2023 Special Guest Spotlight: Katie Farris

Katie Farris is a poet, writer of hybrid forms, and translator. She is the author of Standing in the Forest of Being Alive (Alice James Books, April 2023). Farris is also the author of the chapbook, A Net to Catch [...]

2023 Special Guest Spotlight: Caroline Goodwin

Caroline Goodwin moved from Sitka, Alaska to the San Francisco Area to attend Stanford as a Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry in 1999. Her most recent collections are Old Snow, White Sun (JackLeg Press, 2021), Madrigals (Big Yes Press, 2021), [...]

2023 Faculty Spotlight: Carl Phillips

Carl Phillips is the author of 16 books of poetry, most recently Then the War: And Selected Poems 2007-2020 (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2022), winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize. His honors include the 2021 Jackson Prize, the Aiken Taylor [...]

2023 Faculty Spotlight: Peter Orner

Peter Orner is the author most recently of the memoir/ essay collection Still No Word from You, as well as two novels (The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo and Love and Shame and Love), and three story collections (Esther Stories, Last Car Over [...]

2023 Faculty Spotlight: Victoria Chang

Victoria Chang’s next book of poems, With My Back to the World, is forthcoming in 2024 with Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Her other six collections include The Trees Witness Everything, chosen as one of the Best Books of 2022 by [...]

2023 Faculty Spotlight: Katie Crouch

Katie Crouch is the New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks, Men and Dogs, and Abroad. Her latest novel, Embassy Wife, was longlisted for the 2022 Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize and is currently in development with 20th Century Television. [...]

2023 Faculty Spotlight: Ilya Kaminsky

Ilya Kaminsky is the author of the widely acclaimed Deaf Republic (Graywolf, 2019), a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry; Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004); and Musica Humana (Chapiteau Press, 2002). Kaminsky has won the Whiting [...]

2023 Faculty Spotlight: Robert Hass

Robert Hass served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. He has published many books of poetry including Field Guide, Praise, and his latest Summer Snow: New Poems. His collection of poems entitled Time and Materials [...]

2023 Faculty Spotlight: Crystal Wilkinson

Crystal Wilkinson, a recent fellowship recipient of the Academy of American Poets, is Kentucky’s Poet Laureate. She is the award-winning author of Perfect Black, a collection of poems, and three works of fiction—The Birds of Opulence, Water Street, and Blackberries, Blackberries. She [...]

2023 Faculty Spotlight: Brenda Hillman

Brenda Hillman is the author of 11 collections of poetry from Wesleyan University Press, most recently In a Few Minutes Before Later. Previous titles include Extra Hidden Life, among the Days, winner of the Northern California Book Award; Seasonal Works [...]

2023 Faculty Spotlight: Lan Samantha Chang

Lan Samantha Chang is the author of the novel The Family Chao. Her other books include the novels Inheritance and All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost and a collection of short fiction, Hunger. A recipient of the Berlin Prize, she has received [...]

2022 Faculty Spotlight: Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield has long been concerned in her work with the intersections of human contemplation and the natural world in poems of shimmering clarity and lyrical brilliance. She has become an urgent voice for the shared future of the planet [...]

2022 Faculty Spotlight: Lan Samantha Chang

Longtime faculty member, Sam Chang’s newest novel, The Family Chao is a captivating, witty novel of three brothers, a festering family drama, and the disquieting reality of the American dream. The residents of Haven, Wisconsin have dined on the Fine [...]

2022 Faculty Spotlight: Major Jackson

Major Jackson is the author of five books of poetry, most recently The Absurd Man (Norton, 2021). As Mandana Chaffa affirms in a review in The Rumpus, Major’s poetry is “both microscope and telescope”: “he employs the small details of [...]

2022 Faculty Spotlight: Kevin Brockmeier

Kevin Brockmeier, who will be returning this summer as fiction faculty at the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, writes novels, short stories, (lists!) and memoir. His work ranges from ghost stories to love letters, from the surreal to the everyday, from [...]

