Writers in Paradise 2021

January 16-23*


Our submission period for the 2021 conference will close on November 1 (11:59pm Eastern time).

We will make a final decision on whether to hold our event in person in November based on the latest college guidelines and CDC policies.  In the event that the in-person edition of WIP 2021 has to be cancelled, we will move the programming for the in-person 2021 conference to 2022.  

For 2021, we will make available to all 2021 applicants an exclusive two-day online webinar with faculty only featuring craft talks, conversations, Q&A, and readings at no additional charge (the non-refundable $25-app-fee will be the only charge).

  • No workshops or manuscript critiquing will take place during the virtual event.
  • The virtual event is not meant to replicate an in-person conference, but instead offer those who took the time to apply a chance to engage via Q&A with our faculty while learning about writing.
  • All applicants will have access to the 2-day virtual event.  (You will not need to be accepted to have access to the virtual event.  All those who applied will be given access.)
  • The 2-day virtual event will take place some time during the week of the conference, between January 16-23.  Exact dates will be announced in November.
  • Conversation and Craft Talk topics will be announced.

PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ANY TRAVEL OR LODGING RESERVATIONS UNTIL WE ANNOUNCE THE 2021 PLANS IN NOVEMBER.  Visit writersinparadise.com for the latest conference details or email wip@eckerd.edu for more information.

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2020 is a year that will be seared in our collective memory for a series of tragic events that have led to an important and intense national conversation on racial equity. Writers in Paradise is an organization devoted to the encouragement and development of a diverse spectrum of emerging writers, helping them refine a craft critical in the effort to educate, entertain and move the world. Beyond the writers we assist every winter, this year we make this modest attempt to extend our impact in supporting emerging and diverse voices:  we will make a charitable donation in an amount equal to $10 for every application for WIP 2021 to the Cave Canem Foundation, a 501-c-3 non-profit literary service organization.  Cave Canem, "a home for black poetry," was founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady in 1996 to remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape.  Cave Canem Foundation is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.  Its honorary directors include: Elizabeth Alexander, Lee Briccetti, Barbara Bristol, Nikky Finney, Nikki Giovanni, Marilyn Hacker, Terrance Hayes, Bob Holman, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dawn Lundy Martin, E. Ethelbert Miller, Walter Mosley, Sharon Olds, and Tim Seibles.

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Please click on any workshop below for specific submission and manuscript guidelines.  If you plan to apply for any fellowships or scholarships, the funding application is embedded within the below categories.  

Thank you.

Faculty: Major Jackson

In addition to manuscript discussion and critique, in this generative workshop, composed of in-class writing exercises and close readings of poems that model risk-taking, we will write exploratory drafts that push us towards next-level thinking and emotional breakthroughs. Students will enter a community of writers whose collective aim is to forward our growth as writers by crafting both our feelings and our language. 

Please submit up to 10 pages of poetry.
Required format for writing samples:

  1. All poems must be submitted as one document.
  2. Font must be 12-pt Times New Roman or Arial, single-spaced.
  3. All manuscripts must contain a header or footer with page numbers and author’s name.
  4. Titles of each poem should appear in all caps and each new poem should start on a new page.

  
 

Faculty: Ann Hood

In this workshop, we will read and discuss published essays every day to examine what makes a good piece of memoir writing. We will then critique pages from your own memoirs and essays with an eye toward revision.
 
In a single file, submit the opening 25 pages of a memoir-in-progress plus a 1-page synopsis (as p 26). Synopsis should include the following: one brief paragraph summarizing the memoir and status of the project (i.e., unfinished first draft, completed first draft, completed draft which has undergone multiple revisions, etc.). If you are submitting a portion which appears later in the work (for example, pages 25-50), provide a detailed synopsis of the pages prior to your submission (e.g. pages 1-24).


 Required format for writing samples:
 

  1. Page numbers must be consecutive throughout.
  2. Font must be 12-pt Times New Roman or Arial.
  3. Margins must be 1 inch.
  4. All manuscripts must be double-spaced including the one-page synopsis and contain a header or footer with page numbers and author's name.
  5. No extra spacing between paragraphs except that which indicates transitions.
  6. If you submit more than 26 pages (25 of manuscript + 1-page synopsis), the coordinator will cut as necessary.
  7. Do not include title pages or dedications.
  8. Please submit manuscript and synopsis as a single file.

  
 

Faculty:  Laura Lippman

The personal essay is a highly personal form -- and sometimes a maligned one. In this course, I hope to help students realize the optimal versions of the stories they want to tell and to stress the values that personal essays share with all nonfiction -- clarity, voice, even rigorous reporting at times.  


