2020 Writers Workshops in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Memoir (Cancelled)

Summer Writing Workshops in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Memoir

We are sorry to report that we have been forced to cancel our summer Writers Workshops in Squaw Valley due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was to be our 50th Anniversary session which makes it all the more unfortunate.

We will be postponing the 50th Anniversary session to July 5 – 12, 2021.  Mark your calendars!

Sad as we are not to be gathering physically together, we’re excited that the breadth of online options might allow us to come together in ways that are otherwise impossible to imagine. It won’t be possible to imitate online all of the offerings of our usual, complicated week in the Valley, but it is our plan to put together some online offerings that allow this isolated population of writers to come together for learning, camaraderie, inspiration, and some fun.

We will take the month of April to develop projects that will bridge aspects of our onsite conference to online platforms. Stay tuned!

Are you interested in our online offerings? Let us know what you are looking for.

Take Me To The Survey

If you applied to the workshops, we will be in touch in the days ahead. 


Summer Writing Workshops in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Memoir


July 6-13, 2020

These workshops assist serious writers by exploring the art and craft as well as the business of writing. The week offers daily morning workshops, craft lectures, panel discussions on editing and publishing, staff readings, and brief individual conferences. The morning workshops are led by staff writer-teachers, editors, or agents. There are separate morning workshops for Fiction and Narrative Nonfiction/Memoir. In addition to their workshop manuscripts, participants may have a second manuscript read by a staff member who meets with them in individual conferences. Nonfiction or memoir submissions should be in a narrative form. Travel, self-help, how-to, or scholarly works will not be considered.

  • Participants’ manuscripts are critiqued in daily morning workshops
  • Afternoon & evening craft talks, panels on craft, staff readings, panel discussions on editing & publishing
  • Individual one-on-one conferences
  • Readings by prominent staff writers and special guests
  • Open Workshop led by Sands Hall
  • Special Adaptation class led by Patricia K. Meyer
  • Admissions are based on the merit of submitted manuscripts alone
  • Financial Aid available
  • 120 writers attend

Tuition is $1,400, which includes six evening meals. Please Note: Tuition does not include housing costs. Housing and Meals. See Fees & Deadlines, below. Financial aid is available. Admissions are based on submitted manuscripts.

Application Deadline: March 28, 2020
The Application Form link is at the bottom of the page. Please make sure to read all the information here before applying.

We make no admissions decisions before all the submissions have been read and evaluated.

Special Guests

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Writers Workshops Teaching Staff

Fiction & Nonfiction Authors

Click on the portraits to learn about these authors and their work.  Or View as List

Literary Agents & Editors

Click on the portraits to learn about these editors and literary agents and their work. View as List

Daily Schedule

Morning workshops meet daily from 8:30-11:30 starting on Monday. Each workshop consists of roughly 10 participants and has a different workshop leader each day. In each session, the group discusses two, sometimes three, participant manuscripts. During the course of the week, one manuscript by each participant is critiqued. Participants are asked to arrive with copies of the manuscript they would like treated in workshop. Our directors will assign each participant to the most appropriate staff workshop leader.

Afternoon and evening schedules are quite full, with optional lectures, panel discussions, staff readings, and other presentations. Participants need to set aside time for the reading and evaluation of workshop manuscripts.

Individual Conferences

Each participant is assigned a brief one-on-one conference with a staff member appropriate to his or her manuscript. These conferences are scheduled at the mutual convenience of the participant and the assigned staff member and usually run no longer than twenty minutes. In most cases, the manuscript to be discussed will be the one submitted with the application.

Other Opportunities:

The Alchemy of Adaptation: From Book to Screen
A special lunch-time class led by Patricia K. Meyer

Screenwriter Patricia K. Meyer

The majority of films and television series are based on source material, particularly books. Adapting a book for the screen requires a comprehensive understanding of screenplay structure and character development, among other visual storytelling elements.

In this class, writer/producer Patricia K. Meyer will offer a practical approach to adaptation, applying the fundamentals of screenwriting, including dramatic structure, developing fully dimensional characters, and scene construction.  In addition to discovering the fundamentals tools of screenwriting and visual storytelling participants may find these approaches can improve their fiction and nonfiction projects.   We will examine specific films and series based on books, comparing and contrasting the films with the original material.  This class is only open to those enrolled in the Writers Workshops.  Indicate your interest in the application form.  $200 fee. (A limited number of additional adaptation-based individual conferences will also be offered on a first-come, first-served basis for an additional fee.)

Open Workshop
A special afternoon workshop led by Sands Hall

Several afternoons during the week, Sands Hall leads the Open Workshop, which provides another opportunity for participants to share their writing with their conference peers. Work is read aloud and discussed in a spontaneous and productive format. No additional fee.

Nature Walk led by resident naturalist Will Richardsonnaturalist will richardson

Naturalist Will Richardson will lead an informative hike up Shirley Canyon on Friday afternoon. This is an opportunity to learn from a professional naturalist about the biology of this valley. This hike is suitable for almost all fitness levels and is free of charge.

Published Alumni Reading Series

Each summer, recently published alumni are invited to return to Squaw Valley to read from their books and talk about their journey from unpublished writers to published authors.