2022 Faculty Spotlight: Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith’s most recent book, Incendiary Art (TriQuarterly, 2017), won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the NAACP Image Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. These poems themselves are incendiary in [...]

Meet the 2018 faculty: Howard Norman

Howard Norman is an award-winning author and educator whose books have been translated into 12 languages. He has written seven novels: My Darling Detective (2017), Next Life Might be Kinder (2014), What is Left the Daughter (2010), Devotion (2007), The [...]

Meet the 2018 faculty: Mat Johnson

Mat Johnson has authored the novels Loving Day (2015), Pym (2011), Hunting in Harlem (2003), Drop (2000), the nonfiction novella The Great Negro Plot (2007), and comic books Incognegro (2008) and Dark Rain (2010). The long list of awards and [...]

Meet the 2018 faculty: Lauren Groff

Acclaimed author Lauren Groff has three novels to her name: Fates and Furies (2015), Arcadia (2012), and The Monsters of Templeton (2008), and has been featured in publications such as the New Yorker, the Atlantic, American Short Fiction, Harper’s Tin [...]

Meet the 2018 faculty: Lan Samantha Chang

Lan Samantha Chang is the author of All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost (2010), Inheritance (2004), and Hunger (1998). In addition to being translated into nine languages, her works have also appeared in Ploughshares, The Atlantic, and twice chosen for [...]

Meet the 2018 faculty: Jane Mead

Jane Mead is an award-winning poet, whose writing has appeared in multiple anthologies and magazines. She has published five collections of poetry: World of Made and Unmade (2016), Money Money Money Water Water Water (2014), The Usable Field (2008), The [...]

Meet the 2018 faculty: Carl Phillips

Carl Phillips, referred to as “one of America’s most original, influential, and productive of lyric poets,” has authored 14 books of poetry and several works of criticism and translation. His recent poetry collections include: Wild is the Wind (2018), Reconnaissance [...]

Meet the 2018 faculty: Camille T. Dungy

Camille Dungy has authored four collections of poetry: Trophic Cascade (2017), Smith Blue (2011), Suck on the Marrow, and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison (2006). Her most recent work is a collection of essays [...]

Meet the 2018 faculty: Brenda Hillman

A prolific and celebrated poet, Brenda Hillman is the author of ten collections of poetry, including Extra Hidden Life, among the Days (2018), Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire (2013), Practical Water (2011), Pieces of Air in the Epic (2005), [...]

Past Literary Events

Archive: Literary Events Past Readings, Lectures, and Speakers 2018 Camille Dungy, Brenda Hillman, Jane Mead, Carl Phillips, Lan Samantha Chang, Lauren Groff, Mat Johnson, Howard Norman 2017 Eavan Boland, Jane Hirshfield, Ada Limón, Matthew Zapruder, Lan Samantha Chang, Peter Ho [...]

The 38th conference is a wrap!

Thanks to our  faculty, participants, and community supporters for a wonderful 38th conference! Check out our Facebook page for a gallery of conference photos ... we wish you a fruitful new year of writing!

Participant Spotlight: Vanessa Hua

Vanessa Hua's debut collection of short stories, Deceit and Other Possibilities, was published late last month -- just over a decade after Hua workshopped one of the volume's stories at the conference. Deceit and Other Possibilities won the Grand Prize [...]

Participant Spotlight: Catherine Abbey Hodges

We were delighted to learn Catherine Abbey Hodges accorded us the honor of an acknowledgement in her collection, Instead of Sadness, which was published last year by Gunpowder Press as the inaugural winner of the Barry Spacks Poetry Prize. Why [...]

Participant spotlight: Daphne Larkin

If you've attended the conference any time in the last decade, Daphne Larkin's face is likely familiar to you. Not only has she been a fiction participant several times, but she's a supporter, community housing host, and frequent attendee of [...]

John Leggett / November 11, 1917 – January 25, 2015

Program Director Anne Evans authored this tribute.  Jack Leggett at the 2014 conference. (Photo by Mary Shea) John Leggett, or Jack as we all knew him, was co-founder and Program Director of the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference from 1987 until [...]

