Highlands Writers Conference

Highlands Writers Conference connects students with industry professionals


The Georgia Highlands annual Writers Conference took an online approach this year. On Feb. 27, writers gathered via Zoom to share their knowledge of their passions with students.

This year’s featured writers included Brian Oliu and Jason McCall, who gave tips to a contemporary audience on nontraditional subjects.

“I write about my obsessions.” Said Oliu, “it’s a lot more fun to do research on. I love this thing, why don’t I just write about it.”

“[Think] of writing as this reservoir and you want to try to keep it full in some way possible.” Said McCall, “by keeping my reservoir as an artist full, it comes down to transitioning between reader, writer, and literary citizen. A lot of that is figuring out what you need in that moment as a writer.”

The conference included sessions on the topics of poetry and fiction, as well as a screenwriting panel that included Highlands’ very own Mackleen Desravines. Desravines had her directorial debut in 2018 with the film Smoke, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

“A lot of the stories that I come with, they’re usually about something that’s going on around me.” said Desravines “What do I see? What do I hear a lot of?”

“We knew we wanted to select speakers that would feel comfortable in our online format.” said Jessica Lindberg “Brian and Jason, Mackleen and Kelly DeLong are all teachers as well as writers, and they have been holding classes via Zoom this year, so they understand the challenges and benefits of online conferences!”

The conference is hosted by the English department every spring. Those who attended received a free t-shirt and full access to the panels and sessions