The Mont Blanc workshop is a one or two-week long writing adventure where writers will have the opportunity to generate new work, receive manuscript critique, explore Chamonix and hike in stunning French Alps. The workshops are limited to 12 participants to ensure an intimate setting, plus plenty of time to write and enjoy France. All participants will work with faculty member Pam Houston whether they choose to attend the first week only or the full two-week session.
When: June 7 - 13, 2020 (first week only) or June 7 - 19, 2020 (full two weeks) in Chamonix in the French Alps. The workshops will be held at the Chalets des Sapins, 396 Rue du Lyret, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France.
Tuition: $1,400 (for first week) or $2,700 (for full two weeks) includes the weekly four-day workshop, scheduled readings, cocktail parties and dinners. (Please see schedule for details).
Lodging: Private rooms are available at Chalets des Sapins and we encourage writers to stay with us in one of three chalets on the property. The chalets have various bedroom/bathroom configurations but all chalets feature private bedrooms, full kitchens, access to laundry, free parking and free WIFI. For shared bathrooms, at most 3 people will share 2 bathrooms per chalet. In order to create a creative space, student chalets are intended for writers only and not for families and guests (unless they too are registered workshop participants). Housing will be provided continuously from June 7 - 19 for writers wishing to stay for the full two-week session. The rates are per week:
$700 double bed with private bath (shower, sink, toilet)
$600 double bed with semi-private bath (private shower and sink, shared toilet)
$500 double or two twin beds bed with shared bathroom
Meals: Other than scheduled events, you’ll be in charge of your own meals. All on-site Chalet des Sapins chalets have kitchens. People here also tend to bond fairly quickly and participants in the program swiftly colonize assorted cafes and restaurants in the valley. In terms of costs, $20 a day will get you the best bread, cheese, and wine of your life. There’s an excellent farmer’s market, a cheese co-op, numerous bakeries, etc. If you want to go deluxe, there are plenty of high-end restaurants, including a few with Michelin stars.
Travel: Because people come from all around the world, we also let participants book their own air and rail. Geneva tends to be the best place to fly into, with easy 1 hour shuttles from the airport to Chamonix. Turin, Milan, and Lyon are also reasonably close and they’re ideal starting points if you want to fit extra travel into your plans.
Format: Part workshop, part residency and all adventure, the Mont Blanc Writing Adventure is broken into two, week-long sessions so writers may stay for the first week only or the full two week session. Workshops are held weekly for three hours Monday – Thursday afternoons from 4-7pm (see workshop schedule). Each session will feature opportunities for generative writing exercises and manuscript critique by faculty member Pam Houston and workshop peers. Manuscripts for critique will be limited to ~5000 words per week. The program leaves plenty of time for participants to write and hike. The Chamonix Valley is filled with cafes, rock-climber bars, and secluded alpine meadows where you can hide out and lose yourself in your work. It also offers world class hiking, easily accessed from various lifts throughout the valley so you can start your adventure on top of the world.
Faculty: Pam Houston
Chamonix is located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. The best travel details can be found on the official Chamonix/Mont Blanc website. The Chalet des Sapins is located at 396 rue du Lyret, 74400 Chamonix near the foot of the Aiguille du Midi cable car and roughly a 4 minute walk from the pedestrian center.
Arrival & Departure: Our welcome reception, dinner and orientation is on Sunday, June 7, 2020, at 6pm at Chalets des Sapins. The week-long workshop will end on Friday June 12th with the optional group hike and the full two-week long workshop will end on Thursday, June 18th with workshops from 4pm – 7pm followed by a wrap up party. Lodging will be available until Saturday, June 13th for writers staying one week and Friday, June 19th for writers staying for the full two-week session.
Getting there: Chamonix can be reached by air, rail or car. Most people find it best to fly into Geneva International Airport and then either take the Oui Bus to the Chamonix Sud bus station which is a 350m walk to the Chalet des Sapins, or take the Alpy Bus which will drop you off at your door. Other airport options are Turin (about 1 hour), Milan (about 2 hours) and Lyon (about 3 hours drive). The name of the main train station in Chamonix is Gare de Chamonix Mont-Blanc, which is on the French national rail network and operated by SNCF. Please keep in mind the French rail system is prone to strikes so it is always best to check before traveling.
Driving Directions to Chalet des Sapins from Geneva: Once you leave the airport follow the green motorway signs for France. The E62-A1-E25 motorway will take you directly to the French/Swiss boarder (douane/customs). Once you are over the boarder follow the A40 motorway in the direction of Chamonix Mont-Blanc (left lane after the douane). As you come into Chamonix you will pass through 2 tunnels and then onto a roundabout. Right takes you to the Mont Blanc tunnel, straight on towards Chamonix. At the next roundabout, turn left, signposted Aguille du Midi and the hospital. Very shortly there will be another roundabout where you turn right again, taking you past the Aguille du Midi Cable car station. Continue straight for a further 50m and you will see our front gates (wood with pine tree shapes) on the left. We are number 396.
On-site Lodging: If you are staying with us on site, the Chalet des Sapins is located at 396 rue du Lyret, 74400 Chamonix. All chalets feature private bedrooms, full kitchens, access to laundry, free parking and free WIFI. Lodging will be available for check-in starting at 4pm on Sunday, June 7th and will be available until Saturday, June 13th for first week only participants and 10am on Friday, June 19th for participants staying for the full session. Lodging will be available nightly (including over the middle weekend) for all full session participants.
Hiking Equipment Rentals: Chamonix offers almost unlimited world class hiking in the stunning French Alps. Trains and lifts will be running to higher elevations so that you can start your adventure on the top of the world. Hiking boots and hiking poles are available for rent at Intersport in Chamonix center for a nominal price per day.
Coordinating Travel: If you wish to coordinate with other workshop participants please use the comments section below.
For additional information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you in the stunning French Alps!
Acceptance to the workshop is based upon review of a writing sample (10 pages of fiction or nonfiction/personal essay). Writing samples must be double spaced, using a size 12 Times New Roman or similar font.
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 March 1st.
Fellowships: WxW offers a limited number of fellowships for the Mont Blanc workshop. Fellowship are highly competitive. he WxW Board reviews each fellowship submission and awards are made on the merit of the writing sample alone. Please do not send letters of recommendation. Fellowships cover the cost of tuition for one week ($1,400), but do not cover transportation or lodging. To apply for a fellowship, please check the “Fellowship Submission” box on the workshop application. The deadline for fellowship consideration is January 1st. We are always seeking funding for additional fellowships. If you would like to sponsor a fellowship, please contact us at email@example.com.
Cancellation Policy: If you cancel by March 1, 2020, your tuition will be refunded minus a $150 cancellation fee. Refunds for cancellations made after March 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.