2020 Alumni Readers

The Community of Writers is delighted to celebrate the success of these writers and to present them to the participants, staff, and the public.

Click on the portraits to learn about these authors and their work.  View as a List

Alumni who have been part of this reading series include Anita Amirrezvani, Eddy Ancinas, Michael AndreasonRamona Ausubel, David Bajo, Aimee Bender, Mauro Cardenas, Jade ChangDavid Corbett, Charmaine Craig, Frances Dinkelspiel, Heather Donahue, Laurie Ann DoyleCai Emmons, Alex Espinoza, Carole Firstman,  Joshua Ferris, Amy Franklin-Willis, Jamie Ford, Vicki Forman, Alison Singh Gee, Tanya Egan Gibson, Alan Grostephan, Glen David Gold, Jimin HanJudith Hendricks, Susan Henderson, Sara J. Henry, Vanessa HuaRhoda Huffey, Michael Jaime-Becerra, Alma Katsu, Stephanie KeganMary KurylaKrys Lee, Paulette Livers, Regina Louise, Michael David Lukas, Peyton Marshall, Marisa Matarazzo, Mark Maynard, Christina Meldrum, Nayomi Munaweera, Janis Cooke Newman, Jessica O’Dwyer, Aline Ohanesian, Marian Palaia, Victoria Patterson, Ismet Prcic, Frederick Reiken, Andrew Roe, Robin Romm, Brian Rogers,  Elizabeth Rosner, Adrienne Sharp, Alice Sebold, Julia Flynn Siler, Jordan Fisher Smith, Scott Sparling, Ellen Sussman, Kimball TaylorLisa Tucker,  Juan Alvarado Valdivia, Brenda Rickman Vantrease, Mary Volmer, Dora Calott Wang, M.D., Heather Young, Andrew Winer, Alia Yunis, and Désirée Zamorano among others.

Fees & Deadlines

Program DatesJune 20 - 27, 2020July 6-13, 2020
Deadline to ApplyMarch 28, 2020
(before midnight PST)
March 28, 2020
(before midnight PST)
Application Fee$35 $40
Acceptance NotificationOn or before May 1, 2020
On or before May 10, 2020
Deposit - NonrefundableA deposit of $800 will be due upon acceptance. (Awards of financial aid may reduce this amount.)A deposit of $800 will be due upon acceptance. (Awards of financial aid may reduce this amount.)
Deposit DeadlineMay 10, 2020May 20, 2020
HousingNot included in tuition. See Housing & Meals.Not included in tuition. See Housing & Meals.
Housing & Tuition BalanceDue on or before June 10, 2020Due on or before June 20, 2020
Registration/First Day of ConferenceSaturday, June 22, 2020Monday, July 8, 2020
Program Website
Make sure to read all information before applying
Poetry WebsiteWriters Workshops Website
ReturneesReturning Poetry Lottery Information & Application-Fiction Participants may attend 2 out of 3 years.

-Nonfiction Participants must take two sessions off before reapplying.

Financial Aid & ScholarshipsView Financial Aid InformationView Financial Aid Information
Application FormApply Now (Poetry)Writers Workshops Application Form


Application Guidelines

  • Deadline for receipt of application/submission: before midnight PST, March 28, 2020
  • Past Writers Workshop participants:
    —Fiction Participants: If you attended in the last two years do not apply this year. (i.e. attendance is allowed 2 out of every 3 years.)
    —Nonfiction Participants:  If you attended last year please do not apply this year. (i.e. attendance is allowed after you have taken 2 years off.)
  • Applicants, including past participants, should submit a sample of their best, unpublished prose.
  • Writing sample submission ms. may consist of a story (or stories), essay(s) or chapter(s). Book chapters must include a one-page synopsis of the whole book. (Add to the end of ms.) 
  • If you have previously applied to our workshop, please do not apply or bring for consideration the exact same material. You may use previously submitted material that has been revised.
  • Please do not submit previously published material (print or online). However, it is acceptable to send work currently under submission.
  • Submission ms. must be typed, double-spaced and 12 pt. On the first page of the manuscript, applicants must provide the following:
    • Top left side of page: Indicate application program (Fiction, Nonfiction, Memoir), and indicate what you are submitting (novel chapter(s), story or stories, essay or essays, memoir chapter(s), nonfiction book chapter(s), etc.)
    • Top center of page: Word count for submitted manuscript. (Submission ms., excluding synopsis, must be less than 5,000 words.)
    • Top right side of page: Your name in the upper right-hand corner of each page. (Please use your actual name, not the name you write under.)
  • Attach a digital file (Word.doc or PDF) of your submission ms. to the online application form. Digital files will be deleted after workshops.
  • If applying in more than one category, please send separate applications and submissions, including application fees.
  • Those who require financial aid to attend should request it in the application form. Please see our Financial Aid page for more information.
  • A $40 reading fee will be due with submission.
    • Pay online with a credit card
    • Or pay with a check payable to Community of Writers.

Mail to: Community of Writers – WW
PO Box 1416
Nevada City, CA 95959

  • Once you complete the online form, you will receive an email confirmation.
  • Notification of acceptance by May 10, 2020


Apply Now