Summertime Schooling for the Writer in All of Us

Summer Writing

As a writer and an academic, the summer months present an ideal opportunity to take a break from the classroom and to focus on my craft and ongoing writing projects.  For many other writers, I know the summer months offer a chance to think more deeply about plot, character arcs, and the next story or chapter without the challenges faced during the more taxing seasons of Fall, Winter, and Spring.  Plus the sunshine and warm breezes don’t hurt either!

If you’re looking for a chance to network and extend your writing abilities through educational and workshop environments, summertime is a fantastic season full of options. Below I’ve highlighted a few that offer great training, writer-ly camaraderie, and inviting locales.

  • Skidmore Writers Institute (Saratoga Springs, NY; July 4-July 29). Offers 2-week and 4-week courses for writers of different levels, ranging from intermediate, advance, and master classes.  The faculty they bring in for the workshops is stunning (awards and accolades galore!) and your workshop will meet 3 times a week for 3 hours, with readings and other writing and networking opportunities scattered throughout the remainder of the schedule. You have the option of applying early (by February) for scholarship funding, but applications for enrollment without financial aid are rolling and you can still apply for a potentially open slot in one of the workshops.

Genres: Poetry, Fiction (Novel and Short Story), Non-Fiction

Application Fee: $60

Submission: Online; Brief Letter and 5-20 pages (Students in Fiction or Non-Fiction) or 2-3    Poems (Students in Poetry)

  • Iowa Writer’s Workshop Summer Program (Iowa City, IA; May 16 – June 2 or June 13 – August 4). Offers 4-week and 8-week courses in poetry and fiction.  Workshops meet once a week (8-week) for 2 hours or twice a week (4-week) for 3 hours. The MFA program at Iowa is world-renowned and their summer program, although not taught by their resident faculty, is often taught by graduates of their MFA program. Applications are due March 1.

Genres: Poetry, Fiction (Novel and Short Story)

Application Fee: None

Submission: Mail-In; Cover Sheet and 10-12 poems (Poetry), 2 or 3 Short Stories or Chapters of a Novel (Fiction)

  • Community of Writers at Squaw Valley (Squaw Valley, CA; July 25 – August 1). Offers a 1-week long intensive workshop for Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction/Memoir. The week is full of daily workshops, afternoon craft talks, and one-on-one meetings with their writing teaching staff. Applications are due April 12.Genres: Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction/Memoir (they offer a separate workshop for poetry on different dates)Application Fee: $40Submission: Online; Sample of your unpublished work (under 5,000 words)
  • Tin House (Reed College, OR; July 10-17). Offers a 1-week long intensive workshop for Short-Story Fiction, Novel-Writing, Creative Non-Fiction/Memoir, and Poetry. Workshops meet in the mornings for 6 days, and afternoons are filled with craft seminars and career panels. Deadline for scholarship applications is March 23; other applications are accepted on a rolling basis (they typically start to fill up by May).

Genres: Short-Story Fiction, Novel-Writing, Creative Non-Fiction/Memoir, and Poetry

Application Fee: $40

Submission: Online; Sample of your work (varies by genre)

 Looking for something more ongoing  or not limited to the summer? 

  • The Writer’s Center (Bethesda, MD) offers a host of workshops throughout the year, along with author readings and a variety of other events and opportunities for writers of all skill levels.  One of my favorite authors, A.X. Ahmad, regularly teaches the Master Novel course.  Needless to say, they have an impressive roster of faculty!
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