Writing Conferences and Retreats

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


New Moon Writing Retreat with Patti Trimble

March 24-28, 2017

Early-spring new moon writing retreat in the coastal hills with workshops, conversations, lots of writing time, trees, maybe the bobcat, wildflowers, readings, community, new poetry and short prose, stars above us. In the wilds of Pt Reyes and in supportive and respectful community.

Please click here to read the full description and to register.
Or call the Point Reyes Field Institute (415) 663-1200 if you have questions.


Sonoma County Writers Camp

Ellen Sussman and Elizabeth Stark, both acclaimed authors and writing teachers, have put together two wonderful four-plus day events. Held in the gorgeous setting-gardens, pond, meadow and woods-of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, May 3 -7 (SPACES STILL AVAILABLE) & August 2–6 (SOLD OUT), this will be an intimate, inspiring, enormously creative and productive adventure.

May 3–7, Go Big or Go Home: Lessons in Conflict

Conflict is the heart of story, but many of us have learned (or struggle to learn) to avoid it in life! How, then, do we turn around and make strong, dramatic, life-changing stories? If we are socialized not to “make a scene,” how do we do just that? This camp session will focus on plot decisions, on pushing your characters over the edge, making things happen, getting out of the habit of keeping quiet! Fiction is not life, but a heightened version of life. Same with narrative non-fiction. Get to the heart of your story and let it beat, loud and hard and with great force.



3-Day Women’s Writing Retreat at The Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg

Summer Retreat: Friday – Sunday, July 21-23, 2017

With author & writing guide Susan Hagen. Retreat to a private country cabin on the beautiful grounds of The Bishop’s Ranch 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. Beginning, experienced, and exploring writers of all genres are welcome. Payment plans available.


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


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