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Directory of Conferences & Centers
Discover the conferences, centers, festivals, residencies, and retreats that best fit your writing needs. Our directory lists member programs in North America and abroad, including programs that participate in the Kurt Brown WC&C Scholarships . You can also browse specific events in a calendar view .
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The 10 Most Prominent Writers’ Workshops in America
The University of Iowa :
The University of Iowa is home to the most prestigious writers' workshop in the nation. A key factor in that prestige is that the program is one of the oldest, starting nearly three decades before any other writing workshop in the U.S. It was also the first program in the country to offer an MFA in English. Students in the Iowa Writers' Workshop take a small number of classes each semester, the most important of which is a weekly class where students share work and engage in roundtable discussions with teachers and peers to provide constructive criticism and feedback for the author. Having top-notch faculty certainly helps the writing process and in past years the school has boasted literary greats like Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth, and John Irving as faculty members. Whatever the secret of its success, the program is doing something right: alumni of the school have won seventeen Pulitzer Prizes, a handful have been Poet Laureates, and dozens more have won other prestigious awards.
Columbia University :
Columbia's creative writing program boasts some pretty impressive alumni, among them J.D. Salinger, Federico Garcia Lorca, Carson McCullers, Eudora Welty, Jack Kerouac, Langston Hughes, and Allen Ginsberg, though that's hardly a complete list. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of the city, the school is situated amid a living, breathing source of inspiration that has helped many great authors to launch successful careers. Of course, the city alone isn't what helps Columbia's students to produce high-quality work; the rigorous writing workshops it requires of MFA candidates, whether they want to become a screenwriter, novelist, or poet, are likely of greater importance. Through the workshops, students work closely with award-winning faculty and their peers to write, edit, and, hopefully, to create work that makes it into publication, a goal many a Columbia grad has achieved.
Boston University :
When it comes to poetry, few schools can compete with the impressive array of graduates produced by Boston University's writing workshops. Boston University's alumni include poetic greats like Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, and George Starbuck and present and past faculty members are prestigious in their own right, like Robert Pinsky, Robert Lowell, and Ha Jin. The program is notoriously intense, critical, and structured, and is designed to get students used to the harsh criticisms they'll face in the real world and help them to build the skills to produce great work. While students will take an assortment of literature courses, the crux of the program are the writing workshops, offered in fiction, poetry, or drama, where most of the writing and critiquing takes place.
Florida State University :
This Tallahassee school offers students the chance to work with Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning professors in intensive workshops. The school may not boast the same high-profile alumni as others on this list, but that's in part because the writing program has seen a near complete reinvention over the past two decades under the leadership of the programs's top-notch professors and dedicated administrators. In 1997, FSU's writer's workshops languished at 37th in the U.S. according to U.S. News and World Report rankings. Today, FSU is ranked among the best places in the nation for writers to hone their skills, and as time goes on, the program will undoubtedly produce some big names in literature as its workshops hone the skills of America's aspiring writers.
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor :
The University of Michigan is among one of the best public universities in the United States, so it should come as no surprise that the school also boasts one of the top writing programs. The MFA program at the university takes two years to complete, much of which is spent in writing workshops and crafting a master's thesis. All students also get a $6,000 stipend for the summer semester that allows them to spend time writing and honing their skills rather than having to worry about working to pay bills and rent. The school's workshops have produced a number of notable writers, with some even winning National Book Awards. Many of Michigan's successful writers have specialized in science fiction and fantasy writing, making it an ideal place for students interested in those genres to hone their skills.
University of California, Irvine :
The UC Irvine programs have some seriously high-profile alumni among their ranks, some of whom produced successful works while students still in the school's MFA program. Michael Chabon's MFA thesis would get him a book deal and he would later go on to win a Pulitzer Prize. Alice Sebold's memoir about her rape began as a writing assignment in her Irvine courses, and would later be published after her graduation. Other notable alumni include Pulitzer winners Robert Ford and Yusef Komunyakaa, with many other grads going on to score book deals and win awards. The high profile of the program allows it to be selective, accepting just 10 to 12 writers into its programs each year, though applications can sometimes number 500 or more. Workshops at UC Irvine aren't just for grad students, however as the school also offers writers' workshops to undergrads who are interested in becoming professional writers.
New York University :
A big part of the prestige of NYU's writers' workshops comes from the professors who guide them, among them E.L. Doctorow, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds, and Zadie Smith with elite visiting writers like Jonathan Safran Foer, Charles Simic, and Anne Carson also lending a hand. While prestigious faculty help the workshops at the school stand out, so does progressive coursework and a wide range of specializations that allow students to tailor their writing instruction to their particular goals and styles. To graduate from the program, students must take at least four creative writing workshops and use them to help to produce a creative thesis, either a novel, collection of short stories, or a group of poems. With reading, writing, and editing at the core of the program, many grads go on to produce works that make it into publication.
University of Virginia :
With a 1% acceptance rate, the University of Virginia's creative writing program is one of the most selective in the United States. Its selectiveness, as well as the high esteem both graduates and faculty are held in, have made it one of the most prestigious programs in the U.S. Alumni of the program include Char Harbach and Charles McLoed, both successful fiction writers, though UVA is most famous for its poetry writing workshops, which provide intensive instruction that has helped numerous aspiring writers get their works published. Named by Poets & Writers magazine as the third best school in the nation for getting an MFA in creative writing, UVA takes educating its students seriously, requiring 12 hours of workshopping and 24 hours of research related to the construction of a creative thesis.
University of Wisconsin, Madison :
The MFA program at UW Madison is relatively new, having been started in 2002, though the school had offered other graduate degree studies in English previously. It's unique among many other writing programs because of its alternating admissions, accepting fiction students in odd-numbered years and poets in even-numbered years. Further distinguishing it is that students can take workshops outside of their area of concentration, studying fiction, poetry, nonfiction, playwrighting, and screenwriting as it strikes their interest. This flexibility is perhaps why the school's program is held in such high regard, and has been ranked among the best in the nation for several years running. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have prize-winning faculty, generous financial aid, and a great track record of published alumni either.
University of Texas, Austin :
While not an alum, author James Michener played a major role in shaping the creative writing program at UT Austin. Michener founded the MFA program in writing at the school, which is now named after him, and left the school a generous donation that has enabled it to provide substantial fellowships to admitted students. The result has been the establishment of a prestigious program that allows students to work closely with published authors and their classmates in workshops throughout their three years at the school, focusing on either fiction, poetry, screenwriting, or playwriting with the opportunity to choose a second area of interest as well. Alumni of the school have done well, capturing elite fellowships, prizes, and awards for a wide range of work and the program is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation for creative writing.
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41 Glorious Writing Conferences in June 2022
Curiosity Never Killed the Writer
J une is bustin’ out all over! This June there are more than three dozen writing conferences. Some conferences and workshops will be held online, but some will be held in person or use a hybrid format as pandemic restrictions ease.
These writing events offer everything a writer might want: intensive workshops, pitch sessions with agents, to how to market yourself and your books, discussions — there is something for everyone.
For a full list of conferences held throughout the year see Writing Conferences . Quite a few offer scholarships, so apply early.
New York Pitch Conference . June 2–5, 2022 (Zoom) June 16- 19, 2022 (in person): NY, NY. The New York Pitch Conference and writers workshop is held four times a year and features publishing house editors from major houses such as Penguin, Random House, St. Martins, Harper Collins, Tor and Del Rey, Kensington Books and many more who are looking for new novels in a variety of genres, as well as narrative non-fiction. The event focuses on the art of the novel pitch as the best method not only for communicating your work, but for having you and your work taken seriously by industry professionals.
Indiana University Writers’ Conference . June 2–5, 2022, Indiana University in Bloomington. The conference features workshops in poetry and fiction, as well as craft classes, readings, and panels for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. The cost of the conference is $385, or $635 with a workshop. Lodging and meals are not included; lodging is available in campus dormitories and in the campus hotel. The registration fee is $30; general registration is first come, first served. To attend a workshop, submit 8 to 10 pages of poetry or 15 to 25 pages of prose; admissions are made on a rolling basis.
Wyoming Writers Conference . June 3–5, 2022: Laramie, WY. The conference features workshops in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and self-publishing, as well as agent and editor pitch sessions, roundtable critiques, and open mics. Participating writers have included poet Jovan Mays, fiction writers Tasha Alexander and Andrew Grant, and nonfiction writer Page Lambert. Participating publishing professionals include editor Eric Campbell (Down & Out Books) and agents Stephanie Hansen (Metamorphosis Literary Agency) and Angie Hodapp (Nelson Literary Agency). Fiction writer Brad Watson will deliver the keynote. The cost of the conference is $235 until May 1 and $275 thereafter, and includes a one-year membership to Wyoming Writers, Inc. Lodging is available at the conference hotel for a discounted rate of $104 per night. Will be conducted online and in person.
Yale Writers’ Conference . June 4–18, 2022: New Haven, CT. The Yale Writers’ Workshop brings together the experience and expertise of leading teachers, authors, editors, agents and publishers in a series of panels and workshops, for the benefit of writers the world over. We are offering three sessions (one on campus and two remote) that will enhance the writing skills of any serious writer. Our faculty provides unique, tailored, and transformative experiences to all participants. Will be conducted online and in person . Application deadline: April 4, 2022. CLOSED
Interlochen Writer’s Retreat . June 5–10, 2022: Interlochen, Michigan. Nestled deep in the woods between two lakes, Interlochen College of Creative Arts’ five-day Writers Retreat is a true writer’s dream. Spend your days writing new material, attending presentations by award-winning faculty, and enjoying lakeside lunches and evening readings while making friends and connections in the literary world. Select your concentration from four unique courses, each grounded in different craft concepts with an emphasis on generating new work — appealing to both advanced and beginning writers alike. Courses include Flipping the Desk; Mixing (& Mashing) It Up: Writing Across Genres; The Devil is in the Details: People, Places, Situations, & Things; and What Ifs & Other Wonderings.
Fine Arts Work Center Summer Workshops (poetry, fiction, art, and creative nonfiction). June 5 — August 19, 2022 Provincetown, Massachusetts. Last year’s faculty included David Baker, Samiya Bashir, Jill Bialosky, Sophie Cabot Black, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Martha Collins, Kate Daniels, Nick Flynn, Vievee Francis, Gabriel Fried, Jorie Graham, Marie Howe, Major Jackson, Fred Marchant, Gail Mazur, Jane Mead, John Murillo, Eileen Myles, Matthew Olzmann, Gregory Pardlo, Carl Phillips, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Victoria Redel, Martha Rhodes, Brenda Shaughnessy, Nicole Sealey, Alan Shapiro, Carmen Giménez Smith, Craig Morgan Teicher and many more. See individual workshops for dates.
Odyssey Writing Workshop . June 6 — July 15, 2022. Since its inception in 1996, Odyssey has become one of the most highly respected workshops for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Deadline April 1.
Pacific University Master of Fine Arts in Writing Residency Writers Conference . June 16–26, 2022: Forest Grove, Oregon. Writers seeking to deepen their craft and expand their professional community are invited to attend the Residency Writers Conference together with MFA students, faculty and guest speakers. Join us for 10 full days of craft talks, workshops, panels, classes, readings and more featuring some of the best minds of the literary world. This residency is a rare opportunity to engage in sustained and meaningful conversation with others who share your passion for the art of writing.
The Writer’s Hotel “Mini MFA” Virtual Writers Conference . June 8–15, 2022. Fiction, Nonfiction & Poetry. “This immersive program is a hybrid writers conference that includes two full manuscript readings of up to 100K words. Pre-conference, two TWH Editors read and generate comments (TWH Team Reading) and set up a phone conference to review the edits. Then, you’ll meet your cohort online for the conference part of the program. Writers attend Workshops, Craft Labs and Lectures and Faculty Readings. You’ll also get to pitch to literary agents via Zoom, which we’ve found to be most intimate and successful. All writers will also read their own original work in our TWH Reading Series online. Special to this conference, a second full manuscript Team Reading will also be performed post-conference.” App deadline: April 18, 2022.
Mountain Heritage Literary Festival . June 10–11, 2022: Cumberland Gap, TN. “Every year writers gather at the ancient and beloved Cumberland Gap to celebrate writing, music, and Appalachian heritage. Events include workshops, panels, readings, concerts, lectures, open mic, and more.”
West Virginia Writers Conference . June 10–12, 2022: Ripley, West Virginia. Author readings, contests and sharing your love of writing with others.
Colrain Classic . June 10–13, 2022: Arlington, Vermont. “The Colrain Manuscript Classic is a highly focused, 3.5 day conference designed for poets with manuscripts in progress. The Classic features in-depth pre-conference work and candid, realistic evaluation and feedback from nationally-known poets, editors and publishers. In preparation, participants work at home on pre-conference assignments and then, in the workshop, review, arrange, and winnow their work based on the pre-conference work. In addition to the manuscript preparation workshop and editor sessions, there will be an editorial Q&A, and an after-conference strategy session.” Will be conducted online .
Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop . June 12–16, 2022: Roanoke, Virginia. The conference features workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as craft seminars, individual conferences with faculty members, and readings.
Kenyon Review Writers Workshops . June 12–18 and July 10–16, 2022: Gambier, Ohio. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction led by an accomplished faculty. Genre workshops (Fiction, Literary Nonfiction, and Poetry) are held for three hours each morning. (See individual workshops for dates.)
Naropa Summer Writing Program . June 12 — July 2, 2022: Boulder, CO. Summer Writing Program of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University.
Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers . June 13–17, 2022: Sandy, Utah. Offers one-, two-, three- and five-day workshops. Morning workshops devoted to individual work; afternoon talks on market, craft, publication; chats w/ editors and agents; keynote; book signing. For those interested, specialized workshops — Boot Camp and Full-Novel classes. Single day programs as well.
Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference . June 13–19, 2022: Ripton, VT. The Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference is a week-long writers’ conference designed to hone the skills of people interested in producing literary writing about the environment and the natural world. The conference is co-sponsored by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Orion magazine, and Middlebury College’s Environmental Studies Program. Application Deadline: February 15, 2022 .
Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference . June 13–19, 2022: Ripton, VT. The Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference includes workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as lectures, craft classes, meetings with editors and agents, and readings by faculty and guests. Application deadline: February 15, 2022 .
Breakout Novel Intensive 2.0 . June 13–19, 2022: Virtual conference . “Writers of commercial fiction who wish to soar out of category, as well as literary novelists who want to learn how to make powerful story principles work for them, will find the Breakout Novel Intensive 2.0 an idea-packed and career enriching experience. This workshop is as ideal for those just beginning a new project as it is for those embarking on a revision of a completed work. Breakout fundamentals are also covered: strong characters, inner conflict, personal stakes, plot layers, powerful scenes, micro-tension, practical theme techniques and much more.”
Community of Writers at Squaw Valley: Poetry Workshop . June 18 — June 25, 2022: Olympic Valley, California. “We work together to create an atmosphere in which everyone might feel free to try anything. In the mornings we meet in workshops to read to each other the work of the previous twenty-four hours; each participant also has an opportunity to work with each staff poet. In the late afternoons we gather for a conversation about some aspect of craft. On several afternoons staff poets hold brief individual conferences.” Registration deadline: April 1, 2022 .
Community of Writers Workshop in Fiction . July 18–25, 2022: Olympic Valley, California. These workshops assist serious writers by exploring the art and craft as well as the business of writing. The week offers daily morning workshops, craft lectures, panel discussions on editing and publishing, staff readings, as well as brief individual conferences. The morning workshops are led by staff writer-teachers, editors, or agents. There are separate morning workshops for Fiction and Narrative Nonfiction/ Memoir. In addition to their workshop manuscript, participants may have a second manuscript read by a staff member who meets with them in an individual conference. During the week, a portion of our workshops is devoted exclusively to nonfiction. Memoir, narrative nonfiction, and essays are invited. Literary criticism and scholarly work will not be considered. Nonfiction applicants can use the same general form for submission.
Colgate Writers’ Conference . June 19–25, 2022: Hamilton, New York. Morning craft talks & workshops. Individual consultation with workshop instructor in the afternoon. Late afternoon participant readings and talks on publishing, storytelling. Evening readings by instructors & guests. Late night social events. “Bring a story, a book in progress, some poems, or a novel, and work with us on developing narrative strategies, verse techniques, and methods of research. Members of the publishing profession will also be here to discuss marketplace tactics.”
Chesapeake Writers’ Conference at St. Mary’s College of Maryland . June 19–25, 2022: St. Mary’s City, Maryland. “Join us on Maryland’s Western Shore-for the 8th Annual Chesapeake Writers’ Conference for a week of craft talks, lectures, panel discussions, and readings, as well as daily workshops in fiction, poetry, screenwriting, translation, songwriting, or creative nonfiction.
Clarion West Speculative Fiction Writers Workshop . June 19 — July 30, 2022: Seattle, Washington. “Every summer, Clarion West holds an intensive six-week workshop in Seattle’s University District, geared to help you prepare for a professional career as a writer of speculative fiction. Each workshop is limited to 18 students, and each week features a different instructor, a highly regarded author or editor offering their unique perspective on the field. Short fiction is the workshop’s focus, with an emphasis on science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Come prepared to write several new stories, to experiment and take artistic risks, and to give and receive constructive criticism.
Hurston/Wright Summer Writers Week . June 19 — June 24, 2022: Virginia Tech. For more than 20 years, the Hurston/Wright Summer Writers Workshop has offered a safe space for Black writers in intensive workshop sessions and master classes. Workshops are led by award-winning writers who are influencing today’s literature. The program features critiques, craft talks, writing time and public readings. Hurston/Wright workshops serve emerging and experienced writers who are starting projects, developing projects or seeking to polish projects. More than a thousand writers have participated in workshops since the first session in 1996.
Orion Environmental Writers’ Workshop . June 19 — June 24, 2022: The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. This program is for writers who want to learn how to write an Orion essay, short story, or poem; for writers who seek to become better advocates for the environment through their writing; for poets who are drawn to writing about nature and culture; for teachers and scholars who wish to write for a more general readership; and for environmental professionals who want to bring better writing skills to bear on their work. The program will feature small writing workshops dedicated to poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as faculty readings and lectures, student readings, and presentations on publishing.
Juniper Institute for Young Writers . June 19–25, 2022: Amherst, MA. For high school students . Daily workshops in poetry, fiction, & nonfiction; interactive craft sessions that include discussions & writing exercises; evening readings by faculty & writers-in-residence. Workshops and craft sessions are led by MFA candidates from the renowned University of Massachusetts MFA Program for Poets and Writers who design curricula especially for the Institute setting.
Stonecoast Writers’ Conference . June 20–25, 2022, Portland, ME. Workshops in poetry, short fiction, novel, and nonfiction/memoir, and a mixed-genre Creative Writing Bootcamp. The Stonecoast Writers’ Conference is open to students of all experience levels. However, admission is selective. Writing sample and deposit required.
Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference . June 20–26, 2022: Bemidji, Minnesota. Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, Publishing. Faculty: Kimberly Blaeser (Poetry), Douglas Kearney (Poetry), Joni Tevis (Creative Nonfiction), Benjamin Percy (Fiction), and Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Poetry/Prose Hybrid). And the renowned poet and essayist Claudia Rankine will be our Distinguished Visiting Writer!
Western Writers of America Convention . June 22–25, 2022: Great Falls, Montana. Children’s, Fiction, Marketing, Non-fiction, Publishing, Young Adult. History presentations at the convention include Cats in the Old West, Border Wars/Law and Order, Mark Twain Literary Contributions, and more. Other sessions will take place related to the craft of writing, book marketing, and research sources and techniques.
Chautauqua Writers’ Festival . June 22–25, 2022: Chautauqua, New York. In addition to the Festival’s tradition of intensive workshops and one-on-one conferences with award-winning contemporary authors, attendees can also attend panel conversations, breakout sessions, and a keynote address. The 2022 theme is “Writing Resilience,” and these various conversations will draw fruitful and urgent connections between the personal, the political, and the craft of writing. All of these features are included in the cost of Standard Registration and available as an option to any workshop participant.
Fordham University Retreat . June 22–26, 2022: New York City. “In order to help mentor the next generation of Asian American writers, Kundiman sponsors an annual Retreat in partnership with Fordham University. During the Retreat, nationally renowned Asian American poets and writers conduct Master Classes and manuscript consultations with fellows. Readings, writing circles and informal social gatherings are also scheduled. Through this Retreat, Kundiman hopes to provide a safe and instructive environment that identifies and addresses the unique challenges faced by emerging Asian American writers.”
Jackson Hole Writers Conference , June 23–25, 2022: Jackson Hole, WY. You will have ample opportunity to share your work with a distinguished faculty as well as writers from Massachusetts to Florida, from Texas to Washington. Serious writers pour into Jackson Hole each June looking for a fresh, but critical eye on their work. This event usually has at least 4 agents to pitch.
David R Collins Conference Faculty & Workshops . June 23–25, 2022: Rock Island, IL. Daily workshops, critiques, pitches, evening events, keynote. Will be held online and in person .
In Your Write Mind Workshop . June 23–26, 2022: Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Special Guest: L. Marie Wood. Agents: Eva Scalzo (Speilburg Literary Agency) and Erin Clyburn (Howland Literary). Editors: Miranda Hill (Berkley-Penguin Publishing Group) and John Edward Lawson (Raw Dog Screaming Press). Artist: Greg Chapman. Business and Craft Tracks. Pitch Sessions. Book Signing. Networking. Author Readings. Writing Sprints. Critique Groups. And more! Will be held online and in person .
Chanticleer Authors Conference . June 23–26, 2022: Bellingham, Wash. Sessions with a special focus on the business of being a working writer on topics such as marketing, publicity, platform, sales tools & strategies, publishing, production, distribution, organization, storycraft, editing, and more. Will be held online and in person.
Bookstock Literary Festival . June 24–26, 2022: Woodstock, Vermont. From Poets & Writers : “The festival features workshops, readings, discussions, and a book fair for poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. Participating writers have included poets Benjamin Aleshire, Laura Foley, Pamela Harrison, April Ossmann, and Elizabeth Powell; fiction writers Jean Hanff Korenlitz and Roland Merullo; and nonfiction writers Jabari Asim, Bruce Coffin, and Sarah Prager. All events and workshops are free and open to the public.”
Weekend Writeaways at Home . June 24–26, 2022: Online (?) “This weekend-long format has all the elements of a typical Writeaway, combined with a few twists to bring the liveliness of an in-person Writeaway to Zoom. And we limit each Weekend Writeaways at Home to eight writers, to ensure you get plenty of attention. The weekend includes writing time, workshops, exercises to inspire you, craft discussions, brainstorming, consultations, readings and optional cocktails and meals (with drink and dinner recipes from New Mexico, Italy and France sent to you in advance!)”
Writers’ League of Texas . June 24–26, 2022: Austin, Texas. “For writers with finished manuscripts, the conference’s one-on-one consultations with agents and editors offer a unique opportunity to pitch their work directly to publishing professionals. For writers working toward a completed manuscript, the conference’s genre meet-ups, panels, presentations, and general sessions offer an abundance of useful information and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere for informal chats with agents, published authors, and fellow writers from all genres and backgrounds. Confirmed participating agents include Erica Bauman (Aevitas Creative Management), Jan Baumer (Folio Literary Management), Danielle Bukowski (Sterling Lord Literistic), Heather Carr (The Friedrich Agency), Caroline Eisenmann (Frances Goldin Literary Agency), Paloma Hernando (Einstein Literary Management), Lynn Johnston (Lynn Johnston Literary), Alex Kane (WME), Julia Kardon (HG Literary), James Mustelier (The Bent Agency), Aemilia Phillips (Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency), Anna Sproul-Latimer (Neon Literary). Confirmed Keynote: Jami Attenberg. Additional agents, editors, and authors will be added soon.
Hurston/Wright Summer Writers Week . June 26 — July 1, 2022: Rutgers. For more than 20 years, the Hurston/Wright Summer Writers Workshop has offered a safe space for Black writers in intensive workshop sessions and master classes. Workshops are led by award-winning writers who are influencing today’s literature. The program features critiques, craft talks, writing time and public readings. Hurston/Wright workshops serve emerging and experienced writers who are starting projects, developing projects or seeking to polish projects. More than a thousand writers have participated in workshops since the first session in 1996.
New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College . June 27 — July 22, 2022: Saratoga Springs, NY. Since 1987, the Institute has been offering students the opportunity to learn from an extraordinary faculty of distinguished writers led by director Robert Boyers. The program is an offshoot of the New York State Writers Institute created by Albany native and Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy. The curriculum is designed for college-aged students and adults, and the new virtual format will retain many of the Institute’s hallmark features:
- Creative writing workshops in poetry, fiction and non-fiction
- Small classes that offer individualized attention and workshop student writings
- Public readings and afternoon Q & A sessions with world-renowned guest writers
- Private tutorial sessions for student fiction manuscripts, book-length poetry, or non-fiction (available for an additional fee)
- Option to enroll for one-week, two-week, or four-week sessions
- Optional undergraduate credit for eligible students enrolled in one genre for four weeks
- Merit Scholarships for tuition
Will be held online .
Like this article? For more articles about the publishing world, useful tips on how to get an agent, agents who are looking for clients, how to market and promote your work, building your online platform, how to get reviews, self-publishing, as well as publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers (no agent required) visit Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity .
Written by Erica Verrillo
Helping writers get published and bolstering their flagging spirits at http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/
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2023 Top Writers Conferences and Workshops in All Genres
- on Dec 27, 2022
- in Writing Tips
- Last update: June 18th, 2023
- at 11:25 am
Since writing could get pretty lonely, being around fellow writers is often a welcomed change. It can help authors explore different writing styles, discover new writing tips, and connect with other like-minded writers. That is where writing conferences and workshops come in; they can help you grow as a writer and improve your writing skills.
This year, we have compiled a list of many great conferences and workshops happening around the world, both virtually and in person.
Pacific University Master of Fine Arts in Writing Residency Writers Conference
Under the Volcano
Key West Literary Seminar Writers’ Workshop Program
Key West Literary Seminar
Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway
Writers in Paradise Conference
TMW January Jumpstart
Digital Book World
Tupelo’s Online Manuscript Conference
Get The Lead Out!
Todos Santos Writers Workshop
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Annual Conference
ICRWAL: International Conference on Reading, Writing and Applied Linguistics
San Francisco Writers Conference
Southern California Writers’ Conference
Southern California Writers Conference – San Diego
Coastal Magic Convention
Asheville Christian Writers Conference
California Creative Writers Conference
Bay to Ocean Thursdays with ESWA Special Conference Reading
The AWP Conference & Bookfair
Alabama Writing Workshop
The New York Pitch Conference
Algonkian Writers New York Pitch Conference
The Power of Narrative Conference
Scottish Association of Writers Conference
Moravian Writers’ Conference: Voices of War
UND Writers Conference
The Write Stuff Writer’s Conference
Let’s Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference
Teen Author Boot Camp In Person Conference
Kentucky Writers Conference
National Undergraduate Literature Conference
Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference
Authors’ Salon at Clockwork Alchemy
The Las Vegas Writers Conference
Blue Ridge Writers’ Conference
Red Clay Writers Conference
A rally of writers conference.
