

Maryland Writers’ Association

The Maryland Writers’ Association hosts classes and critique groups, readings, contests, an annual conference, and community outreach projects. Publishes bimonthly newsletter, Pen in Hand. Covers poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Based in Annapolis, with seven chapters offering smaller meetings in different regions of the state. Fees charged.

Poetry Society of Virginia

The Poetry Society is a state-wide organization that hosts readings and member events, a newsletter, competitions, and an annual festival.

Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild

The Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild is a nonprofit organization fostering the literary arts in southern coastal Delaware. Hosts workshops, discussions, readings, and the annual “Writers at the Beach: Pure Sea Glass” conference. Members volunteer at local schools and hospitals.

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, MD/DE/WV Branch

The Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia Branch of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators hosts conferences, a list serve, and publishes a newsletter.

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Mid-Atlantic Branch

The Mid-Atlantic Branch of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators hosts conferences, a list serve, and publishes a newsletter.  Serves VA and DC.

Sotto Voce Poetry Festival

Sotto Voce is an annual Fall conference in Shepherdstown, WV.  They also run a small press, Somondoco Press, publishing literary poetry and fiction.

Split This Rock

Split This RockAlexisDC is dedicated to honoring the poetry of provocation and witness.  Ongoing programs include Sunday Kind of Love, a monthly reading series at Busboys and Poets (the third Sunday of every month at 5:00 pm at Busboys and Poets, 14th & V Streets NW, DC), free writing workshops (the first and third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th St. NW, Suite 600, DC), free teen writing workshops (weekly on Tuesdays at 4:30 pm at the Institute for Policy Studies), and sponsorship of the DC Youth Poetry Slam Team.  In even-numbered years, they host a festival in DC with readings, panels, and workshops. Also note: the Winter 2008 issue, the Split This Rock Issue, was published in celebration of their first festival.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Slackwater is an annual literary journal founded in 1998, dedicated to Southern Maryland oral history. Julia King, ed. Publishes creative writing, and nonfiction on history and anthropology. The Chesapeake Writers Conference is an annual week-long event with workshops, readings, lectures and panel discussions.

Virginia Commission for the Arts

The VCA awards grants, training, and advocacy.  State-wide Writers in the Schools program. Hosts annual Arts Advocacy Day in Richmond, and an annual conference.

Virginia Festival for the Book

This annual festival takes place each March in more than 70 venues across Charlottesville, VA, and Albermarle County.

West Virginia Writers

West Virginia Writers is a non-profit literary organization that sponsors an annual writers’ conference and an annual writing competition.  Web site lists information on writing groups and workshops throughout the state.

Williamsburg Book Festival

A day-long festival that takes place annually in the Fall, the Williamsburg Book Festival spotlights area and regional authors. Book fair, workshops, seminars, panel discussions. Free admission.