PRESS RELEASE: August Writer in Residence Alexandra Oliva


Aspen, CO (August 11, 2015) – Aspen Words has a growing portfolio of success stories, but up-and-coming novelist Alexandra Oliva might be the biggest yet. Oliva met her literary agent in June 2014 at Aspen Summer Words, AW’s annual writing retreat and literary festival; soon after, she sold her debut novel to Ballantine/Random House in a major, two book deal. Oliva returns to Aspen for a month-long residency this August at the Catto Shaw ranch in Woody Creek, CO. Aspen Words will host a free reading and talk with Oliva at the Woody Creek Community Center on August 19 at 6 p.m.

When Oliva arrived in Aspen to participate in the weeklong Novel Editing workshop last June, she had an MFA and two shelved manuscripts, but no bylines or publications. In addition to participating in the five-day workshop, Oliva met with publishing professionals brought in to consult with students during the conference. Following their brief meeting, Lucy Carson of the Friedrich Literary Agency offered to represent Oliva, and went on to sell the rights to her novel, The Last One, in 17 countries.

Oliva plans to read from The Last One at her public event, giving attendees a sneak peak at a book the publishing world has been touting as one of the biggest debuts of 2016. Penguin Books editorial director Jessica Leeke called The Last One “a whip smart thriller for our times: compelling, taut, well-plotted with an impressively well-drawn cast.”

Born in a small mountain town in upstate New York, Oliva earned a B.A. in History from Yale University in 2005 and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from The New School University in 2011. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Despite a whirlwind year, Oliva is diving right in to a second novel, which she plans to work on during her residency.

“Mentoring and supporting writers at every stage in their career is fundamental to our mission at AW,” said Adrienne Brodeur, Creative Director at Aspen Words. Alexandra’s story is one example of the magic that can happen when writers meet the right agent.

Wednesday, August 19 | 6pm
Woody Creek Community Center
More information at

Any questions can be directed to: 

Caroline Tory
Program Associate of Marketing & Communications
Aspen Words | The Aspen Institute
Phone: 970-925-3122 ext 3#

Aspen Words
(formerly the Aspen Writers’ Foundation) was founded in Aspen in 1976 as a cutting edge poetry conference and literary magazine. Today Aspen Words (AW) is one of the nation’s leading literary centers and a stage for the world’s most prominent authors. AW programs employ literature as a tool for provoking thought, broadening perspectives, fostering connections, inspiring creativity, and giving voice. Since 2009, AW has partnered with the Aspen Institute, underscoring the highest humanistic ideals of Aspen founder Walter Paepcke: to better understand human challenges by cultivating one’s inner life through the exchange of words, stories, and ideas. AW’s mission is to encourage writers, inspire readers, and connect people through the power of stories.

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners.