Clay Stafford: Founder of Killer Nashville but Also a Polymath

Every year, I remind my readers that the exciting Killer Nashville is rolling in again.  (This year the dates are October 29 to November 1.) I’ve attended many conferences of different kinds over the years, both good and useless but mainly boring, and when I describe KN as “exciting” I’m being perfectly honest: I know when something is fun and informational.

Today I thought my readers would like to know more about Clay Stafford, the founder of the conference.  After reading about his career and everything he’s done and everything he knows, I’ve decided that Clay is a polymath.  (Greek, polymathēs, πολυμαθής, “having learned much”). A polymath is not content to know a lot about one subject; he or she has broad knowledge about many areas of learning. As you can see from the following list of Clay’s attributes, he has a rich history of many kinds of experiences that make him an ideal leader for Killer Nashville with its interesting range of offerings.

  1. Writer: Clay lists “articles, poetry, essays, novel adaptations, TV series, feature films, nonfiction books, live theater, book & film reviews, and newspaper articles.”
  2. Editor. “…edited several PBS companion books that accompanied national series and is currently editing a mystery/thriller anthology with new stories from bestselling authors such as Jeffery Deaver, Jefferson Bass, Donald Bain, Heywood Gould, and Robert Dugoni.”
  3. Executive and marketer: “Has worked at Universal Studios, PBS, and now at American Blackguard [his own company]” on projects in “film, television, stage, music, events, publishing.”
  4. Educator and public speaker: First in his class, he received an MFA from the University of Miami. He has taught writing at U. M.  and the U. of Tennessee and presented talks for organizations here and abroad.
  5. Awards and public service: he has received numerous awards and worked hard for nonprofit groups.
  6. Actor: Before he became a director and producer, he acted too. Do any of these shows sound familiar? Days of Our Lives; Clue: Movies, Murder, and Mystery with Martin Mull.
  7. Reader, the voracious kind: he is capable of reading and reviewing one book a day.

There is much more about Clay’s experience, much too long to include here. As you read the above, it’s easy to imagine the other fields he knows a lot about and has experienced. For example, all the ins and out of writing a script for and filming a movie, a huge subject by itself. Now it’s a bit easier to imagine how Clay conceived the idea of Killer Nashville and why that conference is so rich in its offerings.


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