Application Process

Tuition & Payment
Selection Process
Financial Aid
Professional Consultations

Please read through these frequently asked questions before applying or registering for Aspen Summer Words. If you have further questions, contact Marie Chan at 970-925-3122 ext 1#. 


Who is eligible to apply for the Aspen Summer Words workshops?
Any person age 18 and older may apply for a juried workshop or register for a non-juried workshop. Past workshops have included a wide range of ages, from 20 to 90. 

I am a writer but I don’t have any publications, is Aspen Summer Words right for me?
Publication is not a requirement. Some students will have published work and participated in many workshops, while others will be participating for the first time.

Should I apply for a juried or non-juried workshop?
Less experienced writers should register for the non-juried Beginning Writing workshop. No manuscript submission is required, and the class is filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so sign up early. The full tuition payment ($1,525) is required upon registration.

May I still apply even if I am not a U.S. citizen?
Yes, anyone may apply including non-U.S. citizens.

Application Process

When is the application deadline for juried workshops?
February 27

What is the application fee for juried workshops?
There is a $30 application fee. This helps cover the cost of paying a professional jury of readers to evaluate the manuscripts anonymously.

When is the deadline to register for a non-juried writing workshop (Beginning Writing)?
The workshop is first-come, first-served; however, we ask that you sign up by May 1.

When is the deadline to register for the Readers’ Retreat?
The retreat is first-come, first-served. but we ask that you sign up by June 1 to give ample time to do the reading in advance of Summer Words.

What are the application requirements for the juried workshops?
You must submit a $30 application fee along with a sample of your writing. Please check the manuscript guidelines for specific details on what to submit for your writing sample, and how to format it.

When applying in juried fiction, memoir or narrative nonfiction is it okay to submit more than one piece?
It is okay to submit one or more shorter pieces as long as the overall page number is no more than 10 pages and they are all included within the same Word document that is uploaded.

Can my submission be less than 10 pages?

What do I need to submit to register for Beginning Writing workshop?
Non-juried workshops are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. On the registration form, you will be asked to provide contact information and submit payment for the full tuition. You do not need to submit a manuscript.

Can I apply for more than one juried workshop?
Yes, it is possible to apply in more than one genre for juried workshops. You will have to submit a separate manuscript and application fee for each genre. Please complete the application form separately for each genre.

Can I apply for a juried workshop and register for a non-juried workshop?
You cannot apply for a juried workshop and register for a non-juried workshop at the same time. However, as long as there is still space in the class, you may still register for non-juried workshops after notifications have been sent out in April regarding the juried workshops.

Can I choose my juried workshop teacher?
There are two memoir teachers and three fiction teachers for the juried workshops. You will have the option to select your preference of teacher on the online application. You will be notified of your teacher placement with your acceptance in April, and you will then have the opportunity to accept and secure your spot by submitting the tuition payment. In 2017, we were able to place almost all students with their preference; however, we cannot guarantee that you will be placed with your first choice of teacher. Please read the faculty bios and workshop descriptions to help you select your preference of teacher.

How do I apply for a workshop?
Workshop registration is available online only. Registration links will be posted in early January 2018.

I’m having technical difficulties with the online form. Who should I contact?
Please contact Marie Chan at 970-925-3122, ext 1#.

How will I know if my application has been submitted?
You will receive a notification email confirming the submission of your application.

Tuition and Payment

What is the cost of participating in Aspen Summer Words?
5-day workshops (Fiction, Memoir, Narrative Nonfiction, Poetry, Book Editing, Beginning Writing): $1,525
Readers’ Retreat (3 days): $425

What is included in my tuition?

The 5-day workshop tuition includes:
Faculty instruction and materials
A pass to all of the public panels throughout the week
Lunches Monday through Friday
Access to discounted rates at our conference site, The Gant.
Two professional consultations with agents and editors for all memoir, fiction, poetry, and book editing students*
Opening and closing night receptions
Social activities such as hikes, open mics, and informal gatherings

*Beginning Writing students are not eligible for consultations.

