Yale Writers' Conference - 2015

Summer 2015 course information coming soon!

Welcome to the Yale Writers’ Conference 

The Yale Writers’ Conference is an intensive program for the committed writer. Our faculty are nationally known writers who are also inspiring and accessible teachers. Our facilities are the Yale campus.

Each year over a hundred and forty writers from around the world have come to New Haven for each of two sessions. They have gone on to publish their first books or stories, produce plays, and organize a writing workshop for veterans.

Join us this summer!

2014 Yale Writer's Conference Agenda (2015 Agenda Coming Soon)


Summer 2015 dates are here!

Session 1: June 6 - 16, 2015

Session 2: June 18 - 21, 2015


In Session I, writers will develop their talents while exploring broad issues of craft in nine days of workshops, individual conferences and readings. Visiting faculty will lead master classes limited to twenty-five writers and deliver craft talks to the Conference as a whole.

And because we write to be read, panels of agents, publishers, and editors will describe the publishing process and the realities of the writer’s life. Our guests have included publications like the Harvard Review and N+1; editors Elizabeth Beier (St. Martin’s), Rebecca Salatan (Riverhead), and George Gibson (Bloomsbury); and agents Lorin Rees, John Talbot, and Erin Harris.

Session II is intended for writers concentrating in a specific genre. Over four days, they will meet in a seminar with eleven colleagues, led by an author established in the field. The seminar will include exercises and readings as well as discussion of student work. After the seminar, faculty will hold one-to-one meetings with participants.  In our final day, faculty, agents, and editors will discuss the business of writing and meet with students.



June 6 - 16

The program’s schedule comprises alternating formats: one day based on the workshop, the next day, the visiting faculty. Registration is the morning of June 6, followed by a keynote address from Dr. Richard Selzer. After lunch, writers will attend their first workshops, then a dinner reception at Mory’s, a Yale tradition since 1848.

The next day will include a morning master class with that day’s visiting faculty. Writers not in the class can meet with faculty in an individual conference or use the time to write. After lunch, the visiting faculty will hold a craft talk, followed by a panel discussion with members of the publishing world.

The following day will begin with workshops in the morning. The afternoon may include guest speakers or writer or faculty readings.

The program ends June 15th after a final workshop, a panel of editors, and a reception on campus.  Check out is the morning of June 16th.


June 18 - 21

Housing check-in and registration are the morning  of Thursday , June 18. That afternoon, writers will attend their first seminar meetings. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the seminars will meet in the morning, with individual conferences or panel discussions in the afternoon.  Sunday afternoon will include panel discussions on the mechanics and business of publishing with faculty, agents, and editors.

Writer and faculty readings will take place every evening.



June 6 - 16


The workshop is the heart of the program. It is led by a noted author who is also an experienced and accessible teacher. You and nine colleagues will spend every other morning in a session that may include assigned readings and exercises, but will focus on the discussion of student writing. All writers will submit their work a month before the program begins to permit in depth discussion in the workshop.

 Individual Conferences

Each writer will have an hour-long individual conference with his or her workshop leader. This will include discussion of the workshop submission as well as more general craft and career issues.

 The Master Class

Each visiting faculty will lead a master class limited to twenty-five writers admitted on a first come first served basis. The format will be determined by the faculty. In the afternoon, the visiting faculty will deliver a craft talk and discussion for the entire program. 

The Writing Life

We write in order to be read. Throughout the program we will present discussions with agents, journal and independent press publishers, and editors from major imprints.


Session II

June 18 - June 21

Session II is intended for writers who want to work on the questions specific to their chosen genres. Each section will include no more than twelve writers, led by faculty well known in the field. It will meet for two hours a day and may include assigned readings, but will focus on group discussion of participants' work. When not in sessions, faculty will meet with writers for individual conferences. Session II may also feature panel discussions on topics common to multiple fields as well as talks by agents and editors. Sections and their faculty are listed below, along with course descriptions.


