Writing Conferences and Retreats

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


18th annual San Francisco Writers Conference

The 18th annual San Francisco Writers Conference will take place July 21–24, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. Highlights for 2022: 100+ Presenters (including 20 literary agents!), 80+ sessions, lectures and classes over the FOUR day weekend, the SFWC Poetry Summit and the Writing for Hollywood Summit sessions (both summits included in the registration for the Main SFWC event), Writing for Change, a free one-on-one consult with an editor and book coach, and networking social events.

Presenters this year will include best-selling authors, literary agents, editors, and publishers from major publishing houses. There will be experts on self-publishing, book promotion, platform building, social media, audiobooks, podcasting, and author websites.

The San Francisco Writers Conference has one of the largest faculties of any writers’ conference to ensure the best networking with the people who can help you get published. All of our presenters are in person at the SFWC events and eager to share their expertise and love of writing. The event is packed with nearly 100 sessions for writers— from the craft of writing to the business of publishing. There is copious networking with the very people who can advance your writing career, a glorious gala, keynotes and continental breakfasts, lots of social interaction with other writers, our Pub Quiz, a Friday evening Writing for Change event, and an invaluable ‘practice your pitch’ session. Want feedback? Attendees can have a free one-on-one session with an independent editor AND another with a book coach or marketing expert. There will be exhibitors with services and tools for writers, too.

If you are working on your book, getting ready to publish it, or looking for ways to promote an already published book, this is the event you need to attend.

The MAIN CONFERENCE registration fee ($850) includes four days of live sessions, keynotes, and events from Thursday through Sunday. Plus, a consult with an editor AND book coach or publicist, unlimited networking with more than 100 presenters (and fellow writers!), a Networking Gala, the Poetry and Jazz party, morning continental breakfasts, a Meet the Agents and Editors panel, Saturday awards & keynote luncheon, the popular Practice Your Pitch event, an attendee bag filled with writer goodies, and more! Deadline for registration: July 20, 2022.


Napa Valley Writers’ Conference — July 24-29, 2022

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

  • Jane Hirshfield, a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the founder of Poets For Science, is the author of nine collections of poetry, including most recently Ledger. Her books have received the Poetry Center Book Award and the California Book Award; The Beauty was long-listed for the National Book Award.
  • Major Jackson has authored five books of poetry, including The Absurd Man, Roll Deep, Holding Company, Hoops, and Leaving Saturn, which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems. He is the author of the essay collection A Beat Beyond: Selected Prose of Major Jackson.
  • Dana Levin’s fifth collection is forthcoming this month. Now Do You Know Where You Are investigates how great change calls the soul out “to be a messenger—to record whatever wanted to stream through.” Her previous books are In the Surgical Theatre, Wedding Day, Sky Burial, and Banana Palace.
  • Patricia Smith is the award-winning author of eight books of poetry, including Pulitzer Prize finalist Incendiary Art and Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist. She has authored and edited poetry, fiction, children’s books, and nonfiction, including the history Africans in America. Smith is a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam.

Fiction workshops will be led by:

  • Kevin Brockmeier is the author of The Ghost Variations: One Hundred Stories and the novels The Illumination, The Brief History of the Dead, and The Truth About Celia, along with two short story collections, two children’s novels, and a memoir of his seventh-grade year called A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip.
  • Lan Samantha Chang’s latest novel, The Family Chao, reimagines Fyodor Dostoevsky’s epic The Brothers Karamazov as a contemporary Chinese American family drama. She has written three previous books: the critically-acclaimed novella All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost; the novel Inheritance; and Hunger: A Novella and Stories. She directs the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
  • Michelle Huneven’s novel Search will be published in April and draws on her experiences as an award-winning restaurant reviewer and food writer for the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, and other outlets. Huneven’s previous novels are Round Rock, Jamesland, Blame, and Off Course.
  • ZZ Packer is a contributor to The 1619 Project anthology, and is at work on a forthcoming nonfiction book about the death of Breonna Taylor. Her short story collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere was a Today Show book club selection, a New York Times Notable Book, winner of a Commonwealth Club Fiction Award and an Alex Award, and a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist.

And for the workshop in poetry translation:

  • Forrest Gander is a poet, translator, essayist, and novelist. His translations include Alice Iris Red Horse: Poems of Gozo Yoshimasu; Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda Poems; and Fungus Skull Eye Wing: Selected Poems of Alfonso D’Aquino. His most recent anthologies are Pinholes in the Night: Essential Poems from Latin America and Panic Cure: Poems from Spain for the 21st Century. Gander’s poetry book Be With won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize.

A reading fee of $25 is due upon application. Tuition costs $1,100, and financial assistance is available. For faculty profiles and application information, visit To join the conference community online, “like” the conference at or follow


2022 Mendocino Coast Writers Conference

Registration is open until June 30 for the 33rd annual Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference (MCWC). After two years of being held online, the conference will be held again in-person on the Mendocino Coast (Mendocino and Fort Bragg) from August 4 to 6, 2022.

Registration is open to all and requires no application or writing sample. Tuition is $675 for the three-day conference, which includes morning writing workshops (limited to twelve students), afternoon seminars on the craft of writing and the writers’ life, open mics, pitch panels, blind critique panels, opportunities for one-on-one consultations with literary agents and authors, and evening readings by faculty. The registration fee also covers breakfast and lunch for each day of the conference, along with a celebratory dinner on the final night.

The faculty includes Pablo Cartaya (Middle Grade/Young Adult), Claudia Castro Luna (Poetry), Jean Chen Ho (Short Fiction), Lydia Kiesling (Novel), Ayize Jama-Everett (Speculative Fiction) and Anastacia-Reneé (Emerging Writers). Naomi Hirahara will be teaching the conference’s first-ever Mystery Workshop and Faith Adiele will facilitate a Memoir Master Class. Special guests include keynote speaker and UC Santa Cruz professor emerita Karen Tei Yamashita, winner of the 2021 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from The National Book Foundation, and literary agent Jonah Straus.

View the complete schedule by visiting


Sonoma County Writers Camp
with Ellen Sussman and Elizabeth Stark

October 24-28, 2022

At Bishops Ranch in Healdsburg, California. We only take 24 students, so respond quickly if you’re interested! And by popular demand, it’s a workshop! We’ll also offer an Author Panel, an Industry Expert Panel, a Master Class, student readings, early morning meditative writing (optional!), and a fabulous community of like-minded writers. Oh, and great food!

Here’s the theme of this next camp—One Scene in Your Story: Workshop and Close Examination of Great Scene-Making

$2195 DOUBLE
$2495 SINGLE (will be assigned by lottery)



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