2018 Conference - Writing the Rockies

Welcome to the 19th Annual
Writing the Rockies Conference
Wednesday, July 18 -- Sunday July 22, 2018

Register for Writing the Rockies

"Something happened to literature over the last couple of hundred years that pulled it apart into sub-genres, fragments, refined technical or theoretical jargons, specialized subject areas, social and political enclaves--and divided the rough consensus that held together the audiences of Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe and Melville. Writing the Rockies is a blazingly imaginative and very successful essay at bringing it all back together. In the spectacular valley of the Gunnison each summer some of the best conversations about literature in all its forms are going on, together with a new perspective on our civilization and a very old pleasure in the beauty of the word." Frederick Turner, Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas


Now in its 19th year, Writing the Rockies is one of the region's preeminent writers' conferences. It takes place each year during the last long weekend of July as part of Western's low-residency Graduate Program in Creative Writing, and like that program offers events in poetry, genre fiction, screenwriting for film & tv, publishing and creative nonfiction.

This year's conference will offers the same diverse and excellent programs as in the past, including internationally renowned keynote speakers in screenwriting, poetry, creative nonfiction, publishing and genre fiction, along with one and three-day workshops on craft in all areas, the Symposium on Poetry Criticism, film screenings, panels, the new opera workshop and much more. Once again this year, responding to requests from conference attendees, we have built in a day (Friday, July 20), when the only formal events will occur beginning in the late afternoon, to give everyone the opportunity to get out and enjoy the stunning beauty of the Gunnison Valley.

The conference is co-sponsored by Western's Department of Communication Arts, Language and Literature and welcomes beginners, students, published writers in all genres, editors, teachers, and anyone else who believes in the magic and power of the written word.

Set in the beautiful Gunnison Valley of the central Colorado Rockies on the campus of Western Colorado University, the conference offers a wide range of workshops, lectures, seminars, readings, and special events that create an intense, collegial writers' community and retreat across four days. The conference includes a book fair featuring hundreds of titles by the speakers and presenters.

Conference faculty are highly distinguished and have published in every genre imaginable, including fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, journalism, criticism and scholarship, as well as having experience as editors, publishers and agents. In addition to enrolling in workshops or seminars and attending other events, participants can sign up for manuscript reviews and pitch sessions.

The conference is priced affordably at just $300 for standard registration before July 1, and scholarships are available for educators, students and residents of the Gunnison Valley.

Non-Matriculated Credit Options for Writing the Rockies

Writing the Rockies is completely open to the public, and many who attend do not seek academic credit. The conference does offer credit options for those who wish to pursue them, along with opportunities for certified public school teachers to earn professional development credit in districts that have approved it. Undergraduate and graduate students who are not enrolled in Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing may apply to earn credit for attendance through Western's Division of Extended Studies. Teachers can earn Professional Development in a number of ways.

Undergraduate credit. Undergraduates can earn degree-seeking credit of 1 to 3 credits in "English 397: Special Topics / Writing the Rockies." Additional fees apply beyond the Writing the Rockies General Registration fee. Western assigns these credits as upper division electives and will record them on transcripts, but students enrolled in other institutions are responsible for determining whether their home institutions accept these credits.

Graduate Credit. Students with an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution can earn one non-degree graduate-level credit in English 510, which is run through the Western Teachers Institute, administered by Western's Extended Studies Office. Additional fees apply beyond the Writing the Rockies General Registration. Western will record the courses on transcripts, but students are responsible for determining whether their home institutions accept these credits.

Pubic School Teachers. Certified public school teachers can earn professional development credit and make progress towards recertification in a number of ways at writing the Rockies.

ENG 510 Credit for Recertification and Professional Development. A teacher may take ENG 510 for either 1, 2 or 3 credits and then submit transcripted graduate credit to the Colorado Department of Education with the application for recertification. Cost: $125/credit. Browse the syllabus for ENG 510

Certificate of Completion for Professional Development Credit within a District. Subject to district approval, a teacher seeking professional development credit within a school district may submit evidence of having attended Professional Development hours at Writing the Rockies. Western provides a Writing the Rockies Certificate of Completion that verifies the number of hours a teacher has spent in sessions. Teachers seeking Professional Development Credit must verify that their district will accept Writing the Rockies for such credit by submitting a letter from the district to that effect. Western will then issue the Certificate after the conclusion of the conference. There is no additional work required to earn the Certificate, and there are no additional fees beyond standard fees for participation in Writing the Rockies.


The instructor of record for all credit-bearing courses at Writing the Rockies and all Certificates of Completion for Professional Development is Conference Coordinator Mark Todd, who can be reached at 970.943.2016 or mtodd@western.edu.

Register for Writing the Rockies

Graduate Program in Creative Writing Application Information