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Browse our conference schedule, speaker bios, and find the links to catch up on our 2020 community programming! 

2020 conference schedule

*The schedule below is subject to updates and changes. All times are in Denver Mountain time zone.

Friday July 31


4:00 p.m. --  Writing Lab + Meet & Greet


6:00 p.m. -- Writing Lab + Meet & Greet

Saturday August 1


8:45 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.


Opening of our inaugural [margins.] conference by Nate Marshall

2020 is our year to explore Authenticity in Voice


10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.


Writing Craft Track


Sugar and Voice and Everything Nice: How Character Voice Shapes the Stories We Tell

Learn the secrets of voice from Sandhya Menon, the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of five published novels (with many more in the pipeline)!  Ever wonder why some characters suck you in and have you eagerly turning the pages while others seem flat or cardboard-like? How does character voice play into the age group and genre of novels? How can you tell if you’re writing a YA, middle grade, or adult novel—and how can you shape your character’s voice to suit the story you want to tell? These tips and more will be shared in a webinar, so come prepared with a pen, a notebook, and lots of questions!  


Publishing/Business Track


Trade Publishing 101

Speaker: Erin L. Cox

From editorial to marketing and publicity, from book covers to book design--if you're wondering how it all happens and what to expect in the winding publishing journey, this session will guide you through the trade publishing processes.


Community & Activism Track


Panel: Forward Paths: Ideas and Happenings

Hosted by Kerrie Joy, Panelists: Ausma Zehanat Khan, Leah Koch, Lillie Lainoff, Pablo Defendini

So many writers from the margins find ourselves using our artistic spaces to fight for inclusion and equity. Join as we hear about actions that are happening and how they got off the ground. Maybe that next step to the project you've been dreaming is just around the corner.


1:00 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.


Writing Craft Track

Panel: Voices in KidLit

Hosted by Sandhya Menon; Panelists: Eric Smith, Karol Ruth Silverstein, Mahogany L. Browne

So many stories to tell at so many different stages of life. Join to hear KidLit writers chat about how they find the voice for their story, or how their story found its own voice.


Publishing/Business Track


Panel: Working with Bookstores

Hosted by Kalani Kapahua; Panelists: Angela Maria Spring, Kathy Burnette, Leah Koch

How can you work with bookstores to get your book in front of readers? Experienced booksellers are here to get you ready.


Community & Activism Track

Cohort Writing Group: Black Writers

Hosted by: Suzi Q. Smith

Join to connect with fellow Black writers, to chat about your writing, commiserate, celebrate, inspire one another.

2:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.


Writing Craft Track


Session 1: Building Your Poetry Manuscript

In Conversation: Diana Khoi Nguyen and José Olivarez

In this dialogue, two award-winning poets will discuss key moments in the preparation of a manuscript, from topics such has how to know when you have enough material, to methods of organization and structure, as well as critical details like titles and epigraphs.


Session 2: How to Come Up With Unique Story Concepts

Speaker: Henry Lien

This workshop guides writers through concept generation, analysis, and development to create concepts that are unique and personal. Workshop techniques will include combining ideas to form unique hybrids; method acting and role-playing exercises; and surrealist parlor games.


Publishing/Business Track


Self-Publishing 101+

Erica Ridley went from self-publishing novice to hitting bestseller lists like USA Today and the New York Times. She'll walk you through how to get started, key strategies, best practices, what she would have done differently, as well as tips and tricks for maximizing opportunities at each vendor.


Community & Activism Track


Cohort Writing Group: Queer Writers

Hosted by: pavlos stavropoulos and Chris Aguilar-Garcia

Join to connect with fellow Queer writers, to chat about your writing, commiserate, celebrate, inspire one another.


4:00 p.m. - 5:20 p.m.