San Antonio Book Festival
Paris Cafe Writing
Nebraska Writers Guild Conference
The Creativity Workshop in New York
Breakout Novel Intensive Workshop
Chanticleer Authors Conference
Pikes Peak Writers Conference
Poetry At Round Up Festival
Malice Domestic Convention
Ozarks Writers League Conference
Melbourne Writers Festival
The Lakefly Writers Conference
Atlanta Writers Conference
Bay Area Book Festival
Nonfiction Writers Conference
Big Sur Children’s Writers Workshops
Florida Writing Workshop
Longleaf Writers Conference
Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference
Breakout Novel Intensive Workshop: Boni Virtual Edition
Ignite Your Imagination Conference
Fiction Readers Summit
Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference
Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival
Biographers International Organization Conference
TWH Maine “Mini Mfa” All-Fiction Writers Conference
North Words Writers Symposium
Writing Heights Writers Conference
Northern Colorado Writers Conference
Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference
Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference
Writing the Midwest: A Symposium of Scholars and Writers
Book Lovers Con
Wyoming Writers Conference
Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference
Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference
Walker Percy Weekend
Arkansas Writers’ Conference
Reader & Author Get Together
Historical Novel Society North American Conference
Author Advantage Live
West Chester University Poetry Conference
California Crime Writers Conference
Screencraft Writers Summit
Juniper Summer Writing Institute
Youth Workshops and Activities
Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference
Western Writers of America Convention
Chautauqua Writers’ Festival
Jackson Hole Writers Conference
Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop
Disquiet International Literary Program
Haiku North America Conference
Information, Medium & Society: International Conference on Publishing Studies
Ledbury Poetry Festival
Taos Writers Conference
Tin House Summer Writers’ Workshop
National Writers’ Conference
ASLE Biennial Conference
Southampton Writers Conference
International Creative Writing Conference
Sun Valley Writers’ Conference
The Leopardi Writing Conference
National Book Club Conference
Taylor University’s Professional Writers’ Conference
Napa Valley Writers Conference
Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference
When Words Collide
Swanwick Writers’ Summer School
Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference
Nashville’s 18th Annual Writers’ Conference
Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention
Bear River Writers’ Conference
PNWA Writer’s Conference
Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
Creatures, Crimes & Creativity Con
Yucatan Writing Conference
Milford Writer’s Workshop
The Black Authors & Readers Rock Conference (BARR)
Write on the Sound Writers’ Conference
Next Chapter Con
The DFW Writers Conference
Writing Sisters Summit in the Hills
Ozark Creative Writers Conference
The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference
Moonlight & Magnolias Conference
Women Writing the West Annual Conference
West Coast Christian Writers
Surrey International Writers Conference
Medical Writing & Communication Conference
Kauai Writers Conference
International Conference on Reading, Writing and Applied Linguistics
Looking to write the next best-seller? Sign up now for one of the abovementioned conferences and workshops to discover writing secrets and meet fellow authors and publishers.
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The Novel Bookcamp Week is June 18-24. We offer three concurrent, residential writing programs, the Workshop, a Writing Retreat, and a Book Coach.
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I wish I could have an opportunity to b there in November. Most young people in my country Cameroon don’t love to read. I just want to learn some thing to help them become better
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San Francisco Writers Conference
Learn | Connect | Publish
2024 Writers Conference
The 20th annual San Francisco Writers Conference will take place on February 15-18, 2024 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. The hotel is across from the Ferry Building and next to the Embarcadero BART station!
Plan to join us at our 20th Celebration and Learn… Connect …Publish!
REGISTER NOW FOR THE 2024 CONFERENCE
Apr 1-May 31 — $695
Jun 1-Jul 31 — $745
Aug 1-Sep 30 — $795
Oct 1-Nov 30 — $845
Dec 1, 2023-Feb 14, 2024 — $895
Feb 15-18, 2024 — $945
Highlights for 2024: 100+ Presenters (including more than 20 literary agents and acquiring editors !), 80+ sessions , lectures, and classes over the FOUR day weekend, the SFWC Poetry Summit and the Writing for Hollywood Summit sessions (both summits are included in the registration for the Main SFWC conference and also available separately to the public), a free one-on-one consult with an editor, promotional pro, and book coach, and networking social events.
What to expect at the SFWC?
All attendees get a commemorative tote bag with writing goodies! The SFWC offers so much social and one-on-one networking time with other writers and industry professionals. After-hours hosted networking events, poetry happenings, No-pitch/No-host meet-ups in the bar? You bet. Don’t want to eat dinner alone? There is a no-host dinner every night at a different San Francisco restaurant. Our attendees tell us this friendly yet professional atmosphere is what makes SFWC the conference they choose to attend.
The Hyatt Regency San Francisco is where the SFWC takes place. It is located a short stroll from the Ferry Building, directly in front of the Embarcadero BART station. It is especially convenient for those of you flying into San Francisco airport as the SFO BART station is located inside the international terminal.
You can book your room directly with the hotel by calling 415-788-1234 or clicking this link to book your room. Use our discount code G-SFWT to get the $265 room rate…only good until January 23rd, 2024, or whenever the rooms sell out.
From start to finish, the San Francisco Writers Conference is designed to help you become a better, more professional writer and accelerate your career.
Top Ten Reasons for Writers to Attend the San Francisco Writers Conference:
- You appreciate sessions that fit your specific writing needs and goals. At SFWC, you can choose from a full schedule of workshops and panels that cover fiction, nonfiction, children’s/YA, self-publishing, books-to-screen, poetry, marketing, business, tech, and more.
- You want to launch your writing career— or take it to a more professional level. As in any business, it’s “who you know.” Meet industry leaders and learn how to play the publishing game. The information at SFWC covers the latest trends and technology to help you get more writing done … and successfully sell what you write.
- You want an agent! P itch your book ideas in 8 minutes, one-on-one, to the literary agents of your choice ($50 option for registered attendees only). The literary agents at SFWC are on the lookout for new clients with great books they can represent. They sign up new clients from SFWC all the time!
- You are ready to learn about a wide range of publishing options from leaders in self-publishing, hybrid publishing, and traditional publishing.
- You can get FREE editorial feedback on your work from a freelance book editor and can consult with a book coach and a marketing expert .
- You are building your personal writing community. At SFWC meet like-minded writers from all over the United States and other countries too.
- You seek innovative writer-related services . Meet with the exhibitors and see demos at the conference to find out what’s new for writers.
- You love books. Come browse our onsite bookstore and get the books you purchase autographed by the presenters.
- You have heard about SFWC’s over-the-top networking opportunities. SFWC attendees can jump into pitch practices, share their work at craft workshops, and socialize at our Pub Quiz , Dessert Keynote, Gala Party, and Poetry and Jazz events. This is just a small sampling of what goes on during the event.
- You want to go to a conference that offers it all . You’ve just described the San Francisco Writers Conference — top quality information and excellent speakers, yet is extremely friendly to writers at all levels.
The MAIN CONFERENCE registration fee includes four days of live sessions, keynotes, and events from Thursday through Sunday. Plus, a consult with an editor, book coach, and publicist, unlimited networking with more than 100 presenters (and fellow writers!), a Networking Gala, the Poetry and Jazz party, morning continental breakfasts, a Meet the Agents and Editors panel, Saturday awards & keynote luncheon, the popular Practice Your Pitch event, an attendee bag filled with writer goodies, and so much more!
Concierge Consults with Kevin Smokler, Diane Frank, Nina Amir, and Andy Jones are available if you want to make the most of the SFWC…or just want to talk with them about writing and publishing. Registered attendees will get info on how to get a consult. The fees fund SFWC scholarships.
Master Classes: We take advantage of the fact that a boatload of talented writing and publishing teachers are here for the conference and tap some of them to host 3-hour master classes in various facets of the craft. And it’s great that anyone can sign up for these intensives. It’s open to everyone, not just registered attendees. Take a class with your friends. It’s a great way to start your writing year off with a bang.
You can revisit past conferences by supporting us on Patreon . Videos of 2022 & 2023 breakouts are available.
Best Workshops for Emerging and Established Writers
Call of the Wild writer Jack London once said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” When the writers’ block gremlin infiltrates the mind and tangles up the thoughts there into alphabet soup, writers have various ways of swinging at the nasty creature. Some go on runs. Some do some long-overdue cleaning. Some pick up an abandoned hobby. Most writers agree on two most effective ways to break through the block: clench your teeth and put pen to paper, even if what comes resembles nothing less than roadkill; and talk it out, share your ideas, and immerse yourself in the presence of other writers.
The best workshops for emerging and established writers offer an opportunity to do exactly that. Many of those listed below are generative, and participants have the chance to interact with the best practitioners and mentors of their craft, many of whom, I should or can note, are contributors to Adroit . For those with more finished work or manuscripts, there’s a place for you here, too. Several of these writing (and visual arts) programs offer one-on-one mentoring and manuscript consultations, and you’ll get to make connections with a wide range of literary agents, editors, and publishers.
So why wait? Take your club, and let’s get swinging.
Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference
Founded in 1926, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference is the oldest writing conference in America and one of the most prestigious. Emerging writers have a chance to work with established writers in five two-hour small workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Faculty also hold lectures and one-hour classes on craft. Beyond classes, the conference is filled with readings throughout the day and night, and writers have the opportunity to meet with agents and publishers. The Conference has grown to offer other week-long programs as well, such as the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference for artists whose work centers around the natural world, Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference , and Bread Loaf in Sicily held in Erice, Sicily. For writers ages 18 and up.
Time and place : Summer 2020 TBA, Bread Loaf Campus of Middlebury College in Ripton, Vermont. Previous faculty : Jericho Brown ( Issue Twenty-Six contributor ), A.E. Stallings, Mary Szybist, Alexander Chee , with guest appearances from Yusef Komunyakaa and Ilya Kaminsky. Tuition : $3,525 general contributors; $3,380 auditors. Includes room and board. Financial aid available.
Created for the cultivation of underrepresented African American poets, Cave Canem holds an annual week-long retreat for 40 poet fellows. The program includes four 3-hour workshops and faculty and visiting poet readings and book signings. In addition, Cave Canem offers free or low-cost workshops at its home in Brooklyn. These workshops convene eight to ten times over a few months and have featured faculty like Angel Nafis and Issue Twenty-Four contributor Cortney Lamar Charleston. The community nurtured by Cave Canem is unparalleled; fellows of the retreat have access to other workshops and programs, and its Brooklyn loft regularly hosts readings by established and emerging Black poets.
Time and place : June 7–13, 2020, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Deadline to apply : December 20, 2019 at 11:59 pm EST, applicants notified April 3, 2020 2020 faculty : Major Jackson, Robin Coste Lewis, Evie Shockley and Frank X Walker. Tuition : $1,050 for tuition and $590 for room and board plus $20 application fee. Financial aid available; some pay as low as $90.
The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown
Located in the beautiful dunes and beaches of Provincetown, Massachusetts, the Fine Arts Work Center is primarily known for its prestigious seven-month Writing and Visual Arts Fellowships, a residency program with monthly stipends and lodging for twenty writers and visual artists to pursue independent projects. The Fine Arts Work Center also offers one-week summer workshops centered around topics such as social justice, silkscreen printmaking, novel writing, and landscape photography; the summer program lasts for eleven weeks in total. For rising artists and writers, five interns have the opportunity to help with behind-the-scenes operations. For those who are unable to commute or want a more flexible program, 24PearlStreet , a yearlong series of online workshops, is a great option without the costs of lodging and travel.
Time and place : One week, varies by workshop. Summer 2020 catalog to be released in January. Previous faculty : Hanif Abdurraqib ( Issue Eighteen contributor ), Monica Youn, Joan Wickersham, Alan Shapiro, Pam Houston, David Baker, Constantine Manos.
15-hour writing workshop: $650 20-hour writing workshop: $750 15-hour visual arts workshop: $650 20-hour visual arts workshop: $750
Writing and Visual Arts Fellowship Residency
Time and place : October 1, 2020 – April 30, 2021 Deadlines : Writing: December 2, 2020; Visual Arts: February 1, 2020. Previous fellows : Esther Lin (contributor, Joy Priest, Forrest Gander , Ha Jin, Janet Fish, Yvonne Jacquette.
24PearlStreet Online Writing Program
Time and place : Online, rolling by workshop. Past faculty : Ada Limón , sam sax (Issues Thirteen and Thirty contributor), Jennifer Tseng ( Issue Twenty-Seven contributor ). Tuition : (Not included: $25 registration fee)
One-week workshop: $400 Four-week workshop: $500 Eight-week workshop: $600
Juniper Summer Writing Institute
The Juniper Summer Writing Institute is associated with the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and accepts applicants for poetry, nonfiction, fiction, and visual art. At a typical day at the Institute, participants generate writing, attend craft sessions or Q&A sessions in the morning, attend workshops in the afternoon, and enjoy readings at night. Past craft sessions have included “Herself Behind Herself Concealed: Forging the Erotic Power of the Feminine” with Safiya Sinclair and “What’s the Point of a Point of View?” with Noy Holland. At an added cost of $300, participants can receive a one-on-one manuscript consultation with a guest writer.
Time and place : Summer 2020 , University of Massachusetts Amherst Past faculty : Ross Gay, Joy Williams, Mitchell S. Jackson , with guest appearances from Safiya Sinclair and Ocean Vuong ( Issue Twelve contributor ) Tuition : $1600. Housing, breakfast, and four dinners not included–see list of accommodations ranging from $25–$184 per weeknight.
Kundiman Retreat and Workshops
Inspired by Cave Canem , Kundiman started in 2004 as a way to foster Asian American literature and tackle barriers facing Asian American writers. The Retreat gives 36 poetry and fiction writers the chance to receive a manuscript consultation and attend six-person Master Classes, created to help writers generate new work with prompts and craft talks. Fellows are divided into home groups, all of which receive instruction from all six faculty members. To make its resources accessible to the rest of the Asian American literary community, Kundiman hosts readings and workshops across the country, many of which are open to the public. Fellows are also invited to participate in the annual project initiated Poetry Coalition , a national alliance of organizations dedicated to promote the cultural importance of poetry; the 2019 project led writing prompts and opportunities to take direct action on topics like immigration, activism, documentation, and solidarity.
