Aspen Words was founded in 1976 as a literary center based in Aspen, CO. A program of the Aspen Institute, our mission is to encourage writers, inspire readers, and connect people through the power of stories. AW’s year-round programs include Summer Words, a writing conference and literary festival; Winter Words, a speaker series presenting the best of contemporary literature; the Aspen Words Literary Prize, a $35,000 annual award for fiction with social impact; as well as a writers-in-the schools program and writing residencies.


Literary Prize: a $35,000 annual award for an influential work of fiction focused on vital contemporary issues
Summer Words
: one of the top writing conferences and literary festivals in the nation
Winter Words: bringing the most respected contemporary writers to read and speak in Aspen
Writers in Residence: month-long writing retreats for established and emerging writers
Writers in the Schools: reaching and inspiring middle and high school students throughout the Roaring Fork Valley
Aspen Writers’ Network: connecting local writers with visiting authors and each other
The Editing Room: editing services from some of the top professionals in the publishing world
Story Swap: a story-sharing experience that uses creative writing to build empathy and understanding between diverse populations.