Office of Registration & Scheduling Services

2017 Summer Stonecoast Writers' Conference

The Stonecoast Writers' Conference is back, July 10-15, 2017!

We’re relaunching the program in collaboration with the renowned Stonecoast MFA. Summer conference participants will receive the personalized attention they have come to expect from their workshop leaders, but they will also gain access to the programming that makes the Stonecoast MFA one of the country's premier low-residency programs.

Each day, in addition to your 90 minute workshop, you’ll get to choose from a slate of readings, presentations, and talks, including graduate-level seminars delivered by the award-winning writers who make up the Stonecoast faculty, writers like Rick Bass, Breena Clarke, Aaron Hamburger, Cara Hoffman, and Liz Hand. With multiple programming options throughout the day, each participant can tailor a conference experience that matches their interests and helps them to reach their personal writing goals.

Stonecoast Writers' Conference


For more than thirty-five years, a community of writers has gathered on the coast of Maine to challenge themselves, to improve their writing, and to forge new friendships. If you’re reading this, chances are you’d fit right in.

At the Stonecoast Writers’ Conference you'll work closely with a dedicated and award-winning faculty. Our daily programming is designed to expand and challenge your understanding of literature. You'll come away from the conference with a greater understanding of writing craft, a notebook brimming with fresh inspiration, and a deeper connection to the writing life, your writing life.

This summer we are offering two workshops:

  • ENG 201: The Creative Writing Bootcamp with Laurie Albanese 
    Regardless of genre, good writing is precise, honest, and surprising. If you want a supportive environment where you can explore taking risks and push yourself, look no further. While student work will be discussed in workshop, there is also a big emphasis on generating new work. You will leave the class energized and eager to get back to your desk. The Bootcamp is open to writers in all genres and of all experience levels.

  • ENG 302: Fiction Writing with Theodora Goss 
    Writers working in narrative prose should consider the Fiction Writing class. Whether you're committed to short stories, fairy tales, or wrapping up a novel, this workshop will help you to polish your prose and strengthen your craft chops. 

If you’re not sure which workshop is best for you, contact Justin Tussing, Faculty Director of the Stonecoast Writers' Conference, at 207-228-8393. 

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We are now accepting applications for the 2017 Conference. Click HERE to apply today! 

The Stonecoast Writers’ Conference is open to students of all experience levels. However, admission is selective.

Applicants must submit a writing sample, a completed application form, a brief cover letter outlining your writing background and conference goals, and a $200 deposit. This $200 deposit holds your spot in the conference. In the event you are not accepted into the conference, or if there are no spaces available in your preferred workshop, your deposit will be refunded in full. If accepted into the program, your deposit is deducted from the total program tuition and is no longer refundable. After being accepted, if you decide to withdraw from the conference for any reason, the $200 deposit is non-refundable. Once you’ve submitted your application, you should receive a decision within two weeks. If you would like to receive continuing education credits (CEUS) instead of academic credit, please indicate this on your application.

Though you apply by submitting a sample of your creative writing, if you are accepted into the program you will have the option of substituting different work for your workshop.

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The Workshop Process

In each workshop, regardless of genre, the primary “texts” are the writing samples submitted by you and your peers. Each  instructor adapt their classes to suit the students who have enrolled. Most instructors divide class time between craft talk, workshopping student work, and writing exercises. By customizing their classes according to the needs of its members, our instructors ensure that each class is unique.

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Classes will meet on the Bowdoin College campus in Brunswick, Maine. Evening readings will be at the Brunswick Inn & Tavern. 

Daily events, Monday, July 10th - Saturday, July 15, 2017:

  • 8:30 - 9:30      Stonecoast MFA Graduating Student Presentations*
  • 9:45 - 12:15    Workshop Classes with your faculty member
  • 12:15 - 1:15    Lunch at the Bowdoin Cafeteria
  • 1:30 - 3:00      Stonecoast MFA Faculty Seminars and Panels**
  • 3:25 - 4:15      Stonecoast MFA Graduating Student Readings
  • 4:15 - 7:00      Free Time (Reading, Writing, Dinner)
  • 7:00 - 8:00      Faculty & Guest Readings, followed by Q & A

* On Monday morning, we will hold a commencement prior to your first workshop.

