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Harriette Simpson Arnow Conference at SCC Expanding to Two Days 2018

photo of harriette simpson arnowThe dates are set for what organizers are calling an “expanded and enhanced” Harriette Simpson Arnow Conference on Appalachian Literature and Culture at Somerset Community College.

A center for writers and musicians, the 2018 conference, scheduled for Friday, April 6 and Saturday, April 7, is expanding to two days and welcoming aspiring filmmakers. The conference, named for renowned author and Wayne County native Harriette Simpson Arnow, will be held on the SCC Somerset Campus, located at 808 Monticello Street in Somerset, KY.

“Our hope is always that writers come away from the conference with new inspiration and a fresh sense of purpose,” said Amanda Morris, co-chair of the conference. “The events on Friday afternoon and evening will jumpstart the creative process for writers and have them primed for the workshops on Saturday, where they can begin putting their ideas on paper, fostered by the community of writers surrounding them.” 

“We hope that the addition of evening and Saturday events will appeal to people who may not have been able to attend the conference in the past,” said Erin Stephens, who is also serving as conference co-chair.

Over the 15-year history of the conference, a host of nationally known writers have appeared, including Rick Bragg, Silas House, Sena Jeter Naslund, Gwyn Hyman Rubio, Lee Pennington and conference “patriarch” Gurney Norman. In recent years, the conference has expanded to include songwriters and performers, including Jonathan New, Sam Gleaves and Avery Bradshaw.

The 2018 Arnow Conference will feature the premiere of the Appalachian Film Festival. Steve Cleberg, the director of the Theatre and Film program at SCC since 1986, is coordinating the festival, which will feature short films by Appalachia-based filmmakers from throughout the region.

“I hope that we can provide a vital platform for Appalachian filmmakers as well as for our local cinema artists,” states Cleberg.

In addition to directing and acting in over 100 plays in his career, Cleberg is an accomplished filmmaker, having produced more than a dozen short and feature-length films. His film A Liar’s Swag was nominated for Best Short Film at the 2010 World Independent Film Expo.

The Appalachian Film Festival will begin accepting submissions in October.

Complete registration information for the 2018 Arnow Conference on Appalachian Literature and Culture will be available in February. To be placed on the mailing list, email Sommer Schoch at or call (606) 451-6766.