Terry Wilhite leads a workshop on podcasting during the 2020 virtual Southern Christian Writers Conference.

Southern Christian Writers Conference expands reach with virtual participation

For the first time in the 29-year history of the Southern Christian Writers Conference, leaders and participants didn’t meet in person. But that didn’t keep anyone away.

Although the conference was held completely virtual via Facebook Live on July 24–25, more than 175 people participated.

“Our virtual writing conference was a big success,” SCWC director Cheryl Wray said.

“The event was months in the planning, and I oftentimes wasn’t sure if my vision would work. But God blessed our efforts.”

The conference — usually held in-person at First Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa — included remote keynote speakers, workshops, breakout sessions and a Q&A panel.

And just like any other year, the conference included door prizes and writing awards.

First place award winners:

  • Nonfiction, newspaper article — Lanell Smith for “Alabama church feeds Birmingham homeless,” originally published in TAB and later picked up by Baptist Press
  • Nonfiction, magazine article — Karen Allen for “It’s not easy, but it’s everlasting,” Home Life
  • Nonfiction, letter to the editor — Susan Jenkins for “Concern how older adults presented healthcare plans,” Jasper County News
  • Blog post — Sharon Davis for “Losing Mama”
  • Fiction, short story — Kaci Lane Hindman for “Destiny in Disguise.”

To view the full list of winners and read their submissions, visit tabonline.org/SCWC-winners.

Adapting the conference may have been a challenge for Wray and her team, but God always has a plan, she said.

“Our writing conference … was a totally different experience than what we’ve had for almost 30 years every summer,” Wray said. “But I’ve discovered that God can use creativity to help you visualize a brand new thing.”

TAB Media is a co-sponsor of the conference and partners with SCWC to bring the Southern Christian Book Expo to Birmingham each year.

For more information about SCWC, visit the group’s Facebook page.