2015 Workshop Information Coming Soon


Independent Press Panel 

We’re happy to announce the following independent presses will be represented for a panel discussion followed by individual pitch sessions. Appearing will be:

  • Akashic
  • Elephant Rock Books
  • C&R Press
  • Rose Metal Books
  • Braddock Avenue Books
  • Sarabande
  • Bellevue Literary Press
  • Brooklyn Arts Press

Literary Journals

The following literary journals will appear for a panel discussion to be followed by individual meetings. Present will be:

  • Post Road
  • Tin House
  • The Masters’ Review
  • Redivider
  • Story
  • Harvard Review
  • New Haven Review
  • Agni


In a departure for the typical writers’ conference. we are happy to welcome representatives from major circulation magazines for a panel discussion. They include:

  • GQ
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Rolling Stone
  • Harpers
  • Vanity Fair

Guest Speakers

In addition to panel discussions with literary journals and agents, we will be featuring a number of guest speakers. They will include:

  • Dan Kois , Book reviewer for Slate.com
  • Jonathan Levi, founding editor of GRANTA
  • John Fine of Amazon

Our faculty are accessible teachers as well as accomplished writers. Along with classroom and conference time, they will be available to writers in the dining hall during lunch and around the college throughout the day.

Program Director

Terence Hawkins is a graduate of Yale College, where he was publisher of the Yale Daily News.  His first novel, The Rage of Achilles, (2009) is a recounting of the Iliad in the form of a novel in realistic and sometimes brutal prose.  His second, American Neolithic, was called  "a towering work of speculative fiction that will have readers rethinking what it means to be human."  It will appear in Kirkus Reviews Best Of 2014.  His short stories and humor have appeared in Keyhole, Pindeldyboz, Eclectica, and Poor Mojo's Almanac(k).  Click HERE for a recent interview on WABC.  He became the founding director of the Conference in 2011.



Our visiting authors will each spend an entire day with the program. The 2015 visiting faculty will include:

Master Class

Amy Bloom is the author of two novels, three collections of short stories, and a nominee for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, among many other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award. Her most recent novel, Away, was an epic story about a Russian immigrant.   Her recent collection of short stories, Where the God of Love Hangs Out, came out in January 2010.  Her next novel, Lucky Us, (Random House) will be out in early 2014.  She lives in Connecticut and taught at Yale University for the last decade.  She is now Wesleyan University’s Distinguished University Writer in Residence.
Gish Jen is the author of four novels, a collection of short stories and a volume of lectures, Ms. Jen has published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and dozens of other periodicals and anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories of 1988, 1995 and 2013, as well as The Best American Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike. Nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award and an International IMPAC Dublin Book Award, her work was also featured in a PBS American Masters’ special on the American novel, and is widely taught.  Ms. Jen was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. She has been awarded a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study fellowship, and numerous other awards. In 2003, an American Academy of Arts and Letters jury comprised of John Updike, Cynthia Ozick, Don DeLillo, and Joyce Carol Oates granted her a five-year Mildred and Harold Strauss Living award; Ms. Jen also delivered the Massey lectures in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University in 2012. Her most recent book, Tiger Writing: Art, Culture and the Interdependent Self is based on those lectures.
Richard Selzer, formerly a practicing general surgeon, is a critically acclaimed author of essays, a memoir, and short stories whose reflections on medicine have made his work required reading in many medical schools. His collectionThe Doctor Stories, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award; his other work includes Confessions of a Knife; Letters to a Young DoctorDown from Troy and Diary.
Cheryl Strayed is the author of #1 New York Times bestseller Wild, the New York Times bestseller Tiny Beautiful Things, and the novel Torch. Wild was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0. Strayed's award-winning writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Salon, The Missouri Review, The Sun, Tin House, The Rumpus--where she wrote the popular "Dear Sugar" advice column--and elsewhere. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages around the world. The movie adaptation of Wild will be released by Fox Searchlight in December 2014. The film is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and stars Reese Witherspoon, with a screenplay by Nick Hornby. Strayed holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their two children.
Colm Toibin is the author of eight novels, including The Master, Brooklyn and Nora Webster, two volumes of short stories Mothers and Sons and The Empty Family, and a number of collections of essays.  His play The Testament of Mary was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play in 2013. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages. He is a contributing editor at the London Review of Books and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. He has taught at Stanford, the University of Texas at Austin and Princeton. He is currently Mellon Professor in Comparative Literature at Columbia University. 


