The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s 27th annual Writers’ Institute expands to three full days in 2016, featuring best-selling authors and prominent writing coaches, as well as literary agents and editors on the hunt for new talent. The conference, scheduled for April 15-17 at the Madison Concourse Hotel, will help both aspiring and established writers take their skills and their careers to the next level.

The conference will help both aspiring and established writers take their skills to the next level.

The Writers’ Institute will help both aspiring and established writers take their skills to the next level.

The Writers’ Institute is the Midwest’s premier writers’ conference, where participants get practical tips for improving and selling their work. They have the unique opportunity to pitch manuscripts to industry professionals, who offer feedback and, in some cases, a publishing contract.

Attendees will hear firsthand accounts of success in the publishing industry.

Attendees will hear firsthand accounts of success in the publishing industry.

“The conference has helped writers of all ages refine their manuscripts, find agents, and publish their work,” says Laurie Scheer, director of the Writers’ Institute. “It attracts authors in many genres, including science fiction, romance, detective, young adult, literary fiction, steampunk, poetry, and memoir.”

Guest speakers will share firsthand accounts of success in the publishing industry. Hank Phillippi Ryan, author of The Wrong Girl and the new What You See, has won five prestigious Agatha Awards for her crime fiction. Josie Brown is the author of the popular novel series The Housewife Assassin and Totlandia. J. Ryan Stradal’s literary novel Kitchens of the Great Midwest was optioned for a film treatment after making the New York Times’ bestseller list last summer. Among the presenters from New York City literary agencies is UW-Madison alumna Jaida Temperly, who represents children’s and adult fiction authors for New Leaf.

The conference offers opportunities to network with presenters.

The conference offers opportunities to network with presenters.

A transformative experience

The Writers’ Institute includes lectures, workshops, practice pitch sessions, manuscript critiques, agent Q&A’s, and social events in an intimate setting. Participants get to know one another and network with presenters. New this year is a literary event where attendees can read from their work.

“The Writers’ Institute advances the Wisconsin Idea by reaching lifelong learners from around the state and beyond,” says Jeffrey S. Russell, dean of the Division of Continuing Studies and vice provost for Lifelong Learning. “It provides them with a transformative experience—one that may launch a hobby or a new career. With the help of UW-Madison expertise, the authors can find their voices, then find their readers.”

For more information about the Writers’ Institute, contact Laurie Scheer, 608-265-3972, laurie.scheer@wisc.edu. To learn how you can help support scholarships to the conference, see here.

If you have a friend who hasn’t attended a previous Writers’ Institute, a special “Bring a Friend” offer in December allows both you and the friend to save $35 on your registration. See here for more details.