Inaugural Tremont Writers Conference now accepting applications for creative retreat in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

by Jan 28, 2023General Announcements0 comments

TOWNSEND, Tenn. — Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is pleased to announce the first-ever Tremont Writers Conference, an intensive five-day retreat for writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry coordinated in conjunction with Great Smoky Mountains Association. Applications to participate in the event may be submitted online now through April 30 at

From Wednesday, Oct. 25, through Sunday, Oct. 29, a small group of selected writers will join renowned authors and professional park educators for a writers conference like no other, set on a lush, secluded campus nestled within America’s most visited national park. Participants will enjoy brainstorming and fine-tuning their work with award-winning author workshop leaders while also learning and writing in small groups throughout the day.

“At Tremont, we work to connect people to nature in various ways, and this program is an extension of the work we are already doing,” said Catey McClary, president and CEO of Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. “Often, it’s when we hear from those who’ve spent time exploring with us that we best understand the impact of our work. So, as the writers build connections to the national park and to each other, it’s exciting to think about the ripple effect these collective experiences will have on the work they create. I hope that the writers come to see this as an opportunity to shift the way they think about themselves, their relationship with each other, and with life and the natural world as a whole.”

Small-group morning workshops in fiction, nonfiction and poetry will take place outdoors, led by faculty members Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle (fiction), Janet McCue (nonfiction) and Frank X Walker (poetry). Guest novelist Richard Powers, a MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer, will lead several sessions for the entire group, including a craft talk with conversation. Each afternoon, writers will join experienced Tremont naturalists for guided explorations that spark curiosity and wonder through hands-on experience with the region’s cultural and natural history. Evenings will conclude with hearty dinners, fellowship with peers, and readings by writing faculty. Meals and lodging are provided.

Applications for the October conference should be submitted no later than April 30. Acceptance to conference workshops is based on manuscript evaluation, with chosen writers notified by July 14. Limited financial aid is available. Organizers recommend that writers upload their strongest work, regardless of publication status. Fiction and nonfiction submissions should be no longer than 5,000 words, though they may be excerpts from longer projects. Multiple shorter pieces that fit together within the word limit are also acceptable. Poetry submissions should be no more than 10 pages (with no more than one poem per page) in single-spaced, 12-point font. All manuscripts will be judged anonymously and should not include the author’s identity.

Additional information about the Tremont Writers Conference and complete 2023 application guidelines can be found at

  • Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont