August 6-10th, 2017


2017 Faculty  


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.

Joseph Millar’s first collection, Overtime, was a finalist for the 2001 Oregon Book Award. His second collection, Fortune, appeared in 2007, followed by a third, Blue Rust, in 2012. His latest collection, Kingdom, was released in February of 2017.


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.


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.


generative writing retreat

Joan Staffen assists others in rediscovering their purpose, staying on their life paths, and completing creative projects. For fifteen years she has served as a facilitator for Julia Cameron's Artist's Way, and helped her clients recover, visualize, plan, and actualize their dreams. She is the author of Swimming the Inner Ocean (memoir and story), and Catching You, Catching MeCatching Fire (a book of poetry). For more information please see her website.

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: Giving up vs. Persistence
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 - Susan Sherman: Using History


2:00 - Charles Hood: Journals and Notebooks
3:00 - Candace Calsoyas: Using Nature
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, Joseph Millar: Poetry readings


Pam Houston, Elizabeth McKenzie: 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. 


Share in the 2017 Conference Experience