KNOXVILLE, TN – The International Biscuit Festival excitedly announces the speakers for the Southern Food Writing Conference held in Downtown Knoxville May 12th through May 13th, 2016. Tickets are available now at

 The Southern Food Writing Conference celebrates the art and craft of writing about food in the South.

Join these writers, readers, publishers and publicists in a fun and intimate setting to share your love of writing and all things Southern:


                  Kim Severson – Atlanta bureau chief for the New York Times since 2004, covering food, writing for the Dining section, the National section, Week in Review, and others.

                  Rien Fertel - Louisiana-born and based freelance writer and professional historian. He's written on food and travel and books for Oxford American, Garden & Gun,Southern Living, Spirit, Saveur, The Local Palate, and other publications.

                  Brian Hart Hoffman - Executive vice president and chief creative officer at Hoffman Media. Hoffman has been responsible for a number of key initiatives, from refining the publisher’s newsstand cover selection process and developing a global strategy to launching new publications and developing innovative new events and publications.  

                  Kat Kinsman - Editor at Large and former Editor in Chief of Tasting Table. Before that, she was the Managing Editor of CNN’s Eatocracy, edited CNN’s Matrimony section and First Person essay series and she was a writer and editor for CNN Living. She's the former Senior Editor for AOL Food and Slashfood, a KCBS Certified Barbecue Judge, proud member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the vice chair of the James Beard Journalism Committee. Her newest book Hi, Anxiety will be released in November.

                  Tina Antolini - Peabody-Award-winning storyteller and radio producer. She serves as the host and producer of Gravy, a podcast with the Southern Foodways Alliance, which was named the James Beard Foundation's Publication of the Year for 2015.   

                  Eric & Mandee McNew – Creators of the social media profile “KnoxFoodie,” together, Eric and Mandee have been living the foodie life exploring local, national, and international food destinations, sharing recipes, and experimenting with fermentation, home curing, and even gardening.

                  Liz Williams - A graduate of Louisiana State University (BA, English) and Louisiana State University Law Center (JD) she has served in the U.S. Army as a Judge Advocate General (JAG).  She has practiced law in Washington, DC and Louisiana. She has written many articles for a variety of magazines and journals, has served as judge in many cooking competitions, and has consulted internationally on the food of New Orleans.

                  Von Diaz - Writer and radio producer based in New York City, she is a self-taught cook who explores Puerto Rican food, culture, and identity through memoir and multimedia. 

                  Kristin Miglore – With a Master's degree in food studies from New York University and a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education, her writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, and The Atlantic, and she was nominated for a James Beard Award for Food52's Genius recipes column in 2014. The column led to theGenius Recipes cookbook in 2015, which became aNew York Times Best Seller.

                  Kenzi Wilbur - The Managing Editor of Food52, and the host of their James Beard Award-nominated podcast, Burnt Toast. She’s also the editor of their annual Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks—which she loves like a child—and her writing has appeared in PUNCH, Cherrybombe,Backpacker Magazine, and more.

                  Erin Byers Murray - A Nashville-based food writer, cookbook author, and magazine editor who has a not-so-secret obsession with oysters. She loves telling stories about farmers, cooks, kitchens, and local food communities.

                  Jennifer Justus - Jennifer Justus is author of Nashville Eats (Abrams, October 2015) and The Food Lovers’ Guide to Nashville (Globe Pequot, November 2012). She worked as food culture reporter at The Tennessean for several years before embarking on a freelance career that led to work in TIMEAFAR, Serious Eats, Southern LivingImbibe and more. Her work has appeared in two editions of Cornbread Nation: The Best of Southern Food Writing, and she also co-founded Dirty Pages, a recipe storytelling project that's currently on display at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans. 

                  Deanne Revel - manages editorial content on and She spends her weekends traveling or catching a show in Knoxville at the Bijou Theatre, where she serves on the Board of Directors. Deanne takes her biscuit with butter and strawberry jam. 

                  Colby Gallahar - Colby Gallahar is a Nashville native who never intended to call East Tennessee home. But, after stumbling upon the global headquarters of the leader in lifestyle media, Scripps Networks Interactive, he’s grown to love the scruffy city of Knoxville. In his role, Colby manages cause marketing and social responsibility for HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country. He loves breakfast for dinner so he can wash down his biscuits with Tennessee Whiskey.

                  Janet Kurtz - Janet Kurtz is and has been the Director of Sales & Marketing at The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, TN for the past thirteen years. The Hermitage Hotels is Nashville's is the only Mobil Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond hotel in Tennessee and five contiguous states. As a hospitality and brand architecture executive with proven revenue generating results, Janet assists hotels and restaurants with top level, results driven, marketing and public relations strategies. 

 The Conference schedule includes two days of individual speakers and expert panels, interspersed with performance interludes of readings, music and humor.

 A Southern Food Writing Conference wouldn't be complete without food, and lots of it! Registration includes breakfast and lunch each day, prepared by some of our favorite chefs from around the South. It also includes a special trip to Blackberry Farm for cocktails in the garden and an incredible dinner in The Barn. This is an experience not to be missed.


The Conference is part of the schedule for the International Biscuit Festival, one of the most popular annual food events in the Southeast. Come and join us for all the fun!


To register for your ticket to the Southern Food Writing Conference, please visit