2013 Writing Conferences & Workshops


Poets & Writers' listing for Bread Loaf Writers Conference: http://www.pw.org/content/bread_loaf_writers_conference

Poets & Writers’ listing for Bread Loaf Writers Conference: http://www.pw.org/content/bread_loaf_writers_conference

Late-winter and early-spring are a time for hunkering in from the cold or taking refuge beneath tropical sun. We’re not yet thinking of summer.

But, for writers wanting to attend summer writing conferences or workshops, we are, in fact, in the thick of writing conference application season.

Rather than wait for this week’s Friday Links, today’s post will feature links to several of the best summer writing conferences — and also hashtag for following tweets from next week’s Associated Writing Programs Conference in Boston.

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2 Great Publishing Conferences:

  • #AWP13: It’s time, folks! March 6th-9th, AWP 2013 (Associated Writing Programs’ winter conference) will be off and running in Boston. In recent years, Twitter hashtags have added an entirely new, lively component to conference participation. If you are attending the conference, use the hashtag #AWP2013 to coordinate with other writers, editors, agents, etc., there with you, and to share insights from the conference. For those of us not attending? Become a vicarious conference participant by following the hashtag throughout the weekend.  You’ll be privy to great quotes from workshops, themes that arise and more. It’s a great way to discover interesting people to follow. [Also, here is the website link for the AWP Conference.]
  • Grub Street Muse & Marketplace 2013  was on my 2013 “wish list” as I swear it seemed that every single human involved in writing and publishing was there last May. When I workshopped with Ann Hood, she was flying out to be at Grub Street the next morning, and the weekend was full of #Muse2012 tweets from writers, editors, agents, publishers, digital content folks — you name it. The Muse is May 3rd-5th in Boston; overviews and registration are available online.

Renowned Summer Workshops:

Here are 3 of the most prominent summer workshops. As they are competitive to apply to, consider checking out forums discussing the process by following a link to the Speakeasy forum under Poets & Writers near the end of this post.

  • Bread Loaf Writers Conference: March 1st is the deadline to apply for Bread Loaf Writers Conference held in Vermont August 14-24. If you’ve never been to Bread Loaf, take the time to read about it, as it has one of the oldest traditions for literary conferences in the country, dating back to 1926. Numerous famed writers have participated as attendees before gaining fame and as workshop leaders. Admissions are competitive, so send your best work. If the application date passed you, check out the new Bread Loaf in Sicily workshop, scheduled for September 15-21.
  • Tin House Writer’s Workshop has steadily gained national recognition as one of the foremost summer conferences, attracting fabulous faculty and participants. The workshop is held July 14-21 at Reed College in Portland, OR. The link takes you to the admissions page; use the site menu for lists of faculty and more description. No deadline is posted, although applications are currently being reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis; admission is competitive, so apply early.
  • Sewanee Writers’ Conference  is a by-admission summer conference with a tradition for excellence in the faculty, workshops and participating writers. (Sewanee and Bread Loaf often share faculty in common; attending writers have described Bread Loaf as having a more structured schedule and being slightly more intense.) The conference is held July 23rd-August 4th at Sewanee – the University of the South, in Tennessee. Applications are being accepted Jan. 15th-April 15th.
  • Aspen Summer Words has been on my radar as the only workshop or conference I could find where Colum McCann has taught. Beyond this, search through the site to find clips from speakers and other great insight into the value of Aspen’s programs, which include both juried and non-juried summer programs (June 16-21) and winter programs.

More Great Summer Conferences and Workshops:

To Find Other Conferences or Workshops:

Do not underestimate the value of regional workshops and conferences in your area. To locate more conferences, either by region or by interest, check out these data bases:

  • AWP Directory of Conferences: use this customizable search to find conferences or workshops to meet your needs
  • Poets & Writers magazine: the link at left takes you to a data base of conferences and residencies on P&W’s site. Or, join conversations in the Speakeasy forum, where writers share their wisdom about the application process and what they gained from attending most national conferences.

If Not Summer, Then Next Year:

If summer is not your time for workshopping, then watch for more deadlines in the fall for fabulous conferences and workshops held over the winter. I’ll include one to watch as it unfolds in March:

  • Sirenland: If you have the liberty to take off to beautiful Positano, Italy (one of my favorite places), here’s one to consider applying to for next year. Sirenland 2013 takes place March 17-23, with applications accepted in the fall. The conference was established by Hannah Tinti (author of The Good Thief, and editor of One Story). If you’re curious, check for a #sirenland hashtag during the conference week.

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How About You?

What conferences or workshops have you considered attending? Which have you attended in the past?

Share your interests or experience in the comments, or share links to your own posts about conferences. It’s especially helpful to other readers if you can share advice about admissions, experience from attending, the names of workshop leaders you’d recommend, or the names of local workshops you’ve attended and would recommend.

For example, read this great 3-part series on writing workshops posted by writer Gerry Wilson, beginning with: Workshop Primer Part 1: What, Where & Why?

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Coming tomorrow: My Reading List: Winter 2013

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8 Comments

Filed under Novel Writing, Writing Life, Writing workshop

8 responses to “2013 Writing Conferences & Workshops

  1. Excellent resources! Thanks for posting this. It will be useful :)

  2. It is that time of year, isn’t it? I just did applications for Bread Loaf, Tin House, Sewanee, and the SLS contest. Between applying in multiple genres and trying for scholarships the paperwork took me all weekend (and I still haven’t done the Tin House scholarship essay).

    • elissa field

      Wow! All those applications are a job in themselves. Good for you to have gotten them together. I’d love to do a workshop this summer, but haven’t decided if I’ll apply. As tempting as it is, I’m more where you were last year: I have a ms I need to get to a completed form, and may do best working on that on my own. Hmm. Nice to see you here, Jennifer – thanks for commenting and let us know how the applications go. Good luck!

  3. joyweesemoll

    Thanks for this — and for mentioning it in the WSChat tonight!

  4. I have twice attended Surrey International Writing Conference (www.SIWC.ca) where I was able to meet agents and publishers who asked for my manuscript(s). Several times I’ve attended (and once presented at) Word on the Lake in Salmon Arm, BC. (www.saow.ca) Word on the Lake is a small festival, with excellent speakers in a beautiful setting. Next year (May 30-Jun 1, 2014) Diana Gabaldon will be among the 10 excellent presenters!

    I find I really enjoy the challenges presented by the speakers, who often completely divergent perspectives. My ideas are stretched with powerful ‘What ifs.’ I love the notes I take, that I can look back on years later, when I am in a different place with my writing. I *adore* being able to mingle with ‘my tribe.’ It’s so great to be with people who understand about the voices in my head!

    My tip is to read through the web pages, and register as soon as possible, so you don’t procrastinate and miss your opportunity.

    • elissa field

      Thanks for the great advice on these conferences/festivals. It’s great information.

      I completely agree with the value you’ve found in attending, as I have notes from workshops and experiences with the writers I’ve met, that continue to inspire long after the actual experience.

      Thanks for sharing your insights, and I look forward to reading more on your blog.

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