Time and place : Summer 2020 TBA, Fordham University Rose Hill campus in New York City Past faculty : Myung Mi Kim, Craig Santos Perez, Tania James, Padma Viswanathan Tuition : $1500 plus $25 application fee.
Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices
As an advocate for LGBTQ writers, Lambda Literary joins the growing collection of organizations dedicated to empowering minority groups in America. The retreat marks the first workshop ever created exclusively for writers in the LGBTQ community. Fellows have the chance to meet with industry professionals and receive the support of those facing similar societal struggles. For those interested in dabbling in new genres or perfecting one or two, Lambda Literary Writers Retreat boasts a wide variety of categories, such as fiction, genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and playwriting.
Time and place : 2020 date and application available December 2019, usually Los Angeles Past faculty : Danez Smith ( Issue Nineteen contributor ), Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Mfoniso Udofia, Linda Villarosa Tuition : $850 for workshops and presentations and $800 for housing and meals plus $25 application fee per workshop
Palm Beach Poetry Festival
The Palm Beach Poetry Festival began in 2004 and has since hosted a wide range of poets at the peak of their profession from all across the United States as well as Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom, Qatar, and Peru. The six-day festival provides a venue for enrichment and collaboration, featuring Q&As, panels, workshops, book signings, readings, and more. Each workshop has a limit of twelve people to facilitate a closer connection to faculty. In addition, the festival offers fellowships: the Langston Hughes Fellowship for one African American poet, CantoMundo Palm Beach Poetry Festival Fellowship for one Latinx poet, and the Palm Beach Poetry Festival Kundiman Fellowship for one Asian American poet.
Time and place : January 20–25, 2020, Old School Square, 51 North Swinton Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33444 Deadlines : November 10, 2019 2020 faculty : Maggie Smith ( Issue Twenty-Two contributor ), Ilya Kaminsky, Reginald Gibbons ( Issue Four contributor ), with guest appearances from Joy Harjo and Patricia Smith Tuition : $950 for 16 hours of workshop, all festival events, and one ticket to the gala plus $25 application fee. $550 for auditors. Housing not included–see list of accommodations nearby.
Sewanee Writers’ Conference
During the 12-day program of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, writers of all genres experience workshops, craft talks, and an exclusive one-hour meeting with a faculty member to discuss manuscripts. Participants also have the chance to meet with a long list of literary agents, editors, and publishers of publications and presses such as the Kenyon Review , The Paris Review , Crab Orchard Review , and Copper Canyon Press. The conference also offers numerous scholarship opportunities to attend the conference, including the Walter E. Dakin Fellowships and Tennessee Williams Scholarships in addition to over 15 other awards.
Time and place : Summer 2020 TBA, The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee Past faculty : Tony Earley, Jill McCorkle, Tim O’Brien, Marilyn Nelson, Maurice Manning. Tuition : $1,800 for contributors, $700 for scholars, and no expenses for fellows.
Tin House Workshops
Now celebrating its twentieth year, Tin House also offers a variety of workshops during the year, including its Summer Workshops, Winter Workshops, and YA Fiction Workshop, as well as one-day craft intensives in Portland, Oregon. The workshops are limited to ten students. All participants have a 15 one-on-one with their workshop faculty member and meetings with agents and Tin House editors. For an additional fee from $800 to $1000, participants can also have access to personalized mentorships with faculty to work on a completed poetry or short story collection, novel, or memoir.
Time and place : July 11-19, 2020. Applications open January 1, 2020, Reed College, Portland, Oregon Past faculty : Kevin Young, Natalie Diaz, Jim Shepard, Jo Ann Beard. Tuition : $1600 for tuition and $400 for room and board plus $30 application fee. Scholarships available.
The Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation Workshops
Since 1999, the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation has coupled literary and artistic excellence with social justice; VONA workshops are the only multi-genre workshops exclusively for writers of color in America. In addition to its traditional summer workshops , VONA now offers one-day or two-day programs across the country in places like Los Angeles, New York City, and New Orleans. Each workshop has as little as six participants and as many as 25 and focuses on specific topics in poetry, playwriting, creative nonfiction, fiction, and hybrid forms. Summer workshops cap out at 10 to 12 participants.
Time and place : Varies by workshop Past and current faculty : Elmaz Abinader, David Mura, Willie Perdomo . Tuition : $135–$460 plus $10 application fee per workshop.
Featured image: “Dreams” by Deandra Lee from Issue Twenty-Nine .
Meimei Xu (Zhimei) is a senior at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA. Her journalism and creative work have been recognized by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the Library of Congress, Torrance Legacy Creative Writing Awards, and the NCTE Superior Writing Achievement Award. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Typishly, Cathexis Northwest Press, and Sooth Swarm Journal. She is a 2019 alum of Asian American Journalists Association's JCamp and a 2018 alum of the Kenyon Review Young Writer's Workshop. Meimei currently works as a content writer for The Adroit Journal.
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EVANSTON WRITERS WORKSHOP Presents
In the trenches with the writer conference 2023 .
Hyatt Regency Deerfield, IL
$100 off registration if you book a room. discount only valid until room block sells out so register now .
After a 10 year hiatus we're back and better than ever! In the trenches with the writer is designed to help you take your writing to the next level, we have a weekend of intensive, hands-on workshops taught by best-selling authors and industry professionals.
If getting published is your goal, we have editors presenting workshops on craft, industry and the how-tos of getting published. They will also be holding a panel discussion to address all your burning questions about the publishing process. Best of all, they will taking pitch appointments for those who want them!
Not all the learning is in the classroom. When you're not attending workshops you'll be able to hang-out with other writers, successful authors and editors in a fun and creative atmosphere.
Our conference is multi-genre and is designed to cater to the beginning writer all the way to the most seasoned veteran. After attending our last conference best-selling author Jade Lee exclaimed, "I can't believe how much I learned."
We will be having a raffle this year and you get entries just for registering and a second entry if you book a room. The prizes will be announced at our big awards dinner on Saturday night.
This year we will also be adding exciting a-la-carte workshops, like small group voice acting classes by television, movie, animation and video game star Carlos Ferro, after which you'll be taking home your own reel!
Guest of Honor
Soman Chainani’s debut series, THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD & EVIL, has sold more than 3.5 million copies, been translated into 32 languages across six continents, and has been adapted into a major motion picture from Netflix that debuted at #1 in over 80 countries at release.
His book of retold fairytales, BEASTS & BEAUTY, also debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List, his seventh book in a row to do so, and is slated to be a limited television series from Sony 3000, with Soman writing and executive producing. Together, his books have been on the New York Times Bestseller List for 44 weeks.
A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University’s MFA Film Program, Soman has been nominated for the Waterstone Prize for Children’s Literature, been named to the Out100, and also received the Sun Valley Writer’s Fellowship.
His latest novel, RISE OF THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD & EVIL, kickstarts a new series under his EverNever World brand, to be continued in its sequel, FALL OF The SCHOOL FOR GOOD & EVIL, coming May 2023.
Sherrill Bodine Award Winning Romance Author
Carlos Ferro Voice Actor/Author
Jaime Freveletti Award Winning Crime / T hriller Author
Jade Lee USA Today Best Selling Romance / Children's Book Author
Jo dy Nye NY Times and USA Today Best selling Science Fiction / Fantasy Author
Erika Lance Publishe r, 4 Horseman Publications
Maryjanice davidson ny times and usa today best selling paranormal/ ya / non-fiction author, jill wine-banks n y times and usa today best selling author, msnbc contributor, podcaster.
1750 Lake Cook Rd
Deerfield, IL 60015
The Hyatt offers comfortable and luxurious accommodations at our great rate of $109. Enjoy their spacious and well-appointed rooms, complete with complimentary Wi-Fi. When you book a room, you will also receive $100 off registration if you are staying at the hotel (discount no longer available if the room block is sold out). Their friendly staff is available 24/7 to provide assistance and ensure your stay is enjoyable and worry-free with the convenience of being on-site for all the festivities.
To Book your room click the link below or call 1-800-233-1234 and use code 23EW
4 Horseman Publications
The 2024 Atlanta Writing Workshop
Get your writing published: march 16, 2024, the 2024 atlanta writing workshop: march 16, 2024.
This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more. Note that there are limited seats at the event (200 total). All questions about the event regarding schedule, details and registration are answered below. Thank you for your interest in the 2024 Atlanta Writing Workshop! We are very proud of our many success stories where attendees sign with agents following events — see our growing list of success stories here .
(Please note that this is an in-person event. We at Writing Day Workshops plan both online and in-person events. This next ATLWW is an in-person event happening in the north suburbs on March 16, 2024. See you there.)
WHAT IS IT?
This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at the Le Meridien Atlanta Peremeter by Marriott (north central suburbs). In other words, it’s one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript, and more. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres are welcome.
This event is designed to squeeze as much into one day of learning as possible. You can ask any questions you like during the classes, and get your specific concerns addressed. We will have literary agents onsite to give feedback and take pitches from writers, as well. This year’s agent and editor faculty so far includes:
- literary agent Ismita Hussain (Great Dog Literary)
- literary agent Alex Reubert (Sanford J. Greenburger Associates)
- literary agent Laura Usselman (Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency)
- literary agent Laurie Dennison (Creative Media Agency)
- literary agent Carey Blankenship Kramer (Belcastro Agency)
- literary agent Christine Goss (The Purcell Agency)
- literary scout Stephanie Hollifield (Corvisiero Literary)
- literary agent Kristen Terrette (Martin Literary Management)
- literary agent Erin Clyburn (Howland Literary)
- literary scout Grace Morrison (Booker Albert Literary Agency)
- editor Zoie Janelle Konneker (Peachtree Publishing Company)
- and possibly more to come.
By the end of the day, you will have all the tools you need to move forward on your writing journey. This independent event is organized by coordinator Brian Klems of Writing Day Workshops, with administration from the Broadleaf Writers Association . Contact Brian at [email protected] to register.
EVENT LOCATION & DETAILS:
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, March 16, 2024 — at the Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter by Marriott (north central suburbs), 111 Perimeter Center W, Atlanta, GA 30346.
THIS YEAR’S SESSIONS & WORKSHOPS (MARCH 16, 2024):
What you see below is a quick layout of the day’s events. The topics below are mostly set, but subject to change. You can see a more detailed layout of the day’s classes on the Schedule Page here .
Please Note: There will be 2-3 classes/workshops going at all times during the day, so you will have your choice of what class you attend at any time. The final schedule of topics is subject to change, but here is the current layout:
8:30 – 9:30: Check-in and registration at the event location.
BLOCK ONE: 9:30 – 10:30
1. Finding Your Voice . In this talk, attendees will learn how to identify your voice, how to deliberately and expertly finesse it, and how the best way to sharpen your voice is to write, write, write!
2. How to Hook an Agent . This session will discuss how to research agents, how to submit, what an offer of representation will look like, the role of an agent in your query, and how to make a good agent-client relationship last.
3. Keys to Writing Great Young Adult & Middle Grade Fiction . There are some genre specific things to keep in mind when crafting books for those readers under 18. In this session, attendees will learn tips and tricks for making middle grade and YA novels great.
BLOCK TWO: 10:45 – 11:50
1. Building Your Author Brand & Marketing Plan . This session will share how to create a compelling author brand and the secrets to creating an easy-to-enact book marketing strategy that won’t distract from your writing time.
2 . Out of This World Writing — Tips on Speculative Fiction . Learn how to create intense believable worlds that allow for fantastic events. Come create compelling plots and characters that will have your readers thinking about them long after they’ve laid your pages down.
3. Improve Your Writing: The Basics of Self-Editing and Revision . Writing your manuscript’s first draft is a huge step, but only a primary one. Now it’s time to look at your creation and slowly make it amazing through overhauls, self-editing, and revision.
(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on th e official Schedule Page here .)
LUNCH ON YOUR OWN: 11:50 – 1:15
Lunch is on your own during these 85 minutes.
BLOCK THREE: 1:15 – 2:30
1. “Writers Got Talent”—a Page 1 Critique Fest (room) . This is a chance to get your first page read (anonymously — no bylines given) with attending agents commenting on what was liked or not liked about the submission.
2. Nonfiction Intensive: Book Proposal Tips . A well-executed proposal shows the editor and acquisition team at a publishing house that you are the person to write the proposed book, that you know who your audience is, and that you know how to reach them. And, it includes sample chapters to show that you have the chops to write the book you are proposing.
3. Intro to Writing Picture Books . This course provides an introduction to the key components, including: structure, plot, character development, word choice, rhyme, pacing, themes, humor, and layout.
BLOCK FOUR: 2:45 – 3:45
1. Open Agent Q&A Panel. Several attending literary agents will open themselves up to open Q&A from ATLWW attendees. Bring your questions and get them answered in this popular session.
2. Knock ’em Dead: Tips on Writing Mystery, Thriller, and Crime . You have an idea for a thriller/suspense novel that you think will be a winner. Now what? This class is designed to help you get from concept to published book.
3. Plotting Magic . Using the wisdom of Aristotle, Joseph Campbell ( The Hero’s Journey ) and writing gurus across the country, the 15 Plot Spots will let you in on you the secrets of plotting from the masters.
(What you see here is a quick layout of the day’s events. See a full layout of the day’s sessions, with detailed descriptions, on the official Schedule Page here .)
BLOCK FIVE: 4:00 – 5:00
1. How to Write a Great Query Letter for Your Novel . This workshop is a thorough crash course in writing an awesome query letter. What things should you avoid in query writing? What beginnings are overused and don’t work? How to compose a great pitch? How do you whittle down a long query? This session will cover all those questions and more.
2. Find Success Writing Romance . We’ll talk about plotting and publishing a smart and successful romance novel, what’s selling, and what the market looks like today.
