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Writer's Block Workshops

Registration is $25.00

Plenary Session - Emily Bingham 

9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

How did a minstrel song about the slave trade become a beloved melody, a celebratory anthem, and an integral part of American folklore and culture? Acclaimed historian Emily Bingham’s new book, explores the compelling history of Stephen Foster’s 1853 “My Old Kentucky Home,” which tried to present slavery as carefree while also telling a wrenching story of a man sold to die in the sugarcane fields of the Deep South. The song—for years sung by white men in blackface entertaining white audiences—was a sensation and has been with us ever since.

For almost two centuries, its lyrics and meaning have been protested, altered, mythologized in thousands of performances—from Bing Crosby to Bugs Bunny to John Prine and Prissy in Gone with the Wind—and enshrined as the state song of Kentucky. Every year at the world’s most important horse race, the Kentucky Derby, “My Old Kentucky Home” is sung by tens of thousands of nostalgic fans, almost all of them unknowingly conjuring a mythic version of a brutal past.

Bingham, a Louisville-native offers a deeply researched as well as a personal and incisive biography of one of America’s most iconic melodies. In this resonant history, we see the enduring ability to forget and deny the realities of slavery, and Bingham, by casting an unflinching eye on our cultural inheritance, leads us to the promise of a reckoning.

Spirit Writing

Samar Johnson

Named after the writing technique engaged by ancestor Lucille Clifton, this class is designed to walk with the participant as they begin the journey/practice of spirit/somatic writing. The objective of this class is to have participants engage with a more subconscious way of interacting with the creative mind. Doing so will allow for freedom that may be needed when encountering writer's block or lack of inspiration (burnout). After this class, the student should have novice understanding of spirit writing and its origins relating to Black writing/culture, ways to engage in spirit writing, and a writing excerpt with will be completed in class.

Edit Smarter, Not Harder

Angie Andriot

Editing can be tough. Whether you're facing your own sloppy first draft or sitting in a critique group reading someone else's pages, it can be hard to know where to start. This workshop offers a structured approach to editing by presenting a hierarchy of editorial concerns. Following this framework enables you to pinpoint and address the most significant issues in a piece, resulting in more efficient and effective editing. From understanding what 'show don't tell' really means, to using dialogue effectively, you will leave this workshop armed with a comprehensive checklist of five key considerations for enhancing your fiction editing endeavors.

Poetry as Discovery & Expression of the Self

Thomas Kneeland

Throughout this workshop, we will delve into the power of introspection, the art of self-reflection, and the beauty of crafting poetry that celebrates our unique selves. Through discussions, creative exercises, and collaborative activities, participants will: (1) discover the immense potential of their own voices and learn how to express their thoughts and emotions through the artistry of words, (2) gain fresh insights into the poetic devices and techniques that can bring their narratives to life. By the end of this workshop, participants will leave with written poems and generative prompts for future poetic exploration. 

Off the Clock: Writing Around Work Hours Working 9 to 5

Sarah McCartt-Jackson

Writing when? This workshop is for writers who have jobs outside of writing. Participants will receive kickstarting prompts, motivation techniques, writing routines, and other tools to help you make time when there's no time. 

Becoming a Media Magnet Before You Publish Your Book

Tanya White

This session will position aspiring authors to become a magnetic for media journalists and radio/TV show hosts & producers even before their books are published by: *Identifying and crafting a clear message that solves people's problems and aligns with the authors' brand *Understanding why it is important to present yourself as a subject matter expert *Defining the importance of building a following who buys into your personal message *Developing a 30-second pitch that makes you magnetically interesting to media and lands you appearances before you even publish your book.

Tapping Into Harmonizing Creativity

Julia Youngblood

Tapping into and Harmonizing Creativity will use a variety of methods to opening up creative pathways of the mind, body and spirit. The workshop will assist writers who are stuck, unhappy about their writing, or working on authenticity of voice. We will harmonize left and right sides of the brain through bilateral drawing. Participants will learn simple Jin Shin Jyutsu techniques to unblock natural energy flows which will assist with the creative process. Writers will leave the workshop with practical tools they can use to energize themselves, get unstuck and be more productive as writers and creatives. 

Writing Young Adult Fiction 101

Lynn Slaughter

In this workshop, we’ll take a look at what young adult fiction is (Hint: It’s not a

genre!) and how it differs from middle grade and adult fiction. We’ll examine

common characteristics, themes, and recommended dos and don’ts. Finally, we’ll

do some writing to generate ideas for young adult stories.

Goals: To provide:

- an introductory overview of young adult (YA) fiction

- some basic tips to successfully tackle writing a YA story

- an opportunity to begin the process of generating a YA story idea

Objectives and Hoped for Outcomes:

Participants will gain:

- A better understanding of what young adult fiction is and how it differs

from middle grade and adult fiction

- Knowledge about common characteristics and themes of YA fiction

- Understanding of things to avoid doing in writing YA fiction and what to do


- An opportunity to do some preliminary writing to generate an idea for a

young adult story.

InKy at the Writer's Block

Ron Whitehead

Ron will be doing a special InKY Reading of his award-winning literary pieces followed by a Q & A with the WB Fest audience. 

Some of his reviews include:

“Ron Whitehead is a real visionary. Ron Whitehead, out there in Kentucky, is sowing the dragon’s teeth of a new heroics. Ron Whitehead is Bodhisattva in Kentucky.”

--Lawrence Ferlinghetti 


“I have long admired Ron Whitehead. He is crazy as nine loons, and his poetry is a dazzling mix of folk wisdom and pure mathematics.” 

--Hunter S. Thompson 


“Ron Whitehead is one of the most exciting poets in America. Poet and literary activist, he is one of the great poets of his generation.” 

--Douglas Brinkley 

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