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The Writing By Writers Monterey Bay Workshop brings emerging writers into close community with nationally known poets and writers. Classes are limited to 12 participants for manuscript critique workshops and 15 for generative workshops to ensure an intimate setting. 

When:  September 18 - 22, 2024 at Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California.

Tuition: $2,000 (before April 1) $2,200 (after April 1) includes one four-day workshop, admittance to all panels and readings, and all meals (dinner on Wednesday; three meals Thursday through Sunday; breakfast and lunch on Sunday) and lodging for four nights. Vegan and gluten-free meals are available upon request.

Lodging: Celebrated as Monterey Peninsula's "Refuge by the Sea" - Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds is a breathtakingly gorgeous107 acres of ecologically diverse beachfront land. Situated within the quaint and scenic town of Pacific Grove, Asilomar offers guests the simple comforts of cozy cottages and historic lodges - and an unforgettable escape from the demands of everyday life. Complimentary wireless internet access is available in all guest rooms. A limited number of single rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis for a supplemental fee of $900. Disability accessible and equipped rooms are available. Please let us know as soon as possible if you require these accommodations.

Format:  Workshops are held each morning for four consecutive days. The workshops allow participants to work closely with a nationally known writer, to receive constructive feedback from their peers, and to spend four intensive days dedicated to creativity. Afternoons are reserved for panels by our faculty on craft, student readings, and time to write. Evenings feature readings by faculty and special guests. 

Faculty:  Ramona Ausubel, Pam Houston, Leigh Newman, Carl Phillips and Laura Warrell

Faculty

Faculty & Workshops

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Prose Workshop: Fiction, Memoir & Creative Nonfiction

Ramona Ausubel

In this mixed-genre prose workshop we will look at narrative structure and how the order and shape of a piece changes and creates meaning. We will study the natural world for shape and pattern and arrange and rearrange our own stories or essays based on the ecosystems and emotional landscapes within the pieces, and in the world around us. Classes will be a combination of workshop and generative prompts and projects. Manuscripts are limited to 5000 words.

Ramona Ausubel grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of three novels and two story collections. Her new novel, The Last Animal, was published in spring of 2023. Winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, she has also been a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, California and Colorado Book Awards and long-listed for the Story Prize, Frank O’Connor International Story Award and the International Impac Dublin Literary Award and New York Times Notable Book selections. She holds an MFA from the University of California, Irvine where she won the Glenn Schaeffer Award in Fiction. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, The New York Times, NPR’s Selected Shorts, One Story, Electric Literature, Ploughshares, The Oxford American, and collected in The Best American Fantasy and online in The Paris Review.   She has been a finalist for the Puschart Prize and a Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Ramona has taught at Tin House, The Community of Writers, Writing by Writers, the Low-Residency MFA programs at the Institute of American Indian Arts and Bennington. She is an assistant professor at Colorado State University.

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Advanced Prose Workshop: Fiction, Memoir & Creative Nonfiction

Pam Houston

This course will be an intensive and advanced prose workshop. We will focus on what I believe to be the real artistry of prose writing: the translation of the emotional stakes of the story onto its physical landscape; the way we dip our ladles into the bottomless pot of metaphor soup of our lived and witnessed experience and pull out what we need; the way we pick up hunks of the physical world and bring it back to the page, translated into language. My job as a workshop leader is to make and hold a safe space where we can bring our considered, compassionate and critical eye to each writer’s work and discuss how to make each manuscript even stronger. We will be aiming for sentences in which the language is always working in at least two ways at once, where metaphors dance between meanings like beads of water on a too hot grill. We will work toward demystifying some of the essential components of storytelling (image, metaphor, structure, dialogue, character, scene, among others) and turning them into comprehensible tools that are at our disposal. We will, no doubt, be humbled in the face of languages unlimited possibility and well as its limitation. At the same time we will honor (and hope for) the inexplicable flights of creativity (and madness?) that take a good story and make it great. Manuscripts are limited to 5000 words.

Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, which won the 2019 Colorado Book Award, the High Plains Book Award and the Reading The West Advocacy Award and more recently, Air Mail: Letters of Politics Pandemics and Place coauthored with Amy Irvine.  She is also the author of Cowboys Are My Weakness, Contents May Have Shifted, and four other books of fiction and nonfiction, all published by W.W. Norton. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level on a 120-acre homestead near the headwaters of the Rio Grande and teaches creative writing at UC Davis and at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is cofounder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing by Writers and fiction editor at the Environmental Arts Journal Terrain.org. She raises Icelandic Sheep and Irish Wolfhounds and is a fierce advocate for the Earth.

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Fiction Workshop: Call It Home

Leigh Newman

In this fiction workshop, we'll look at how to center your writing around place—how to infuse that place into character, dialogue, and even the storyline. (I'm not a fan of the word plot; we can talk about why in session). Wherever you set your story, novel, essay, memoir, that's home. At least for the next 15 to 1500 pages. And so it's the place the story lives and rests and seeks solace. The place where the story comes alive. We'll workshop, do writing exercises, laugh, cry, revise, start fresh, whatever the event requires. Manuscript are limited to 5000 words.

Leigh Newman's collection Nobody Gets Out Alive (Scribner 2022) was long listed for the National Book Award for Fiction and The Story Prize. Her stories have appeared in the Paris Review, Harper’s, Best American Short Stories 2020, Tin House, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, One Story and Electric Literature, and have been awarded a Pushcart prize and an American Society of Magazine Editors’ fiction prize. Still Points North (Dial Press), her memoir about growing up in Alaska, was a finalist for the National Book Critic Circle’s John Leonard prize. In 2020, she received the Paris Review’s Terry Southern Prize for “humor, wit, and sprezzatura. Newman's essays and book reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Bookforum, Vogue, O The Oprah Magazine, and other magazines. She teaches at New York University’s MFA program and serves as an editor-at-large at Catapult Books and Zibby Books. When not writing, she looks after her two dogs, two chickens, two kids, and her beloved, disgruntled cat.

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Poetry Workshop: Four Days Four Poems

Carl Phillips

In this generative workshop, we will look closely at a single poem each day and use the methods of that poem (its patterning devices) to create drafts of our own. I’ll provide the four discussion poems ahead of time. We’ll also look at ways to mine existing poems for ideas that can be used to revise stuck drafts. By the end of our time together, you will have produced four strong drafts, at the very least, and perhaps four actual poems! For our first meeting, please bring a poem of yours (no more than a page) that you feel represents who you are as a poet, and please be willing to share it with the class.

 

Carl Phillips is the author of 15 books, most recently the Pulitzer Prize winning collection, Then the War: And Selected Poems, 2007-2020 (Macmillian, 2022). Other books include Wild Is the Wind (FSG, 2018), The Tether, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and Double Shadow, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  His prose books are The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination (2014) and Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry (2004), and he has translated Sophocles’s Philoctetes (2004).  A finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, his other honors include the Lambda Literary Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Theodore Roethke Memorial Foundation Poetry Award, the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the Academy of American Poets, for which he served as Chancellor from 2006-2012.  In addition to contemporary poetry and the writing of it, his academic interests include classical philology, translation, and the history of prosody in English.

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Fiction Workshop: (Don’t) Spare Me the Details

Laura Warrell

The unsung hero of storytelling is, in large part, detail, what writer Francine Prose calls “the building blocks with which a story is put together” and “the clues to something deeper.” Precise, perhaps even unexpected, details make plots riveting, characters compelling, and sentences elegant. In this fiction lab, we will examine the multitude of ways authors incorporate details into their work and explore techniques for finding the perfect detail to make a story come alive on the page. For the first half of each session, we will workshop submitted manuscripts, paying close attention to the author’s use of detail. During the second half, generative work will hopefully reveal the untapped magic of our stories. Manuscripts (optional) limited to 2,500 words. 

 

Laura Warrell is the author of Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, and long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and the Golden Poppy Book Award through the California Independent Booksellers Alliance. Named a ‘best’ or ‘must-read’ book by Vanity Fair, People, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Apple Books, The Root, The Millions, Hollywood Reporter, Bustle, Today, Debutiful, and elsewhere, the novel was also chosen as a Good Morning America Buzz Pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Pick, and an Indie Next List Pick. The novel was published by Doubleday in the UK in February 2023. Laura, named a “Writer to Watch” by Publishers Weekly, grew up in Ohio. She graduated from the Creative Writing Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and she has attended residencies at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Tin House Writer’s Workshop where she taught in the online Winter Workshop in 2023. She has taught Creative Writing and Literature through the Emerging Voices program at PEN America Los Angeles, at Writing Workshops Los Angeles, and at the Berklee College of Music and other academic institutions in Los Angeles and Boston. Laura’s writing has been published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Lit Hub, Los Angeles Review of Books, Huffington Post, The Rumpus, The Writer, and other publications.

