As the Aspen Writers’ Foundation, we always loved the brilliance of exquisitely chosen words. For that reason, we struggled (for years) with the words in our own name. We long ago outgrew them, recognizing that they offered a limited view of who we are and what we do. We’re not just for writers anymore, and we don’t give money away, as foundations usually do. It came down to this: we didn’t want anything, especially an ill-fitting name, to hold us back from our full potential!

So it was time for a change, and we’re pleased to share the news with you. Meet Aspen Words. This simple, elegant moniker more precisely captures what we’re all about: people who love words. But it’s so much more than that. The distillation also reflects the importance we place, as we know you do too, on our lead programs: Aspen Summer Words and Winter Words. We are equally fond of the resonance Aspen Words has with spoken word, a poetry movement that has been sweeping the valley through our Writers in the Schools program. We’re proud too that our name still reflects our home, because we’re focusing, perhaps more than ever before, on developing talent and audiences right here in the Roaring Fork Valley. And more than anything, the name feels like an open invitation; anyone, no matter their background, has a place at the Aspen Words table.

Today, as we near the four-decade mark, we’re celebrating the wide reach and long history of this organization, by making it even more inclusive and accessible. We are as passionate about the variety of literary arts as we are about the diversity of its followers. Our embrace extends to all creative words, from contemporary literature to cutting edge poetry slams, and beyond. Because what remains forever unchanged is our mission — to encourage writers, inspire readers, and connect people through the power of stories. We are doing this now more than ever, by doubling down on programs that honor our roots in 1976 and by developing new initiatives that support emerging voices in our valley:

  • Increased funding to bring in the very best authors and teachers for Aspen Summer Words and Winter Words
  • Providing Emerging Writers Fellowships for new talent
  • Renewing the wildly popular Youth Poetry Slam in our Writers in the Schools program
  • Growing the Writer In Residence program
  • Establishing Aspen Writers Network and the Editing Room, two innovative programs that support local writers
  • Retiring Scribes & Scribblers summer camp to refocus on middle and high school writers
  • Launching a Graphic Novel Workshop for teens
  • and more!

Aspen Words represents our commitment not only to doing what we’ve always done, but to doing it better. We are supporting new work and sharing it. With this — and with you — Aspen Words is building the future of the literary arts in the Roaring Fork Valley, and nurturing the next generation of bright literary lights.