August 6-10th, 2017

4th annual Catamaran Writing Conference at Pebble Beach



At Catamaran Literary Reader, our artistic themes tap into the rich literary history and beautiful setting of the California Central Coast.  We invite you to transform your own creative work in the scenic location of Pebble Beach, a major source of inspiration for writers from John Steinbeck to Robinson Jeffers.  The conference will be held on the campus of the Robert Louis Stevenson school, and attendees will meet in the elegant Stevenson classrooms, commons, theater, and chapel for workshops, lectures, and presentations. The registration fee of  $1250 includes four nights lodging at the Robert Louis Stevenson campus on 17-Mile Drive, access to the Stevenson dining commons for 12 meals with your fellow attendees, 4 days of literary workshops in a small group of 12 participants.  Also available are optional daily literary themed excursions, daily craft talks, nightly special guest readings, and student readings

For our 2017 Summer Conference, we are asking participants to submit a manuscript of their preferred genre for review and approval.  Fiction and nonfiction pieces may be short stories or novel excerpts of up to ten pages.  Poetry submissions may include up to five poems, not to exceed a complete page count of ten pages.  


Workshop Courses

Workshops meet four mornings from 9:30am - 12:30pm on Monday- Thursday.  Click on the instructor's name or image below to learn more about them and their course. 


Dorianne Laux is an award-winning poet who has written five poetry collections. Her most recent work, The Book of Men, published in 2011, received The Paterson Prize.

Clarence Major is a prizewinning poet, painter, and fiction writer. Some of his awards include the Western States Book Award, the National Council on the Arts Award, and the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award in the Fine Arts presented by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis. 


Elizabeth McKenzie is the author of three novels, the most recent being The Portable Veblen. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Best American Nonrequired Reading, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, and was recorded for NPR’s Selected Shorts. She is the senior editor of the Chicago Quarterly Review and the managing editor of Catamaran Literary Reader.

Josip Novakovich has published a novel entitled April Fool's Day, three short story collections (Yolk, Salvation and Other Disasters; Infidelities: Stories of War; and Lust), two collections of narrative essays (Apricots from Chernobyl; Plum Brandy: Croatian Journey) and a textbook (Fiction Writer's Workshop). Additionally, Novakovich is the recipient of the Whiting Writer's Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, two fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, an award from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. He was anthologized in Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prize, and O.Henry Prize Stories.


Pam Houston is an American author of short stories, novels and essays. She is best known for her first book, Cowboys Are My Weakness, which has been translated into nine languages, and which won the 1993 Western States Book Award.

Daily Craft Talks 

Enjoy optional daily guest lectures open to all registered participants and Day Pass holders. Topics are related to the craft of creative writing, giving attendees a chance to experience craft topics outside the focus of their small group writing workshops. Craft talks are one hour each, with a a portion of the hour devoted to discussing questions raised by participants. The craft talks will be presented by professional authors, poets, editors, and agents all working in literary field.   


2:00 - Kathleen Founds: Humor in Writing
3:00 - Dan White & Amy Ettinger: American Road Trips
4:00 - Peggy Townsend: Art of the Interview


2:00 - Andrew Fague: Using Your Vision as a Poet
3:00 - Heather Lazare: Editing
4:00 - Zack Rogow: Inspiration from Writers We Hate


2:00 - Charles Hood: Journals and Notebooks
3:00 - Candace Calsoyas: Environmental Writing
4:00 - Andy Ross: The Agent


Evening Guest Lectures and Readings

Each evening join us for a reception at 7:00 followed by an evening presentation at 7:30. The evening series will include a lecture by our special guest, Karen Joy Fowler, prose and poetry readings by our faculty, and a final celebratory student reading. The evening literary presentations are open to all participants and Day Pass holders. The readings will be followed by book signings by the presenters. Books will be available for sale during the reception and after the presentations. 


Karen Joy Fowler: Advice for Writers


Dorianne Laux, Clarence Major: Poetry readings


Pam Houston, Elizabeth McKenzie, Josip Novakovich: Prose readings


Participant Readings: 5 minute Poetry and Prose readings from 12 participants

Literary Themed Excursions

Robinson Jeffers tour:

Visit Tor House, the poet’s home and stone tower at Carmel Point.  The tour bus will depart from Stevenson school on Monday, August 7th at 2:00 and return to campus at 4:00. The tour will be led by docents from the Robinson Jeffers Foundation, and will include stories and history about Robinson Jeffers. We will also ask volunteers from our tour group to recite some of Robinson Jeffers poems along the tour. The tour is open to all registered participants. 

John Steinbeck tour:

Visit Cannery Row and the historically preserved Ricketts Lab on Cannery Row where Ed Ricketts and Steinbeck met to create The Log of the Sea of Cortez. The lab is not open to the public, and a special opportunity for our conference attendees. The tour will be led by docents from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and will include stories and history on John Steinbeck and Doc Ricketts from the 1930's and 40's. There will be a Steinbeck reading in the living room of the Rickett's House after the tour followed by a walking tour of Cannery Row to sites of inspiration for the John Steinbeck novel Cannery Row. The tour bus will depart from Stevenson school on Tuesday, August 8th at 2:00 and return along the scenic Pacific Grove coast route to campus at 4:00. The tour is open to all registered participants.

Robert Louis Stevenson tour:

Hike the physical site that was the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island at Point Lobos.  Experience the beautiful vistas that inspired writing and art along the central coast.  Choose between a relaxing stroll to the China Cove, or a more rigorous hike up the Bird Island Trail up to Pelican Point. The tour bus will depart from Stevenson school on Wednesday, August 9th at 2:00 and return to campus at 4:00. 


• Olympic swimming pool

• Fitness Center

• Nature trails through the Del Monte Forest to local beaches. The campus is a 10 minute walk to the beach. 

Past Conference Images