3. Writing Life Productivity Tips & Tools . Very few of us writers are lucky to be able to write full-time. So, the vast majority of writers need to squeeze the most productivity out of the few available hours they have. In this informative session, we’ll cover tips and tools that help you do just that.
SESSIONS END: 5:00
At 5 p.m., the day is done. Speakers will make themselves available by the workshop’s bookstore for a short while to sign any books for attendees.
Agent & Editor Pitching: All throughout the day.
PITCH AN AGENT OR EDITOR:
ADDED ONLINE PITCHING : To ensure that writers have a robust and diverse lineup of agents & editors to pitch, 2024 Atlanta Writing Workshop attendees will have the ability to also pitch literary agents at the Writing Day Workshops *online* event that follows the 2024 ATLWW on our calendar.
That event is the 2024 Online Writing Workshop of San Francisco , April 5-6, 2024, which will have 30-40 agents taking one-on-one Zoom virtual pitches.
This means that 2024 ATLWW attendees can have access to pitching all those online San Francisco agents — pitches still at $29 each — without being a formal registrant for the online April 2024 WWSF. (That said, if you want to formally register for the April 5-6 WWSF and have access to all classes and panels, let us know, as there is a discount for confirmed Atlanta attendees.)
If you are interested in this added pitching opportunity, the first step is to get formally registered for Atlanta. Following the ATLWW conference on March 16, 2024, we will be in touch with all Atlanta attendees and ask them if they want to partake in pitching online agents at the 2024 WWSF (April 5-6) . At that time, you can communicate your pitch requests and purchase meeting time.
More 2024 agents to be announced as they are confirmed. You can sign up for pitches at any time, or switch pitches at any time, so long as the agent in question still has appointments open.
These one-on-one meetings are an amazing chance to pitch your book face-to-face with an agent, and get personal, individual feedback on your pitch/concept. If the agent likes your pitch, they’ll request to see part/all of your book — sending you straight past the slush pile. It also gives you an intimate chance to meet with an agent and pick their brain with any questions on your mind.
(Please note that Agent/Editor Pitching is an add-on, separate aspect of the day, for only those who sign up. Spaces are limited for these premium meetings, and pricing/detail is explained below.)
$199 — EARLY BIRD base price for registration to the 2024 ATLWW and access to all workshops, all day. As of fall 2023, registration is now OPEN.
Add $29 — to secure a 10-minute one-on-one meeting with any of our literary agents or editors in attendance. Use this special meeting as a chance to pitch your work and get professional feedback on your pitch. (Spaces limited.) If they wish, attendees are free to sign up for multiple 10-minute pitch sessions at $29/session — pitching multiple individuals, or securing 20 minutes to pitch one person rather than the usual 10. Here are four quick testimonials regarding writers who have signed with literary agents after pitching them at prior Writing Day Workshops events. (Our bigger, growing list of success stories an be seen here .)
Add $69 — for an in-depth, personal critique of your one-page query letter from Brian Klems, one of the day’s instructors. (This rate is a special event value for Atlanta Writing Workshop attendees only.) Registrants are encouraged to take advantage of the specially-priced critique, so they can send out their query letter with confidence following the workshop. Also, if you are meeting with an agent at the event, you’re essentially speaking your query letter aloud to them. Wouldn’t it be wise to give that query letter (i.e., your pitch) one great edit before that meeting?
Add $89 — for an in-depth personal critique of the first 10 pages of your novel. Spaces with faculty for these critiques are very limited, and participating attendees will either 1) get an in-person meeting at the workshop, if the faculty member is attending the live event, or 2) get a 10-minute phone call with the faculty member, and have notes passed along via email, if the critiquer is not attending the live event. Options:
- Women’s fiction, contemporary/mainstream fiction, literary fiction, young adult, and memoir : Faculty member Kimiko Nakamura , a literary agent and writing coach, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
- Children’s picture books and middle grade : Faculty member Brittany Thurman , a published author, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting. If you submit a picture book, it must be 1,000 words or fewer (can have illustrations or not).
- Commercial women’s fiction, thriller/suspense, thriller with romantic elements, cozy mystery, YA thriller, young adult in general, middle-grade, literary fiction, and fantasy : Faculty member Amberly Finarelli , a literary agent and writing coach, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss her thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
- Science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, young adult SFF, urban fantasy : Faculty member Wesley Chu , a published novelist, will get your work in advance, critique the first 10 double-spaced pages of your book, meet with you online (Zoom, etc.) or by phone for 15 minutes sometime before the workshop to discuss his thoughts, and pass along written critique notes before or after the meeting.
- More critique options possibly forthcoming
How to pay/register — Registration is now open. Reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email: [email protected] , and he will provide specific instructions for payment and registration to get you a reserved seat at the event. Payment is by credit card, PayPal, or check. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Atlanta workshop specifically.
Because of limited space at the venue (Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter by Marriott), the workshop can only allow 200 registrants, unless spacing issues change. For this reason, we encourage you to book sooner rather than later.
Are spaces still available? Yes, we still have spaces available. We will announce RIGHT HERE, at this point on this web page, when all spaces are taken. If you do not see a note right here saying how all spaces are booked, then yes, we still have room, and you are encouraged to register.
How to Register : The easy first step is simply to reach out to workshop organizer Brian Klems via email: [email protected] . He will pass along registration information to you, and give instructions on how to pay by credit card, PayPal, or check. Once payment is complete, you will have a reserved seat at the event. The ATLWW will send out periodic e-mail updates to all registered attendees with any & all news about the event. Because Brian plans different workshops, make sure you note that you’re inquiring about the Atlanta workshop specifically.
Refunds : If you sign up for the event and have to cancel for any reason at any time, you will receive 50% of your total payment back [sent by check or PayPal]. The other 50% is nonrefundable and will not be returned, and helps the workshop ensure that only those truly interested in the limited spacing sign up for the event. (Please note that query editing payments and manuscript editing payments are completely non-refundable if the instructor has already edited your work.)
Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Ismita Hussain of Great Dog Literary
Ismita is a Georgia native and graduate of Emory University, where she studied Human Health and Italian. During college, she also worked for various Atlanta area hospitals in departments ranging from neonatal to geriatric care. In her Desi household, she grew up speaking Bangla, Hindi, and Urdu. Ismita is a founding member of Disability in Publishing and currently serves on their Board of Directors. She also participated in the 2022 Literary Agents of Change Mentorship Program.
Some of her favorite authors are Flannery O’Connor, Cormac McCarthy, Oscar Wilde, and Tom Perrotta. Ismita is especially drawn to fiction with a Southern setting, gritty realist writing, and any books that explore health or disability. Ultimately though, she’s a sucker for writing with a great sense of humor. Member: AALA
In Adult Fiction she seeks:
Literary Fiction, Upmarket, New Adult, Short Story Collections.
Specifically: Fiction in all genres that is informed by, or inspired by, the myths and superstitions of a culture. Fiction that features food service/restaurant culture. Satire, and humorous fiction that comes with a message or reveals a truth about people/society.
Ismita is open to novels that fit these categories but have some genre-fiction elements (ie. literary fiction with a speculative twist).
The most important elements that grab Ismita’s attention are style and literary quality writing.
In Adult Nonfiction she seeks:
Narrative Nonfiction, Pop Culture, Humor, Memoir, Travel, Cookbooks, History, Sports
Specifically: Narrative nonfiction that discusses medicine or health in a way that is accessible and well researched. Nonfiction that makes the reader see their body in a different way. Cookbooks that explore a niche ingredient/theme and cookbooks that tell a story. Quirky and visually stunning coffee table books.
The most important elements that grab Ismita’s attention are expertise and a surprising/niche topic.
In Young Adult she seeks:
Contemporary, Rom-Com, Novel-in-verse, Commercial
Specifically: YA rom-coms featuring desi teens. Retellings of classic stories that haven’t been redone to death (no Shakespeare, King Arthur, etc) and that provide a twist or a fresh new take. A heist book.
The most important elements that grab Ismita’s attention are themes/situations that are true to the teen experience today and commercial quality.
In All Genres she seeks:
Southern settings, Italian settings, Gritty and Realist writing, Books that explore health/disability,
Get to Know a Literary Scout in Attendance: Stephanie Hollifield of Corvisiero Literary
As a literary scout, she is taking pitches on behalf of all the agents at her agency, and passing along worthy submissions to proper agents. That means she can take pitches for the following: adult fantasy (all kinds), intricate historical novels set before the 20th century, horror, psychological thrillers, LGBTQIA+ stories, young adult contemporary, young adult sci-fi and fantasy, women’s fiction, literary fiction, upmarket/commercial, mysteries, work from historically marginalized and underrepresented voice, folklore retellings, and magical realism.
Growing up in a large family, she was surrounded by love, laughter, and creativity. Her love for reading began in kindergarten and hasn’t slowed down since.
Over the past decade, she has dedicated her life to education, teaching students from age one to thirteen while self-publishing eight romance novels in the last eight years. Her weekends often consist of sitting at some sporting activity with her children while passing the time with a good book. It’s been a lifelong dream to pursue a career in the literary world to help underrepresented voices be heard.
She is personally interested in unique romance stories with strong heroes and heroines that work through their past trauma to find something real. She also loves Children’s lit that teaches valuable life lessons and can be tied into a teacher’s curriculum, YA stories, Mystery/Thrillers, and Fantasy.
Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Laura Usselman of Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency
Laura represents adult nonfiction and select literary fiction. Her favorite novels are written in distinctive prose and have memorable characters at their heart. “My fiction interests include character-centered fiction of all stripes, from the formally strange to the family saga. I’m looking for fiction projects that are grounded in strong writing, especially those that make a reader think in a slightly new way about what it is like to be a person.”
“For nonfiction, I am interested in thoughtful narrative nonfiction for younger readers, restlessly curious idea books, and voice-driven memoir. I am looking for writers with an obsessive, insatiable interest in something, who can help me understand something new. I have a special interest in unusual American perspectives, across genres.” Special areas of interest include legal and business narratives, cultural criticism, and contemporary parenthood.
Before joining SKLA, Laura earned her MFA in Fiction at Virginia Tech and worked at Cambridge University Press. A native of Atlanta and an alum of the University of Georgia, she lives with her spouse and her three daughters in Decatur, Georgia.
Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Alex Reubert of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
Alex is pursuing books that, either by style or story, demand he keep reading. For fiction that includes debuts, stories of love, family epics, and coming-of-age, at any age. He loves world literature and wants to see more books published in the U.S. that are not set in the U.S. He is eager to read and represent voices that have been historically de-centered. Thrillers and speculative stories that skew literary are welcome, as is any narrator looking back and trying to make sense of their life.
For nonfiction, he’s interested in memoir, psychology, narrative, philosophy, literary studies, art history, pop science, and cultural studies. The memoirs might be playful in the way they arrange time, the essays written in an undeniable voice. He’s also seeking poets and musicians that have ventured into prose. Writers that instill a sense of curiosity and wonder in others, no matter the subject, should get in touch and tell him about their work.
Alex joined the scouting department of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates at the start of 2019. Prior to the agency, he worked as a bookseller at WORD Bookstores and interned with New Directions and W.W. Norton & Company. Originally from Georgia, he lives in Brooklyn where he enjoys walking through parks and going to delis. Find him on Twitter @alex_reubert
Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Christine Goss of The Purcell Agency
Christine is a graduate of Lake Forest College with a BA in communications. Formerly a sales representative, she has skills that pair well with her love of reading and story development. As an author herself, she is aware of what it requires and the hard work it takes to get to the final product of a completed book. Christine is drawn to stories with high stakes and tension. The first pages need to draw her in with action. She wants to be sucked into the world on the pages through a unique voice. When she’s not working, reading, or writing, she’s usually chasing her two boys who are likely chasing her fur baby (dog).
She is seeking:
I am always looking for LGBTQ+ and stories by underrepresented authors
– Upmarket Fiction/Commercial – Romance: – Fantasy/Romantasy – Dystopian or utopian
Young Adult / New Adult:
– Upmarket Fiction/Commercial Fiction – Romance – Fantasy/Romantasy – Dystopian or utopian
Middle Grade through Adult:
– Graphic Novels
– Cookbooks: Original family recipes with anecdotes sprinkled throughout. A true story of cooking. – Stories about motherhood, unspoken troubles and hardships of new motherhood. – A story that would compel readers to take care of themselves or expand sympathy/understanding for themselves (Re: YOU SHOULD REALLY TALK TO SOMEONE).
Christine would love to see books about approachable ways for a sustainable lifestyle. With work resuming and people going back to the office, how can the environment still be top of mind? Anything exposing fast fashion and how fashion is detrimental to the environment, and not only that but how to practice “slow fashion”.
Favorite Authors: Ali Hazelwood, Talia Hibbert, Isabel Cañas, Chloe Liese, Jessica Joyce, Meryl Wilsner, Ashley Poston, Rebecca Ross, Amy Lea, K.A. Tucker
What I’m NOT looking for at this time: picture books, children’s book, middle grade chapter books (though would take graphic novels), religious, police procedural, anything including the death of a small child.
Get to Know a Literary Scout in Attendance: Grace Morrison of Booker Albert Literary Agency
She is open to pitches for the following: young adult contemporary & paranormal romance, new adult contemporary & paranormal romance, contemporary adult romance, all types of young adult fiction, adult science fiction, adult fantasy, horror, LGBTQ+ romance, action, adventure, thrillers, dystopian, eco-fiction, speculative, grounded fantasy.
Grace is a graduate of the University of Florida with a B.A. in English and Mass Communication. She first found her love for stories by devouring fairy tales as a child, especially the Andrew Lang Fairy books. Usually, she’s drawn to stories with unusual and exciting fantasy worlds like Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys or any other stories with complicated character relationships and strange mythologies. Her favorite tropes are enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn relationships, and hidden worlds. Grace typically has a few jobs at once, and when she’s not reading or writing, she’s most likely at the beach or trying a new restaurant in her hometown.
Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Carey Blankenship-Kramer of Belcastro Agency
After growing up surrounded by books and people who loved to read them, Carey dreamed of bringing more books to the hands of avid readers like herself. She graduated from Berry College with a dual degree in English and Creative Writing. She later received her master’s in Writing and Digital Communications from Agnes Scott College. She has experience working with both publishing houses and literary agencies and loves her role as Junior Agent at Belcastro Agency. As an editorial agent, she loves working closely with her authors to ensure their stories come to life on the page.
While her sweet spot is horror and middle grade, Carey’s tastes are wide and varied. From mystery to fantasy to science fiction, she loves anything that can draw her in and have her rooting for the main characters.
Specifics Across All Genres and Age Groups:
- If you have a strong platform and love what you do, feel free to pitch me a concept.
- Diverse stories from Ownvoices.
- HORROR. Horror, horror, horror! If you have something remotely spooky, Carey wants to see it.
- Neurodiversity rep. As someone with ADHD, anxiety, and depression, neurodiversity is extremely important to Carey.
- Queer stories, especially those with happy endings.
- Quiet, coming of age stories for MG audiences, especially if the word count is on the smaller side with a twinge of magic.
- Stories with animal sidekicks / main characters / or just fluffy pals. Especially horses.
- Dragons! Or anything with mythological creatures.
- Tennis centered books.
- Stories set in the South.
Middle Grade specifics:
- Science Fiction
- Literally everything. Carey LOVES Middle Grade.
Young Adult specifics:
- Graphic Novel
New Adult/Adult specifics:
Carey is NOT accepting
- Stories where the animals die. I’m so sorry, I am weak and cannot handle it.
Some of her most recent favorites include Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega, The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune, Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren, The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill, How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu, When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb, The Broken Girls by Simone St. James, and Just South of Home by Karen Strong.
Outside of work and writing, you can usually find Carey spending time with her small zoo and husband, getting way too competitive on the tennis court, gardening, playing video games, or eating candy.
Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Laurie Dennison of Creative Media Agency
After earning her master’s degree from the University of Florida, Laurie Dennison began her career as an English teacher. She then spent over ten years working as a freelance writer and editor in desktop publishing, including serving as a Pitch Wars mentor for five years. In 2022 she attended the Denver Publishing Institute, leading to an internship at Creative Media Agency, Inc. before stepping into her role as an associate agent and internship coordinator at CMA.
In adult books, Laurie seeks:
- Light fantasy/paranormal grounded in the real world
- Book Club Fiction
- Women’s Fiction
- Domestic Suspense
- Commercial Mystery/Thriller
- Women’s Issues
- young adult/children’s
In Young Adult books, she seeks:
- Light Fantasy/Paranormal
- Light Science Fiction
I especially love upmarket writing, complex characters, and immersive settings. I enjoy upbeat, positive stories but don’t shy away from darker themes. Complicated relationships and family dynamics are a particular interest of mine, and I appreciate character development that is directly and organically integrated with the plot. In nonfiction, I’m interested in authors who are specialists in their fields, have strong platforms, and can help me see the world in a new light.
We live in a diverse world, and I want to see diversity of all types authentically represented in all genres; I’d love to champion minority voices as I build my list.
I’m not looking for picture books, middle grade, military or political thrillers, adult high fantasy or science fiction, horror, dystopian, or business books.
I love books that keep me engaged and turning pages late into the night. I want stories and characters that make me feel something, with concepts that are familiar enough to be relatable but unique enough to offer a fresh perspective. In nonfiction I’m inspired by timely work that helps me see the world in a new way.
I always knew my dream job would involve reading, and now I get to do it every day! I love the moment when a story completely captures my attention and I lose track of time. I am so grateful for the opportunity to partner with authors, help them realize their vision for a project, and place their work to reach readers, all while working collaboratively in a community that loves books as much as I do.
Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Zoie Janelle Konneker of Peachtree Books
Raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, she interned at two local publishing houses in 2019 and graduated from Georgia Tech in with a BS in Literature, Media, & Communication in 2020. Between her graduation and her acceptance of a full-time role at Peachtree in the winter of 2021, she worked as a Foster Coordinator at a metro-Atlanta animal shelter and attributes her love for animals and spreadsheets to her time there. Her goal is to leave the world better than she found it through elevating underrepresented voices in children’s literature and putting relatable, relevant stories in the hands of those that need them most.
I am seeking fiction novels across middle-grade and young adult audiences. I am looking for timeless, emotive, and well-paced books.
I am looking for standalone titles that are full of action and heart. I enjoy historical fiction, contemporary, sci-fi (CYBERPUNK, steampunk, soft science fiction), fantasy (urban, animal, magical, dystopian, high fantasy), supernatural, and plenty of humor. My current priority is light-hearted historical fiction (anywhere from the 1800s to 1990s) with a unique setting and voice and/or anything magical realism.
Cringe-worthy coming-of-age stories with strong-willed, messy, emotional protagonists are my favorite. The manuscript should also be child-centered (non-human characters OK), plot-driven, and should contain realistic, culturally relevant themes. Women’s/LGBTQIA+/Black/Indigenous history and equality is a priority for me, so stories about a particular time in history that is often overlooked or whitewashed are particularly intriguing. I also seek out stories with neurodivergent protagonists in particular. Body positivity and body diversity are also a huge plus.
I enjoy themes of friendship, compassion, sharing, honesty, learning and problem-solving, self-esteem/acceptance and self-reliance, identity, imagination and creativity, decision-making, unconventional or found families, LGBTQIA+ and racial equality.
I am looking for immersive, evenly paced writing that emphasizes and amplifies the protagonist’s unique voice. I prefer not to acquire books written in verse.
- Bonus points:
- Well-timed plot twists
- Southeastern U.S. setting
- Sapphic characters
I am looking for standalone titles with immersive, atmospheric writing that emphasizes and amplifies the protagonist’s (or protagonists’) unique voice. I prefer to acquire books written in prose. I seek out manuscripts that are equally plot and character-driven, highly descriptive, and evenly paces. Atmosphere, mood, and voice are make or break.
Genres: Fiction: historical fiction (1800s – 1990s), contemporary, sci-fi (cyberpunk, steampunk, soft science fiction), fantasy (urban, animal, magical, dystopian, high fantasy with unique magic system), magical realism, supernatural, humor, romance (prefer rom-coms to dramas), retellings (of lesser-known myths/lore)
Subject matter: Human/character-centered, social-emotional learning, neurodiversity, women’s/LGBTQIA+/Black/Indigenous history and equality, family, friendships, relationships, growing up, coming of age/entering the world as an adult
Themes: Friendship, compassion, self-esteem and self-reliance, identity, imagination and creativity, decision-making, unconventional or found families/family trauma or troubles, LGBTQIA+ and racial equality
Bonus Points: — Sapphic characters — Gender nonconforming characters — Cats
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AllWriters' Workplace & Workshop, LLC is an international creative writing studio located in Waukesha, Wisconsin. AllWriters' offers online and on-site classes in all genres and abilities of creative writing, as well as coaching and editing services.
- All of our instructors are professional writers, meaning that they are currently publishing in their field. By publishing, we mean traditional publishing, not self-publishing.
- At AllWriters’ , you’ll learn poetry from poets, fiction from fiction writers, nonfiction from nonfiction writers.
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- We have students in 20 countries and we are steadily growing.
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Program: Writer’s Workshops
Create and grow in our writing community.
A warm and creative community, Writer’s Workshop is a welcoming space for beginners and advanced young writers alike. In both our On-Campus Writer’s Workshop and our Online Writer’s Workshop, students work with accomplished writers to hone their craft and explore their creativity. Students come away with new ideas, a brimming portfolio, and a refined sense of their own voice.
Writer’s Workshop is a perfect balance of instruction from faculty, structured time to work on their craft with peers, and camp fun. A typical day begins with a seminar taught by our expert faculty. These seminars aim both to awaken your student’s natural creative impulses as well as grow writing skills with a focus on key concepts like voice, point of view, style, world-building, and more. Students use fun creative prompts to practice new techniques.
Of course, summer camp wouldn’t be complete without fun too! There are many opportunities to unwind and socialize with peers each day, including games, guest speakers, and free time to connect with new friends. Every week closes with a Writer’s Coffeehouse on Friday to celebrate creativity. The camp community gathers together to share selections from the work they have created over the week.
For Students Entering Grades:
On the campuses of:, amherst college, stanford university, online (usa), online (asia), ready to enroll, intermediate program – rising 6-8 graders.
Most importantly, as students cultivate their voice as writers, they learn to move beyond proofreading to truly understand editing and refinement as an important part of the writing process. Sharing work in workshops opens students to new views and new ideas and helps students embrace the creative possibilities within each piece of their work.
Senior Program – Rising 9-12 graders
These genre-specific tracks allow students to build nuanced skills in their area of greatest interest. Led by our expert faculty, these workshops create a supportive and welcoming environment that encourages students to think of their writing from alternate perspectives and to tune the fine details of their pieces. In all tracks, workshopping with peers is emphasized, aiming to assist students in learning how to give and receive critical feedback. Learn more about the writing tracks below.
8:30 am – Breakfast 9:00 am – Poetry Cup 9:15 am – Craft Seminar: Vivid Description 10:00 am – Break 10:15 am – Craft Seminar: Voice 11:15 am – Free Writing 12:15 pm – Lunch 1:00 pm – Writing Workshops 3:00 pm – Break 3:15 pm – Electives: Slam Poetry 4:15 pm – Free Time: Campus Tour, Field Games 5:30 pm – Dinner 6:15 pm – Writing Time 7:30 pm – Evening Activities/Guest Speaker 9:30 pm - Pod Meeting & Hangout
(Day program drop-off is about 8:45 am and pick-up is about 5:30 pm.)
USA – Eastern Standard Time (New York) 12:30 pm – Poetry Cup & Camp Meeting 12:45 pm – Craft Seminar: Vivid Description 2:00 pm – Break 2:15 pm – Writing Workshop Track 4:15 pm – Break 4:30 pm – Pod Mentoring & Hangout 5:00 pm – Afternoon Dismissal/Family Time – Special Events on Select Evenings
Asia – China Standard Time (Beijing) 9:00 am – Poetry Cup & Camp Meeting 9:30 am – Craft Seminar: Vivid Description 10:45 am – Snack Break 11:00 am – Writing Workshop Track 1:00 pm – Lunch Break 1:30 pm – Pod Reading & Hangout 2:30 pm – Afternoon Dismissal/Family Time – Special Events on Select Days
- Create an expanded portfolio of work.
- Develop a stronger sense of your voice as a writer.
- Build the skills to express yourself clearly in academic writing.
- Learn critiquing and workshopping skills for college and beyond.
- Connect with a network of supportive and wildly creative peers.
Exploratory (Middle School) The Exploratory track for our younger students emphasizes short stories while also exploring additional forms. Students are encouraged to experiment with writing in multiple genres and with varying types of narration. The focus is on energizing exercises to bolster creativity as students master important skills such as vivid description and more. In past summers, students have worked on scripts, short stories, novellas, essays, poetry, and other creative forms.
Screenwriting (High School - Stanford only)
The screenwriting track explores the fascinating world of writing screenplays. Students will delve into the creative process of writing scripts as well as the technical elements of script formatting. Between exercises in their morning seminars and mentored writing sessions, students will dig into the nuances of character-building, story development, voice, and dialogue for the screen as they simultaneously explore screenplay form. And, of course, we'll put these skills into practice to create original screenplays.
Fiction (High School)
The Fiction track focuses on key elements of prose fiction including (but certainly not limited to) point of view, the play and pause of time, character and world building, and dialogue. Students are encouraged to use the creative prompts they are given during supervised writing time to build a portfolio of project starts. The intent of this portfolio is to provide students with inspiration for directions in which to grow their craft.
Non-Fiction (High School)
The Non-Fiction track explores the art of the personal essay. Through reading and examining expository, argumentative, and narrative essay forms, students will engage in the vast creative potential of essay writing. Between exercises in their morning seminars and the examples found in the essays explored, students learn the building blocks of structure, expression, vivid descriptions, and more. Beyond the growth as a writer, this track is especially beneficial for students wishing to cultivate the skills necessary to write a powerful college admissions essay.
Poetry (High School - Amherst and Online only)
The Poetry track will focus on discussions and writing that explores poetic language including but not limited to cadence, rhythm, visual texture, and meaning. Through the guidance of the Academic Directors, students will examine the potential of poetic language compared to more traditional prose forms. Exploratory readings and inspiring writing exercises will push students to develop their voice as a poet and grow their skills in new directions.
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One & multi-week programs available:.
- July 14, 2024
- June 30, 2024
- July 7, 2024
- July 28, 2024
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The Great Books Summer Program is independent of Amherst College, Stanford University, Northwestern University, Haverford College, University of Oxford, and Trinity College of Dublin. All names are trademarks of their respective owners. Great Books Summer Program and Great Books Global Forum are trademarks of Great Books Summer Program. This program does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national or ethnic origin, or disability. Admission to the program is limited and shall be granted or denied at the sole discretion of the program administrators. The camp in Amherst, MA must comply with regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and be licensed by the local board of health. Images of Amherst College courtesy of Amherst College Public Affairs office.
Where Great Writers are Made
Assessing America’s top graduate writing programs
The Iowa Writers’ Workshop can be found in a quaint wooden house at the north end of the University of Iowa campus. The Workshop’s brand-new and clean-lined Glenn Schaeffer Library adjoins the house in the rear, as a fashionable offspring might flank a more elegantly dressed parent. In the library’s Frank Conroy Reading Room, which overlooks the gray waters of the Iowa River, are tall, glassed bookcases containing some 3,000 volumes published by graduates of the Workshop since it began, in 1936. Upstairs, in an unused office, are 16 large boxes of alumni books for which no shelf space is yet available. In a wire basket, on the desk of program associate Connie Brothers, are dozens of clipped reviews of recent books. “And those are only the ones I happen to have seen,” Brothers says.
