Aspen Words encourages writers at all stages of discovery, craft development, and commitment. From inspirational programs in local middle and high schools to internationally recognized writing workshops and panels with some of the world’s top literary luminaries, AW provides opportunities for writers in all genres to learn and grow.


Literary Prize
A $35,000 award recognizing influential fiction with social impact 

Founded in 2016, the Aspen Words Literary Prize is a $35,000 annual award for an influential work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture. This prize will reward and encourage the writers who dare us to change, expand, and confront new ideas through works of high quality, but also of conscience. Learn More

Aspen Summer Words
One of the nation’s “Top 10 Literary Gatherings” – USA Today

Each June, Aspen Summer Words offers workshops with some of the world’s top writers and teachers in a stunning mountain setting. Enduring literary friendships formed throughout the week provide sustenance and encouragement to participants when they return home. Summer Words is more than a conference; it’s also a community. Learn More

Winter Words
Bringing revered contemporary writers to Aspen

Juan with bag of tricks

The Winter Words literary series offers writers the chance to hear from and meet some of the world’s most accomplished authors and poets. These onstage readings, talks, and conversations illuminate issues of craft, genre, and the writing life. During Q&A sessions toward the close of each evening event, aspiring writers have the chance to ask questions and the conversation continues at ever-popular book signings afterwards. Learn More

Writers in the Schools
Inspiring and igniting the next generation

2015 Youth Poetry Slam

Young people have so much to say. Aspen Words’ Young Writers programs offer opportunities for self-expression where youth feel safe and supported and where their ideas can take flight through the power of written and spoken words. We also bring visiting writers from the Winter Words and Writers in Residence programs into local schools. These visits make writing — and real writers — come alive for students in fresh, new ways. Learn More

Writers in Residence
Precious time to write in a quiet, majestic setting

2014 WIR Hannah Tinti

The Writers in Residence program provides opportunities for accomplished and emerging writers to start new work, advance work-in-progress, or polish final drafts for publication. Through the generosity of the Catto Shaw Foundation, these month-long residencies are situated in proximity to the wilderness in a lovely home outside the hamlet of Woody Creek. More than a few past residents have reported major creative breakthroughs while working alone and unencumbered in this special setting. Learn More

The Editing Room
Manuscript help from top professionals

To be successful in today’s publishing environment, serious writers must present publication-ready work to agents or editors for consideration. The Editing Room provides customized editorial services by matching clients with an experienced professional well-suited to each specific project. Critiques focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the work, including style, pacing, and content. Learn More

Aspen Writers’ Network
Writers supporting writers in the Roaring Fork Valley


Author and guest speaker Amanda EnayatiThe Aspen Writers’ Network is an AW-sponsored membership organization devoted to supporting local writers working in all genres. Monthly meetings feature guest speakers and provide time for conversation and mutual encouragement. Writing is a solitary sport, but we believe writers should not be lonely. It is in this spirit that the Aspen Writers’ Network was conceived and born. Learn More