Due to safety concerns, we have had to cancel the CSU Creative Writers Conference for Oct. 24, 2020.

The Columbus State University Creative Writers Conference

Founded by Donald L. Jordan


About the Conference

The CSU writers conference is about community. All conference presentations, Saturday night’s reading, and the bookfair are free and open to the public. Come join us Oct. 24th 2020. We’ll be accepting panel proposals until the conference is filled. Accepted panelists have to pay a registration fee upon notification of acceptance. Our community workshop proposals have been filled.
Accepted panelists and workshop instructors will be asked to upload book information, and their books will be ordered for those whose presses don’t have tables at the book fair. To see the guidelines for panel and workshop proposals, select the “Panel/Workshop Proposal” tab below.

Writer and Professor Mat Johnson has confirmed to read.  He is the author of: the novels Drop, Hunting in Harlem, Pym, Loving Day; the nonfiction book, The Great Negro Plot; and has written comics, Hellblazer, Incognegro, Dark Rain, and Right State.

GA naturalist and environmental writer Janisse Ray has confirmed to read. Ray is
the author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Wild Cart Quilt, Pinhook, Drifting into
, House of Branches, and most recently, The Seed Underground.

Conference Schedule

Saturday, Oct. 24 th , 2020 at the Columbus, GA Convention & Trade Center.

First round panel sessions, 8:30am-9:45am

Second round panel sessions, 10:15am-11:30am

Third round panel sessions, 12:00-1:15pm

Lunch Break

Fourth round panel sessions, 2:30-3:45pm

Fifth round panel sessions, 4:14-5:30pm

Dinner Hours

7:30-9:30pm Reception and Reading

Saturday, October 24, 2020, at One Arsenal

First round, Workshops, 9:00am-11:00am

Second round, Workshops, 12:30pm-2:30pm

Third round, Workshops, 3:00pm-5:00pm

Lodging Information

Please make sure to check the distance between the listed hotel and the Trade Center.

The following hotels have agreed to provide conference rates:

Marriott | Columbus, 800 Front Avenue, 31901 | (706) 324-1800 $119 plus tax

Holiday Inn Express & Suites | Columbus Fort Benning, 3901 Victory Drive, 31903 | (706) 507-7080 $114 plus tax

Microtel Inn & Suites by WyndhamColumbus Fort Benning, 3930 St. Mary’s Road, 31907(706) 685-2305 $69 plus tax

Towneplace SuitesColumbus, 4510 E. Armour Road, 31904(706) 322-3001 $94 plus tax

Springhill Suites | Columbus, 5415 Whittlesey Blvd. 31904 | (706) 576-3773 $94 plus tax

Home2 SuitesColumbus, 1664 Whittlesey Road, 31904(706) 257-6931 $119 plus tax

Hyatt PlaceColumbus-North, 2974 Northlake Pkwy, 31909(706) 507-5000 $102 plus tax

LaQunita Inn & Suites | Columbus North 1711 Rollins Way, 31904(706) 225-1000 $90 plus tax

Please note: We anticipate that an additional hotel, a new Hampton Inn, will be available in Uptown Columbus for fall, 2020. And there is additional lodging directly across the river from Columbus in Phenix City, AL: (www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g30772-Phenix_City_Alabama-Hotels.html)

We will have a large room in the Trade Center with tables for book sales. Our Columbus State bookstore (Follett), will handle ordering and book sales for presenters who have published works and will offer these titles at a large main section. At this point, preference will be given for offering tables for publishers (small and large presses), literary journals, academic organizations, and author guilds. If there is available space, individual authors will be given tables. There will be a $10 charge per table, payable at the conference.  Tables for organizations will allow for the writing of more authors to be on display at the book fair. The book fair room will be open free of charge to the public.

Timeline for Panel and Workshop Instructor Proposals:

October, 2019, panel proposal application process begins

Feb. 15, 2020, 11:59pm, panel and workshop instructor proposal application process closes

April 30th, Proposal and Workshop acceptance notifications

May 1, Conference and hotel registration opens,

May 31st, Confirmation of attendance for panelists and workshop instructors required

October 24th, 2020, conference date

Panel Chair and Moderator:

This is the individual who proposes the panel to the CSU Creative Writers Conference, and this person will coordinate the panel with the conference director and staff.  The moderator and chair can participate, and there must be four other participants for each proposed panel.

Workshop Instructor:

This is the individual who proposes the workshop to the CSU Creative Writers Conference, and this person will coordinate the panel with the conference director and staff.  The instructor must be a participant, can be the sole participant, and there can be one to two other participants for each proposed young writers or high school writers workshop.