Session I - Fiction

Kirsten Bakis's novel Lives of the Monster Dogs was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, won a Bram Stoker Award, was shortlisted for Britain's prestigious Baily's Prize, has a band named after it, and may soon become a terrifying film. She is the recipient of a Whiting Award, a Michener/Copernicus Society of America grant, and a Teaching/Writing Fellowship from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She's currently at work on various literary projects, has been a member of the resident faculty at the Yale Summer Conference since it began, and is an editor at the literary journal Origins.

Je Banach has written for The Paris Review, Granta, Esquire, Guernica, Bookforum, PEN, and other venues. In 2014 she was featured in Op-Talk, The New York Times’ curated collection of notable commentary. A previous winner of the Connecticut Artist Fellowship for Fiction and the New Boston Fund Fellowship in Fiction, she was also awarded a residency at Hunt Hill Farm, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and held informal residencies at Dorset Colony and The Norman Mailer Writers Colony. Banach was a long-time contributor to Harold Bloom’s literary series with Infobase Publishing. She is the author of guides to works by Haruki Murakami, Richard Flanagan, Salman Rushdie, Maya Angelou, Ian McEwan, E.L. Doctorow, and David Mitchell, among others. Banach is a returning member of the YWC faculty; in previous years she taught seminars on literary discourse and led a live q&a session with The New Yorker's fiction editor Deborah Treisman. 
John Crowley is a three-time winner of the World Fantasy Award, recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, author of the Aegypt Cycle, Lord Byron's Novel, and Little, Big. Ursula LeGuin described his novel Little, Big as "a splendid madness, or a delightful sanity, or both." The Washington Post Book World dubbed it "the best fantasy yet written by an American."    His most recent novel is Four Freedoms, the story of a young disabled man among many women in a WWII bomber plant.  Crowley has taught creative writing at Yale for eighteen years.  He is a Contributing Editor for Harper's Magazine.
John Donatich is the Director of Yale University Press, a
leading scholarly, art and trade publisher based in New Haven and London. Authors he has published include Patrick Modiano (Nobel Prize, 2014), Gore Vidal, Edmund Morgan, Adonis, Yves Bonnefoy. He previously served as VP, Publisher of Basic Books where he published such authors as Niall Ferguson, Christopher Hitchens, Douglas Hofstadter and Samantha Power. He earned a BA and MA from New York University. His articles and essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, The Village Voice and many other periodicals.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and was awarded a Yaddo Fellowship. He has published a memoir, Ambivalence, a Love Story  and a novel, The Variations.
Trey Ellis is a novelist, screenwriter, playwright, essayist, and an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of the Arts at Columbia University.  He is the author of the novels, PlatitudesHome Repairs, and the American Book Award-winning, Right Here, Right Now, as well as the memoir Bedtime Stories: Adventures in the Land of  Single-Fatherhood.  His work for the screen includes the Peabody-winning and Emmy- nominated Tuskegee Airmen, and Good Fences which was shortlisted for the PEN Award for Best Teleplay.  His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Playboy, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, GQ, and Vanity Fair, and he has contributed audio commentary to NPR’s All Things Considered. His plays Fly and Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing continue to be performed around the country, including  at Washington, D.C.’s historic Ford’s Theatre. He is currently writing a feature film for HBO on Amos 'n' Andy.
Molly Gaudry is the author of We Take Me Apart, which was shortlisted for the 2011 PEN/Joyce Osterweil and named 2nd finalist for the Asian American Literary Award for Poetry. We Take Me Apart has been taught at Brown, Wesleyan, Queens College, CUNY, and other creative writing programs in the US. In 2015, Ampersand Books will release Desire: A Haunting, the long-awaited sequel to We Take Me Apart. A hybrid- and multi-genre writer, Molly is also the author of a flash fiction collection, "Lost July," published in the 3-author volume Frequencies (with Bob Hicok and Phillip B. Williams), and her chapbook "Wild Thing" includes poems and essays about recovery after brain injury. She is the creative director at The Lit Pub, and the recipient of a Vice Presidential fellowship at the University of Utah, where she is a PhD candidate in creative writing. She holds an MFA in poetry from George Mason University, an MA in fiction and BA in English Literature from the University of Cincinnati, and a vocational technical degree in creative writing from the School for Creative and Performing Arts, the nation's only K-12 school of the arts.
Julia Glass is the author of the novels And the Dark Sacred Night, The Widower’s Tale, The Whole World Over, and the National Book Award–winningThree Junes, as well as the Kindle Single “Chairs in the Rafters.” Her third book, I See You Everywhere, a collection of linked stories, won the 2009 SUNY John Gardner Fiction Award. She has also won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her essays have been widely anthologized, most recently in Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book, edited by Sean Manning, and in Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today's Best Women Writers, edited by Eleanor Henderson and Anna Solomon. She is a cofounder and literary director of the arts festival Twenty Summers, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and has taught writing workshops at programs ranging from the Fine Arts Work Center to the M.F.A. program at Brooklyn College.
Lisa Page directs the creative writing program at George Washington University. Her nonfiction has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, the Washington Post Book World, Playboy, the Crisis, the Chicago Tribune and other publications. Her short stories have appeared in Phoebe and Gravity Dancers: Even More Fiction by Washington Area Women. She is  former president of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.
Eileen Pollack's memoir The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys' Club, will be published next year by Beacon Press. She is also the author of Breaking and Entering, In the MouthWoman Walking Ahead, and two creative nonfiction textbooks. She teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Michigan
Marian Thurm is the author of three short-story collections and six novels; her novel The Clairvoyant was a New York Times Notable Book. Her short stories have appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Michigan Quarterly, Boston Review, Ontario Review, and many other magazines, and have been included in Best American Short Stories and numerous other anthologies. Her books have been translated into German, Dutch, Swedish, and Japanese. Today is Not Your Day, her new short story collection, will be published in 2015. She has taught creative writing at Yale, Barnard College, the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, and in the MFA programs at Columbia University and Brooklyn College.
Teddy Wayne is the author of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine (Simon & Schuster) and Kapitoil (Harper Perennial) and a third novel forthcoming in 2016 from Simon & Schuster. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship as well as a PEN/Bingham Prize, Young Lions Fiction Award, and Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. A columnist for the New York Times, his work regularly appears in The New Yorker, GQ, McSweeney's, and elsewhere. He has taught at Columbia University and Washington University in St. Louis, and he lives in New York.