Meet the 2014 Faculty: Justin Torres

This profile was penned by Angela Pneuman, who will introduce Justin at the conference's opening reading July 27, and who will appear on our "First Books" panel for conference participants. Her first novel, Lay It on My Heart, was released [...]

Meet the 2014 Faculty: Brian Teare

A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Brian Teare is the recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts and the American Antiquarian Society. He’s the author [...]

Meet the 2014 Faculty: Welcome Back, Ayana Mathis

Assistant Fiction Director Patrick Vogelpohl penned this profile of Ayana Mathis. Before Ayana Mathis earned praise for her debut novel The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, she was a standout student at the 2011 Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. “She was clearly [...]

Meet the 2014 Faculty: Kazim Ali

Assistant Poetry Director Iris Dunkle interviewed poet Kazim Ali for the journal Chautauqua in 2012. In the excerpt below, they discuss history, place and their intersection. You may read the full interview in PDF format or visit the journal Web [...]

Meet the 2014 faculty: Brenda Hillman

Poetry Assistant Iris Dunkle penned this profile. Returning to our faculty this year is the highly esteemed poet, Brenda Hillman. Hillman has been on the faculty at Napa Valley Writers’ Conference for over two decades and anyone who has had [...]

Meet the 2014 faculty: Michael Byers

By fiction director Lakin Khan At our conference in 2010, Michael Byers had the honor of reading the first night, a plein-air reading in the cool of approaching nightfall, sunset plying along the mountain behind him, full moon nosing its [...]

Meet the 2014 Faculty: Camille Dungy

This profile is based on an introduction written by conference assistant Kathleen Winter for the 2013 conference. Camille Dungy holds degrees from Stanford and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She was born in Denver. Camille is author of three [...]

Meet the 2014 faculty: Lan Samantha Chang

This profile is based on an introduction written by conference director Andrea Bewick for the 2013 conference. It's our great pleasure to welcome Lan Samantha Chang back to Napa and the writers’ conference.  Sam has been teaching at the conference [...]

Fall 2013 alumni update: renown from near and far

Conference alumni have been as busy as ever since our last alumni update in January -- earning plaudits and publication around the world. Beverly Bie Brahic (2009, 2010, 2011) wrote to let us know her second collection, White Sheets, was [...]

Meet the 2013 faculty: Camille Dungy

Camille T. Dungy is the author of Smith Blue, Suck on the Marrow, and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison. She is the editor of Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, co-editor of [...]

Meet the 2013 faculty: Yiyun Li

This faculty profile comes to us courtesy of past participant Angela Watrous, who conducted an interview with Li for the Fiction Writers Review. What follows below is an excerpt; read the entire interview on the FWR site. "Yiyun Li grew [...]

Meet the 2013 faculty: Jane Hirshfield

Thanks to poetry assistant Iris Dunkle for updating this profile. Poet, essayist, teacher, translator: Jane Hirshfield’s writing persona is multi-faceted, her body of work diverse. But if there is a unifying element in her pursuits, it lies in her formative [...]

Meet the 2013 faculty: Peter Ho Davies

Peter Ho Davies was born to Welsh and Chinese parents and raised in Britain and the U.S., so it's no surprise that his work concerns itself with the concept of identity. But his works are hardly circumscribed by the labels [...]

Meet the 2013 faculty: Linda Gregerson

Thanks to poetry assistant Iris Dunkle for writing this profile. The poet and scholar Linda Gregerson begins her spectacular poem, “Bicameral,” with the line: Choose any angle you like, she said, the world is split in two. On one side, [...]

Meet the 2013 faculty: Lan Samantha Chang

This is a re-post of conference media manager Catherine Thorpe's 2011 profile. Lan Samantha Chang was born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, to Chinese immigrant parents. Growing up, she experienced both the Chinese cultural traditions her family upheld and Midwestern [...]

Meet the 2013 faculty: Major Jackson

Thanks to conference assistant Kathleen Winter for providing this updated profile.  Major Jackson is the author of three collections of poetry:  Holding Company (Norton, 2010) and Hoops (Norton, 2006), both finalists for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry, and [...]

