Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College
New York State Summer Writers Institute

The Program

Since its inaugural season in 1987, the New York State Summer Writers Institute has drawn students from all over the world. The Institute is designed for college-aged students and adults, and approximately 50 percent of the program participants are undergraduate or graduate students.

2021 online Workshops

Session 1: June 27 - July 9
Session 2: July 11 - 23
Elizabeth Benedict and
Adam Braver
Mary Gaitskill and Dana Johnson
Claire Messud and
Adam Haslett
Rick Moody and Percival Everett
   Master Class
   (1 week only)                                  
Calvin Baker
Writing Race
(July 4-9)
Joyce Carol Oates
Short Fiction
(July 18-23)
NON-FICTION: Phillip Lopate Honor Moore and Danzy Senna
Campbell McGrath and
Vijay Seshadri
Peg Boyers
Gregory Pardlo and
Rosanna Warren
Henri Cole
   Master Class
   (1 week only)  
Gregory Pardlo (June 27-July 2)
Rosanna Warren (July 4-9)

Small classes offer individualized attention with approximately 8 students in each one-week workshop and 16 students in the two-week workshops. Workshops will discuss student works collected prior to the program and distributed in time for upcoming classes. Faculty may also assign additional writing exercises or recommend brief readings not written by students for classroom discussion. Students must attend all classes. Students enrolling in the program for 4 weeks in the same genre can register for optional undergraduate credit from Skidmore College.

Applicants are encouraged to select the workshop which seems most appropriate and attractive to them, but the Director and Associate Director of the program will make final placement decisions.


Faculty and visiting writers will offer afternoon Question and Answer Sessions and public evening readings. Students will also have the opportunity to read from their own works each week. A student welcome orientation and virtual social gatherings are planned.

Sample Weekly Schedule (at a glance, subject to change, Eastern Standard Time):

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 1 – 4 pm Workshop Classes

Tuesday, Thursday: 2 – 4 pm Question and Answer Sessions with Faculty and Visiting Writers

Evening Readings at 7 pm will feature faculty and visiting writers on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and students on Wednesday.


In the late spring enrolled students will receive instructions on how to prepare and submit electronic manuscripts they wish to have read and discussed in their workshop. Students enrolled in a two-week workshop with two different instructors will have their manuscript reviewed by one instructor only (not both). Every effort will be made to accommodate requests for manuscript review by a particular instructor, but we cannot guarantee this will be possible.  


Students enrolled in Fiction who are writing novels are invited to register for intensive tutorial sessions. Writers-in-Residence will read and discuss entire novels (fiction works in progress, not collections of stories) of up to 250 pages in length for an additional $500 fee. 

Students enrolled in Poetry or Non-Fiction may register to receive critiques and advice on book-length collections. Poetry students may submit up to 70 pages to be reviewed, and Non-Fiction students may submit up to 150 pages.

Specific instructions on how to register and pay for these tutorial sessions will be sent to enrolled students in the late spring.


Students should have access to a dedicated workspace with a computer or tablet that has a microphone and speakers.

The Institute will be utilizing ZOOM, a FREE online platform that will be used for all classes and events. Technical tutorials and assistance will be made available before and during the program. 

Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Special Programs with questions or concerns related to services available to students with disabilities.

I enjoyed working with both the professors and the students and I felt that by workshopping others’ pieces I grew as a writer myself.    

                  – 2019 PARTICIPANT