win, place, show: the new york state summer writers institute

February 5, 2015

Tucked into the foothills of New York State’s Adirondack Mountains is Saratoga Springs, the home of Skidmore College, a cluster of brick buildings surrounding rolling greens, a small pond, and a healthy canopy of firs and oaks that keep the campus self-contained, tight-knit, and set off from the rest of the world: basically, the quintessential writer’s retreat. Writers hoping to hole up here from June 29th to July 24th during this year’s New York State Summer Writers Institute might find their perfect solitude pleasantly disrupted by any number of afternoon and evening readings and talks delivered by both visitors to the campus and members of the fiction, poetry, and nonfiction faculty. Ann Beattie, Jamaica Kincaid, and Robert Pinsky are only a handful of the distinguished visitors while such writers as Rick Moody, Carolyn Forché, and Phillip Lopate teach the workshop classes where the experienced and the aspiring writer alike are offered manuscript critiques, craft lessons, discussion, and the opportunity to forge connections with other writers and other instructors.

Writers can choose to apply for a two-week stay or for the whole four weeks, and the workshop classes can be taken for college credit (for an additional fee) at the discretion of the attendee. A limited amount of financial aid is available to four-week students, and there are scholarships available for both undergraduate and graduate students. The deadlines are coming up though, and will follow the following schedule:

Scholarship Competition Deadlines:

    February 25 - Faculty nominations must be received
    March 10 - Last date to submit Scholarship applications.
    March 16 - Scholarships will be awarded.
   

On or around March 20 - The names of scholarship award winners, along with their  schools, will be announced to all applicants.

In addition to the scholastic benefits and general writing enrichment afforded by the Institute, the surrounding area of Saratoga Springs is an especially congenial place to spend a summer. The New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra both make Saratoga their summer home, not to mention the quaint shop-lined streets, open-air Shakespeare in the park, and Roosevelt Baths and Spa where visitors can partake of Saratoga Springs’ famous mineral waters. There’s the racetrack too, if you’d like to stay on past your tenure at the Institute. Opening Day is July 24th.

You can learn more about this unique gathering of writers and teachers, including details about tuition and how to apply, at their website. After four weeks in Saratoga, you wouldn’t be the only one to emerge refreshed, revitalized, and quite possibly toting a new body of work to keep you writing and revising throughout the rest of the year.

 

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