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Due to COVID-19 and the ongoing concerns over the health and safety of our students and faculty, Manuscript Boot Camp will be hosted ONLINE over Zoom for 2020. We hope to be back in person at Grablibakken Tahoe in 2021.

The Writing By Writers Manuscript Boot Camp is for the writer who has a full, book-length manuscript (novel, memoir, short story or poetry collection) and would like to engage with a small group for a serious and productive response. The long weekend will include an intimate manuscript workshop, craft talks, readings, an agent panel and individual agent meetings – the perfect pre-publication boot camp for any manuscript.  Classes are limited to 5 participants.

When: November 6 - 9, 2020 online over Zoom.

Tuition: Full tuition is $2,750 which includes a manuscript review of up to 300 pages ($100 for every additional 25 pages), 3 days of workshop, admittance to all craft talks, panels and readings, and a one-on-one with an agent/editor. Writing By Writers would like to thank the faculty for generously reducing their standard reading fees (which range from $5,000 to $10,000 for a full manuscript) so that we may offer this workshop to you at a significantly reduced rate.

Format: Classes are limited to 5 participants each and one workshop session is set aside for each manuscript.  Each participant will have their manuscript read by their faculty member and their four peers. In addition, they will have a one-on-one session with their faculty member and selected agent/editor.

Faculty: Andre Dubus III, Carolyn Forché, Pam Houston & Antonia Nelson.



Fiction, Memoir, Short Story & Essay Collections

Andre Debus III

Andre Dubus III’s seven books include the New York Times’ bestsellers House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days, and his memoir, Townie. His most recent novel, Gone So Long, has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal and has been named on many “Best Books” lists, including selection for The Boston Globe’s “Twenty Best Books of 2018” and “The Best Books of 2018”, “Top 100”, Amazon.

Mr. Dubus has been a finalist for the National Book Award, and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Magazine Award for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and is a recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His books are published in over twenty-five languages, and he teaches full-time at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Fontaine, a modern dancer, and their three children.


Poetry Collections & Memoir

Carolyn Forché

Carolyn Forché’s first volume, Gathering the Tribes, winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, was followed by The Country Between Us, The Angel of History, and Blue Hour. She is also the author of the memoir What You Have Heard Is True (Penguin Random House, 2019), a devastating, lyrical, and visionary memoir about a young woman’s brave choice to engage with horror in order to help others. She has translated Mahmoud Darwish, Claribel Alegria, and Robert Desnos. Her famed international anthology, Against Forgetting, has been praised by Nelson Mandela as “itself a blow against tyranny, against prejudice, against injustice,” and is followed by the 2014 anthology The Poetry of Witness. In 1998 in Stockholm, she received the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award for her human rights advocacy and the preservation of memory and culture.


Fiction, Memoir, Short Story & Essay Collections

Pam Houston

Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, as well as two novels, Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton. Her stories have been selected for volumes of The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Short Stories of the Century among other anthologies. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA Award for contemporary fiction, the Evil Companions Literary Award and several teaching awards.  She teaches in the Low Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is Professor of English at UC Davis, and co-founder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers, which puts on between seven and ten writers gatherings per year in places as diverse as Boulder, Colorado, Tomales Bay, California and Chamonix, France. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level on a 120-acre homestead near the headwaters of the Rio Grande. A book of letters between Pam and environmental activist Amy Irvine will be published by Torrey House Press in October of 2020.


Fiction, Memoir & Short Story Collections

Antonia Nelson

Antonya Nelson is the author of eleven books of fiction, including Nothing Right, Bound and Funny Once. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, Redbook and other magazines, as well as in anthologies such as Prize Stories, The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories. She is the recipient of the 2003 Rea Award for Short Fiction, as well as NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships, and teaches in the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program and the Warren Wilson Low Residency MFA Program. She lives in Telluride, Colorado, and Houston, Texas.

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Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises

Betsy Amster

Betsy Amster is president of Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises. A former editor at Pantheon and Vintage, two divisions of Random House, she has been described in the Los Angeles Times as “a dogged prospector of…literary talent” and celebrated in the American Society of Journalists and Authors newsletter for her “no-nonsense style and whimsical sense of humor.” Her clients include Los Angeles Times bestselling writers Maria Amparo Escandon, author of ESPERANZA’S BOX OF SAINTS (Scribner), and Joy Nicholson, author of THE TRIBES OF PALOS VERDES (St. Martin’s; now a major motion picture starring Jennifer Garner); Mary Higgins Clark Award winner Sandi Ault, author of WILD INDIGO and three other titles in the “Wild” mystery series (Berkley Prime Crime); popular research psychologist Elaine N. Aron, author of THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON and THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE CHILD (Harmony); historian Margaret Leslie Davis, author of THE LOST GUTENBERG (forthcoming from Avery); MacArthur fellow and urban farmer Will Allen, author of THE GOOD FOOD REVOLUTION (Gotham); and James Beard Award-winning baker Kim Boyce, author of GOOD TO THE GRAIN: BAKING WITH WHOLE-GRAIN FLOURS (Abrams).