In a single file, submit one or more personal essays plus a 1-page synopsis (as the final page).  The entire submission should not exceed 26 pages (25 + 1p synopsis).  Short pieces are powerful and worth workshopping, so please don't feel obligated to hit the 25p limit.  Synopsis should include if your submission is/are stand-alone piece(s) or part of a collection, where we are in the narrative if part of a longer work; and a brief paragraph summarizing the status of the project (i.e., unfinished first draft, completed first draft, completed draft which has undergone multiple revisions, etc.).   Required format for writing samples:  

  1. Page numbers must be consecutive throughout the manuscript.
  2. Font must be 12-pt Times New Roman or Arial.
  3. Margins must be 1 inch.
  4. All manuscripts must be double-spaced including the one-page synopsis
  5. All manuscripts must contain a header or footer with page numbers and author’s name.
  6. No extra spacing between paragraphs except that which indicates transitions.
  7. If submitting from a longer work, please do not submit more than 26 pages (25 of manuscript + 1-pg synopsis).  The coordinator will cut as necessary. 
  8. Do not include title pages or dedications.
  9. Please submit in a single file.

Faculty:  Michael Koryta

The workshop is open to both fiction and nonfiction writers who are interested in improving their storytelling and broadening their range of techniques. Focus will be on how the handling of core issues such as character, plot, tension, and emotion are imperative regardless of the form, and demonstrating that fiction writers can benefit from seeing how journalistic techniques can add depth and realism to their own work, while nonfiction writers can benefit from learning how to build scenes, create suspense, and use dialogue. 


In a single file, submit up to 25 pages of a book-length work in fiction, nonfiction or memoir, plus a 1-page synopsis (as p. 26).  Synopsis should include the following: one brief paragraph summarizing the book and status of the project (i.e., unfinished first draft, completed first draft, completed draft which has undergone multiple revisions, etc.). If you are submitting a portion which appears later in the work (for example, pages 25-50), provide a detailed synopsis of the pages prior to your submission (e.g. pages 1-24).
 

Required format for writing samples:

  1. Page numbers must be consecutive throughout the manuscript.
  2. Font must be 12-pt Times New Roman or Arial. 
  3. Margins must be 1 inch.
  4. All manuscripts must be double-spaced including 1-page synopsis. All manuscripts must contain a header or footer with page numbers and author’s name.
  5. No extra spacing between paragraphs except that which indicates transitions.
  6. If you submit more than 26 pages (25 pages of manuscript + 1-page synopsis), the coordinator will cut as necessary.
  7. Do not include title pages or dedications.
  8. Please submit manuscript + 1-p synopsis as a single file (with synopsis as final page).

  
 

Faculty:  Emily Bernard
Every essay is a journey. If the writer is successful, we readers end up with new understandings, or at least, new questions to ask of the world and our place in it. In this workshop, we will read and discuss essays designed to disrupt our assumptions and challenge us to imagine alternate ways of thinking and being. Writing exercises will enable you to learn how to take the stuff of your own life and transform it into a story that is bigger than its circumstances.  

In a single file, submit one or more essays plus a 1-page synopsis (as the final page).  The entire submission should not exceed 26 pages (25 + 1p synopsis).  Short pieces are powerful and worth workshopping, so please don't feel obligated to hit the 25p limit.  Synopsis should include if your submission is/are stand-alone piece(s) or part of a collection, where we are in the narrative if part of a longer work; and a brief paragraph summarizing the status of the project (i.e., unfinished first draft, completed first draft, completed draft which has undergone multiple revisions, etc.).   Required format for writing samples:  
 

  1. Page numbers must be consecutive throughout the manuscript.
  2. Font must be 12-pt Times New Roman or Arial.
  3. Margins must be 1 inch.
  4. All manuscripts must be double-spaced including the one-page synopsis
  5. All manuscripts must contain a header or footer with page numbers and author’s name.
  6. No extra spacing between paragraphs except that which indicates transitions.
  7. If submitting from a longer work, please do not submit more than 26 pages (25 of manuscript + 1-pg synopsis).  The coordinator will cut as necessary. 
  8. Do not include title pages or dedications.
  9. Please submit in a single file.
     


Faculty:  Andre Dubus III

If I teach nothing in my writing classes, I teach this: do not outline your novel or novella or short story or essay. Do not think out the plot, the narrative arc, the protagonist’s journey, whatever you want to call it. Instead, try to find the story through an honest excavation of the characters’ total experience of the situation in which they find themselves. Do that, and I promise the story will begin to write itself, with little need for the controlling hand of the godly, intelligent, well-read, and ambitious author. But how, precisely, does one go about this “excavation”?  And how, technically speaking, can we ignite a story into “writing itself”?  Come to this workshop, and I will seek to demystify those writerly tools and skills that time and time again, if they are sharp enough, and if the writer can summon enough daily faith and nerve, can penetrate the mystery of story itself.


In a single file, submit the opening 25 pages of a novel-in-progress plus a 1-page synopsis (as p. 26).  Synopsis should include the following: one brief paragraph summarizing the novel and status of the project (i.e., unfinished first draft, completed first draft, completed draft which has undergone multiple revisions, etc.). If you are submitting a portion which appears later in the work (for example, pages 25-50), provide a detailed synopsis of the pages prior to your submission (e.g. pages 1-24).

