History of Killer Nashville

Ten years ago…

Two friends were discussing how best to support writers and jokingly thought there should be a special event, maybe one that would provide writers a chance to learn more about the craft, meet people in the publishing industry, and have a little fun in the process.

Those two friends were award-winning writer/filmmaker Clay Stafford and longtime bookseller Robbie Bryan, and what happened afterward became Killer Nashville, an annual pilgrimage for those who have a passion for the written word.

It was a small, volunteer-driven event in the beginning, says Clay, who is CEO and President of American Blackguard, Inc., and annually oversees the Killer Nashville conference. In 2006, there were about 60 diehard writers, editors and publishers, who made their way to Nashville for the then two-day conference.

This is also about the time author Beth Terrell-Hicks joined Killer Nashville as a volunteer and rose to become the conference’s special event’s coordinator. She is also a Killer Nashville success story.

“Working with this conference is one of the most rewarding things I do,” Beth said. “Every time we hear from a writer who’s gotten a publishing contract through a contact made at Killer Nashville, it makes me glad that, back in 2006, Clay Stafford let me be a part of making his vision a reality. There’s no feeling like knowing you’ve helped someone achieve a dream.”

Since then, Killer Nashville has expanded to four days and has developed a reputation as a leading advocate for writers and readers of all genres. Media analysis conducted by a third party in the fall of 2012 found that Killer Nashville was the most written about writers’ conference on the web.

In August of 2014 there were about 60 volunteers helping to serve the over 400 who attended the conference at the Omni Nashville Hotel.

“What may make Killer Nashville different from other writers’ conferences is that it’s about the long-term relationships,” Clay said. “We are a supportive family bonded through writing.”

With Killer Nashville’s 10th anniversary fast approaching, new panel discussions, breakout sessions and events are being planned for 2015.

In the meantime, check out our guest blog series, featuring published authors’ thoughts on the craft, and sign up for our weekly newsletter to learn more about upcoming events and details.

We look forward to having you as a part of our next 10 years!