The Writers’ Workshop is the best-known, most-established writing program in the country, and the books in that pantheon are both humbling and inspiring to the students there. “Most of us are still walking around amazed we got in,” says Drew Keenan, a 34-year-old former software engineer from San Francisco who gave that life up to spend the two years in Iowa’s M.F.A. program.
The students at Iowa, like the thousands of others enrolled in the growing number of graduate writing programs nationally, are infected with the fever of the emerging artist, and the desire to succeed against the sobering odds of the publishing landscape. Trying to assess graduate writing programs is like rating the top-10 party schools: You can count how many bottles go in, and how many empties go out, but you can’t prove the party was fun . Determining which writing programs are best is an alchemy of hearsay, tenuous connectors, certain measurable facts, and one’s own predilections about the art of writing. The number of graduate creative-writing programs has risen from about 50 three decades ago to perhaps 300 now. All have the presumed goal of training soon-to-be-published writers. But which ones promote the best new work, and how?
Each year, some 20,000 people apply for admission to these programs. Those accepted will, at least in theory, have access to skilled teachers, be surrounded by other talented rising writers, be funded in a way that lessens their financial constraint, and earn an entree into the world of books and writers. For all those reasons, the question of which programs are “best” has value beyond just “writer talk,” and the answers—there are many—aren’t always easy to determine.
One prominent consideration in rating these programs is, of course, reputation itself. The Iowa Writers’ Workshop may be the best example of a program possessing an aura that puts it high on everyone’s list: A common refrain is “Everyone applies to Iowa because it’s Iowa.” The Iowa franchise, which had a three-decade head start on just about everyone else, has become bigger than any of its measurable components. A mythology is a difficult thing to parse. But one source of reputation is the work and the renown of a program’s graduates. Among those thousands of would-be writers who apply, many are driven by the implied example of other notable writers who have emerged from one or another program.
Success, for a writer, is rarely immediate. And by the time success truly comes to pass, judging a writing program by that success can be like observing a star burning brightly in the sky after it imploded an eon ago. Richard Ford, an early product of the University of California at Irvine writing program, eventually won a Pulitzer for his novel Independence Day. But Ford didn’t really break through as a writer until he published The Sportswriter in 1986, some 16 years after getting his M.F.A. This measure often seems more meaningful when a newly minted writer has a quick success that seems directly related to having been in a particular program. Irvine saw its reputation spike after one student, Michael Chabon, got a $155,000 advance for his master’s-thesis novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh , which went on to become a best seller. (Chabon won the 2001 Pulitzer for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. ) Alice Sebold’s memoir about being raped, Lucky , began as a 10-page writing assignment in an Irvine class. It was published in 1999, a year after she graduated; she followed it with her best-selling novel, The Lovely Bones .
Irvine, already a top program, could not have been hotter. “Chabon was the first of a series of people from our program who got a lot of attention, and because of that, we were getting huge numbers of applications,” says James McMichael, a poet and longtime UC-Irvine faculty member.
Across the continent, Boston University’s program director, Leslie Epstein, speaks of a particular group that has cemented BU’s reputation. It includes Ha Jin, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Peter Ho Davies, all of whom were quickly and resoundingly acclaimed after graduation. And at Michigan, 2004 M.F.A. grad Elizabeth Kostova earned a $2 million advance for her novel, The Historian , a year after she finished the program.
One shorter-term measure might be the annual Best New American Voices anthology, which publishes student work from graduate writing programs as well as from a host of non-degree-granting conferences and fellowships. Each program nominates two stories a year, and each entry is read blind by the final editor. In the series, published by Harcourt, the submissions of Iowa students have been selected more times than those from any other degree program, though both Virginia and Florida State have consistently had strong showings. (Oddly, Columbia, always considered a top program, has placed none.)
A seemingly accelerating trend is that of students graduating from two or more programs. The winner of the 2006 Booker Prize, Kiran Desai, had attended both the program at Hollins University (then a master of arts, now converted to a two-year M.F.A.) and the M.F.A. program at Columbia; her win was duly celebrated by proud announcements from both programs. “Program hoppers,” who might study briefly at two or more programs, or even get multiple M.F.A.s, also seem increasingly common.
In the simplest matrix for judging creative-writing programs, the first question is: Which well-known authors attended? The other question must be: Which well-known authors teach there? This particular scorecard celebrates the kind of fame that attends a writer who has achieved that rarest of feats: name recognition derived from writing literary fiction. (Genre writers seem rarely to have faculty positions in prestigious programs.)
A single faculty-member writer who’s having a notable success often seems to trump a legion of others quietly publishing work that is respected but not widely celebrated. Columbia University’s Web site features its Nobel Prize–winning faculty member Orhan Pamuk, who began teaching last fall; Gary Shteyngart also recently joined the faculty. Boston University has the estimable Ha Jin, along with Robert Pinsky and Derek Walcott in poetry. Syracuse University’s fine M.F.A. program, once synonymous with Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff (who is now at Stanford), seems known these days for the short-story writer George Saunders and the poet and nonfiction writer Mary Karr. New York University has the novelist E. L. Doctorow and the poets Philip Levine and Sharon Olds.
In addition to helping students learn the craft of writing, good teachers can also be good advocates, connecting top students to agents and publishers. “Programs like Michigan, Iowa, Columbia, and Stanford put out great writers who publish strong stories and novels,” says New York agent Gail Hochman of Brandt & Hochman, “but perhaps more important than which program the student attended is which writers that student studied with. And we look favorably on anyone who has an M.F.A., simply because it shows they’re serious about their writing.”
At some programs, however, famous writers seem guilty of propagating the notion that writing can’t be taught at all. “Good faculty members don’t treat the job as if it’s a prize for writing a great book,” says Ben Marcus, the chair of the Columbia University M.F.A. program. “You’ll find a lot of people who run programs desperately trying to eliminate the attitude that nothing is really possible in these classes.”
At Iowa, some of the faculty members work in large offices where their classes and workshops also meet, like one-room schoolhouses. Marilynne Robinson, the 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, says that the Iowa teachers, in their duty to the students, “are putting aside things we could otherwise be doing, such as our own work.” But elsewhere, employing writers with large reputations but little enthusiasm for teaching leads to exactly the type of disconnected instructor many former students rue.
“Spending your program’s money to buy a really famous person who’s just not much of a teacher isn’t a good idea,” says Eileen Pollack, an Iowa grad who directs the graduate program at Michigan. Many of the top writers at the top programs teach infrequently (one class in a year or year and a half seems typical), because their published works are believed to do more than their teaching for the program’s image. This is because writing programs must contend with the authorial “star system.” While the stars in most other disciplines are known chiefly to specialists, many of the big names in writing are cultural celebrities; having written The Book They Made Into That Movie , a famous author might even have currency with high-school seniors or alumni donors.
In the sense that a workshop is a meeting of working artists, however, “the work of a faculty member is extraordinarily important,” Marcus says. “It shows students their professor is laboring away, just as they are.”
Programs such as those at Virginia, Syracuse, and UC-Irvine take as few as five or six students a year in fiction, and five or six in poetry, while Iowa takes 25 in each and Columbia takes about 35 in each. Last year, Johns Hopkins University’s two-year M.F.A. program admitted only two fiction writers out of 260 applicants. Iowa director Lan Samantha Chang says Iowa had about 1,300 applicants for its 50 total slots.
“Sometimes we’re accused of not being willing to expand,” Irvine’s McMichael says. “We say we would, if we felt the quality of the pool argued for it. Sometimes we have some trouble identifying more than four people we really want.” With those exacting standards come certain pressures, “but we’ve had some years where every member of the class ends up with a book contract,” McMichael says.
In writing, more than in almost any other academic discipline, “the content walks through your door,” says the novelist Christopher Tilghman, who teaches at Virginia. There and at Irvine and Michigan and Texas, to name a few, the numbers of applicants are staggering—often 500 or more. The eventual notoriety or prominence of one’s program can be made or broken in that first step.
At Virginia, the fiction faculty meets in Tilghman’s living room to hash out the choices. Almost every program director says virtually the same thing about the process: GREs, college grades, and what institution one attended as an undergrad are nearly meaningless, used at best as tie-breakers. Of main importance is the short writing sample each student submits for consideration. Almost exclusively from that sample of 10 to 50 pages or so, the selectors must try to divine talent, ambition, teachability, and collegiality—the four critical elements of the ideal apprentice writer’s makeup.
Ha Jin says, “Looking at the writing samples allows you to get to a list of 30 to 40 out of the 300. From there, each person in some ways deserves to be accepted. That’s where other factors enter the discussion.” Here may be where the personality of a program is truly shaped, even if not consciously. For example, he says, “what if you have someone applying who has already published four books? Is that person really willing to consider re‑ examining his writing?” Others worry that applicants who have already published extensively are looking for the degree only as a teaching credential.
At Michigan, where each applicant’s work gets read by at least two faculty members, Pollack says, “you’re still trying to think of how this writer will fit into the community.”
When the historical novelist James Michener endowed the University of Texas with $20 million to support a writing program, the university “started to get good writers,” says James Magnuson, director of the James A. Michener Center, probably the top program in the country in funding creative-writing graduate students. The Michener Center gives its writers free tuition, a $20,000 annual stipend for three years with no teaching responsibility, and a $6,000 “professional development fund” for travel and research.
Texas has the distinction of being a university with two graduate programs in creative writing, which seems something like being a college with two basketball teams. The Texas English department offers a two-year M.A. in creative writing in poetry or fiction, and the Michener Center is a three-year M.F.A. program that requires its students to work in two of the four disciplines offered—playwriting, screenwriting, poetry, and fiction. While paying customers might be more attracted to a program that confers a degree in fewer years, the Michener Center “offers the gift of time,” Magnuson says. “We sometimes overvalue what we do as teachers, when it’s about just letting people write.”
In 2005, University of Michigan alumna Helen Zell donated $5 million to the university’s graduate program in creative writing, to be spent quickly to build the program’s reputation. While Michigan had already been considered one of the country’s top 10, the donation allowed the program to claim to be, as director Eileen Pollack puts it, “one of the top two programs in the country.” Michigan M.F.A. students have their tuition waived for both years. In the first year, each receives a $20,000 stipend; in the second year, each student teaches and receives a slightly smaller amount. Michigan increased its stipend in February from $18,000, in part to match that given by Texas, raising the stakes for the University of Virginia, which had already increased its award to keep up with Michigan’s former rate.
“This has changed everything,” says Virginia’s Tilghman. Virginia was concerned enough to reduce the six or seven available slots in its program to five or six in order to boost its financial award (now about $15,000 for first-year students, Tilghman says). His colleague Ann Beattie is more direct: “It doesn’t compute to do all this work, only to lose people to other programs. We’re not talking about huge amounts.” Cornell takes only four poets and four fiction writers a year, funding them nearly as well as Texas; its faculty-to-student ratio is a touch more than 1:1. Across the country, Irvine’s McMichael says that after these award increases, “we lost two top candidates to Texas, and we had really not been losing anybody we’d accepted before that.”
Another program that may be on the rise is the one at the University of Washington; last October, it was promised a $15 million donation in the will of philanthropist Grace Pollock. At 87, Pollock is alive and well, “but we have time to plan how we’ll use the money,” says director Maya Sonenberg. The program’s faculty boasts three MacArthur “genius grant” recipients, including novelist Charles Johnson.
When programs are assessed on the basis of the financial support they offer, Columbia fares relatively poorly. Its Web site lays out the applicant’s cost bluntly: The estimated total per year, including materials and living expenses, is $50,000.
Criticism of Columbia has been harsh from those who can’t comprehend how a university with a $6 billion endowment could not find a way to fund a few poets and fiction writers. But the history of the School of the Arts, which houses the writing program along with film, theater, and visual arts, has often been one of marginalization.
Dan Kleinman, acting dean of the School of the Arts, says that in its first 25 years or so, the school “was a bit of a backwater, created and left to its own devices.” Little more than a decade ago, Columbia’s creative-writing program rarely tenured faculty, had high turnover among its professors, and got little help with fund-raising. All through, students got little aid. Marcus says that up to now, “it’s our dismal fellowship situation that really hamstrings us.”
Columbia, as a consequence, has lost out on a number of applicants. Roman Skaskiw, a 30-year-old Stanford grad and former Army captain who served as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne in both Iraq and Afghanistan, was accepted at Columbia, “but when they told me what it cost,” he said, “it made my decision very easy.” He’s at Iowa, which now funds all its students (although not equally) for both years.
Marcus believes that with greater financial aid, Columbia’s would be “right up there among the most serious, attractive programs in the country.” And good news came to the program in June. Columbia President Lee Bollinger pledged to provide the School of the Arts an additional $1 million annually in financial aid for graduate students, a chunk of which will go toward the M.F.A. program. While there are no firm plans yet for disbursing the money, “I suspect it will be used to match other institutions to get the students we most want,” said Kleinman. “I also hope it will stimulate fund-raising, as it’s another sign of the support the [M.F.A.] program has from administration.” Students entering during the 2008–2009 academic year will be eligible for the increased assistance.
The financial-aid escalation at the top programs has been like an arms race among superpowers. Brian Evenson, director of Brown University’s Literary Arts M.F.A. program, echoes a growing attitude among the top programs: “With the struggle it already is to start one’s career as a writer, we feel it’s unethical of us to give the students a large debt to carry around with them. We admit only people to whom we can give financial support, which is why our program is so small.”
“One worries—especially if people are paying tens of thousands of dollars for a worthless degree,” says the novelist Chang-rae Lee, currently the director of the creative-writing program at Princeton. His program doesn’t offer a degree but gives its Hodder Fellows the opportunity to write with financial support (like Stanford’s Stegner Fellows and the fellows of the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Creative Writing, which now is associated with Wisconsin’s newer M.F.A. program). Lee, a former director of Hunter College’s M.F.A. program, says, “I did tell my students at Hunter that only if you publish a book or two does the degree become worth anything at all.” He notes that public universities such as Hunter and Brooklyn College can’t give much money, but don’t charge very much, either.
