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YWC: The Program

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YWC Alumni Testimonials

Photo by Michael Doolittle

Alumni Testimonials

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Photo by Michael Doolittle

The Program  

The Yale Writers’ Conference faculty are talented and seasoned instructors with strong records of publication and teaching. Drawing on their unique experience, instructors will provide a variety of their own materials and exercises designed to illuminate and improve all aspects of the craft of writing. Sessions do not rely on a set curriculum, but will instead draw on the expertise of their instructors to provide all participants with a unique and tailored experience.

SESSION I: June 3 - 13

In Session I, writers will develop their talent while exploring broad issues of craft through intensive workshops, master classes, and craft talks with internationally-known authors. Workshops are capped at ten writers each. Every writer has the opportunity to meet individually with their workshop leader, and participates in a group reading. Visiting faculty will lead master classes limited to no more than thirty writers and deliver craft talks to the conference as a whole. Guest writers will present additional craft talks. And, because we write to be read, we bring panels of agents, literary journals and debut authors to campus for panel discussions and pitch sessions.

The bulk of a writer’s time will be spent in the classroom with their instructors and peers, or writing and revising. Divided into fiction and non-fiction groups, participants work closely with their instructors. Come prepared to write.

Five classroom sessions with their instructor include:

  • Intensive group writing workshops, with the chance for each participant to showcase their writing and receive feedback/critique. (Participants will receive copies of their peers work in advance.)
  • The chance to learn constructive criticism techniques that support productive feedback. Instruction on technique, revision, and submission, along with other tricks of the trade.
  • Instruction on technique, revision, and submission, along with other tricks of the trade.

Session I offers participants the opportunity to hear instructors at readings and the opportunity to read their own works at a student reading. Participants hold a one-hour, individual session with his/her instructor. The program’s schedule alternates between workshops and sessions with the visiting faculty and guests. Participants of particular promise, and with polished manuscripts, will be invited by their instructors to participate in pitch sessions following the agent panel. 

All activities aim to build community and trust among participants.  Writers socialize with faculty and peers over meals, in lounges, and in Yale’s prestigious halls.   

Registration is the morning of June 3, followed by a welcome orientation. After lunch, writers will attend their first workshops, and then gather for a welcoming dinner reception at The Graduate Club.

Consult the conference schedule for a full listing of activities and participants.

SESSION I​I: June 15 - 18

Session II shares the same goals of concentration on craft and technical improvement as Session I. Over four days, writers, in groups of no more than twelve, work with experienced instructors in specific genres, ranging from poetry to memoir to romance to horror.

Each intensive workshop will include exercises and readings as well as discussion of student work. Participants are able to schedule one half-hour, individual session with his or her instructor and attend one craft lecture and one visiting writer keynote address. There are no visiting faculty or master classes in Session II.  In other words, Session II is intended to focus on issues particular to discrete genres.  It’s an immersive four days.

Session II participants attend four classroom workshops with their instructor, which include:

  • Intensive group writing workshops, with the chance for each participant to showcase their writing and receive feedback/critique. (Participants will receive copies of their peers work in advance.)
  • The chance to learn constructive criticism techniques that support productive feedback.
  • Instruction on technique, revision, and submission from instructors, along with other tricks of the trade.

Housing check-in and registration are the morning of Thursday, June 15. That afternoon, writers will attend their first workshop meetings. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, workshops will meet in the morning, with individual conferences or guest speakers in the afternoon. Student readings will take place on day two. Plus, faculty and writers continue the discussion over lunch and dinners. Breakthroughs routinely occur over spaghetti and meatballs.

Consult the conference schedule for a full listing of activities and participants.