 Session I - Non-Fiction

Jotham Burrello is an arts entrepreneur—writer, publisher, teacher, editor, video and radio producer. In 2010 he founded Elephant Rock Books, an award-winning press of fiction and nonfiction. He’s the author of the Writers’ e-Handbook, a guide to starting a writing career, and curates the Roar Reading Series. For eighteen years he taught at Columbia College Chicago, where he directed the Publishing Lab, a resource for emerging writers, and the Review Lab, an online forum for reviewing and writing. With Janet Burroway, he co-wrote and produced the instructional DVD, So, Is It Done? Navigating the Revision Process, and Submit! The Unofficial Guide to Submitting Short Prose. His writing has appeared in literary journals and the Christian Science Monitor. He is the former editor of Sport Literate, a journal of creative nonfiction. Burrello lives (and drives a tractor) on Muddy Feet Flower Farm in northeast Connecticut.
Colleen Kinder has written essays and articles for the New Republic, Salon, National Geographic Traveler, the New York Times, Gadling, the Atlantic.com, the Wall Street Journal, Ninth Letter, A Public Space, the New York Times Magazine and Creative Nonfiction. Her essays have been anthologized in the Best American Travel Writing 2013, The Best Women's Travel Writing 2013, 20-Something Essays by 20-Something Writers, and Readings for Writers. She is the author of Delaying the Real World and founder of Off Assignment. She earned her MFA at the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program and currently teaches essay and travel writing at Yale.
Sergio Troncoso is author of From This Wicked Patch of Dust, which Kirkus Reviews named as one of the Best Books of 2012 in a starred review. The novel won the Southwest Book Award. Troncoso also wrote Crossing Borders: Personal Essays, winner of the Bronze Award for Essays from ForeWord Reviews. The Portland Book Review called the collection “Heart-wrenching.” He is also the author of The Nature of Truth, hailed by The Chicago Tribune as “impressively lucid.” Publishers Weekly said of Troncoso’s first book, The Last Tortilla and Other Stories, “These stories are richly satisfying.” Troncoso was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters, and in 2014 he was co-chair of the Literature panel for the New York State Council on the Arts. Steve Inkseep from NPR’s Morning Edition recently interviewed Troncoso for a series on the United States-Mexico border, and the El Paso City Council voted unanimously to rename the Ysleta public library branch in honor of Troncoso.


