This year, the Writers’ Center is piloting two intensive courses that focus on specific forms and genres, giving writers a compact but substantive weekend of enhanced expertise, productivity and community. Registration is now available! Each intensive is $150, and the Cavallaro and Stielstra intensives are also available as part of a weekend vacation package.

Everybody Stand Up: Performance in the Writing Process

Stielstra MeganMegan Stielstra

This hands-on/minds-on weekend intensive explores how performance intersects, informs, and inspires the writing process. Intended for both experienced writers looking to take current drafts to the next level, and beginning writers looking for their most authentic material, we’ll push the pencils aside* to dig into the story, encouraging discovery and examining literary craft in new ways. How does telling a story aloud heighten the writers’ understanding of its movement and structure? How does the presence of an immediate audience affect the rewriting process? And how, above all else, can we have fun while doing so? (ages 18+)
*only momentarily! We’ll pick them back up, I promise!

July 14-15 / Sa-Su / 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (with breaks) and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (with breaks), subject to adjustment

Ballroom, Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall
Fees: 2 sessions • $150 for course alone • $361* for vacation package • course number 14022

Purchase Course Only

Megan Stielstra is the author of three collections: The Wrong Way to Save Your Life, Once I Was Cool, and Everyone Remain Calm. Her work appears in Best American Essays, The New York Times, Guernica and elsewhere. She is currently an artist-in-residence at Northwestern University.

July 14-15 Weekend Vacation Package
(Click here, then select "Check Availability.")

Rate starting at $361*
Package includes:
Accommodations at the Athenaeum Hotel
Chautauqua Institution gate pass and parking
Writers' Center Weekend Intensive with Megan Stielstra
Three-course dinner on Saturday, breakfast and Sunday brunch
*Offer based on availability. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotion or standard discount. Package rates are subject to applicable taxes. Single rates available. Promotional packages are non-refundable.

The Great Leap: Playwriting Page to Stage     

Canady DarrenDarren Canady

Writing vital, lively, unpredictable work for the stage can be a liberating challenge for any writer. Participants in this weekend intensive will take on that challenge by gaining a firm hold of the foundations of dramatic structure and analysis. After working through a Major Dramatic Question and outline for a one-act or full-length play, participants will write major turning point scenes in their scripts. Revisions of these scenes will have the chance to be performed as part of a reading with Chautauqua Theatre Company (CTC), and all participants will attend a CTC rehearsal, talk-back, and playwright panel discussion.

August 4-5 / Sa-Su / 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (with breaks) and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (with breaks), subject to adjustment

Ballroom, Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall
Fees: 2 sessions • $150 • course number 14023

Purchase Course

Darren Canady’s work has been seen at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the Alliance Theatre, Chicago’s Congo Square Theatre, the BE Company and more. He was a 2006-7 fellow in the Juilliard School's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program and a participant in the 2010 T.S. Eliot US/UK Exchange. He currently teaches playwriting at the University of Kansas.


For the first time ever, the Chautauqua Writers’ Center is sponsoring a fall poetry workshop, led by former poet-in-residence Neil Shepard.

This 12-person workshop will be held from Sept. 28 – Oct. 2.

This list includes writers in residence for the Chautauqua Writers’ Center from 1988 through the current year.




Kathleen Aguero
Maggie Anderson
James Armstrong
David Baker
Ansie Baird
Jan Beatty
Erin Belieu
Bruce Bennett
Lillian-Yvonne Bertram
Catherine Bowman
Philip Brady
Douglas Carlson
David Chin
David Citino
Charles Coe
Brad Comann
Helen Conkling
Geraldine Connolly
Nicole Cooley
Robert Cording
Stephen Corey
Gerald Costanzo
Jim Daniels
Todd Davis
Taylor Davy
Mark DeFoe
Chard deNiord

Carl Dennis
Gregory Donovan
Stephen Dunn
Beth Ann Fennelly
Richard Foerster
Alice Fogel
Carol Frost
Pamela Gemin
Diana Hume George
Danielle Legros Georges
Margaret Gibson
Douglas Goetsch
Ari Goldman
Kent Gramm
William Greenway
Susan Grimm
Emily Grosholz
Mac Sawyer Hammond
Jeffrey Harrison
Stephen Haven
David Havird
Terrance Hayes
William H. Heyen
Rick Hilles
John Hoppenthaler
Akua Lezli Hope
Mary Jean Irion

Lori Jakiela
Allison Joseph
Julia Spicher Kasdorf
Laura Kasischke
Jim Kates
Susan Kinsolving
Judith Kitchen
Nancy Krygowski
Greg Kuzma
Richard Lehnert
George Looney
Dan Masterson
Shara McCallum
Michael McFee
Marjorie Maddox
Charlotte Matthews
Jo McDugall
Samuel Menashe
Wendy Mnookin
Rajiv Mohabir
Veronica Morgan
Joan Murray
Andrew Mulvania
Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Rob Ostrom
Jackie Osherow
Alan Michael Parker
Molly Peacock

Kevin Pilkington
Lia Purpura
Nancy Reisman
Len Roberts
Liz Rosenberg
Stanley Rubin
Leslie Rubinkowski
Stephen Sandy
Neil Shepard
David Shumate
Mary McLaughlin Slechta
Elizabeth Stevens
Stephanie Strickland
Mathias Svalina
Karen Swenson
Phil Terman
Elaine Terranova
Lewis Turco
Michael Waters
David Weiss
Gabriel Welsch
Julie Wendell
William Wenthe
Marjory Wentworth
Patricia Jabbeh Wesley
Marcus Wicker
Carolyne Wright
Kevin Young



If you were a writer-in-residence for the Writers’ Center, but your name is not on this list, please let us know. Send your name, the year you taught, and the genre you taught to Director of Literary Arts Atom Atkinson at

Each five-day workshop is taught by an experienced, published writer-in-residence in a small group setting. 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.)

Registration began on April 10, 2018. Details can be found in the Registration tab below.

As workshop descriptions are announced, each will clarify which of these models that workshop will employ:

  1. Generative Workshops: The primary focus is on in-class craft analysis, discussion, and exercises, as well as (time-permitting) take-home prompts; ideal for writers at any level of experience looking for ways to invigorate their writing practices throughout the entire year. $115. Enrollment capped at 12.
  2. Critique-and-Revision Workshops: The primary focus is on careful reading and response for everyone's submitted manuscripts, in the context of craft analysis and sometimes alternative revision strategies; ideal for dedicated and experienced writers hoping to make significant headway on their latest drafts; application required. $150. Enrollment capped at 8.
  3. Flexible Workshops: By first workshopping participants who arrive on Monday with relevant drafts, then workshopping participants who generate work during the week, these workshops meet the needs of many writers, all in the context of daily craft analysis and discussion. $115. Enrollment capped at 12.



Registration for all workshops begins in April. Courses are available for writers at many stages of experience and development, though students must be at least 18 to enroll.

Interested in our Weekend Intensives? Learn more about course and package options here before registering.

A $5 fee is added to all orders placed online, by mail, or by telephone.

Register online @

Register by phone: 716.357.6250. Please have all registration information ready before calling. Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover are all accepted.

Pre-register by mail: Use the registration form in any print copy of the Special Studies Catalog, enclosing full payment and mailing to:

Special Studies 
PO Box 28 
Chautauqua, New York 14722

To receive a print catalog in the mail, please email or call 716.357.6200.

Register in-person: Walk-in registrations will be accepted at the Main Gate Ticket Office, Visitors Center, and Special Studies Office at Hultquist Center.