It’s Writers’ Week at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and the topic is idiom. In a packed ballroom, a nonfiction writer, John Jeremiah Sullivan, takes students as well as locals through some thoughts about the craft; he’s one guest in a week in which the program turns its classes over to an array of distinguished writers. UNCW has gained notice by looking to reinvent the process, at least a little bit.
“We were pretty deliberate about being different,” says Philip Gerard of the school’s three-year M.F.A. program. “We were keen on not making the mistakes others have.” Gerard is decidedly tepid on regarding the traditional workshop as the ultimate pedagogical tool. “It can be a lot of people sitting around saying, ‘I liked this but I didn’t like that,’ and it can do more harm than good by creating a lot of defensiveness—that you learn from the workshop how to plug up all the holes. What we’re trying to do here is to say that crafting and polishing is wonderful, but something ragged and wild can be very exciting to the reader.”
Students in the UNCW program do other things. They write dialogue, and then see it performed by actors in a black-box theater on campus. They watch films to learn how to build scenes better. They attend “long-narrative workshops” to try to learn how to move stories beyond short-story length. “They need to figure out how to tell a longer story that doesn’t peter out,” Gerard says. “There’s a whole generation of writers that didn’t learn to do that.”
By and large, though, creative-writing programs seem to rest on traditional pedagogy: The workshop remains, for most, the hub of the wheel. The workshop format sets creative writing apart from most other disciplines in giving peers a strong voice in the development of each other’s work. Iowa’s éminence gris, James Alan McPherson, likens it to the midwestern concept of “neighboring,” of one crossing the road to help another with a crop.
Workshops are always useful, sometimes useful, or never useful, depending on whom one is asking. Many teachers of writing agree with Brooklyn College’s director, the Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham, that in less-effective workshops, “you typically show up with work in hand, and people tell you what’s wrong with it.” Another hazard, he says, is the consensus nature of the workshop process, which can lead young writers to validate work that seems similar to other, generally acclaimed work; recall “all those years of fake Raymond Carver, followed by all those years of fake Denis Johnson.” Cunningham taught at Columbia before taking over the program at Brooklyn (where students rave about how generously he gives his time and attention to their work). “To heck with the idea of the ‘workshop kind of story,’” adds Virginia’s Tilghman. “There’s also a ‘workshop kind of workshop,’ with all these particular rules and guidelines. Really, we don’t have to sit around and have all these rules.”
While “workshop rules” traditionally require that each class member have a say in the discussion of a work, what does now seem out of fashion is the no-holds-barred approach of past decades when it came to voicing comments and criticism, which could be unnecessarily bruising. Ethan Canin, an Iowa faculty member and alum of its Writers’ Workshop, says he graduated from the program thinking, “I gave writing a try, but it didn’t work.” He noted that the students’ competitiveness could be “humiliating and degrading” but also sobering in useful ways. Canin, who graduated from Harvard Medical School after getting his M.F.A., later returned to Iowa to join the faculty after having published several acclaimed books. He teaches in a way that he says is derived from the process of scientific inquiry, beginning each workshop with a discussion of structure, rather than the “this didn’t work for me” tone that many workshops can take. He says he aims to be blunt when he must, without getting nasty: “About two-thirds of my students love me, and one-third hate me.”
“The ethos of the workshop has become much more polite,” according to the poet T. R. Hummer, who directs the three-year M.F.A. program at Arizona State University’s Piper Center—but still, “a good workshop leader can … probe a basic assumption until it begins to collapse.”
At Boston University, legions of students have carried on a love-hate relationship with the program’s plainspoken director, Leslie Epstein. “BU was a pretty competitive environment—a real and helpful spur to me,” says Peter Ho Davies, now teaching at Michigan, “though I’m not sure it was an ideal environment for all.”
Christopher Castellani has published two novels with Algonquin since finishing BU’s program. He says Epstein “used to read my work aloud in funny voices.” While Castellani says such treatment “can have short-term benefits for people who respond to it,” he confesses to feeling a perverse satisfaction when Epstein’s most recent book got banged around by one reviewer. Ha Jin, whom Epstein calls “the only true genius I’ve ever known,” has helped leaven the BU program.
Epstein is famously demanding, in a landscape that’s often blandly accepting. “Almost no one here gets an A,” says Epstein, who has high and clearly defined expectations for the program: “I don’t like super-literary fiction. I still want to be moved .”
Over the years, Epstein has condensed much of his teaching philosophy into what he calls his “tip sheet”—eight pages, double-spaced, beginning with a disquisition on punctuation, with special distaste for the ellipsis: “those three dreamy dots.” The tip sheet is a compilation of the specific—“Clowns, midgets, mimes and people wearing masks should be abjured,” he writes. “Nor am I a fan of wind chimes.” He moves on to larger perceptions about the process: “One must have in mind between sixty-eight and seventy-three percent of the ending. Any more than that percentage and the writer will be in a strait-jacket … Any less and the project will meander and find itself in danger of sinking into the swamp of indecision.”
Though one student has complained of being “paralyzed” by the demands of the tip sheet, Epstein says he wants to “give students something to react to.” He might have a point. In speaking to many creative-writing graduates, I frequently found a kind of buyer’s remorse: They’d come to bemoan the lack of specific criticism or guidance. But this lack appears to have come about by design. In most cases, the professors and program directors characterize their programs as places where writers can find some sanctuary from judgment. Cunningham says that at Brooklyn, “unless you simply don’t give a shit, you’ll get your A.”
“As a writer, you will be harshly evaluated for the rest of your life, by agents, publishers, critics, and readers,” says Columbia’s Marcus. “In a writing program, you want to have your work grow without a lot of hostility to work around.”
Many faculties characterize themselves as mentors and supporters of a writer’s progress. New York University’s program director, Chuck Wachtel, says, “I see it as not so much ‘teaching students’ as ‘helping them learn.’”
But the Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler, who teaches at Florida State, differs. He and his colleague Mark Winegardner, the director of the program, have big, energetic personalities and have no problem saying that good teaching leads to good writing. “You can’t teach every piano player to be Thelonious Monk,” Winegardner says, “but no piano teacher seems tortured by the question of whether piano can be taught .”
Butler is devoted to something he loosely calls “method writing.” He believes that too many writers intellectualize their writing but never tap the deep emotions that create great art, and that the practice has led to an abundance of polished, bloodless prose. “Creative-writing students, who are typically trained almost exclusively in craft and technique, come to me knowing the second through the tenth things about being an artist,” Butler says. “But they don’t know the first thing about it.” In his workshop, students first struggle to find what Butler says is a primary element of a story: the yearning of the character. “Many don’t get it by the end of the workshop. Some will get it later. But some will never get it,” he says. “Not everyone is destined to be an artist.”
“Every program devotes 50 percent of its time to the workshop,” Tilghman says, “but the question may be what you’re doing with the other 50 percent.” Brooklyn, rather than requiring its students to take English classes, conducts its own “craft classes,” including one called “Time Management,” a semester- long look at how writers attend to the passage of time in their works.
Master classes are another way of connecting young writers with more-accomplished ones. For a day or a week, students can attend mini-classes or lectures given by a prominent writer. “Not every writer is a great workshop leader, or likes the informality typical of a workshop,” Tilghman says. “I suspect if Nabokov were alive, you wouldn’t find him and the students sitting around a table with someone saying, ‘Hey, Vlad, what do you think?’ He’d be doing a master class, and lecturing about writing.”
Surrounding events also have much to do with a program’s value. When I was at Iowa, guest speakers at the Workshop in a week’s time included the novelist Charles Baxter, who teaches in the M.F.A. program at the University of Minnesota, Kiran Desai, and the poet Richard Kenney. Many lesser programs would build an entire semester around such events.
Some programs have taken more-definable approaches in their efforts to distinguish themselves. The University of Oregon’s program, which the poet Garrett Hongo revived by using what a former director called a “dojo” model, requires stringent graduate exams. In Pittsburgh, Chatham University offers an M.F.A. that focuses on nature, the environment, and travel. Indiana University’s prestigious three-year M.F.A. program is one of the few to offer a course in teaching creative writing. Winegardner says Florida State’s program will now partner with the university’s film school. The University of Arkansas has a highly regarded program in literary translation to go along with its four-year M.F.A. The University of Nevada at Las Vegas emphasizes global literature, and it funds fellowships from a donation by Glenn Schaeffer, the 1977 Iowa M.F.A. grad turned casino mogul and literary benefactor (for whom the Iowa Writers’ Workshop library is named). And one of the most exciting programs has yet to commence: The Rutgers-Newark Real Lives, Real Stories M.F.A. program begins this fall and will be led by the novelist Jayne Anne Phillips. The 36 writers entering the program range in age from 24 to 60; one-third are students of color, many are raising families, and some have ongoing careers in other fields.
Some programs, such as Mississippi’s and Brooklyn’s, seem to form around a dynamic teacher—Barry Hannah and Cunningham, respectively. The Hopkins program, once known for being led by the encyclopedic John Barth, is still identifiable as a place hospitable to metafiction and linguistic innovation (although the faculty also includes National Book Award winner Alice McDermott, who writes in a realist vein). Surrounded as it is by doctors and scientists who often don’t see the point of made-up stories, the Hopkins program has something of a bunker mentality and a feeling that it must constantly prove its seriousness. It prizes both rigor and inventiveness of language, says program director Jean McGarry. “If workshops are only about self-expression, then you have literary bums floating in and out,” she says.
Brown University’s Literary Arts Program may be the most unusual of all, a program that is habitually innovative. At 75, Robert Coover teaches “Cavewriting” in the Literary Hypermedia sequence. “Brown has the reputation of trying to reinvent the alphabet,” says Columbia’s Marcus, a graduate of Brown’s program. “I’d like to think a good program works against consensus.”
The emergence of Ph.D. programs in creative writing seems at times confounding. Is a Ph.D. something different, or more of the same? With more universities demanding doctorates for all tenure-track teaching positions, says Florida State’s Butler, “the Ph.D. is the new M.F.A., and the M.F.A. is the new M.A.” With only about 100 tenure-track faculty jobs in creative writing becoming available each year, and more than 2,000 graduate students emerging with new degrees in creative writing, the Ph.D. in creative writing may become more common.
Programs vary, but they all attempt to subject students to the same level of rigor as other Ph.D. candidates. The one at the University of Southern California, like many others, has its students take the same comprehensive exams as other doctoral students in English.
Another fast-growing segment of the market is the “low-residency” M.F.A. program. First developed at Goddard College in Vermont, the low-residency model appeals to people with careers. Students typically attend intensive 7-to-10-day residency periods in winter and summer, which emphasize workshops and offer direct contact with faculty members. With such a schedule, programs such as Bennington’s and Warren Wilson’s can attract star faculty members who are based elsewhere. Bennington’s faculty includes Amy Hempel, who also teaches in the M.F.A. program at Sarah Lawrence; Jill McCorkle, now at North Carolina State; and Sven Birkerts, who teaches at Harvard. Warren Wilson’s complement includes the novelist Robert Boswell, who teaches at New Mexico State; and the poet Tony Hoagland, at the University of Houston.
The low-residency programs distinguish themselves by working with generally older students. Many emphasize close, directed readings of as many as 30 books per semester. At a recent Goddard commencement, one graduating fiction writer referred to the event as “the moment we’ve all been annotating for.”
As the low-residencies have multiplied from a core of four programs two decades ago to nearly 30 now, some have found innovative ways to build identity. A couple of the newest are at the University of Alaska at Anchorage, which is converting its three-decade-old residential M.F.A. program to a low- residency model, and at Hamline University, which is adding a low-residency M.F.A. focused on writing for children and young adults to its residential M.F.A. program. Seton Hill University, in Pennsylvania, offers an M.A. in popular fiction, focusing on mystery, romance, sci-fi, and horror; the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast M.F.A. includes in its program young-adult and popular fiction and offers a residency in Ireland. Lesley University’s program includes a concentration in “writing for young people.” Antioch University at Los Angeles focuses on “literature and the pursuit of social justice.”
Not so long ago, graduate programs in creative writing were considered oddities; now it seems odd for an institution not to have such a program. And at least one consequence is that more good work is now in circulation than in the past. Canin says that when he began teaching at Iowa, “about half the stories I got were quite bad. Now hardly any are.” Highly regarded programs such as those at the universities of Montana, Alabama, and Indiana are seeing droves of graduates publish soon after finishing their M.F.A. or even while working on it. David Fenza, director of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, says he sees a landscape changing in the way that television did when it shifted from three networks to more and smaller channels. “I think a lot of good work will be out there, much of it published by smaller presses.” The poet Chase Twichell, an Iowa grad who runs the nonprofit Ausable Press, says she gets about 600 submissions a year, “and the majority read like M.F.A. theses.”
But even in that formalization of the art through degrees and curriculum, the factors that make for a good program are an alchemy of the measurable and unmeasurable. And many still believe that the real writers, rather like the truth, will out, regardless of the pedigree of their program.
“Does any program really improve anybody, as much as simply identifying them?” asks Chang-rae Lee. “And, after identifying them, not ruining them?”
___ Writers’ Workshop Crossword Clue
Writers Workshop NYT Crossword Clue Answers are listed below. Did you came up with a solution that did not solve the clue? No worries the correct answers are below. When you see multiple answers, look for the last one because that’s the most recent.
WRITERS WORKSHOP Crossword Answer
- 20-sided shape
- French brothers
- Fertility lab supply
- Cry of faux-surprise
- Upper-left keyboard key
- Most mountainous Caribbean nation
- Reasons to wear socks post-vacation
- Football rival of the Brigham Young Cougars
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