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Welcome to the Colgate Writers' Conference

Welcome to the Writers' Conference, hosted on a campus that the Princeton Review has distinguished as the nation's "most beautiful."

From the Director, Matthew Leone

We are unique in numerous ways. First, our workshops encourage participants to submit substantial personal work in advance of the conference, and then to have one’s work scrutinized both by instructors and by the entire workshop, if one so chooses. Secondly, our Writers’ Retreat option uniquely allows those who wish not to join a workshop still to take part in the talks, the socializing, and all other creative aspects of the week.

We’re proud to kick-start a week of creative doings, ones that live on, and multiply. That’s to say that our faculty and alums have been especially productive recently, and widely acknowledged. Bruce Smith's Devotions has been chosen one of the National Book Award's top five books of poetry, and Peter Balakian has published the poetry of Ozone Journal as well as Vise and Shadow: Essays on the Lyric Imagination. Justin Cronin's The Twelve is about to evolve into a Hollywood film, as will Jennifer Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Jennifer Vanderbes' Strangers at the Feast was one of Oprah’s reading group choices. I’ll stop here: the good news is too abundant to report entirely.

Please consider joining us, and welcome!

Daily Doings, Workshops

The accessibility of each workshop’s instructor — an accessibility that makes personal guidance the daily norm and not the exception — causes superbly encouraging and effective instruction invariably to occur. The intimate nature of the workshops, each having ten or fewer participants (and the intensive novel and creative nonfiction workshops having five or fewer), with each member remaining in a designated workshop for the entire week, encourages the sort of dialogue that brings out the best in all of us.

Consultation and conversation are at the core of what we do: readings, workshops, meals, evening socializing at the Faculty Club, are all vital, happily productive conversational and creative opportunities. Why does our conference work so well in this regard? Because we keep things intimate. We are able to do so because Colgate University supports us generously. Do other conferences match our ratio of participants to senior writers? That is for you to investigate. Our ratios are enviable because we have the support of a university committed to creative writing, and particularly so in respect to an initiative begun by Frederick Busch, whose stories have recently been gathered into a book by the Pulitzer prize-winning Elizabeth Strout as her gesture of appreciation for him, and for his creative expression.

University Resources

The entire university is at your disposal. Its air-conditioned libraries and study areas; its ample recreational athletics facilities; a boathouse; an 18-hole championship golf course; computer facilities and wireless access throughout campus — all the resources of a major university are ours.

We also share the week with the Manhattan String Quartet, whose performances we may attend, as well as with the Flaherty Film Festival Seminar (of Sundance fame) which also opens some of its showings to us.


That our Founder, Frederick Busch, has been granted a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters speaks to our pedigree, and more, to the sorts of standards to which we hold ourselves. We believe our conference should be without parallel.

Your presence may help to make that so. New participants should know that you are warmly welcome, and that there will be time to write, to talk, to create, and to re-create. For all, the week will be highly productive, and far too short.