Writing Craft Track


Panel 1: Poetry as the Language of Resistance 

Hosted by Suzi Q. Smith, Panelists: Alejandro Jimenez, Bobby LeFebre, Kerrie Joy, and Tongo Eisen-Martin


Panel 2: Voices in Graphic Novels and Comic Books

Hosted by R. Alan Brooks; Panelists: Ebony Flowers, Jose Pimienta, Kristina Maldonado Bad Hand, Lonnie Allen


Publishing/Business Track


Querying from the margins and beyond

Speaker: Mariah Stovall

An interactive querying workshop for writers in all stages of the process, with a special focus on the challenges that writers from marginalized groups face. Topics will include query basics--like formatting, word count, comparative titles and author bio--as well as in-depth advice on how to decode common responses from agents, how to tell if an agent is the right match for you and your work, and how to advocate for yourself throughout the process.


Community & Activism Track


Cohort Writing Group: Disabled Writers

Hosted by: Lara Ameen

Join to connect with fellow Disabled writers, to chat about your writing, commiserate, celebrate, inspire one another.


6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.


Open Mic & Awards Ceremony

Hosted by: Suzi Q. Smith


Sunday August 2

8:00 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.


Yoga session: Thank you to our friend Euda K. Best of Denver's Satya Yoga Co-Op for inviting us to join in morning yoga to restore and start the day!

9:00 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.


Publishing/Business Track


Lit Agents on What’s Trending

Conversation with Eric Smith and Kristin Nelson

These agents know what's been selling, what editors are asking for; and now, they'll share with you!


Community & Activism Track


Panel: Movement Building & New Publishing Spaces

Hosted by: Bunmi Ishola; Panelists: Katerina Jeng, Pablo Defendini, Sailaja Joshi

How does the publishing world move forward? While we work to shift resources in the traditional publishing world, we also need to envision new avenues for sharing our stories and build our own spaces. We're chatting with some folks who have done just that.


10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.


Writing Craft Track


Panel: Voices in Spec Fic

Hosted by Lara Ameen; Panelists: Erika T. Wurth, K. Tempest Bradford, Henry Lien, Gabino Iglesias


Publishing/Business Track


Anatomy of A Deal: A Literary Agent Explains What is Negotiated when the Magic Day Arrives

Speaker: Kristin Nelson

When a publisher offers to buy a novel, a literary agent negotiates upfront all the hard stuff, the “key” deal points, before going to contract. Aspiring authors will get an inside look at what that negotiation entails so you’ll be savvy when that magical day arrives, your dream comes true, and a publisher offers for your book.

Community & Activism Track


Cohort Writing Group: Latinx Writers

Hosted by: Bobby LeFebre

Join to connect with fellow Latinx writers, to chat about your writing, commiserate, celebrate, inspire one another.


1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.


Writing Craft Track


Panel 1: Lyrics and Literature

Hosted by: Suzi Q. Smith, Panelists: Bianca Mikahn, Stephen Brackett, Steven Dunn


Panel 2: Voices in Romance

Hosted by Farrah Rochon; Panelists: Anna Zabo, Mina Esguerra, Tracey Livesay


Publishing/Business Track


Panel: Zine Submissions

Hosted by: Eric C. Wat; Panelists: Pablo Defindini, Tiffany Soga

Thinking about submitting to a literary zine to get your work in print, but not sure where to start or how to make the most of the opportunities? These lit mag editors are here to help.

Community & Activism Track


Roundtable: Intersections and Responsible Representation

Hosted by: K. Tempest Bradford

Writing inclusively means writing responsibly. Easier said than done, right? Join this roundtable discussion to tease out questions, share resources, get feedback. We're all building a better world together, let's start by sharing the lessons we've been learning.


2:00 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.


Writing Craft Track


Diversity Plus: Storyforms

Speaker: Henry Lien

This workshop uses case studies to explore how elements that we consider staples of European/Western storytelling, such as the three-act story structure, the empowerment arc, characters with flaws, and stories based on problems, are not universal across all cultures. Attendees will learn about the East Asian four-act structure and storytelling that is not based on conflict, tension, and resolution.


Publishing/Business Track

Session 1: The Vocation of Poetry

Speaker: Eloisa Amezcua

In this workshop and conversation, we'll discuss navigating the "business" side of poetry including publishing, speaking engagements, and collaborations. We'll also examine the "work," paid and unpaid, that's asked of writers in the poetic ecosystem and how to decide what's best for you!

