Writers in Residence

Aspen Words partners with the Catto Shaw Foundation to host writers for individual residencies from May through October annually. The residencies offer authors an opportunity to nurture their creative spirit by providing time, space and living accommodations in the majestic Elk Mountains. Each writer spends three weeks in Woody Creek, CO, focusing on a current project. The residents also give free community talks and readings.

In-person Writer in Residence Author Talks are held throughout the summer (May – October). Most of these events are FREE and open to the public, some are pre-arranged school visits. Learn more about the individual author talks by visiting our events calendar here.

2023 Residents

Aspen Words, in partnership with the Catto Shaw Foundation, is proud to introduce the five authors participating in the 2023 Writers in Residence program. Each writer will spend three weeks in Woody Creek, Colorado, working on a project-in-progress. Each author also will participate in a free community event (see below for details).

Jean Chen Ho
Jean Chen Ho
Gina Balibrera
Gina Balibrera
Brittany Penner
Brittany Penner
Nadia Davids
Nadia Davids
Miles W. Griffis
Miles W. Griffis

2022 Writers

Jenn Shapland
Jamaica Baldwin
Tochukwu Okafor
Leath Tonino

2021 Writers

Heather Hansman
Caroline Randall Williams
Ayana Mathis
EJ Levy
Marie Myung-Ok Lee
Casey Gerald

2020 Writers

Hampton Sides

2019 Writers

Luis Jaramillo
Kaui Hart Hemmings
Zinzi Clemmons
Samyak Shertok
Aja Gabel

2018 Writers

Alex Mar
Francisco Cantu
Kevin Fedarko
Geeta Kothari
Carole DeSanti
Yolanda Wisher

2017 Writers

Lija Fisher
Grant Faulkner
Chigozie Obioma
Tatjana Soli
Erica Bauermeister

2016 Writers

Sunil Yapa
Tom Bouman
Paul Griner
Helen Schulman
Jenny Price
Lesley Nneka Arimah
Daniyal Mueenuddin

2015 Writers

Jandy Nelson
Rick Hilles
Nancy Reisman
Alexandra Oliva
Kerry Egan
Moira Crone
Marcia Butler

2014 Writers

Allison Alsup
Lee Harrington
Brad Watson
Bruce Machart
Hannah Tinti
Terry McMillan
Adam Wilson

2013 Writers

Adam Haslett
Emily Miller
Matthew Batt
Melissa Coleman
Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Stephanie Kallos

Nomination Process

Submissions accepted:
February 1-October 15

Submissions closed:
October 15-February 1

Review/Selection period:

Nominees notified:

Writers are selected based on artistic excellence, availability, and fit within the program. Prospective writers must be nominated by editors, agents or other professionals familiar with the applicant’s work. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis by a panel chosen by the Aspen Words executive director. Applications from writers working in any genre and of all perspectives and demographics are encouraged.

Applications/recommendations should include the following:

1. A letter of recommendation
2. Publication history (including reviews, endorsements, awards, etc.)
3. Links to websites, etc.

4. Brief description of what the applicant plans to work on during his/her/their residency
5.Work sample (10-20 pages)

To learn more and nominate a writer please email Ivy Chalmers

Responsibilities of Residents

Writers in Residence are expected to comply with the Aspen Words and Catto Shaw Foundation policies and rules, which are designed to maximize the experience for all participants, staff, and supporters. Aspen Words and the Catto Shaw Foundation provide lodging in a home on acres of open space in Woody Creek, CO for three weeks at no cost, along with a $2,000 stipend to help defray the cost of travel and other incidentals. In exchange, writers must participate in one Aspen Words sponsored public event, one Aspen Words member dinner, and speak at a Roaring Fork Valley high school (if during the school year). Writers are responsible for organizing their travel to and from the residency, as well as *transportation while staying at the Woody Creek home, which is in a remote location several miles from a grocery store and other amenities.

*The stipend is provided to assist with covering the travel and car rental costs.


Animals, though loved are not invited for residency stays. However, there is an adorable, and friendly, pack of “host” dogs on the property and residents can expect daily visits from them!

An important part of the Aspen Words Writers in Residence experience is the solitude and freedom from distraction found in the privacy of the apartment, provided by the Shaw family. To preserve the mission of the residency, accommodations cannot be made for family members or friends of residents.

Residents are required to occupy the residence for the duration stipulated in their contract, which is generally three weeks. This allows for one week between resident arrivals and departures for thorough cleaning.