Summer Seminar for Writers




June 17 - 22, 2018

Nearly sixty adult writers converge on the beautiful Sarah Lawrence College campus for the annual Summer Seminar for Writers. Participants come from all over the United States and beyond to experience six amazing days of workshops, craft talks, generative sessions, and readings. Students choose to study along one of the following tracts: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, or hybrids of poetry and prose.


The weeklong workshops are constructive, supportive environments in which students are encouraged to take risks. Workshops are capped at twelve to ensure each student has a voice as both a reader and a writer. Each workshop has its own unique atmosphere and strategies. Some will slant toward imagining the possibilities of existing work, some toward the creation of new work, while others will aim for a balance of the two. Teachers may bring in pieces of published writing to springboard into discussions of craft, structure, style, and content. In every workshop, the writing of students will be deeply considered, and participants will receive compassionate and constructive feedback.

Conferences & Generative Sessions

In addition to working with a writing teacher in class, each summer seminar student will have a 30-minute one-on-one conference with their teacher, a chance to deepen their dialogue about individual writing.

On weekday afternoons, there will be space for participants to gather and engage in a multi-genre writing exercise, directed by a teacher or visiting writer. This exposes students to different approaches and will be a space to cross-pollinate genres and to roll the creative dice.

Craft Talks & Readings

Each weekday afternoon, there will be two craft talks open to all participants in the Summer Seminar. Students are encouraged to attend and hear faculty and visiting writers explore various topics. Some of these talks will be more like traditional lectures, some will be more illustrative discussions, some will be in-depth interviews. All will deepen student’s sense of the literary tradition and new ways of thinking about the art of writing.

In addition, every evening will feature a dynamic reading with two talented and acclaimed authors. To foster a dance and dialogue between genres, each reading will pair a prose writer and a poet.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will details become available for the 2018 Summer Seminar for Writers?
Details will be posted in late fall.

Will I get to select my workshop instructor?
During the registration process, you will have the opportunity to rank your preference for your workshop instructor. We will do our best to match you with your top choice, but we cannot guarantee this. All of our teachers are dedicated and talented.

How do I get to Sarah Lawrence?
The College is just 30 minutes north of Midtown Manhattan by train or car, and there are three major international airports—LaGuardia, JFK & Newark— that serve this region of New York. Please click here for more travel information.

What amenities are available if I decide to stay on campus?
All meals are catered and will be served in The Pub at the Siegel Center. Meals will include vegetarian and gluten free options. At the end of the seminar, we also hold a catered reception.

Housing accommodations are in campus residence halls. Rooms are neat but spartan. All rooms are single rooms equipped with A/C. Your room will be set up with a twin bed, dresser, desk, and lamp. There are basic supplies in your room including soap, plastic bag for garbage, linen, and towel.

During your stay on campus, the swimming pool, fitness center, tennis courts, and squash courts at the Campbell Sports Center are available for use at $10 per visit.

Do I have to go to every event?
Attendance at every event is not mandatory, but we highly encourage you to attend the extraordinary lineup of craft talks and readings throughout the seminar. Craft talks and readings are often discussed during workshop classes.

Will I get a chance to share my work?
Absolutely! There will be nightly student readings where you will have the opportunity to share your work during a rapid-fire reading.

Will I have time to take a day trip to New York City?
The seminar includes a full schedule with daily workshop classes, craft talks, generative sessions, readings by visiting writers, and student readings.

I'm interested in getting work published. Will there be opportunities to learn more about publishing?
Participants attending the seminar are eligible to receive a discount for the Publish and Promote Your Book Conference through the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute. Highlights of the conference include a series of interactive panel discussions with prominent New York City literary agents, major publishing house editors, and public relations and social media experts. Participants will also have the rare opportunity to promote their books to different agents and editors in pitch sessions. Those who have registered for this will have the opportunity to discuss their work with three agents/editors for 15 minutes each.

Application Requirements

  • Submit a brief one-page biographical sketch about your reading and writing life, no more than 300 words. Please include your name in the header.

  • Submit a writing sample that includes your name in the header of each page. For poetry, submit five to seven pages, one poem per page, sent in a single document. For prose, submit up to 12 pages, double-spaced.

  • (Optional) Financial aid request: Submit a brief letter indicating why you are seeking financial aid, as well as the level of aid you are seeking. Please include your name in the header.

  • Note: Aid offers and discounts cannot be combined. Students will be awarded the highest aid package that they qualify for.

If you have questions, please e-mail

Program Costs

Program costs will be available when registration opens in January 2018.