Session 2: Creating Anthologies

Speaker: Lydia Rogue

This session will take a look at what goes into editing a collection of shorter pieces from a variety of authors. From choosing a theme to soliciting submissions to handling the editorial work, this talk will go over everything you need to know about constructing a successful anthology.


Community & Activism Track


Cohort Writing Group: Asian-American Writers

Hosted by: Katerina Jeng

Join to connect with fellow Asian-American writers, to chat about your writing, commiserate, celebrate, inspire one another.


3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Writing Craft Track


Panel 1: Poets & Playwrights on Drama

Hosted by: Bobby LeFebre, Panelists: ayla x. c. sullivan, Confidence Omenai, Kenya Mahogany Fashaw, Monica Prince


Panel 2: Nonfiction & the Storyteller

Hosted by: Chris Aguilar-Garcia; Panelists: Adrian Miller, Ausma Zehanat Khan

Let's explore the different ways we narrate to tell nonfiction, from the personality of voice to blending truth and imagination.


Publishing/Business Track


The Business of Writing

Speaker: Courtney Milan

Most of us write for a number of reasons—but whatever they are, if you expect to earn money off your writing, your writing is also a business. This workshop covers the basics of the business of writing: keeping records for taxes, tracking income and expenses, understanding profit/loss, and figuring out when to invest to grow your business, and when to keep your money.

Agent Pitch & Query Feedback Speed-Date Sessions


Sign up for a 10-minute Speed Date Session to make and refine your book pitch!

*Sign-up information will be provided to attendees during the conference.

Agent Pitch Session: Kristin Nelson, Literary Agent & Founder, Nelson Literary Agency

August 2 - beginning at 12:00 p.m.

Agent Pitch Session: Hannah VanVels, Literary Agent, Belcastro Agency

August 4 - beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Agent Pitch Session: Eric Smith, Literary Agent, P.S. Literary

August 4 - beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Query Feedback Session, Mariah Stovall, Literary Assistant, Writers House

August 4 - beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Agent Pitch Session: Erin L. Cox, Literary Agent, Rob Weisbach Creative Management

August 4 - beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Query Feedback Session: Angie Hodapp, Director of Literary Development, Nelson Literary Agency

August 4 - beginning at 3:30 p.m.

our 2020 opening speaker

2020 conference presenters

The wordsmiths, creators, publishing industry magicians who will share their know-how with you at [margins].

*Please note speakers and presentations are subject to change.

2020 community programming schedule

Catch up on our free and open community programming that has been taking place throughout this past year! 

2020 Community Programming Schedule:

Saturday, April 18, 11:30a ET/9:30a MT, Facebook Live - Working with an Editor: Q&A session with Sylvan Creekmore, Associate Editor at St. Martin's Press

Thursday, May 7, 6:45p ET/4:45p MT, via Facebook Live and YouTube Live - The Lit Agency and You: Q&A session with Hannah VanVels (Corvisiero Literary Agency) and Angie Hodapp (Nelson Literary Agency) 

Thursday, May 14, 6:00p ET/4:00p MT, via Facebook Live and YouTube Live - Denver Debuts In-conversation: Colorado Poet Laureate Bobby LeFebre with debut César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, author of Migrating to Prison: America's Obsession with Locking up Immigrants

Wednesday, May 20, 6:00p ET/4:00p MT, via Facebook Live and YouTube Live - Denver Debuts In-conversation: Colorado Book Award Winner Diana Khoi Nguyen with debut Deborah Jang, author of Float True. Co-hosted with slant'd. 

Wednesday, June 3, 6:00p ET/4:00p MT, via Facebook Live and YouTube Live - Denver Debuts In-conversation, Lit & Film Discussion: Steven Dunn, author of Potted Meat, with debut Olivia Abtahi, author of the upcoming Perfectly Parvin.

Saturday, June 6, 6:00p ET/4:00p MT, via Facebook Live and YouTube Live- Mining the Modern Gothic, with Elisabeth Thomas, Author of Catherine House, in-conversation with Angela Marie Spring. Co-hosted with Duende District Bookstore.

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