Writers Workshops

July 25-August 1, 2016

Please note: The information below has not been updated for 2016. Check back on January 1 for 2016 information.

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Writers Workshops in Fiction, Nonfiction and Memoir

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, and 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. Nonfiction or memoir submissions should be in a narrative form; travel, self-help, how-to, and scholarly works will not be considered.

  • Participants’ manuscripts are critiqued in daily morning workshops
  • Afternoon & evening craft talks, panels on craft, staff readings panel discussions on editing & publishing
  • Individual one-on-one conferences
  • Finding the Story Workshop lead by Gill Dennis
  • Open Workshop lead by Sands Hall
  • Admissions are based on the merit of submitted manuscripts alone
  • Financial Aid Available
  • 124 writers attend

Tuition is $1,075, which includes six evening meals. Financial aid is available. Admissions are based on submitted manuscripts. Please Note: Tuition does not include housing costs*. Housing and Meals

Deadline: April 2, 2015

Our dates and deadlines are earlier than they have been in the past. Please mark your calendars! We make no admissions decisions before all the submissions have been read and evaluated. Fees & Deadlines


Writers Workshops Teaching Staff

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  • Lisa Alvarez
  • Max Byrd
  • Alan Cheuse
  • Mark Childress
  • John Daniel
  • Leslie Daniels
  • Tyler Dilts
  • Alex Espinoza
  • Janet Fitch
  • Lynn Freed
  • Dagoberto Gilb
  • Sands Hall
  • Dana Johnson
  • Louis B. Jones
  • Yiyun Li
  • Elizabeth Rosner
  • Alice Sebold
  • Julia Flynn Siler
  • Martin J. Smith
  • Gregory Spatz
  • Diana Wagman
  • Tiphanie Yanique

Literary Agents & Editors

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  • Elise Capron
  • Michael V. Carlisle
  • Lucy Carson
  • Ann Close
  • Laura Cogan
  • Asya Muchnick
  • Elizabeth Scharlatt
  • Daniel Smetanka
  • Peter Steinberg
  • Andrew Tonkovich

Special Guests

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  • Elana Kuczynski Arnold
  • Kim Culbertson
  • Frances Dinkelspiel
  • Anne Lamott
  • Michelle Latiolais
  • Malcolm Margolin
  • kem nunn author
    Kem Nunn
  • Charlie Olsen
  • Jason Roberts
  • Amy Tan
  • Pauls Toutonghi

Daily Schedule

Morning workshops meet daily from 9-12. Each workshop consists of 12 to 13 participants and has a different workshop leader each day. In each session, the group discusses two, sometimes three, participant manuscripts. During the course of the week, one manuscript by each participant is critiqued. Participants are asked to arrive with copies of the manuscript they would like treated in workshop. Our directors will assign each participant to the most appropriate staff workshop leader.

Afternoon and evening schedules are quite full, with optional lectures, panel discussions, staff readings, and other presentations. Participants need to set aside time for the reading and evaluation of workshop manuscripts.

Individual Conferences

Each participant is assigned a brief one-on-one conference with a staff member appropriate to his or her manuscript. These conferences are scheduled at the mutual convenience of the participant and the assigned staff member and usually run no longer than twenty minutes. In most cases, the manuscript to be discussed will be the one submitted with the application.

Finding the Story

We are very sad to announce that Gill Dennis died on Wednesday, May 15, 2015. We will honor and remember him this July as part of our Writers Workshops. There will be no Finding The Story workshop offered.

Other Opportunities

OPEN WORKSHOP: Several afternoons during the week, Sands Hall leads the Open Workshop, which provides another opportunity for participants to share their writing with their conference peers. Work is read aloud and discussed in a spontaneous and productive format.


Published Alumni Reading Series

Each summer, recently published alumni are invited to return to Squaw Valley to read from their books and talk about their journey from unpublished writers to published authors.

Alumni who have been part of this reading series include Anita Amirrezvani, Eddy Ancinas, Ramona Ausubel, David Bajo, Aimee Bender, David Corbett, Charmaine Craig, Frances Dinkelspiel, Heather Donahue, Cai Emmons, Alex Espinoza, Joshua Ferris, Amy Franklin-Willis, Jamie Ford, Vicki Forman, Alison Singh Gee, Tanya Egan Gibson, Alan Grostephan, Glen David Gold, Judith Hendricks, Susan Henderson, Sara J. Henry, Rhoda Huffey, Michael Jaime-Becerra, Alma Katsu, Krys Lee, Regina Louise, Michael David Lukas, Marisa Matarazzo, Mark Maynard, Christina Meldrum, Janis Cooke Newman, Jessica O’Dwyer, Victoria Patterson, Ismet Prcic, Frederick Reiken, Robin Romm, Elizabeth Rosner, Adrienne Sharp, Alice Sebold, Julia Flynn Siler, Jordan Fisher Smith, Scott Sparling, Ellen Sussman, Lisa Tucker, Brenda Rickman Vantrease, Mary Volmer, Dora Calott Wang, M.D., Andrew Winer, and Alia Yunis among others.

2015 Alumni Readers

The Community of Writers is delighted to celebrate the success of these writers and to present them to the participants, staff, and the public.

  • Paulette Livers
  • Peyton Marshall
  • Aline Ohanesian
  • Andrew Roe
  • Désirée Zamorano

How to Apply

  • Past Writers Workshop participants: If you attended the last two years do not apply this year. (I.e. attendance is allowed 2 out of every 3 years.) Once you have taken a year off, you are welcome to apply again.
  • Deadline for receipt of application/submission: April 2, 2015
  • Applicants, including past participants, should submit a sample of their best, unpublished prose.
  • Writing sample submission ms. may consist of a story (or stories), essay(s) or chapter(s). Book chapters should be accompanied by a one-page synopsis of the whole book’s plot. (Add to the end of ms.) Submission ms. (excluding synopsis) must be less than 5,000 words.
  • Submission ms. must be typed, double-spaced and 12 pt., with your name in the upper right-hand corner of each page. Attach a digital file (PDF or Word.doc) of your submission ms. to the online application form. (Manuscripts will not be returned; they will be recycled. Digital files will be deleted.)
  • Request participation in the Finding the Story Workshop in the online application form.
  • If applying in more than one category, please send separate submission, including application fee.
  • A $35 reading fee will be due with submission, payable by check or credit card.
  • Once you complete the online form, you will receive an email confirmation.
  • Notification of acceptance by May 10.
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