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Welcome to MTSU Write

(formerly The Writer's Loft)




Award Winners Converge at MTSU Writers' Conference

Murfreesboro, TN—August 25, 2015

            Adam Ross, Award-winning novelist, short story writer, essayist, and former special projects editor of The Nashville Scene, will be the keynote speaker at the Creative Writers Conference of Middle Tennessee on September 26.

            The conference is sponsored by MTSU Write, a non-degree writing program at Middle Tennessee State University (formerly The Writer’s Loft). The event is from 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. and is open to the public. In its third year, the conference keeps getting better, says MTSU Write director Karen Alea Ford. 

            "Beginning and experienced writers will gain insight and inspiration from this extraordinary line-up of speakers, while getting to chat and mingle with the community of writers we have in Middle Tennessee,” says director Ford. “Everyone leaves inspired and encouraged.”

            Ross, a former child actor, penned the 2010 New York Times Notable Book Mr. Peanut. It was also named one of the best books of the year by The New YorkerThe Philadelphia InquirerThe New Republic, and The Economist. His essays have appeared in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He is also an accomplished short story writer and was a 2013–2014 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University and the Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow in Fiction at The American Academy in Berlin this past fall. 

            In addition to Ross, the event presents a roster of award-winning writers: poet TJ Jarrett, winner of the Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry 2014 and the Crab Orchard Open Competition 2013; Jennifer Chesak, a freelance writer (Women’s Runner, Huffington Post), children’s book author, editor, and owner of Wandering in the Words Press, and Jennie Fields, an alum of Iowa Writer’s Workshop who has published numerous short stories and four novels: Lily Beach, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, The Middle Ages. Her newest novel is The Age of Desire, based on the life of Edith Wharton.

            "The Creative Writers Conference of Middle Tennessee is a truly welcome addition to the state's literary scene, a great chance for up-and-coming writers in a the mid-state to learn from celebrated writers and outstanding teachers," said Margaret Renkl, editor of, a daily source for literary news, interviews and reviews with a Tennessee focus.

            Registration is open to all writers. Lunch and hors d'oeuvres are included. General admission is $60; (Writer's Loft alumni, MTSU faculty and students $40); there is no fee for current MTSU Write students. 

            MTSU Write non-degree writing program is year-round and open to anyone interested in being mentored by a professional writer of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. Students work from home, spending three semesters honing their skills and preparing for publication. 

            Mentors who work one-on-one with students include Jeff Hardin (winner of the Donald Justice Poetry Prize), Jennifer Chesak (Wandering in the Words press, Huffington Post), D. T. Lumpkin (The Mid-American Review, The Oxford American, and The Sun.and novelist Charlotte Rains Dixon (Emma Jean's Bad Behavior), among others.

            To register for the Creative Writers Conference of Middle Tennessee or for more information on the MTSU Write program, go to  or email the director at

            Registration deadline is Sept. 15th.

Contact Information:

Karen Alea Ford, Director

MTSU Write





Saturday, September 26, 10-5

James Union Building, MTSU


 Adam Ross--Keynote

Adam RossAdam Ross was born and raised in New York City and attended the Trinity School, where he was a state champion wrestler. A child actor, he has appeared in movies, commercials, and television shows, as well as radio dramas such as The Eternal Light and E.G. Marshall’s Mystery Theater. Ross and his wife relocated to Nashville in 1995. From 1999–2003, he was a feature writer and special projects editor for the Nashville Scene
Mr. Peanut, a 2010 New York Times Notable Book, was also named one of the best books of the year by The New YorkerThe Philadelphia InquirerThe New Republic, and The Economist. Ladies and Gentlemen, his short story collection, was included in Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2011 and included “In the Basement,” a finalist for the 2012 BBC International Story Award. His nonfiction has been published in The New York Times Book ReviewThe Daily BeastTin House, and The Wall Street Journal. He was a 2013–2014 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University and the Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow in Fiction at The American Academy in Berlin this past fall. He is working on a novel. 


T. J. JarrettTJ Jarrett is a writer and software developer in Nashville. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Poetry, African American Review, Boston Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Callaloo, DIAGRAM, Third Coast, VQR, West Branch and others.
She has earned scholarships and fellowships from Colrain Manuscript Conference, Vermont Studio Center, Sewanee Writer’s Conference and the Summer Literary Seminars. She was a runner up for the 2012 Marsh Hawk Poetry Prize and 2012 New Issues Poetry Prize and the winner of  VQR’s Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry 2014.
Her debut collection Ain’t No Grave  (finalist for the 2013 Balcones Prize) was published with New Issues Press  (2013).
Her second collection Zion  (winner of the Crab Orchard Open Competition 2013) was published by Southern Illinois University Press in the fall of 2014.


Jennifer ChesakJennifer Chesak, an East Nashville-based writer and editor, operates an independent publishing company, Wandering in the Words Press. She launched the business in 2012 to help authors cut through all the red tape associated with getting a book to market. Jennifer is also a freelance adventure, travel and fitness writer for several national and international magazines. Her travels inspired her children's book, Behind the Glass with Sherman the Shark. She serves as a mentor for MTSU Write and is currently working on a fiction novel set in her native state of North Dakota. Jennifer mulls over plot lines and character traits while training for her next marathon or working in her garden. Find her writing and editing tips at


Jennie FieldsJennie Fields was born in Chicago and raised in Highland Park, Illinois. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.   Since then, she has published numerous short stories and four novels: Lily Beach, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, The Middle Ages, and her newest novel The Age of Desire based on the life of Edith Wharton. Her work focuses on women’s lives, and the struggle between duty and pleasure.



General Admission is $60. MTSU faulty and students is $40.

To Register, CLICK HERE.



MTSU Write is a from-home mentorship program under the English Department.

It is a three semester program, working with new and experienced writers in fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Our mission is simple: helping you become the writer you long to be.

Our method is direct: working one-on-one with a mentor to hone your writing skills and produce a publishable manuscript.

Our award-winning faculty have distinguished themselves in a variety of genres and styles, and we are confident we can provide you with a mentor who understands your interests, can help improve your skills, and coach you toward achieving your dream of becoming a published writer.

Please see tabs to left for more information.

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