The agency's areas of interest include literary fiction, commercial women’s fiction, mysteries and thrillers, memoirs, narrative nonfiction, travelogues, social issues, psychology, popular culture, health, parenting, cooking, gardening, and quirky gift books.


Wendy Sherman Associates, Inc

Laura Mazer

Before joining Wendy Sherman Associates, Laura Mazer was the executive editor of Seal Press, a boutique imprint of the Hachette Book Group, where she edited bold voices in adult nonfiction. Her New York Times bestselling books include So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo and From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars by Virginia Grohl. Previously, Laura was the managing editor of Counterpoint and executive editor of its imprint Soft Skull Press, where she edited literary and contemporary fiction and narrative nonfiction. Before joining the book-publishing industry, Laura oversaw editorial operations for Creators Syndicate, a global news agency representing some of the most influential opinion writers and editorial cartoonists of the day, including Hillary Clinton, Arianna Huffington, Molly Ivins, Ann Landers, and Mike Luckovich. Laura was also a senior editor at Brill’s Content magazine and the special sections editor at the Los Angeles Times.


Laura represents fiction, memoir and nonfiction, with an adult nonfiction focus on progressive cultural commentary, feminism and racial justice, intelligent pop culture, keep-it-real prescriptive advice, irreverent self-help, and packaged gift or “concept” books. She adores history, biography, and celebrations of literary legacies, especially when they offer fresh stories about women. 

A longtime advocate for underrepresented voices, Laura sits on the board of The OpEd Project and teaches publishing seminars at Left Margin Lit, a writing center in Berkeley.


Workshop Schedule*


3:30 – 4:00 pm          Welcome & Orientation

4:00 – 4:30 pm          Meet Your Workshop

4:30 – 5:30 pm          Craft Talk: Pam Houston

5:30 – 6:30 pm          Faculty Reading


9:00 – 11:00 am         Workshop

11:00 – 11:30 am       On Your Own/1-on-1s

11:30 – 12:30 pm       Agent/Editor Talk: Betsey Amster & Laura Mazer

1:00 – 2:00 pm           On Your Own/1-on-1s

2:00 – 4:00 pm           Workshop

4:00 – 5:00 pm           On Your Own/1-on-1s

5:00 – 6:00 pm           Craft Talk: Antonya Nelson


9:00 – 11:00 am         Workshop

11:00 – 11:30 am       On Your Own/1-on-1s

11:30 – 12:30 pm       Craft Talk: Andre Dubus

1:00 – 2:00 pm           On Your Own/1-on-1s

2:00 – 4:00 pm           Workshop

4:00 – 5:00 pm           On Your Own/1-on-1s

5:00 – 6:00 pm           Student Readings


9:00 – 11:00 am         Workshop

11:00 – 11:30 am       Faculty 1-on-1s

11:30 – 12:30 pm       Craft Talk: Carolyn Forché

12:30 – 1:00 pm         Wrap-up



Application Details

Acceptance to the workshop is based upon review of a writing sample.  Please submit the first chapter/story/essay/poems of the full manuscript that you plan to workshop (roughly 15-20 pages). Writing samples must be double spaced, using a size 12 Times New Roman or similar font. If accepted to the  workshop, your final draft must be submitted by September 15th.

An application fee of $25 is required. If you are accepted to the workshop, your application fee of $25 will be applied to your tuition. If you are not accepted to the workshop, we will refund your $25. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Once you apply you will receive an immediate email confirmation of your application. Sometimes these go into your junk or bulk mail folder. If this happens, please add to your safe senders list to make sure you get our acceptance notification!

If you are accepted, you will be notified of your workshop placement via email and asked to confirm your intention to attend within two weeks by enrolling and submitting a minimum deposit of $1,000. The remaining balance is due February 1 (spring session) or September 1st (fall session).

Cancellation Policy:  If you cancel by September 1 for the Fall Session, your tuition will be refunded minus a $150 cancellation fee. Refunds for cancellations made after September 1 are contingent upon filling your place and will be made only if your place is filled. In the unlikely event that we must cancel a workshop and you do not wish to transfer to another workshop, you will receive a full refund.

Workshop Full

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