For over 50 summers, the Community of Writers has brought together poets and prose writers for separate weeks of workshops, individual conferences, lectures, panels, readings, and discussions of the craft and the business of writing. Our aim is to assist writers to improve their craft and thus, in an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual support, move them closer to achieving their goals. The Community of Writers holds its summer writing workshops in Olympic Valley, California.
The Community of Writers was established in 1969 by novelists Blair Fuller and Oakley Hall, who were both residents of the valley. Over the years the community has mounted workshops in Fiction, Nonfiction, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Poetry, Nature Writing, and Writing the Medical Experience. Since 1991, The Community of Writers has been under the direction of Brett Hall Jones. Lisa Alvarez and Louis B. Jones co-direct the Fiction Program and Michael Carlisle and Sands Hall direct the Nonfiction Program of the Writers Workshops. Galway Kinnell founded and directed the program until 2004. Robert Hass directed the Poetry Workshop from 2004 until 2021. The program is now directed by Brenda Hillman. The Screenwriters Workshop, directed and founded by Diana Fuller, which was once an independent programs was recently folded into the Writers Workshops.
In addition to producing two, week-long summer writing workshops: Poetry and Writers Workshops, The Community of Writers also strives to assist writers in their careers after they have attended through a comprehensive alumni website and newsfeed, various events hosted throughout the west, including poetry readings, published alumni readings, and more. We often invite select successful alumni back as summer teaching staff members. Along with promotional assistance, the Community of Writers fosters a wide network of alumni writers that assist and support each other. We do this through publication of the Omnium Gatherum and Newsletter, our quarterly online literary journal Omnium Gatherum Quarterly, maintaining several Facebook alumni groups, and publication of an annual poetry anthology, Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Anthology. Regular morning workshops, staff readings, craft talks, panel discussions on writing and editing, as well as individual conferences are offered during the week. Donations can be directed to particular programs' Scholarship Funds which pay for tuition or can be directed to general operations for specific programs.
In an effort to address equity gaps and expand the impact of Community of Writers Programming, a new program was founded: The Writers Annex. The Writers Annex is a year-round, online platform hosting short courses, intensives and other programming that is open to the public. Since 2020, the Writers Annex has helped over 800 individuals access Community of Writers content. With a robust aid program, viewers of all income levels can attend, and since it is online and open to the public, there is no need to apply for admission, meaning that writers of all skill levels can join online and improve as writers and as members of the literary community year-round and at their leisure. Later in 2023, the Community of Writers will be launching an on-demand platform where anyone can participate in a self-guided version of previous Writers Annex courses at their leisure. The Annex Library will also feature a spectrum of other media, including free craft talk recordings from our summer workshops, self-guided intensives, and poetry readings.
The mission of the Community of Writers is to assist talented writers with diverse cultural perspectives to achieve their goals. Through the interplay of talented participants, professionals, and established writers in a community atmosphere, prose writers are assisted in their journeys from writers to authors, and poets to achieve resonant frameworks for their collected words. CW serves California and the country as a literary center for the craft of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.