Creative Nonfiction Workshops, Panels and Events

To register for the full conference and enroll in a workshop or critical seminar, click on the button below. All keynote talks, panels, one-day workshops, readings and special events are included in general registration, as is attendance at the Poetry Symposium each afternoon. All three-day Workshops and three-day Critical Seminars require an additional fee of $250.


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Creative Nonfiction Workshop #1: “Creative Nonfiction and Storytelling.” Instructor: Alissa Johnson

Thursday, July 23, 2:00 - 4:00. Location TBA.

Whether you’re writing a memoir, a personal essay, a feature story or a profile, powerful storytelling makes your creative nonfiction resonate more deeply with readers. In this workshop, we’ll look at the way stories engage readers and influence the arc of your work, and we will shed new light on showing instead of telling in creative nonfiction. We’ll also look at how these elements come together to create satisfying and unexpected endings. This creative nonfiction workshop includes lecture, writing exercises, and discussion.

Alissa Johnson is an award-winning writer and writing coach. She is an associate editor at the Crested Butte News and her work has also appeared in The Wall Street JournalDirt Rag Magazine, Wilderness News, Mountain Gazette, and Green Woman Magazine among other publications. The Colorado Press Association has recognized her work in the categories of best sports column, best environmental writing, and best series, and her essay “Don’t Look Down” won the Funds for Writers contest. She has taught writing through Western State Colorado University’s Strategic Communications Program and the Western Connecticut State University Masters in Fine Arts program, where she also earned her MFA in Professional and Creative Writing. As a writing coach, she helps writers show up for their writing and find the story in what they’ve written. Learn more at

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Panel # 1: Writing the West: Creative Nonfiction beyond the 100th Meridian

Friday, July 24, 2:00 - 4:00 pm. Location TBA.
Toni Todd, Moderator; Art Goodtimes, Alissa Johnson, George Sibley, and Bradley Wetzler.

While the American west continues to inspire writers in all genres, many of the most popular books today are works of creative nonfiction: memoir, lyrical prose, feature journalism, travel and adventure writing, historical essays, political meditations, and more. All the writers on this panel have contributed to this trend, publishing extensively on topics ranging from local politics, to water, to literature. They will discuss the traditions, themes and techniques particular to telling the many stories of the west.

To see full biographies of the panelists, click each speaker's name below:

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