Required format for writing samples:
 

  1. Page numbers must be consecutive throughout the manuscript.
  2. Font must be 12-pt Times New Roman or Arial.
  3. Margins must be 1 inch.
  4. All manuscripts must be double-spaced including the 1-page synopsis. All manuscripts must contain a header or footer with page numbers and author’s name.
  5. No extra spacing between paragraphs except that which indicates transitions.
  6. If you submit more than 26 pages (25 of manuscript + 1-page synopsis), the coordinator will cut as necessary. 
  7. Do not include title pages or dedications.
  8. Please submit manuscript + synopsis in a single file (with synopsis as final page).

 

Faculty: Sterling Watson

We will cover as many matters of craft and art (character, theme, point-of-view, language, structure, and setting) as we can fit into the time allotted with special attention to problems and possibilities that arise from our reading of the students' manuscripts.  Using the manuscripts as prompts, I will suspend discussion occasionally for mini-lectures and demonstrations of key ideas.  This class will help participants fashion a better synopsis and sample chapter to send out to agents.

In a single file, submit the opening 25 pages of a novel-in-progress plus a 1-page synopsis (as p. 26).  Synopsis should include the following: one brief paragraph summarizing the novel and status of the project (i.e., unfinished first draft, completed first draft, completed draft which has undergone multiple revisions, etc.). If you are submitting a portion which appears later in the work (for example, pages 25-50), provide a detailed synopsis of the pages prior to your submission (e.g. pages 1-24).   Required format for writing samples:  

  1. Page numbers must be consecutive throughout the manuscript.
  2. Font must be 12-pt Times New Roman or Arial.
  3. Margins must be 1 inch.
  4. All manuscripts must be double-spaced including the 1-page synopsis. All manuscripts must contain a header or footer with page numbers and author’s name.
  5. No extra spacing between paragraphs except that which indicates transitions.
  6. If you submit more than 26 pages (25 of manuscript + 1-page synopsis), the coordinator will cut as necessary. 
  7. Do not include title pages or dedications.
  8. Please submit manuscript + synopsis in a single file (with synopsis as final page).

 

Faculty: Les Standiford

This workshop will focus on the overall conception and structure of book-length projects--novel, memoir, or general interest non-fiction, either completed or in progress.  Discussion will center on the clarity and substance of the project and the efficacy of the opening 25 pp, given the stated intention.    

In a single file, submit up to 25 pages of a book-length work in fiction, nonfiction or memoir, plus a 1-page synopsis (as p. 26).  Synopsis should include the following: one brief paragraph summarizing the book and status of the project (i.e., unfinished first draft, completed first draft, completed draft which has undergone multiple revisions, etc.). If you are submitting a portion which appears later in the work (for example, pages 25-50), provide a detailed synopsis of the pages prior to your submission (e.g. pages 1-24).       

Required format for writing samples:  

  1. Page numbers must be consecutive throughout the manuscript.
  2. Font must be 12-pt Times New Roman or Arial. 
  3. Margins must be 1 inch.
  4. All manuscripts must be double-spaced including 1-page synopsis. All manuscripts must contain a header or footer with page numbers and author’s name.
  5. No extra spacing between paragraphs except that which indicates transitions.
  6. If you submit more than 26 pages (25 pages of manuscript + 1-page synopsis), the coordinator will cut as necessary.
  7. Do not include title pages or dedications.
  8. Submit manuscript + synopsis as a single file (with synopsis as final page).


Faculty:  Ana Menéndez

Writing Backwards: Starting at the Ending.  Writing seems like one of the most linear of art forms. It certainly feels that way for most readers, who begin with the first word and proceed, in orderly fashion, to the last. But for the writer, a short story may first take shape with an idea of an ending: an image, a sound, a moment towards which the narrative will eventually drive (even if, as E.L. Doctorow famously suggested, for most of that journey the writer will only see as far as the headlights.) In addition to manuscript critique, we’ll take a light historical trip of our own through various fad-endings, including epiphanies, twists and resolutions. And we’ll study some of the most compelling examples of the form before diving into a short-story workshop that will concentrate on what reporters call “the kicker”: writing an ending that will resonate long after the story’s close.


In a single file, submit one or more short stories of no more than 25 pages total.  No synopsis necessary.
Required format for writing samples:
 

  1. Page numbers must be consecutive throughout the manuscript.
  2. Font must be 12-pt Times New Roman and Arial.
  3. Margins must be 1 inch.
  4. All prose manuscripts must be double-spaced. All manuscripts must contain a header or footer with page numbers and author’s name.
  5. No extra spacing between paragraphs except that which indicates transitions.
  6. If you submit more than 25 pages, the coordinator will cut as necessary. 
  7. Do not include title pages or dedications.
  8. Please submit in a single file.

 

Writers in Paradise