• 12 Pennsylvania Writing Resources

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Writing Resources     Comments No comments

    Pennsylvania Writing“Virtue, Liberty and Independence” is the motto for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, up next in our State Writing Resources series. One of the original thirteen colonies, Pennsylvania was the second state admitted to the Union, in 1787. Its capital is Harrisburg, and its two largest cities are Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the latter of which is known–to all but Bostonians–as “the Cradle of Liberty.”

    Because of this long and important history, Pennsylvania writing has a similarly long and important history, and present. Benjamin Franklin, of course, did plenty of writing in Pennsylvania. Known to some as the United States’ first novelist, Charles Brockden Brown wrote, and set, most of his fiction in the Keystone State. (Edgar Huntly is a particular favorite of mine.) A quick roundup of famous writers born and/or raised in Pennsylvania offers an impressive list: Wallace Stevens, Louisa May Alcott, Marianne Moore. Updike, O’Hara, Michener. John D. MacDonald. Michael Chabon grep up in Pitt. Mat Johnson grew up in Philly. The great Pearl Buck spent many years in Pennsylvania. And on and on and on.

    Presented in no particular order, here are 12 Pennsylvania writing resources, from conferences to local critique groups to literary magazines. If you are a keystone stater or are planning to become one, these are some organizations you might want to take a peek at.

    Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group

    Provides its members with a network of support and resources in the field of writing. Meets monthly. Also holds an annual conference which brings in over 100 writers from Pennsylvania and beyond.


    Pennwriters members meet regularly across the state at professionally run conferences, workshops and critique sessions. Many of the guest speakers at these events are Pennwriters’ own published members who receive additional promotion for their works in exchange for helping aspiring members.

    Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association

    The largest state outdoor writers’ organization in the country, with well over 400 members. Goals center around craft improvement: becoming better, more knowledgeable, more highly skilled communicators.

    Philadelphia Writers’ Conference

    The oldest Pennsylvania writing conference. Three days’ worth of workshops, readings and master classes.

    Gettysburg Review

    One of the country’s premier journals, this one publishes short stories, poetry and nonfiction, and hosts an annual writers conference.

    Stadler Poetry Center

    A professional literary center offering a wide range of programs and residencies for emerging and established poets and writers. It is also the seat of the Bucknell English Department’s creative writing program and the home of West Branch, a well-known journal.

    Gist Street Reading Series

    Readings are held monthly and feature local and national poets and writers. The series focuses on emerging writers publishing their first or second books.

    Pages and Places Book Festival

    Promotes books, reading, writing and literacy through a unique combination of literature and architecture in an annual festival held in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

    American Poetry Review

    Dedicated to reaching a worldwide audience with a diverse array of the best contemporary poetry and literary prose. Also aims to expand the audience interested in poetry and literature, and to provide authors, especially poets, with a far-reaching forum in which to present their work.

    Fourth River

    The literary journal of Chatham University’s MFA Programs, published annually in print and monthly online. Welcomes submissions of creative writing that explore the relationship between humans and their environments, both natural and built, urban, rural or wild.

    Brilliant Corners

    The only national journal to focus on jazz-related literature.

    Painted Bride Quarterly

    Established in Philadelphia in 1973, this is one of the country’s longest running literary magazines. PBQ is a community-based, independent, nonprofit literary magazine published quarterly online and annually in print.

    Community Education and Training at Delaware County Community College

    Continuing education writing classes, with locations throughout the Greater Philly area and down near the Delaware border.


    Pennsylvania flagHelp us add to this list, Pennsylvanians! Do you run a local writing group or a lit journal we should be aware of? Feel free to share info and links in the comments section below.

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