Limits on Proposals:

Individuals can only be included on one panel proposal since this is a smaller conference.  Without repeat acceptances, we can have more participants at the conference.  Individuals can be included on one panel proposal, and submit a workshop proposal.

Once an event has been accepted, the panel chair and moderator is responsible for making sure there are four other confirmed participants for the panel.  If this turns out not to be the case, the panel chair and moderator will not be allowed to submit proposals for the conference in the future.   Participants confirm their intent to attend by registering by May 30th.  Substitutions can be made if participants learn that they are unable to attend.

Panelist Biographies:

The Panel Chair and Moderator will be asked to upload all of the brief participant biographies (limit, 350 characters).  Please note: the conference program and proceedings will be made available online.

Please Note:

We do not provide pre-advising on panel proposals.

Panel Categories


There will be ongoing small readings in one room.  Readings should have four participants who read for 10-15 minutes, sharing either short complete works or excerpts.  Solo and dual proposed readings will not be accepted.  The categories for readings include fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and drama.

The Business of Writing:

This is to help serve our aspiring local Columbus writers.

The categories for this area include working with or how to find an agent, small press versus larger commercial publishers, publicity advice, organizing book tours, publishing advice for beginning writers, etc… Panel chairs are encouraged to submit proposals that help both beginning and established writers.

Literary Craft: Panel Chairs are encouraged to submit proposals that are specific to craft or thematic issues for fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, or drama.  Panels should focus on discussions of published work not by the participants; it would be better to show less of an interest in self-promotion, and a greater appreciation for the literary world at large.

Memorials or Tributes:

These are for renowned living authors or writers of national significance who have passed away.  Readings can certainly be included, as well as testimonials and time for the sharing of memories and anecdotes.  If the writer being honored can be present, of course there should be time scheduled for the writer to read and offer remarks.

Graduate Student Panels:

We are quite aware that it is often difficult for graduate students to become part of a panel with more established writers, so we welcome proposals that are composed of graduate students only.  There will be an entirely separate category for these panels, while proposals with mostly graduate students or some graduate students should be submitted under the other categories at large.  Graduate student only panels should follow the same category guidelines listed above.

Workshop Categories:

Young Writers:

We will have six students each for these two-hour workshops, coordinating with local Columbus elementary and junior high schools.  Instructors can propose elementary or junior-high level workshops in cnf, poetry, fiction, or a combination of genres.  There should obviously be a fun aspect to the lesson plans.  There should obviously be prompts, drafting, sharing, and encouragement.

High School Writers:

We will have five students each for these two-hour workshops, coordinating with local Columbus high schools.  Instructors can propose workshops in cnf, poetry, fiction, or a combination of genres.  Materials should be engaging for older students.  There should obviously be prompts, drafting, sharing, and encouragement.

Note: the young writers and high school writers workshops are thought of as a service activity.
Adult Craft Workshops:

We will have four students for these two-hour workshops, so that half an hour can be devoted to feedback, and writing samples will be provided well beforehand.  We will be coordinating participation with local writers’ groups.  Instructors can propose workshops in cnf, poetry, or fiction.  This includes various genres of commercial fiction.  We do welcome generative workshop proposals, but we are mainly interested in sessions to provide feedback for our local working writers.

Note: There will be a stipend (amount TBD) for teaching these workshops, because advance reading will be required, and providing ample commentary is expected.

Donald L. Jordan

The CSU writers conference was founded by Donald L. Jordan, a successful Columbus writer and businessman. Mr. Jordan has always wanted to bring writers from Columbus and the rest of the country together. He is the author of the recently published novels, Negative Space, and Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.

Dr. Allen Gee

The CSU writers conference director is Dr. Allen Gee. Gee is the DL Jordan Endowed Professor of Creative Writing at Columbus State University. He previously taught and directed the MFA program at Georgia College. He is the Editor of 2040 Books, DLJ Books, and is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, the Iowa Writers Workshop, and the University of Houston. He is the author of the essay collection, My Chinese-America, a new novel, The Laborers, and is at work on At Little Monticello, a biography about James Alan McPherson.

About Columbus, Georgia

Columbus is Georgia’s second largest metropolis with a population of over 400,000. Revitalization over the past decade has led to the city being praised by longtime residents and visitors alike; Forbes recently called Columbus a “cool cat city”: (Surfing Without An Ocean #2508769). Columbus is only an hour and fifteen minutes southwest of Atlanta. We do have an airport terminal (code CSG), and the carrier that services Columbus is Delta. Groome shuttle service also departs regularly from ATL to Columbus for those arriving during late hours. Our UPtown area on the Chattahoochee River offers many fine restaurants, and there are some very good pubs for winding down in the evening. Conference registrants will be provided with “Show Us Your Badge” merchant discounts. For more travel information, click here. 

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