Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Stonecoast Writers' Conference


UPDATE: Due to the continued risk associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, the Stonecoast Writers' Conference is currently suspended. We'll be back in 2022. See you then!


For more than thirty summers, writers in search of inspiration and mentorship have gathered on the coast of Maine. If you're searching for a community united by its love of writing and reading, it's time you join us at the Stonecoast Writers' Conference.

Whether you've got a novel in a drawer or you're waiitng to begin your memoir, spending six days immersed in literary culture can help you raise your work to the next level.

Because the Stonecoast Writers' Conference teams up with the Stonecoast MFA, you'll have exclusive access to the faculty and programming of one of the country's premier graduate writing programs. 

Each day you'll be able to choose from a diverse slate of faculty seminars and graduate student presentations that will open you to new ways to think about 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 as well as 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. Class discussions provide opportunities to discuss theories and practical application of writing craft. Each instructor adapts their class to reflect the interest and abilities of the students. Generative writing exercises ensure that you'll have threads of new work to follow after the conference ends.

This summer we are offering three distinct workshop classes.

  • ENG 201: The Creative Writing Bootcamp with Penny Guisinger
    In Penny's words, "We will emphasize elements of good writing that transcend genre: sensory detail, metaphor, precise language, surprising imagery, vivid characters, original voice, honesty, and maintaining control of the material. This experience will support you in taking risks while you hone your writerly skills. Bootcamp uses a combination of workshopping and generating new work to get your writing muscles into shape. You will leave with sharpened skills, new work in progress, and forward momentum for revision that will help you create writing that soars." The Bootcamp uses a combination of workshopping and generative exercises will get your writing muscles into shape. If you're searching for a supportive environment where you can explore taking risks and push yourself, look no further. 
  • ENG 302: Fiction Workshop with Jessica Anthony
    This course is a writing workshop offering intense exploration of the craft of fiction. Whether you are writing novels or short stories, we’re going to be talking quite a bit about the nature/desire/form of your fiction, and the ways established storytelling strategies can both serve and fail us. Together, we will cover basic elements of character, conflict, time, point-of-view, dialogue, landscape—and examine their involvement with more complex dilemmas of Story: interiority, irony, metaphor, structure, voice/style and praxis, to name a few. Workshops will be supplemented with writing exercises to strengthen your craft chops. Workshop submissions limited to 15 pages per student.
  • ENG 303: Poetry Workshop with Chen Chen
    An intensive workshop for poets. Typically, the instructor will incorporate writing prompts into the class, so that you'll leave with a sense of where your work is and a greater sense of what is posible.


Daily Schedule

  • 8:30 - 9:30      Stonecoast MFA Graduating Student Presentations 
  • 9:45 - 12:15    Creative Writing Workshops
  • 12:15 - 1:15    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-classes (highlighting professional development)
  • 4:30 - 6:30      Dinner Break
  • 6:30 - 7:00      Community Gathering
  • 7:00 - 8:00      Faculty & Guest Readings, Symposiums

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

Special Evening Events for Conference Participants

  • A catered reception with students and faculty.
  • Open Mic Reading—Take the stage and share your work!


The Stonecoast Writers' Conference is held at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, Maine. Located on Casco Bay, approximately 20 minutes north of Portland, Freeport is home to the world-famous L.L.Bean Flagship Store and scenic state parks.


There are a limited number of rooms available at the Harraseeket Inn. Interested? Let us know.

For information about other lodging options in the Freeport area, please click HERE.


Summer 2020 has been cancelled.

UMAINE students are eligible for expedited admission. Contact us to learn more.


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: 207.780.5973

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