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Skidmore College
New York State Summer Writers Institute

The Program

The Institute is designed for college-aged students and adults, and approximately 50 percent of the program participants are undergraduate or graduate students.

2023 Workshops 

Session 1: June 25 - July 8
Session 2: July 9 - 22


Elizabeth Benedict (week 1)
Calvin Baker (week 2)

Amy Hempel (week 1)            Adam Braver (week 2)

Claire Messud (week 1)              Mary Gordon (week 2)

Rick Moody (week 1)                Danzy Senna (week 2)   

  Historical Fiction (online only)  
Madeline Miller (July 9 - 15)
NON-FICTION: Phillip Lopate Thomas Chatterton Williams
Vijay Seshadri (week 1)                      Campbell McGrath (week 2)
Peg Boyers
Gregory Pardlo (week 1)                    Rosanna Warren (week 2)
Henri Cole

Small classes offer individualized attention with approximately 16 students in each 2-week workshop. 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 may choose to register for four semester hours of undergraduate credit from Skidmore College when enrolled for 4 weeks in the same genre.

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


NEW IN 2023:  Student-led Panel Discussions with Writers-in-Residence, including Mary Gaitskill, Garth Greenwell, Jamaica Kincaid, John McWhorter, Honor Moore, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Pinsky and Francine Prose. Each of the panels will focus on the work of the Writer-in-Residence, with student participants drawn from the 2023 scholarship award recipients.

Faculty and Writers-in-Residence will offer public evening readings. Students will also have the opportunity to read from their own works each week. A welcome orientation and social gatherings are planned.

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

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

Tuesday, Thursday: 2 – 4 pm Question and Answer Sessions with Faculty and Writers-in-Residence

Evening Readings will feature Faculty, Writers-in-Residence and students.


In the late spring enrolled students will receive instructions on how to prepare and submit electronic manuscripts to be read and discussed with their instructor and fellow workshop participants. 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. Manuscript Tutors 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 75 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.

The Setting

The Institute’s classes and public events are held on the Skidmore College campus in Saratoga Springs, New York. Saratoga is renowned for its mineral springs, Saratoga Race Course, and other points of historical interest. The city is home to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Caffé Lena,  Northshire Bookstore, and many shops, cafes and restaurants. The College is located just one mile north of the historic downtown. Discover more of what Saratoga Springs has to offer by visiting the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce.       

Participants who choose to live on campus will be housed in the Northwoods Apartments. Rooms are spacious and feature free internet access and cable television (students must bring their own televisions, computers, etc). Participants staying on campus must purchase the College's board (meal) plan for the duration of their stay. Meal plans offering 21 or 14 meals per week are available. It is important to note the apartment kitchens are equipped with a microwave, refrigerator, sink, stove/oven, dishwasher and fire extinguisher, but they do NOT come equipped with dishes, utensils, a coffee maker, etc. Participants who choose to cook some of their meals in the apartments must plan accordingly and bring these items to campus for the workshop or register for the full meal plan. Workshop participants may request specific roommates.

Our dining hall has an award-winning culinary staff that offers a broad array of freshly made items, including ample vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and other special dietary options. Participants will also have access to the College's Scribner Library and recreational facilities, including swimming pool, weight and fitness rooms, lighted tennis courts, track, North Woods hiking trails, and the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery.

Skidmore is a Covid-19 vaccinated campus and committed to protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and the local and global community. Our safety plans are consistent with guidance issued by the American College Health Association, Centers for Disease Control and state and local health departments. Plans are subject to change at any time. Confirmed acceptance into the program certifies your compliance with NYS Summer Writers Institute and Skidmore College COVID-19 protocols and policies, including required vaccinations. 

Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Special Programs with questions or concerns related to services available to students with disabilities. Skidmore College is a smoke-free campus and the Smoking Policy applies to all members of the Skidmore community and to all guests and visitors to campus.


Workshops  meet online on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1pm to 4pm (ET). Students must attend all classes. Additional information on other optional online activities will be available in the spring.

We recommend using a computer (preferred) or a tablet with a camera. Classes will be conducted via Zoom. If you are on your computer, you can access Zoom through the browser or desktop application. If you are on a tablet, you will require the application. Please download the FREE Zoom app in advance from the link above.

If you have never been on Zoom before, please take the time to familiarize yourself with the following functions before your workshop begins:

  • Turning your camera on and off
  • Muting and unmuting your microphone
  • Changing your name that appears on the screen (include pronouns if you wish)

You can find helpful tutorials on these functions and more here:

Faculty and students will utilize Skidmore’s online Dropbox for accessing your fellow classmates’ manuscripts for review and discussion. Further instructions will be in your student welcome packet.

These suggestions should go without saying, but as a reminder:

  • You should be in a well-lit room where you can be alone with your computer/tablet
  • Come prepared for class
  • Turn off or mute any electronic devices and notifications
  • Sign in to Zoom early if possible

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