Comments from 2015 YWC Participants:
"When I brought the manuscript of my novel to Sybil Baker's class at the Yale Writers' Conference, it had already been edited by myself and by an English novelist who is the in-house editor for one of the top literary agencies in London. When I read and listened to Sybil's editing suggestions for my first fifteen pages, the clouds opened and the sun came out. Her ideas were so brilliant and perfect I was convinced that they must have been my own all along. So I rapidly incorporated them and soon after sold Gospel Prism to an English publishing house. Sybil made it a novel that people were much less likely to put down after reading a few pages. She gave the opening some bite, some suspense, some rhythm. The importance of this cannot be overestimated." - Gerald Weaver
"The first time I came to YWC, I was hungry to learn more about revision. Until then, I knew pretty well when one of my stories wobbled or wandered, but I didn’t know enough to fix it, how to rewrite, cut, add, move, or just let the language fly. I’m rarely this lucky: I landed in Sybil’s short story workshop. I was so knocked out I returned the following year to work with her once more. Sybil opened my eyes to the dead seriousness of structure and the need for all a story’s pieces to fit so the reader cannot imagine it any other way. I like to say that Sybil took me under the hood of a story; if that makes her sound like a mechanic, she’s a damn glorious one. Five words finally: sign up for her workshop." - Mary Jo Melone
Comments form 2014 YWC Participants:
"One of the best things I ever did for myself was to attend the YWC in June 2014. For years I had nurtured an idea for a novel but had never managed to work through it. I went to Yale with a fair amount of skepticism about how much help I could expect and anxiety about people being condescending. To my delight, I left the conference inspired, exhausted and bursting with ideas and new friends. I have been writing diligently ever since. The best part of all is the community of writers that I have been fortunate to become a part of. Writing is a lonely job and most people do not understand its highs and lows. I never realized until the YWC that it takes a writer to understand another writer’s struggles. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or an accomplished author. Everyone, including distinguished faculty and authors, is there to help and encourage each other. The support of this special community extends beyond the gates of Yale, long after the workshops have ended. On days when you are ready to throw in the towel, someone will encourage you to give it another try; on the day you get published, everyone is there to cheer you on as if it were their own success. I recommend this conference to anyone with a passion for writing." - Elene Catrakilis
"I walked into Session II of the 2014 Yale Writer's Conference timid and unsure of myself as a writer. That very first day with Priscilla Gilman and the wonderful people I now consider dear friends was life altering. I left this conference with a unique perspective that, I believe, can only be obtained at Yale. For anyone feeling apprehensive or intimidated by the prospect of applying for a spot in the upcoming summer sessions, you must take that leap of faith. You will leave with insight, confidence and continued support from this wonderful group of faculty and attendees. Thank you! My experience could not have been better!" - Tabitha Prock
"I attend a lot of amazing writers conferences and workshops but none can match the tremendous number of talented writers and inspiring workshop leaders that Yale brings together. From Colum McCann to Z.Z. Packer, I feel like I have learned from the best, writers who remember what it was like on every step of this writing journey and willingly share their tips for success. Yale allows me to immerse myself in all things writing for ten solid days with no interruption. It's a rare escape into a writing paradise filled with craft talks, workshops, panel discussions from industry experts, and community building. I come home inspired and motivated in ways I never could be if I just stayed in front of my computer at home. Thank you for making it possible!" - Ellen Weeren
"The Yale Writer's conference exceeded my expectations. The workshop process taught me how to open up my writing, go deeper into the story. Between workshops, Yale offered craft talks from writers at the top of their field like Rick Moody and Chuck Klosterman who dispensed advice that has stayed with me long after the conference ended - it keeps me in the chair writing. Thanks to the take-away from Yale, I am in a rhythm of writing daily, I'm closer to completing my manuscript and have a solid plan to take it to those two little words: the end." - Cynthia B. Jones
"My first novel, The Beautiful Gathering, is finished. The ms was a semifinalist in the Leapfrog contest this year, and it is represented by The Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. I’m loving my new lettered life no small thanks to YWC, where I arrived as a participant and left as a writer." - Antoinette Mehler
Comments from 2013 YWC Participants:
"I had the distinct pleasure to attend the 2013 Yale Writers’ Conference. In the last several years, I have attended many literary conferences such as Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Although I loved and cherished all experiences, the atmosphere at Yale’s conference encouraged a unique camaraderie among my workshop attendees. At previous conferences, I had never seen such polished work nor heard so much consistent valuable feedback by attendees and our workshop leader.
