Third Thursday

Our Third Thursday program offers free and open to the public monthly discussions on the craft and business of writing. Each month, we focus on a specific topic of interest to writers and readers, bringing together four distinguished panelists for a conversation moderated by the Writers' League of Texas' Program Director.

** Unless otherwise noted, all meetings take place on the third Thursday of the month (except December) on the third floor of BookPeople, 603 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX.


March Third Thursday

Celebrating Texas Independents:
Our Great Literary State's Independent Presses, Journals, Bookstores & More

603 N. Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78703
7 p.m.
3rd Floor


Texas has a thriving literary scene – are you taking full advantage of the opportunities in your own state, especially in your own backyard?

Whether you’re a Texas writer looking for publication, or a book lover who wants to support Texas-owned and operated businesses, this month the Writers’ League of Texas is partnering with some of the state’s greatest Independents -- in conjunction with Texas Independence Day -- to host a series of free and open events throughout the month of March in cities across the state.

These panel discussions will focus on the great opportunities for writers and readers that Texas has to offer, from independent presses, to journals, to bookstores, and beyond, while also answering writers' burning questions (bring your burning questions!) about the publishing process, submitting to presses and journals, catching the eye of an editor, and more.


The event will feature four distinguished panelists:

Colleen Devine Ellis has worked in book marketing, publicity, and sales for 18 years. She is currently the senior publicist for the University of Texas Press, where she has been in the marketing department since 2006. She previously worked for Barnes & Noble as a community relations manager. Colleen lives in Georgetown, Texas.


Will Evans is president and co-founder of Cinestate, an entertainment studio established in 2016 with the film producer Dallas Sonnier, combining book publishing, film production, and audio experiences. In 2013, Evans founded Deep Vellum Publishing, a nonprofit literary publisher dedicated to translating the world’s best novels into English. Evans also co-founded Deep Vellum Books in early 2016, a brick-and-mortar bookstore and cultural community center in Dallas’s historic Deep Ellum neighborhood. Prior to his career in publishing, Evans worked for five years in the music industry on tour and in Los Angeles before becoming a talent buyer for Austin’s iconic music venue, Emo’s. Evans graduated from Emory University with degrees in History and Russian Literature, and received a Master’s degree in Russian Culture from Duke University. His translation of Oleg Kashin’s political satire novel Fardwor, Russia! A Fantastical Tale of Life Under Putin, was published by Restless Books in 2016.

Abby Fennewald is the Director of Marketing and Publicity at BookPeople, the largest independent bookstore in Texas. She previously managed events at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

Sunny Leal is an associate editor for fields magazine and a reader for Feminine Inquiry. Having completed her studies in English and Rhetoric at the University of Texas, she currently resides in Austin, Texas where she works as a proofreader. Growing up in a traveling military family, fiction was her constant companion. Now poetry holds a special place in her heart as a means to better understand the self and those around her. Along with her literary endeavors, she enjoys time with her cats and best friend, watching TV dramas, and shouting her innermost thoughts into the void that is the World Wide Web.


Can't attend in Austin? We'll be visiting several other cities throughout the month: Odessa, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates. The Austin panel discussion will be recorded and made available as a podcast through Soundcloud.











Links to information on our 2016 Third Thursday panel discussions (including available podcasts) can be found below. 



January 21, 2016 - Beginning (Again): How to Start or Restart a Writing Project -Panelists Edward Carey, Lindsey Lane, Greg Levin, and Suzy Spencer discussed how they deal with the paralyzing effects of starting (or restarting) a manuscript. Visit the link above to read panelist bios and listen to a podcast of this Third Thursday, and visit our blog to read a recap of the event.

February 18, 2016: Fictionalizing True Stories: Mining Real Life for Plots and Characters - Panelists Charlotte Gullick, Varian Johnson, Ruth Pennebaker, and Mary Helen Specht transforming autobiographical events into fictional ones. Visit the link above to read panelist bios and listen to a podcast this Third Thursday, and visit our blog to read a recap of the event.

March 16, 2016: Writing About the Military - Panelists Brandon Caro, Leila Levinson, Jack Woodville London, and Jonathan Wei discussed how authors of fiction and nonfiction can expertly dealt with this complex subject matter. Visit the link above to read panelist bios, and visit our blog to read a recap of the event.

April 21, 2016: Keeping it Brief: Writing and Publishing Short Stories
 - Panelists Michael Barrett, Jill Meyers, Chaitali Sen, and Kirk Wilson discussed both the art of the shorty story and the process of publication. Visit the link above to read panelist bios, and visit
our blog to read a recap of the event.

May 19, 2016: Me, Myself, & I: Writing the Personal in Nonfiction and Memoir - Panelists Michael Hall, Donna Johnson, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, and Deb Olin Unferth discussed writing memoirs, personal essay, and first-person reportage. Visit the link above to read panelist bios.

June 16, 2016: Practice Makes Pitch Perfect - Panelists Lance Fitzgerald and Becka Oliver discussed honing your pitch for query letters as well as for consultations, cocktail mingling, and other networking opportunities. Visit the link above to read panelist bios and listen to a podcast of this Third Thursday.

July 21, 2016: Meet Your Match - Panelists Nikki Loftin, Karen MacInerney, and Ron Seybold discussed how to find writing partners and writing groups, how to give feedback to other writers, and how to keep your groups going. Visit the link above to read panelist bios.

August 18, 2016: Black Literature Matters - Panelists Michael Hurd, Varian Johnson, Doyin Oyeniyi, and Jennifer M. Wilks discussed the importance of diversity in literature and what can be done to support writers of color. Visit the link above to read panelist bios.

September 15, 2016: Straight Out of Science Fiction and Fantasy

-Panelists P.J. Hoover, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Rebecca Schwarz, and Adam Soto discussed what defines science fiction and fantasy genres and the stories that are framing how we understand the world now. Visit the link above to read panelist bios.

October 20, 2016: Thrills and Chills: Writing to Thrill and Scare


-Panelists Amanda Downum, Meg Gardiner, Amy Gentry, and Scott Johnson discussed how novelists like Steven King and Gillian Flynn create that tense, white-knuckle effect that we love so much. Visit the link above to read panelist bios.

November 17, 2016: How to Turn a Mess of Pages Into a Novel

-Panelists Carolyn Cohagan, Evelyn Palfrey, Rene S. Perez II, and Stacey Swann discussed strategies for shaping early drafts and giving them direction—a must-listen conversation for anyone who has thrown themselves into NaNoWriMo or wants to return to a novel draft that they've put aside.

January 19, 2017: Become a More-Involved Literary Citzen: How to Create Literary Discussions and Support Journals and Literary Events

-Panelists Joe Brundidge, Rebecca Markovits, and Richard Santos discussed the importance of reading groups, book reviews, journals, and literary events and share practical ways to support them.






This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at


WLT would like to thank BookPeople for helping to make the Third Thursday program possible. In addition to providing space for the program, BookPeople kindly offers a 10% discount to WLT members. WLT and BookPeople applaud your support of independent bookstores and local businesses.