Squaw Valley Community of Writers offers scholarships for locals | SierraSun.com

Squaw Valley Community of Writers offers scholarships for locals

Special to the Sun

The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, one of the oldest and most prestigious writers workshops in the country, has opened enrollment for its 2017 summer writing workshops in Squaw Valley.

The gatherings are for serious poets and writers, and include workshops, panel discussions, and craft talks as well as special interest classes.

The Community of Writers was founded over four decades ago by California writers Blair Fuller and Oakley Hall, who wished to foster a literary culture in the West that would be conversant with the publishing establishment of the East Coast.

It’s a testament to the success of their vision that now the West is a home to many of the most eminent American writers, many of them friends and alumni.

This year a full scholarship will be awarded to one poet and one writer who are accepted to the program and live within a 75-mile radius of Squaw Valley.

The Alexander Cushing Scholarship for Locals is given in honor of Alexander Cushing (1913-2006), who established Squaw Valley as a ski resort and international ski destination. He was a great champion of the Community of Writers. His family provides the funds for the scholarship.

The Poetry Workshop will be held June 24 to July 1. The program admits 70 serious poets into the week-long program.

Participating poets meet daily in workshops to share poems written during the previous 24 hours. Poets attend daily craft talks by the teaching staff poets, and meet in brief one-on-one sessions with staff poets.

The week culminates in a public poetry reading, featuring the staff poets reading their recent work — sometimes poems written during the previous week.

“We are honored to have three Pulitzer Prize winning poets on staff this year,” said Brett Hall Jones, Executive Director for the Community of Writers, in a recent interview about the Poetry Program.

Robert Hass, Sharon Olds and Gregory Pardlo have all been awarded the prestigious national prize. Additional staff include long-time staff members Forrest Gander and Brenda Hillman, who was awarded the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize, as well as Francisco Aragón, who will be teaching at the workshops for the first time.

The Writers Workshop will take place July 9-15 and accepts up to 110 fiction, nonfiction, and memoir writers. Writers meet in small workshop groups to discuss their submitted manuscript with a member of the teaching staff.

The 2017 staff includes fiction and nonfiction writers as well as literary agents and editors working in publishing today. Lectures and panel discussions on the craft of writing, as well as publishing, are offered daily, in addition to staff readings.

“We have a terrific teaching staff this year. We are delighted that Paul Harding, who won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel, Tinkers, will be joining us,” Jones said. “We are also pleased to offer a special screenwriting adaption class with the extraordinary writer/director Christopher Monger, who made the film The Man Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain.

Featured writers this year include Natalie Baszile, Belle Boggs, Mark Childress, John Daniels, Alex Espinoza, Janet Fitch, Lynn Freed, Sands Hall, Paul Harding, Rachel Howard, Michael Jaime-Becerra, Louis B. Jones, Dylan Landis, Krys Lee, Tom Lutz, Martin J. Smith, Gregory Spatz, Josh Weil, and Al Young. There will be Special Guest appearances by Dagoberto Gilb, Michelle Latiolais, Michael Lavigne, Frances Stroh, and international bestseller Amy Tan.

All interested writers and poets are encouraged to apply, though admission is competitive and the writing level is high. No prior publications or academic credits are required; the only criterion for admission is that the applicant submit a sample of his or her original writing, which is evaluated by a panel of judges on the basis of literary merit only.

The deadline to apply for summer 2017 workshops is March 28. Some financial aid is available.

This article was provided by the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Visit http://www.communityofwriters.org to learn more.