Writers Workshops

Writers Workshops in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Memoir

July 8-15, 2024

Applications for 2024 are now closed. Join our mailing list to stay informed about next year’s program, and check out some of our year-round online offerings.

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, as well as brief individual conferences. The morning workshops are led by staff writer-teachers or editors. There are separate morning workshops for Fiction and Narrative Nonfiction/ Memoir. In addition to their workshop manuscript, participants may have a second manuscript read by a staff member who meets with them in an individual conference. We offer several additional opportunities such as a Special Adaptation Class, Open Workshop, and a naturalist-led nature walk.

In addition to Fiction, a portion of our workshops are devoted to nonfiction. Writers of memoir, narrative nonfiction, essays, and hybrid nonfiction forms are invited to apply. Literary criticism and scholarly work will not be considered. We do consider YA fiction, strictly in the sense of true “young-adult.” We can’t accept writing for children. Nonfiction applicants can use the same general form for submission.

Not all writing workshops are for every writer. Before applying, familiarize yourself with our current teaching staff to see if you can identify people who can best serve the needs of your work.

Admissions are based on submitted manuscript. Tuition is $1675 * which includes five evening meals. Please Note: Tuition does not include housing costs. See Housing and MealsFinancial aid is available. See Fees & Deadlines, below.

These workshops are held in-person in Olympic Valley, California.

* Fees may change slightly without notice.

What to Expect

  • 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 & Stacy Spruill
  • Admission is based on the strength and merit of the submitted manuscript and our judgment that the applicant will benefit from the workshop
  • Financial Aid available
  • 110 participant writers attend
  • Refer to our Health Guidelines before applying

Our Location

Olympic Valley is a ski resort located in the California Sierra Nevada close to the north shore of Lake Tahoe, which was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. Our workshops and events take place in the Olympic House, a ski lodge at the foot of the slopes. Summers are warm and sunny; participants will have opportunities to hike to the local waterfalls, take nature walks up the mountain, swim in Lake Tahoe, or bike along the Truckee River. The elevation is 6200 feet. 

We make no admissions decisions before all the submissions have been read and evaluated. The Application Form link is at the bottom of the page. Please make sure to read all the information here before applying.


Special Guests

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

Writers Workshops Teaching Staff

Fiction & Nonfiction Authors

Click on the portraits to learn about these authors and their work.  Or View as List Key= [F] = Fiction [NF]=Nonfiction/Memoir

Literary Agents & Editors

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

Special Programs

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. Each workshop consists of roughly 12 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.

During the afternoons and evenings we offer an abundance of optional lectures, panel discussions, staff readings, and other events. Participants may 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 the submitted 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 afternoon class led by Patricia K. Meyer
and Stacy Spruill

In this class, writer/producers Patricia K. Meyer and Stacy Spruill will offer a practical approach to adaptation, applying the fundamentals of screenwriting, including dramatic structure, developing fully dimensional characters, and scene construction. You will learn how a screenwriter builds a scaffold for character transformation and theme. We will explore how character drives story and creates the plot, not the other way around. By examining the art and craft of screenwriting, writers of all story forms can gain tools for developing their protagonist’s (and also antagonist’s) arc. This class is open only to those enrolled in the Writers Workshops. Indicate your interest in the application form. $250 fee. 

View Full Class Description

Finding the Story – Special Workshop

Gill Dennis
Leslie Daniels

The legendary Finding the Story Workshop assists writers in using experiences from their own lives to inform and color their fiction and nonfiction. Emotional back-story is discovered and discussed. This additional workshop, developed and taught for decades by the late Gill Dennis, a beloved and brilliant screenwriter/teacher, will be led this year by author Leslie Daniels. Enrollment is on a limited, first-apply basis, and is available only to those enrolled in the Writers Workshops. No manuscript is necessary. A group of twelve meet daily (six sessions). An extra tuition fee of $250 will be charged for this workshop. This workshop is limited to twelve and is on a first apply basis.

Open Workshop: A Special afternoon workshops led by Sands Hall

sands hall leading the open writers workshop

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.

naturalist will richardson

Nature Walk led by resident naturalist 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 Olympic Valley to read from their books and talk about their journey from unpublished writers to published authors. 

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
Past Authors In This Series

Fees & Deadlines

Our organization has always held dear our commitment to keeping the conference affordable for every serious writer. This year, due to inflation in fixed costs, we have raised our tuition by a greater increment than we would like. Applicants should know that we intend to raise funds and provide whatever level of financial aid is necessary to compensate for the rise in tuition and make sure we bring in everybody we can admit. The same goes for housing costs. We hope to provide relief for the increase there, too.

Program DatesJuly 8-15. 2024
Deadline to ApplyMarch 10, 2024
(before midnight PST)
Application Fee$40
Acceptance NotificationOn or before April 20, 2024
Deposit - NonrefundableA deposit of $800 will be due upon acceptance. (Awards of financial aid may reduce this amount.)
Deposit DeadlineMay 1, 2024
HousingNot included in tuition See Housing & Meals. Payment for CW arranged lodging due May 20.
Tuition BalanceDue on or before July 1, 2024
Registration/First Day of ConferenceMonday, July 8, 2024
Returnees-Fiction Participants may attend 2 out of 3 years.

-Nonfiction Participants must take two sessions off before reapplying.

Financial Aid & ScholarshipsView Financial Aid Information
Application FormApply Now (Writers Workshops)
See Applications Guidelines, below.

*Tuition may change slightly without notice.

Our Name

Some time ago, we changed the name by dropping the long-used place name for where we hold our summer writing workshops. We recognize this name has a painful and derogatory legacy which has been disrespectful to the Native American community. We are now known as the Community of Writers. The ski area is now called Palisades Tahoe. We call the place Olympic Valley or just the valley. For years writers have used the old name as shorthand to refer to our Writing Workshops. We hope you will join us and choose not to use the name in that context.

Application Guidelines

  • Past Writers Workshop participants:
    —Fiction Alums: Attendance is allowed 2 out of every 3 years.
    —Nonfiction Alums: Attendance is allowed after you have taken 2 years off.
  • Deadline for receipt of application/submission: before midnight, March 10, 2024. 
  • Applicants, including past participants, should submit a sample of their best, unpublished prose.
  • Writing sample submission manuscript (MS) may consist of a story (or stories), essay(s) or chapter(s). Book chapters must include a one-page synopsis of the plot of the whole book. (Add to the end of MS.) 
  • If you have previously applied to our workshop, please do not submit 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 MS, 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 MS. (Excluding synopsis, MS 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 (PDF or Word.doc) 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 – Writers Workshops
PO Box 1416
Nevada City, CA 95959

Applications are now closed

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