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 this past year, and widely acknowledged. Bruce Smith's Devotions
has been chosen one of the National Book Award's top five books of poetry. 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.
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.