Session II Faculty will be listed soon!

Yale and New Haven:

Accommodation & Facilities

Writers and faculty alike will live in one of Yale’s  residential colleges. They will share breakfast and lunch in the dining hall. The food features organic and locally sourced selections and a wide variety of choices at each meal. Bedrooms are single occupancy but share a common living space and bathroom with writers of the same gender. Please bear in mind that even though it is a striking setting, it is a college dorm and not a hotel. Writers who prefer air conditioning and housekeeping services should consider staying in one of the local hotels that have offered our participants a discount.

While breakfast and lunch are included in tuition, dinner is on your own. We  encourage you to explore downtown New Haven and its dozens of excellent restaurants.

Our writers have access to the entire Yale campus. This includes one of the world’s largest gymnasiums as well as some of the country’s largest libraries. The Yale Art Gallery, including its recently renovated sculpture hall, was renowned architect Louis Khan’s first major commission; his last, the British Art Center, is directly across the street. 



Applications received by February 28 - Decisions made by March 16

Applications received by April 30 – Decisions made by May 18

Total conference  size is limited to one hundred and thirty.

In Session I, each workshop will be limited to ten writers. The master class is limited to twenty-five. Each section in Session II includes no more than twelve writers

Admissions are based solely on the writing sample. The writing sample needs to accompany your application for admission, and may be uploaded electronically. It should be about thirteen hundred words.  Please single space your writing using a 12 pt. font as a Word or PDF document. Each page must include your name.   

Once accepted, an applicant is not considered registered until payment has been received. We accept payment through both check and PayPal.

Writers are assigned to workshops and master classes in the order in which they register. While we will make every effort to honor your faculty preference, we cannot guarantee it, because we can’t assign you to a workshop that has been filled. We will, however, announce the closing of a workshop immediately on our website to give you an opportunity to make another selection.

You can apply for either or both Sessions I and II.

Applicants must be 18 years old by the start of the program.

2015 Costs and Dates: 

June 6 - June 16

Session 1 (Living in residential college): $2725

Session 1 (Not living in residential college): $2145

June 6 - June 16 Novel and Memoir Intensives (for Alumni only)

Session 1 (Living in residential college): $3375

Session 1 (Not living in residential college): $2795

June 18 - June 21

Session 2 (Living in residential college): $1175

Session 2 (Not living in residential college): $925


June 18 - June 21 Novel Generator (for Alumni only)

Session 2 (Living in residential college): $4675 Plus Session I tuition in 2016 (TBD)

Session 2 (Not living in residential college): $4425 Plus Session I tuition in 2016 (TBD)


June 6 - June 21

Both Sessions (Living in residential college): $3975

Both Sessions (Not living in residential college): $3075

Only credit cards are accepted for the application fee. Upon acceptance the program fees can be paid via credit card or check. Check should be made payable to Yale University and mailed to Yale University, PO Box 208355, New Haven, CT 06510. If paying by credit card, you will be charged within a few days of registration.  Program fees are due in full within two weeks of acceptance or your space may be forfeited. We will refund 75% for cancellation requests received by April 15, 2015 and 50% for cancellation requests received by May 15, 2015.   We will be unable to honor refund requests after then.