**Each day, participants have a choice of events to attend; in this way, each student personalizes his or her experience at the conference. Here's a sample of some of this summer's seminars:

  • Reading Closely, Reading Far: Stories of Mavis Gallant with Sarah Braunstein
  • The Dynamics of the Poetic Line with Jeanne Marie Beaumont
  • Plotting: The Dark Art with James Patrick Kelly
  • The Sentence as a Unit of Thought with T. Fleischman
  • From Story to Novel with Theodora Goss
  • Voices in My Head: Sorting out POV with Breena Clarke
  • From Pitching to Publication with Suzanne Stempek Shea
  • Know Your Rights with David Anthony Durham

Special Evening Events for Conference Participants

  • Open Mic Reading—Take the stage and share your work!
  • Stonecoast Hits the Town—a chance to get to know your writing peers away from the classroom.

A finalized schedule of events will be provided upon acceptance. 

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Tuition & Fees 

Tuition for the 2017 Stonecoast Summer Writers' Conference is $895.00

  • Tuition covers the cost of traditional workshop instruction, all educational programming activities, evening readings, course handouts, daily lunch, morning coffee, special events, and fees. Students who are accepted into the conference will be registering for three (3) undergraduate academic credits. Once your registration is processed, a confirmation and invoice will be emailed to the account listed on the application. Tuition does not include housing.

Deposit, Refund, and Cancellation Policy: 

  • All applications must be accompanied by a $200 deposit. This $200 deposit holds your spot in the conference. In the event you are not accepted into the conference, or if there are no spaces available in your preferred workshop, your deposit will be refunded in full. Once you are accepted into the program, this deposit is deducted from your total program tuition and is no longer refundable. 

  • However, upon acceptance in the program, should you decide to withdraw from this conference for any reason, the $200 deposit fee is non-refundable. In order to receive a full tuition reimbursement, notice of cancellation must be received in writing on or before June 1, 2017.

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  • Laurie Albanese, Creative Writing Bootcamp Instructor
    Laurie is the author of four books, including Blue Suburbia, Lynelle By the Sea, and The Miracles of Prato. Her newest novel, Stolen Beauty, is out now!  
  • Theodora Goss, Fiction Writing Instructor
    Dora is the author of In the Forest of Forgetting, The Thorn and the Blossom, and Sing for Ophelia. Her newest novel,The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, will be published in June.
  • Justin Tussing, Conference Director
    Justin is the author of the novel The Best People in the World. A member of the faculty at the University of Southern Maine, Justin is the Interim Director of the Stonecoast Low-Residency MFA Program. Previously he has held administrative positions at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, The Iowa Young Writers Studio, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His second novel, Vexation Lullaby, was published by Catapult Press in 2016.

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The Stonecoast Writers' Conference will be held in Brunswick, Maine. Classes will meet on the Bowdoin campus and evening readings will be at the the Brunswick Hotel & Tavern.

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Housing is not included in program tuition. Since summer is high season in Maine, you are advised to secure lodging arrangements well in advance of the conference.

There are a wide variety of hotel, motels, bed and breakfasts in the Brunswick area. For more information, go to

It may be possible for students to stay in the Bowdoin dorms. For more information, please contact them directly.

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For questions regarding the application process or program content:
Justin Tussing, Director
Stonecoast Writers’ Conference
c/o Department of English
University of Southern Maine
P.O. Box 9300
Portland, ME 04104-9300
Telephone: 207.228.8393

For questions regarding billing for academic credit:
Student Financial Services 
University of Southern Maine
P.O. Box 9300
Portland, ME 04104-9300
Telephone: 207.780.5250

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