[The 2024 Stonecoast Writers’ Conference is now CLOSED to applications]

The Stonecoast Writers’ Conference returns to Portland this summer. Our workshops will run from the morning of Monday, June 24 through noon on Saturday, June 29.

Because the conference runs concurrently with USM’s Stonecoast MFA Summer Residency, participants have exclusive access to the faculty and programming of one of the country’s premier graduate writing programs. That means, in addition to your workshop class, participants will learn from Stonecoast faculty seminars and readings, visiting scholars, and all the attendant programming. We’ll also have special events just for conference goers. 

Whether you’ve been working on your memoir for years or trying to conquer your writer’s block, spending six days immersed in literary culture will help you take your work to the next level.

Students worskshopping around a table.

Each day students choose from a diverse slate of seminars and presentations that will spark new ways to think about the possibilities in your work. Our daily programming is designed to expand and challenge your understanding of literature. At the end of the conference your notebook will be brimming with fresh inspiration and you’ll feel a deeper connection to the writing life, your writing life. Chances are you’ll also make some lasting friends.

The Writing Workshops:

Your conference experience centers around the workshop. In these classes, your work (and the work of your peers) serves as the primary text. Faculty focus on providing constructive criticism that can help you unlock your writing. Each instructor adapts their class to reflect the interest and abilities of the students. Generative writing exercises help ensure that you’ll have threads of new work to follow after the conference ends.

This summer we are offering one workshop classes.

  • Memoir & Creative Nonfiction Workshop (ENG304 with Penny Guisinger)
    Study interiority, irony, metaphor, structure, voice/style, praxis, and truth. Workshops will be supplemented with writing exercises to ensure that after six days of work, you’ll have months of material to explore. If you’re searching for a supportive environment where you can explore taking risks and push yourself, look no further.

Daily Schedule

  • 8:00 – 9:00      Stonecoast MFA Graduating Student Presentations 
  • 9:15 – 12:15    Creative Writing Workshops
  • 12:15 – 1:30     Lunch Break
  • 1:30 – 3:00       Stonecoast MFA Faculty Seminars and Panels
  • 3:25 – 4:15       Stonecoast MFA Graduating Student Readings
  • 4:30 – 5:00      Pop-Up classes (informal talks led by professional writers)
  • 4:30 – 6:30      Dinner Break
  • 6:30 – 7:00      Community Gathering
  • 7:00 – 8:00      Faculty & Guest Readings, Symposiums, Open Mics

**Participants choose which events to attend each day; in this way, each participant tailors their conference experience to reflect their interests.

This summer’s classes will be held on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine.

Portland is reknowned for its food scene, innovative breweries, and fanstastic bookstores . There are dozens of hotels and inns nearby. For students interested in a more economical lodging, room packages are available at the university’s new Portland Commons dormitory. If you want to learn more, please email us.

The total cost, for your workshop, daily programming, morning coffee service and catered lunch is $1299. 

The applications period is now closed. Please apply next year.


For questions regarding the application process or program content:
Justin Tussing, Director
Stonecoast Writers’ Conference

University of Southern Maine
P.O. Box 9300
Portland, ME 04104-9300
Telephone: 207.272-2957

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