Brown Bag Lunch and Learn Series 

Let’s do lunch! Come gather around our table at the Porch HQ. Not exactly a workshop or a lecture, Porch Brown-Bag lunches are opportunities for writers to explore through conversation elements of craft and the writing life. Conversations will be designed and facilitated by Porch instructors. You bring food; we’ll provide food for thought. Space is limited, so register early!

October 23: The Publishing Process: An In-House Editor's Point of View

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There’s a veil of mystique around the trade book publishing process. Join us as book publishing veteran Ami McConnell pulls back that veil to reveal exactly what editors must do to get your manuscript into readers’ hands.

  • When: October 23, 12-1

  • Where: Porch HQ, 2811 Dogwood Place

  • Conversation Leader: Ami McConnell

  • Cost: $15 nonmembers/ $12 members

About the Facilitator: WriterFest founder and director Ami McConnell previously served as VP/Editor-in-Chief, Howard Books at Simon & Schuster and as an acquiring editor for HarperCollins. Her numerous editing credits include dozens of USA Today and New York Times bestsellers and award-winning trade books. Her writing credits include the USA Today bestseller Kind Is the New Classy with Candace Cameron Bure. She currently writes and edits from Franklin, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and kids.

PAST Lunches

August 21st: Un-intention, Wandering Attention, and Accidental Value

This talk will aim to encourage writers to increase the volume of their creative output not by improving a journal or developing a better schedule but by becoming familiar with writing on accident, writing by stealing fire, and writing without pressure. We'll find inspiration in eclectic and unexpected texts like the complaints Lydia Davis writes to companies she's unsatisfied with, online reviews of the Homer Bucket from hardware stores, and the prose of Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard.

  • When: August 21st, 12-1

  • Where: Porch HQ, 2811 Dogwood Place

  • Conversation Leader: Elliot Reed

  • Cost: $15 nonmembers/ $12 members

About the Facilitator: Elliot Reed received his MFA from the University of Florida in Gainesville and is currently living in Spokane, Washington. His book, A Key to Treehouse Living, was published in 2018 by Tin House Books.

August 2nd: An Hour to Honor James Baldwin


“Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated and this was an immutable law." So writes James Baldwin in his groundbreaking essay, "Notes of a Native Son," which was published in 1955 yet remains as relevant as ever today. August 2nd marks what would have been James Baldwin's 95th birthday, and what better way to honor his legacy than reading his essay together as a group? We will take a close look at a few sections, in a way suited for those who have already read the text, and those who haven't. (Copies will be provided.)

  • When: August 2nd, 12:30-1:30

  • Where: Porch HQ, 2811 Dogwood Place

  • Conversation Leader: Yurina Yoshikawa

  • Cost: $15 nonmembers/ $12 members

July 24th: Delighting in Writing & Writing Delight


It can be hard to hold on to delight in our writing practice, especially when we feel pressure to write better, write more often, and write about Important Things (however we might define them). By reading and discussing excerpts from Ross Gay's recent essay collection, The Book of Delights, we'll explore what delights us and how to better integrate delight into our writing. We'll also practice delight together through a short generative writing exercise.

When: July 24th, 12-1

  • Where: Porch HQ, 2811 Dogwood Place

  • Conversation Leader: Amie Whittemore

  • Cost: $15 nonmembers/ $12 members

About the Instructor: 

Amie Whittemore is the author of the poetry collection Glass Harvest (Autumn House Press) and co-founder of the Charlottesville Reading Series in Virginia. Her poems have won multiple awards, including a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Sycamore Review, Smartish Pace, Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. She teaches English at Middle Tennessee State University.

June 19th: A Mind for Metaphor

“Unless you are at home in the metaphor…you are not safe anywhere.” -Robert Frost.

Why is it that great metaphors stick with us? Why are we drawn to them as readers and compelled by them as writers? Come explore the unique ways that your brain processes metaphor, and learn from some of the greats of literature how to leave your mark with metaphor. 

  • When: June 19th, 12-1

  • Where: Porch HQ, 2811 Dogwood Place

  • Conversation Leader: Julie Sumner

  • Cost: $15 nonmembers/ $12 members

About the Instructor: Julie Sumner is a writer who has worked as a critical care nurse, transplant coordinator, and massage therapist. She recently completed her MFA in poetry at Seattle Pacific University. Her work has appeared in Fathom, The Englewood Review of Books, The Cresset, Juxtaprose, San Pedro River Review, Catalpa Magazine, and The Behemoth

May 22nd: Steal Like a Writer: Lauren Groff's FLORIDA

In advance and anticipation of Lauren Groff's visit to Nashville on June 8 for The Porch's fundraiser, let's take a close look at her award-winning collection FLORIDA and see what we can emulate and alchemize for our own work. We'll read and discuss a couple of stories, then use what we've observed--be it theme, stylistic moves, narrative architecture, or other aspects of Groff's fiction--to kickstart new writing of our own. I'll share the stories with you a week in advance. 

  • When: May 22nd, 12-1

  • Where: Porch HQ, 2811 Dogwood Place

  • Conversation Leader: Susannah Felts

  • Cost: $15 nonmembers/ $12 members

About the Instructor:

Susannah Felts has published stories in The Sun, Wigleaf, Quick Fiction, Hobart, Five Chapters, the Chicago Reader, Knee Jerk, and other publications. Her first novel, This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record, was published by Featherproof Books. For Susannah's full bio, please see our About Us page.