Immerse yourself in literature for a series of 3-day Aspen retreats led by experts in the book world. Each instructor will curate a selection of literary works to discuss, ranging from poetry and drama to personal essays, contemporary fiction, and the classics. 

$375 per retreat
Includes reading materials, 3 mornings of moderated discussion, and 3 lunches.

FEB 22-24, 2017
Aspen Meadows Campus | Catto Room in Doerr Hosier
845 Meadows Rd, Aspen, CO 81611

  • 3 mornings–Feb 22,23,24
  • Led by Alane Salierno Mason, Vice President and Senior Editor at W.W. Norton and President/Founder of Words Without Borders.


literature_from_the_axis_of_evil_pbReaders will discuss selections from Iran, Iraq, and Syria as originally presented in the Literature from the ‘Axis of Evil’  issues of Words without Borders, the award-winning online magazine for literature in translation.   Conversation will range to broach issues of literary production and publication in other countries, differences between journalism and literature in exploring other parts of the world, and issues around literary translation generally. Click here for the complete syllabus.



asmheadshotbychrisleary2-8-11-10Alane Salierno Mason is a vice president and senior editor at W.W. Norton & Company, where she has edited prize-winning and bestselling works both of fiction and nonfiction. She has worked with authors including Diane Ackerman, Andre Dubus III, Stephen Greenblatt, and Brad Watson, among many others. She has published reviews and essays in Vanity Fair, The Boston Review, and other publications, and translated Elio Vittorini’s Conversations in Sicily (a New Directions Classic). She is the president and founder of Words Without Borders, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the translation, publication, and promotion of international literature. In 2016, Words without Borders received the London Book Fair International Excellence Award for an initiative in literary translation.

Discounted $279/night rate available for luxury accommodations at the
Aspen Meadows Resort, nestled on 40 beautiful acres overlooking the Rocky Mountains. To book a room, call (800) 452-4240 and ask for the “Aspen Words Readers Retreat rooms.”

June 18-21 | Explore the Elena Ferrante Novels with Carole DeSanti
The June Readers’ Retreat is part of the Aspen Summer Words Writing Conference and Literary Festival.  

Conference Location: The Gant
610 S W End St, Aspen, CO 81611

  • 3 mornings–June 19, 20, 21, with an optional opening reception on June 18.
  • Led by Carole DeSanti, Vice President at Viking Penguin



This readers’ session will explore the Neapolitan novels* of Elena Ferrante, their enormous resonance for readers, and examine why and how this quartet of books (and their pseudonymous author) has turned reading and our current notions of “authorship” on its head.  We will look at the issues involved in the profound, complex lifelong friendship between two women that forms the spine of the novels;  along with class and social identity/struggle; the forging and blurring of boundaries that is one of  Ferrante’s themes; the construction of a writer’s voice and identity, and the job of finding and rendering truth that is the signature of her work.

*My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child



Carole DeSanti 
is Vice President, Executive Editor at Viking Penguin, where she is known as a champion  of outstanding, original voices.  Her publishing credits include Dorothy Allison’s  contemporary classic Bastard out of Carolina, Booker Prize Finalist Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being,  Melissa Bank’s Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics, George Hodgman’s award-winning memoir Bettyville, and the  novels of Terry McMillan and Deborah Harkness.  DeSanti is the author of critically acclaimed novel of 19th century Paris, The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2012.   She has been profiled in Poets & Writers’ Magazine, published in the Women’s Review of Books, the Guardian and The New York Times and received fellowships at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center and Hedgebrook.  



SEPT 17-19, 2016 – SOLD OUT

Aspen Meadows Campus | Catto Room in Doerr Hosier
845 Meadows Rd, Aspen, CO 81611
Discounted $179/night rate available for luxury accommodations at the Aspen Meadows Resort, nestled on 40 beautiful acres overlooking the Rocky Mountains. To book a room, call (800) 452-4240 and ask for the “Aspen Words Readers Retreat rooms.”

Readings Theme: WHAT MATTERS
Susan Lehman will lead three mornings of moderated discussion on some of the great non-fiction writing of our time. Participants will read and discuss essays by Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, Nora Ephron, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and others, with an eye towards what matters to each of these writers, and how each brings his or her view about love and death and violence and culture and human experience to life. Complete syllabus

10441035_10152848202521233_5350965537625960606_n[1]Susan Lehman edits Times Insider and hosts that section’s “Inside The Times Podcast Series.” She was the deputy editor of the New York Times Sunday Review section from 2011 to 2013. She has worked as a book, magazine and Web editor and has written for a range of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Observer, The Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, New York, GQ and Spy.

She was the co-author, with Edward Hayes, of Mouthpiece: My Life in — and Sometimes Just Outside — the Law, with an introduction by Tom Wolfe, and has contributed to several essay collections. A former criminal defense lawyer, she was communications director for the Brennan Center for Justice, a producer at Court TV and Lifetime Television, and a consulting producer for CNBC’s “Topic A With Tina Brown.”

Susan graduated from Amherst College and has a master’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a law degree from Georgetown.

JUNE 19-22, 2106
“Hear them Roar” with Leigh Haber

  • 3 mornings–June 20, 21, 22–at The Gant (Aspen) with orientation beginning at 5pm on Sunday, June 19. Reading materials, 3 lunches, and Summer Words afternoon/evening panels are included with the tuition. 
  • Leigh will guide participants through 3 mornings of lively discussion around fiction and nonfiction work by strong women writers taking on highly charged, hot-button issues. The women at the center of her selections are united in their attempts to navigate a host of fresh-off-your-Twitter-feed issues including but not limited to sexism, sizeism, public exhibitionism, boring boyfriends, violent boyfriends, cocaine, the internet, date rape, family secrets, judicial corruption, writer’s block, hookup culture, and Eastern European sex slavery. In genres ranging from memoir to crime thriller to short fiction, the scenes—even those that, on the face of it, seem far-fetched—are achingly familiar and all too real. View the syllabus.

Leigh Haber croppedLeigh Haber is Books Editor for O, the Oprah Magazine, where she curates books coverage, overseeing the Reading Room section and working with Ms.Winfrey on the Oprah Book Club. She was for many years a book editor, working with such authors as Al Gore, Candace Bushnell, Alice Walker, Gloria Naylor, Steve Martin, Jacqueline Novogratz, Laurie Garrett, and many others.  Prior to becoming an editor, she was a publicity director in book publishing, managing PR campaigns for Umberto Eco, Charles Simic, Mark Helprin, Micky Mantle, Helen Hayes, and Bette Davis. Immediately prior to coming to work at O in 2012, she worked on a variety of startup projects and as a consultant for Blurb and for Chronicle Books. She is the mother of two grown sons and lives in Maplewood, New Jersey.