Colgate Writers' Conference - Workshops Skip Navigation

Colgate Writers' Conference - Workshops

Capping our poetry and short fiction workshops at ten participants and our novel and creative nonfiction workshops at five participants ensures ample time to explore everyone's work in depth.
Conference attendees in discussion during a workshop in the Persson bridge
Class time is devoted to discussion and critiques of the participants' work as well as guidance from the instructor. There is also time outside the classroom for participants to meet one-on-one with their instructors for private consultation and analysis of their work.

We recommend that participants in all workshops complete at least the first full draft of their manuscripts well prior to the conference, or by May 1. Everything that you submit is read by the instructor, who provides extensive one-on-one consultation over the course of the week. Below you will find the expectations of each workshop leader.

Creative Nonfiction Intensive with Jennifer Brice

Jennifer Brice leads a writers' workshopA nurturing, rigorous workshop open to writers with a complete or nearly complete draft. The idea is to meet each manuscript wherever it's at and help the writer take it to the next level.

Ideally, everyone should come to the conference having read everyone's manuscript with care. Detailed written comments aren't necessary; constructive contributions are. Individual conferences will be scheduled in addition to the workshop.

Depending on time, we may read outside work and generate new writing.

Novel Intensive with Brian Hall

This workshop is an opportunity to have an novel manuscript read by the instructor and your fellow attendees (partial manuscripts are also welcome: recommended minimum of 50 pages).

With five participants, each possibly bringing a full novel, attendees must be ready to do a lot of reading in preparation for the conference. Line editing of each other's work is not necessary, but everyone should come prepared to comment in detail on each submission during the morning session, and provide each other with written comments of a general (or specific, of course, if you want) nature on their work.

We will workshop one manuscript each morning. I will meet one-on-one in the afternoon with the writer whose work was discussed in the morning. I will provide detailed feedback on the entire manuscript, and will line-edit about 50 pages, to give an idea of textual issues that might pertain to the whole. Although a lot of preparation is required, the week is worth it.

Novel Intensive with Eleanor Henderson

This is a workshop on the novel: what it is, what it can do, how it is made. Each participant will have an entire novel manuscript read and critiqued by the instructor and fellow attendees (although partial manuscripts are also welcome: recommended minimum of 50 pages). With five participants, each possibly bringing a full novel, attendees must be ready to do a great deal of reading in preparation. Line editing of each other's work is not necessary, but everyone should come prepared to comment in detail on each submission, and provide each other with written comments of a general nature. I will meet one-on-one with each writer, provide a detailed response to the entire manuscript, and line-edit about 50 pages, to suggest patterns that might pertain to the whole. Our goal is to provide each other with constructive and practical feedback, and along the way, to refine our understanding of the problems and possibilities of the novel form.

Novel Intensive with J. Robert Lennon

This workshop will focus on writing and revising a novel. Participants are welcome to submit whatever they've finished, whether it's a full draft that needs revision or a small excerpt that is looking for direction. Please indicate, on the first page of your submission, what sort of advice you're seeking--are you open to major changes, or do you merely want to refine what you've got? Participants should be prepared to do a lot of reading in preparation for the conference. Close line editing of other participants' manuscripts won't be necessary, but I'd like everyone to be able to comment in detail on each submission, and provide one another with an editorial memo. I will also give each of you a detailed memo, of course, and will line-edit representative portions of each manuscript. Each participant will get his or her own in-depth workshop session, and I'll bring along examples of published books and stories that might inspire you.

Poetry with Kelly Cherry

Kelly Cherry will lead a poetry workshop this summer. A full description will be available shortly.

Short Fiction with Greg Ames

All short story manuscripts will be circulated in advance of the conference. Manuscripts should be no longer than 20 pages, double-spaced. The workshop will focus on two short stories per session. Afterward the instructor will consult one-on-one with each writer.

Participants will be asked to write a full-page, single-spaced letter in response to each story under consideration. They might want to write these letters before the conference begins to save time; it will be an intense, packed week of writing, reading, and celebrating!

Writers' Retreat

In addition to the workshop experience, there are increasingly participants who attend for the week simply to engage in a Writers’ Retreat. During such a retreat, one refrains from joining a workshop, but rather participates in whatever portions of the conference one finds interesting: craft and shop talks by professional editors and agents; evening readings; readings of one’s own work to other participants; socializing and sharing.

Perhaps you have earned yourself a retreat of this nature?