Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends (CLAF), formerly known as Chautauqua Readers & Writers, is a volunteer network of writers and readers who work year-round in support of Chautauqua Literary Arts. During the nine-week summer program, the Friends provide support to the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, sponsor weekly opportunities for writers to present their work and meet other writers and readers, and organize contests and other special events.

Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends events

(Click here for complete CLAF calendar of events or check The Chautauquan Daily.)

  • Sunday afternoon readings by prose and poetry writers-in-residence at Hall of Philosophy followed by reception and book-signing on the porch of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall. Co-sponsored with Writers’ Center; open to the public.

  • Sunday evening open mic at Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall (ages 18 and up; no registration required)

  • Tuesday informal prose and poetry critiques after Brown Bag lunch events on porch Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall. (No registration required, but bring 10 copies of one page of your work.)

  • Thursday Brown Bag lunch Authors’ Hour readings for CHQ authors on the porch of Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall (Weeks 1–8) – Information and Application

  • Annual Robert Pinsky Favorite Poem Project reading in Hall of Philosophy (July 18) – Information and Application

  • Annual writing contests (poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction; for adults, young adults and young writers; submissions open June 24) – Information and Application.

  • Annual local authors book fair (***June 17 deadline to apply) – Information and Application

  • Annual Reception with Friends (Reservation required at

  • *NEW* Support for young adult writer housing scholarships to attend first Chautauqua Writers' Center workshop

  • Discount voucher for literary journal Chautauqua

Membership Information

Annual membership (new pricing) is $20/person.

All members receive a discount voucher for the newest issue of the literary journal Chautauqua, redeemable for a $5 copy at either the Veranda or the second floor of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall.

Join ONLINE now or in person on the second floor of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall!

Chautauqua publishes writing expressing the values of Chautauqua Institution, broadly construed: a sense of inquiry into questions of personal, social, political, spiritual, and aesthetic importance—
and when, where, and how those values and questions intersect.

2019 details coming soon!
Writing in Times of Crisis
June 20-23, 2018

The 2018 Chautauqua Writers’ Festival took place over the four days (Wed-Sat) before Chautauqua Institution's summer season commenced.

In addition to the Festival’s tradition of intensive workshops and one-on-one conferences with award-winning contemporary authors, writers also explored the craft of writing in the context of urgent social questions through panel conversations, breakout sessions, and a keynote address. The 2018 theme for this slate of new options was “Writing in Times of Crisis,” which drew connections between the personal, the political, and the craft of writing. All of these features are optional to workshop participants and wii included in the cost of Workshop Registration.

Additionally, the new Explorations Registration option will make it possible for anyone to pay a reduced rate to attend everything other than workshops, fostering an even more vibrant, dynamic convening of writers from near and far. Explorations Registration is available through June 20 and at the door. Multiple new university and non-profit partners will facilitate this growth, including the Academy of American PoetsCatapult, Just BuffaloVIDA and Wick Poetry Center.

Keynote & Panels


2019 information tbd.

Panels & Breakout Sessions 

We will reopen applications to sit on on a panel or lead a breakout session this fall/winter 2018/19. 

Submit here (soon)


Questions? Email the festival’s director Dr. Lillian-Yvonne Bertram at or the Director of Literary Arts Mx. Atom Atkinson at 



The Chautauqua Writers' Center is a lively community of writers at all levels of development who cultivate the courage, craft and vision necessary to grow as artists under the tutelage of nationally recognized authors. Started in 1987, the original core program of eighteen summer workshops, readings and lectures has grown to include the Chautauqua Writers' Festival, the Chautauqua Literary Journal, and an active support organization, Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends.

Whether you are an accomplished writer looking for peer support, a novice striving to take your work to the next level, or simply an avid reader in love with all things literary, we welcome you and hope to see you at one of our many programs.

Writers' Center Programs at-a-glance

  • Readings on the Porch — Each Sunday from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m., the week's poet and prose writers-in-residence read from their own work on the porch of Alumni Hall. (free)

  • Brown-bag Lectures — Each Tuesday and Friday from 12:15 – 1:15 p.m., the week’s poet and prose writers-in-residence (respectively) offer a public lecture on the porch of Alumni Hall. Bring your lunch! (free)

  • Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends — $30 annual membership in this literary arts support group includes a copy of the journal Chautauqua, membership in the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) and perks such as social events. Literary Arts Friends programs include, amongst others, the Chautauqua Poetry Contest and Hauser Prize.

Summer Workshops

Each workshop is taught by an experienced, published author (writer-in-residence) in a small group setting. Most classes are limited to just 12 participants. All workshops are held on the second floor of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall. (Located on the south end of the grounds on Wythe Ave. across from the Hall of Philosophy.)

For specific questions regarding workshops, please contact Clara Silverstein.

Registration begins in April. Call the ticket ofice at 716.357.6250 to register by phone or register online at You may also register at one of our ticketing windows at our Main Gate Welcome Center.

Weekly prose and poetry workshops have been the core of the Chautauqua Writers' Center for 24 years. Faculty members are selected not only for their national reputations and the quality of their work, but also for their ability to inspire developing writers to grow in their craft.

Reading together since 1878, the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle has remained a leader in adult education through quality programming.

Each summer, the CLSC chooses nine books of literary quality and invites the authors to Chautauqua present their work to an audience of approximately 1,000 readers.

Chautauqua Literary & Scientific Circle Vertical Theme 2015

Books chosen as Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selections in 2015 will celebrate the theme of “truth and consequences.” In most cases, the book will complement the theme of its corresponding week. In all selections, exceptional writing will define the authors honored by the CLSC.

 Author programs are held Thursdays at 3:30 in the Hall of Philosophy unless otherwise noted.

2014 CLSC Selections

Rosenblatt Roger CLSC 062614 cover

Week One
Roger Rosenblatt
The Boy Dectective