The Readers’ Retreat tuition includes:
Faculty instruction
A reading packet to be distributed a month in advance of the Retreat
A pass to the public events Monday-Wednesday
Opening reception
Access to discounted rates at our conference site, The Gant
Lunches Monday through Wednesday

When is my tuition due?
Upon acceptance to a writing workshop, we will contact you with details on tuition payment. If accepted, tuition will be due in full by April 20. For the non-juried workshops (Beginning Writing, Readers’ Retreat), the tuition is due in full upon registration.

What is your cancellation policy? 
If you need to cancel, we will refund half of the workshop tuition up until May 21. We cannot refund cancellations after May 21.

Selection Process

How many students are in each workshop?
Fiction: 11 students each, juried.
Memoir: 11 students each, juried.
Narrative Nonfiction: 11 students, juried.
Poetry: 11 students, juried.
Book Editing: 5-6 students, juried.
Beginning Writing: 15-20 students, first-come, first-served.
Readers Retreat: 20-30 students, first-come, first-served.

How are applicants chosen for the juried workshops?
Submissions are reviewed by an anonymous jury of industry professionals. Acceptance is based on the strength and promise of the writing sample. 

When will I be notified if I have been accepted to a juried workshop?
We will notify students in waves at the beginning of April. All applicants will receive a notification on a rolling basis, but no later than April 6.


What is an Emerging Writer Fellowship?
Each year, we award 10 fellowships to emerging writers demonstrating exceptional talent and promise. Fellows receive full scholarships to Aspen Summer Words, as well as lodging and travel stipends. In 2018, we are awarding fellowships in fiction, memoir, narrative nonfiction, poetry and book editing.

How can I apply for an Emerging Writer Fellowship?
We solicit nominations for Emerging Writer Fellows beginning in December, and nomination forms along with a 10-page writing sample are due no later than January 12. Fellows are chosen through an anonymous, juried process and announced February 22. If you would like to receive the nomination form please contact Marie Chan.

What qualifies a writer as “emerging?”
Our Emerging Writer Fellowships are designed to give exceptional writers at the early stages of their careers a needed boost into the literary community and the publishing world. Writers who have already had a book-length work published by a major publisher or an independent press that publishes more than ten books per year are not eligible. Writers with books under contract are also not eligible. Applicants may have had stories or novel excerpts published in magazines, literary journals or online, but this is not a requirement. 

Financial Aid

Do you offer merit-based scholarships?
We are currently offering need-based financial assistance for both juried and non-juried workshops. We are no longer offering merit-based scholarships.

How much financial assistance is available?
We are offering a limited number of tuition discounts to accepted applicants at roughly 50% of our full tuition fee. Instead of the $1,525 normal rate, financial aid recipients’ tuition will adjust to $750.

How do I apply for financial aid?
Email Marie Chan by February 27 for consideration.

When will I know if I’ve been granted financial aid?
Financial aid decisions will be included in the general notification to juried workshop applicants. These notifications will be sent out by April 6. Non-juried financial aid applicants will be notified on a rolling basis, but no later than April 6.

Who do I contact for more information?
Email Marie Chan or call 970-925-3122 ext. 1#

Professional Consultations

What are professional consultations?
These meetings with agents and editors are an opportunity for participants to meet with industry professionals. Students can use the 15-minute meetings to get feedback on a manuscript, pitch an idea, ask for advice, or gain further insight into the world of publishing. More information.

Who is eligible for the consultations?
Participants in the 5-day juried writing workshops (memoir, fiction, narrative nonfiction, poetry, book editing) may sign up for two meetings with agents or editors upon acceptance in April. Meetings are not open to the general public. 

Beginning Writing students are not eligible for consultations, since most participants at this level do not have a polished manuscript that is ready for publishing industry feedback. There may be an opportunity to chat informally with the agents and editors at lunches and other gatherings.

How do I register for professional consultations?
In April, workshop participants will be sent more information on how to sign up.