Our conference schedule included the opportunity to talk openly and learn from literary greats such as Tom Perrotta, Susan Orlean, and ZZ Packer. In addition, we were given access, both in seminar format and one-on-one, to top literary agencies and publication editors from organizations such as SLATE and the NEW YORKER as well as editors from large publishers such as Penguin to smaller publishers like Atticus Books.
The generosity of the speakers and guests only added to the feeling of finding my second home at Yale Writers’ Conference where I hope to continue to learn, thrive, and explore. No matter if you are a beginner or advanced, Yale Writers’ Conference will leave you with indelible memories, learnings, and lifelong friendships that will ignite your creative soul." - Lisa Kastner
Comments from 2012 YWC Participants:
"I arrived at Yale with the worst chapter from from my memoir, 20 problem pages I could hardly bear to look at again. After only two days in the workshop, I'd figured something out and started rewriting. A month later that chapter was accepted for publication by Post Road. I've also got a political essay about the U.S. Army War College that will soon appear in the 2013 for best new California writing. Thanks to the Yale Writers Conference, the best two weeks of my summer." - Teri Carter
"YWC was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. I became a member of a community of talented and committed writers. The faculty and guest lecturers (including agents and editors) were engaging and accessible. And, in a short time span, I grew as a writer and now have work forthcoming in several literary journals." - Dini Karasik
"As a freelance writer, I have attended my fair share of one or two-day workshops, but last summer I decided to jump in and attend the two-week Yale Writers’ Conference. It was one of the best decisions I have made. I expected to learn from the first-rate faculty but I never expected that I would learn so much from the other attendees. As writers, we often work alone without the benefit of our peers, but at Yale the non-competitive exchange of ideas was truly refreshing. Part “brain” camp, part grad school (without the debt!), I left inspired and eager for more." - Nancy DePalma
"I made new friends. I made new work. The Yale Writers Conference was first-class all the way, and it was more fun than it had any right to be." - Sebastian Stockman
"An exhilarating experience that changed the way I write." - Lee Jacobus
"I began the Yale Writers’ Conference knowing that I would acquire the tools to polish my manuscript. I had no idea, however, that over the course of ten days my writing would, ultimately, transform. In my workshop, the classroom metamorphosed into a brain explosive with literary interplay and revolutionary thought and idea–a realm booming with the vibrancy of creative nonfiction." - Orli Robin
"The two weeks at the Yale Writing Conference felt like four years of college: I left there wiser, happier, and fatter—and with army of new, very close friends who were suitemates, workshop peers and leaders, and dining buddies. I won’t forget that summer, sitting at my desk with the leaded windows cast open, more inspired to write than I’d ever been. It all felt like home, and now that I’m away I’m homesick." - Jodi Gerbig
"I listened to impressive speakers; and distinguished faculty carefully regarded my writing. My peers gave me sound advice on laying the foundation for my novel. I even had the opportunity to read my creation aloud I was encouraged and inspired. The conference was only two weeks, but I will take away from it an experience that will stay with me forever." - Sarah N. Smith-Waring
"I used to be very shy in my writing, but the Yale Writers’ conference gave me the courage to step out of my box.
I loved the friends I made during the conference. My classmates and I became very close, and to this day I still keep in contact with them for feedback and support. Even the people outside of my sections were the interesting people to talk to. We were all different ages so the older students gave me a lot of advice in writing and even life. I like to think I gave them “fresh” ideas as a young person too. Yale provided a nurturing environment where I could really immerse myself. The faculty encouraged me to start reaching beyond my original goals; now, not only have I written a play, it’s being produced in May!
Ever since Yale, I have been writing nonstop. It’s a great feeling! I’m extremely grateful for the conference for the opportunity to grow as a writer." - Emeline Allengui