Writing Conferences and Retreats

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



Napa Valley Writers Conference CANCELED

July 26–31, 2020

Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 conference in July. This was to be the conference’s 40th anniversary, and we will look forward to celebrating that milestone in 2021 with our valued staff, faculty, participants, and local community partners.


Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference ONLINE

July 30-August 1, 2020
All events, including morning workshops, afternoon seminars and panels, and the evening readings will be hosted through Zoom this year, and the schedule has been adjusted to better fit an online format. The online MCWC 2020 will be offered at a reduced registration price of $475, with the options to add on the Sunday Publishing Bootcamp ($125) or an individual consultation with one of our faculty ($60). We hope you will take advantage of this unique opportunity to spend a weekend learning and creating in a community of talented writers, all from the comfort of your own home.

Keynote Speaker: Elissa Washuta

Julie Buntin, master class
Anita Felicelli, short fiction
Gabe Habash, novel
Rahawa Haile, nonfiction
Christine Hyung-Oak Lee, memoir
Kij Johnson, speculative fiction
Kerry Madden-Lunsford, middle grade/young adult
Tomas Moniz, emerging writers
Michelle Peñaloza, poetry
Susan Stinson, historical fiction
Ayesha Pande and Marya Spence, agent
Shirin Yim Leos, editor
Cameron Lund and Ginny Rorby, paths to publishing


Sonoma County Writers Camp

Workshops and panels with agents, authors and editors
Facilitated by Ellen Sussman and Elizabeth Stark

We are hoping to hold August and October camps if regulations and public health advisories allow. Email for directions about securing a spot with your deposit. If camps are cancelled due to public regulations, tuition will be fully refunded or may be applied to a future camp with top preference given these campers.

August 5 – 9, 2020 CANCELED

Talk to Me: Voice and Point of View in Fiction and Memoirs
Who’s telling your story, from what point in time, with what language and attitude, perspective and limitations? Voice and point of view are key elements in both fiction and memoir. In this camp you’ll master the technical aspects of point of view–first, second, third, omniscient, singular, plural, distant or close–and the substantive explorations of language, vocabulary, rhythm, and psychology that form voice. We’ll plumb the story questions that drive the choices you’ll make with each new character and tale.

September 30 – October 4, 2020
Learning from the Masters: Exploring Craft Through Reading and Writing

Combining elements of Ellen’s popular Best American Short Story seminars and Elizabeth’s proven craft exercises, this camp will delve into the craft of successful storymaking. Before camp begins, we’ll assign some short stories for you to read. In Ellen’s workshops we’ll ask the questions: what makes this story work? What elements of craft are at play here? How does this writer make the magic happen? In Elizabeth’s classes, we’ll try those techniques on for size. How can we take these new skills and put them to work in our own writing? This is an exciting opportunity to take your work to the next level by learning from the best writers producing great literature today.

More information and registration:


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