Writing Conferences and Retreats

Click here for an extensive list of writing conferences and retreats around the state and the country.



Emandal Artstays

Run away to Emandal, a farm on the Eel River near Willits, CA, and write with these wonderful instructors:

June 7-11, 2017
GUY BIEDERMAN: Low-fat Fiction

August 26-30, 2017
SUSAN BONO: Life in Small Bites: Memoir for Busy People
ARMAND BRINT: Bringing Your Poems to Life

September 13-17, 2017
SUSAN BONO with SUSAN STARBIRD: Playing with the Truth: A Memoir Workshop

To register:
For questions: Susan Bono:


Napa Valley Writers’ Conference  July 23-28, 2017

Applications are now open for the 37th Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, The priority admissions deadline is March 31. All applications for financial assistance are also due March 31.

Poetry workshops focus on the production and critique of new work. The poetry faculty:

  • Eavan Boland is the author of, most recently, A Woman Without a Country and New Collected Poems. Her other books of poetry include Domestic Violence, Against Love Poetry, The Lost Land, and In a Time of Violence. She directs the creative writing program at Stanford University.
  • Jane Hirshfield is the author of eight collections of poetry, most recently The Beauty, long listed for the National Book Award. Her second collection of essays, Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World, received the Northern California Book Award. In 2012 she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
  • Ada Limón is the author of four books of poetry, including Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, and a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other books include Lucky Wreck, This Big Fake World, and Sharks in the Rivers.
  • Matthew Zapruder is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Come On All You Ghosts, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Sun Bear. Why Poetry, a book of prose, is forthcoming in summer 2017. He directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College of California.

Fiction workshops will be led by:

  • Lan Samantha Chang, who is the author of three books: the critically acclaimed novella All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost, the novel Inheritance, and Hunger: A Novella and Stories. Her fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, Ploughshares, and Best American Short Stories. Chang directs the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
  • Peter Ho Davies is the author of two novels, The Fortunes and The Welsh Girl, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, as well as two short story collections, The Ugliest House in the World and Equal Love. He serves on the faculty of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan.
  • Daniel Orozco is the author of Orientation and Other Stories. His work has appeared in the Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies, among other outlets. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Idaho.
  • ZZ Packer is working on a novel about Reconstruction and the Buffalo Soldiers, and previously authored the story collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere. She was named one of The New Yorker’s “Best 20 Under 40” American writers and GRANTA’s Best Young American Novelists, and her work has been featured in 100 Years of Best American Short Stories.

A reading fee of $25 is due upon application. Tuition costs $975, and financial assistance is available, including new scholarships for 2017 specifically for Napa County residents; requests for aid are due no later than March 31. For faculty profiles and application information, visit To join the conference community online, “like” the conference at or follow


Mendocino Writers’ Conference and Publishing Bootcamp 2017

Thursday, August 3, 8:30 a.m. – Sunday, August 6, 4:00 p.m.

The Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference is a vibrant gathering that offers morning workshops in a wide range of genres, relevant to differing experience levels—from a dedicated emerging writers’ workshop to a juried-in master class. Afternoons are packed with craft seminars, pitch panels, one-on-one consultations, and open mics; and every evening offers an opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie and connection that make this conference, in the words of a 2016 participant, “life changing.” An add-on or stand-alone publishing bootcamp is offered the day after the conference for all those interested in learning more about the business-end of writing.

Keynote speaker: Michael Krasny

Interactive workshops are restricted to fourteen participants, with the exception of the Master Class which is limited to twelve. Participants will follow their instructors for three mornings, Thursday through Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Enrollment for all workshops is first come, first served, with the exception of the Master Class which entails a juried entry (submissions for which must be received by May 15). Participants for all workshops will be expected to submit work prior to the workshop, and to read and comment on the work of others. Submission guidelines will be supplied upon enrollment.

Campus: Mendocino K-8 School, 44261 Little Lake Road, Mendocino.

Contact: 707-485-4031 or Details on workshops, instructors, events, and registration:


4-Day Women’s Writing Retreat at St. Dorothy’s Rest in Camp Meeker

Fall Retreat: Friday – Monday, September 22-25, 2017
Winter Retreat: Friday – Monday, January 19-22, 2018

With author & writing guide Susan Hagen. Retreat to a private, woodsy cabin to write, explore, and deepen your craft. We begin each day with meditation, guided imagery, and nature-based practices to quiet the mind. Then we write and share our stories, practicing new skills and techniques to improve our craft. Some writers are working on books or collections of stories, while others come for the freedom to explore and expand their writing lives. Cabin life is relaxing and informal, and someone else does the cooking. Everything supports the inner life and makes way for deep exploration. Beginning, experienced, and exploring writers of all genres are welcome. Payment plans available.


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