Featuring Keynote Speaker

Adam Gottlieb

MARCH 7, 2015

The registration deadline for this year's conference has passed, and we have no spaces remaining, so we will not be accepting any late registrations.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get conference news updates and information, or Email Diane Mulligan to be added to our mailing list for next year's conference!

Conference Details:

  • Open to all students, boys & girls, grades 7-12 
  • Writing time in small groups led by local professional writers
  • The opportunity to try one of four genres (poetry, fiction, playwriting, and creative nonfiction)
  • Poetry and Fiction readings by Small Group Mentors
  • Student Readings
  • Conference cost is $50.00 per student. This fee includes all supplies, a t-shirt, lunch, and a snack.

To register, you will need to provide:

  • Your name, address, phone number, and Email address
  • Your school name and grade level
  • The name and phone number of a parent/guardian or other emergency contact 
  • The name and Email address of your English teacher (enter as "Sponsoring teacher')
  • A sample of your own writing (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or script)

Conference Event Schedule (subject to change):


8:30 – 9:00

Registration, Coffee, Donuts



9:05 – 9:30

Mentor Readings 

9:30 – 11:00

Small Group Session 1

11:05 – 11:30

Mentor Readings

11:30 – 12:00

Large group session

12:00 – 12:45


12:45 – 1:15

Mentor Readings

1:15 – 1:45

Large group session

1:45 – 3:15

Small Group Session 2

3:15 – 4:00

Student Readings

4:00 – 5:00

Keynote speaker, Q & A session



Faculty Moderators

Diane Mulligan, Director, dmulligan@stjohnshigh.org
Michael Curran, Faculty Moderator, michaelcurran@stjohnshigh.org
Katherine Guercio, Faculty Moderator, kguercio@stjohnshigh.org

Writing Mentors

Jim Beschta, born and raised in Wisconsin, moved to Massachusetts in 1970 to complete his M.A. in English at Assumption College.  He subsequently taught English and Creative Writing at Quabbin Regional High School where he directed student writing conferences for 20 years, published a state wide student poetry magazine and coached wrestling.  His poetry has won awards, been published in over 20 literary magazines, and been translated into Chinese.  He has published three poetry collections, the latest being North from Yaounde, published by the award winning Adastra Press in 2010. He currently teaches writing at the Worcester Art Museum.
Alex Charalambides (St. John's '92) is a Boston College graduate who began performing poetry in the fall of 2000. He is the first poet to represent Boston, Providence, and Worcester at the Annual National Poetry Slam. He is founder and director of the Worcester Youth Poetry Slam, mentoring several teams of young poets at national youth festivals. He has been featured recently on the PBS series Fetch. He has released four books and a CD and has toured throughout the nation, reading at slam venues, rock clubs, coffee houses, schools and libraries.

John Deedy teaches at St. John’s.  He is a member of the English/Fine Arts department.  He earned his B.A. from Assumption College and his MA from Emerson College.

Laurel Dile King is a writer, teacher, editor, and the founding publisher at Garland Press. She has led writing retreats in Maine, Rocky Neck Art Colony, and Tuscany, and conducted workshops for the Worcester Art Museum and the Worcester Public Library. Her awards for fiction include a first place prize for the Worcester Magazine Short Story Contest and a Massachusetts Cultural Council artist grant. She earned a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College.

Rob Huckins is a freelance writer and author of the novel American Dreamland, the travelogue Two Flags In China and a collection of short fiction and poetry entitled Flatlander. In 2011, he published a three-part series about four American combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for The Keene Sentinel (Keene, NH). Rob is the owner and manager of Chasing Jade Publishing, a company specializing in creative digital and print content for independent artists. Rob graduated from Keene State College (NH) with a degree in journalism and holds a master's degree in educational studies from Rivier University (NH). Rob lives in Milford, NH with his wife Wendy and two children Chelsea and Jackson and is currently the Social Studies Department Chair at Merrimack High School (NH).
Rodger Martin’s third volume of poetry, The Battlefield Guide, (Hobblebush Books: 2010) uses the physical locations on the battlefields of the American Civil War to reflect upon America today. Small Press Review selected an earlier book, The Blue Moon Series, (Hobblebush Books:  2007) as one of its bi-monthly picks of the year.    He has been awarded an Appalachia award for poetry and a New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Fiction Fellowship.  Additionally he has received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Humanities to study T.S. Eliot and Thomas Hardy at Oxford University and John Milton at Duquesne University.   His work has been published in literary journals throughout the United States.   He and six colleagues have been translated in the book On the Monadnock: New Pastoral Poetry released in China in 2007.   He teaches journalism at Keene State College, and serves as one of the editors in The Granite state Poetry Series.

Russell McClintock earned his Master’s degree from Providence College and his Doctorate from Clark University.  His graduate research won the prestigious Hay-Nicolay Dissertation Prize from the Abraham Lincoln Institute and the Abraham Lincoln Association, and his recent book, Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession, has not only been praised by scholars but was also a Main Selection of the History Book Club, whose readers voted it the best Civil War book of 2008.  He is currently working on a biography of Stephen Douglas, and he recently made four contributions to the Disunion series in The New York Times: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/author/russell-mcclintock/ .  Dr. McClintock teaches history at St. John’s High School.

Stephanie Monahan, a native of upstate New York, earned her degree in English Literature from Binghamton University. She contributes book reviews for The Pulse Magazine and Serendipity Greenwich. She is the author of 33 Valentines  (2013) and The Mean Girl Apologies (2014), both available from Entangled Publishing. Although she is a hardcore New York Giants fan, she loves living in Central Massachusetts.

Tim Mudie was born and raised in Worcester and attended St. John's, where he also participated in the Worcester County Young Writers’ Conference. After that, he got his Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing from Hamilton College and eventually his Masters in Writing and Publishing from Emerson College. He currently lives outside of Boston, where he works as an assistant editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. His fiction has been published in Abyss & Apex, The Worcester Review, Electric Spec, Spinetingler, and other magazines.
Laina Mullin Pruett’s fiction appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of The Gettysburg Review and is forthcoming in the Winter 2014 issue of Prairie Schooner. She was in residence at Yaddo during summer 2014, was a 2011 Robert Pinsky Global Fellow, and is an editor for The Worcester Review.  She holds an MFA in fiction from Boston University. Laina lives in rural Massachusetts with her husband and two spoiled cats. She is currently at work on a novel.

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney (who goes by Beth) earned an MFA in Poetry from Brown University and now teaches at the College of the Holy Cross.  She has won several awards, including the American Academy of Poets Prize; has published poems in Diner, The Worcester Review, the Journal of Irish Literature, and elsewhere; and has served as the president of the Worcester County Poetry Association, an editor of The Worcester Review, and a board member of Poetry Oasis.  Beth likes semicolons and composed her very first poem underneath a forsythia bush.  She is haunted by Mad Sweeney, a medieval Irish poet and madman who appears in many of her poems. Beth is also working on a collection of poems about objects entitled Hand Me Down.

Don Unger
is a visiting lecturer in the English Department at the College of the Holy Cross.  His short fiction—and a smattering of poetry—has been published in literary magazines in the US, Canada and Europe. His nonfiction work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Village Voice, among other places; he has done business writing for Knowledge@Wharton and The Economist Intelligence Unit; he has done political commentary for National Public Radio affiliates.  His book, Men Can: The Changing Image & Reality of Fatherhood in America was published by Temple University Press.  His self-published collection of previously published short fiction is Brokenhearted Ironies.  For some reason no one likes that title.  Go figure.