Travel

Travel

Asilomar Conference Center is located at 800 Asilomar Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950. Workshop registration is on Wednesday, September 18, 2024, from 4:30 to 5pm in Heather Hall. At 5pm we will have a mandatory orientation for all participants. The week will end on Sunday, September 22, 2024, with workshops from 9:00 – 12:00pm followed by lunch and farewells. Please plan your travel accordingly.

Airports: The Asilomar Conference Center can be reached from several Bay Area airports. Monterey Regional Airport is the closest airport, approximately 15 minutes away from the conference center. San Jose International Airport (SJC) is approximately 80 miles and 90 minutes from Asilomar and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is approximately 100 miles and 2 hours away. 

Ground Transportation: Airport shuttle service from San Jose or San Francisco available through Monterey Airbus

Parking: Parking is free at Asilomar Hotel & Conference Grounds and there is no park entrance fee.

Coordinating Travel:  If you wish to coordinate rides with other workshop participants please use the comments box below.

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Workshop Schedule

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

4:30 – 5:00 pm        Registration, Heather Hall

5:00 – 5:45 pm        Mandatory Orientation*

5:45 – 6:15 pm        Meet Your Workshop

6:30 – 8:00 pm        Dinner

8:15 – 9:30 pm        Faculty Reading & Reception

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

7:00 – 9:00 am         Breakfast

9:00 – 12:00 pm       Workshops

12:00 – 1:30 pm       Lunch

2:00 – 3:30 pm         Panel Discussion

3:30 – 5:30 pm         Fellowship Winners Reading*

6:30 – 8:00 pm         Dinner

8:15 – 9:30 pm         Faculty Reading & Reception

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

7:00 – 9:00 am         Breakfast

9:00 – 12:00 pm       Workshops

12:00 – 1:30 pm       Lunch

2:00 – 3:30 pm         Panel Discussion

3:30 – 6:30 pm         On Your Own (writing, beach walk etc.)

6:30 – 8:00 pm         Dinner

8:15 – 9:30 pm         Faculty Reading & Reception

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

7:00 – 9:00 am         Breakfast

9:00 – 12:00 pm       Workshops

12:00 – 1:30 pm       Lunch

2:00 – 4:00 pm         Open Mic Reading (250 words max)*

4:00 – 6:00 pm         Reception & Reading

6:30 – 8:00 pm         Dinner

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

7:00 – 9:00 am         Breakfast and Check out

9:00 – 12:00 pm       Workshops

12:00 – 1:00 pm       Sack Lunch, book signings and farewells

Schedule
Apply

Application Details

Acceptance to the workshop is based upon review of a writing sample (10 pages of fiction or nonfiction/personal essay, or five poems).  Writing samples must be double spaced, using a size 11 or 12 Times New Roman or similar font.

An application fee of $25 is required. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and will close when all classes are full. 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 info@writingxwriters.org to your safe senders list to make sure you get our acceptance notification! You may also see your status through your Submittable account at any time.

 

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 50%. The remaining balance is due 90 days before the event. Please note, there are a limited number of single rooms and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fellowships:  WxW offers a limited number of fellowships for the Monteray Bay workshop. Fellowships are highly competitive. The 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, room and board, but do not cover transportation. To apply for a fellowship, please check the “Fellowship Submission” box on the workshop application. The deadline for fellowship consideration is May 1. We are always seeking funding for additional fellowships. If you would like to sponsor a fellowship, please contact us at info@writingxwriters.org.

Cancellation Policy: If you cancel up to 90 days before the event your tuition will be refunded minus a $150 cancellation fee. Refunds for cancellations made less than 90 days from the event are contingent upon filling your place and will be made only if your place is filled. No refunds are available less that 30 days from the event. 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.

Apply
 

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