Meet the 2013 faculty: Christopher Tilghman

Thanks to fiction assistant Patrick Vogelpohl for penning this profile. Countless writers find inspiration in their family histories. However, no one draws from their lineage quite like Christopher Tilghman, a long-time conference faculty favorite who returns this summer after an [...]

Faculty Profile: Brenda Hillman

~  by Aaron DiFranco Few writers match the tenacity, courage and range of Brenda Hillman in seeking out a congruence between one’s non-verbal experience of the world and how language reflects it.  Her poems command not only a fiercely demanding [...]

Faculty Profile: Tayari Jones

“Born, bred and buttered” in Atlanta, Georgia (as she once described herself), Tayari Jones has placed all three of her novels in that city, creating a trilogy, as The Village Voice noted, “defining middle-class black Atlanta the way Cheever did [...]

We’re hearing good news from alumni !

Big Muddy Fall 2011 Unbeknownst to each other, Kathleen Rowell (2010) and Thomas Linville (2010, 2011) both entered  the Mighty River Short Story Contest in 2010 ~ and won prizes. Peterson received First Prize for her story "Resolution," [...]

Faculty profile: Lan Samantha Chang

For last year's conference, fiction and poetry assistant Jeannie Kim-McPherson penned this introduction to Lan Samantha Chang's work.  Lan Samantha Chang's stories have appeared in The Atlantic and twice in The Best American Short Stories, and her books have won [...]

Allardice Publication News

Participant Jim Allardice sent the following message: Hello everyone, Just a quick note to let you know that the story I workshopped in Samantha Chang's workshop last summer has been accepted in Folio.  The story I workshopped with Robert Boswell [...]

Faculty Profile: Crossing Borders with Forrest Gander

Born in California's Mojave desert with roots in the South, schooled in Virginia and California, now living in Rhode Island, but frequently traveling abroad: Forrest Gander's itinerant physical existence is mirrored in his writing, which travels widely. Gander has authored [...]

A Bit More About Arthur Sze

          When Arthur Sze was named a Chancellor of the Academy of AmericanPoets last month, Academy Chancellor Naomi Shihab Nye called his poetry “a nourishing tonic for the mind.”  The word tonic, with its connotations of both [...]

Tayari Jones on NPR

Tayari Jones was heard on NPR today  with this essay about the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. She writes and speaks with the elegance and heart-breaking honesty so present in all her work.  

Ron Carlson, Man of Many Genres

This year, we welcome the return of Ron Carlson, whose renown as a master of the short story is matched only by his excellence and generosity as a teacher—as those in his workshop are bound to discover. And [...]

The Application Gates Are Open

Along with the plum blossoms, the first flurries of applications are arriving!        There's nothing quite like the smell of fresh applications in the morning, still warm from the friction of electron-transmission.        Though, to be sure, [...]

Applications will open in only ten days!

We've cleared our desks from last year's mess - we're ready and eager to  review your submissions! Meanwhile, skip over to Alumni & Faculty News to read about Valerie Fioravanti, an alum from 2009, her thriving writing center in Sacramento [...]

Publication and Prize for Valerie Fioravanti (2009)

We recently heard from Valerie Fioravanti, (participant in 2009), that her first book,Garbage Night at the Opera, won the 2011 Chandra Prize and is forthcoming from BkMk Press. Congratulations are in high order! Valerie seems to be the [...]

Introducing Kevin Brockmeier

         In an interview last year with Granta magazine, Kevin Brockmeier was asked about the premise of his highly acclaimed novel, The Illumination (2011), in which human suffering and pain become visible.  Brockmeier cites G.K. Chesterton’s The [...]

Scholarship opportunity

Click over to our blog post to find out more about a scholarship offered through AWP to attend a writing conference, including ours...

Scholarship Opportunity!

Eager to attend the conference but could use some financial support to pull it off? Here's a scholarship opportunity offered throughthe Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).  The $500 award, offered to a poet and a fiction writer each, can be applied to [...]

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