Registration is still open for the 2016 Clockhouse Writers’ Conference & Retreat.  Wondering what to expect if you decide to attend?  Read on!

Photo: Joe DuPont

Photo: Joe DuPont

As always, this year’s Clockhouse Writers’ Conference & Retreat will open with a Plenary Panel featuring essay presentations and discussion on a theme chosen by consensus the previous year.  As Lucy Turner wrote a few weeks ago for The Writer in the World, this year’s topic is “In the Background.”  We’re looking forward to hearing Michelle Embree’s, Susanna Graham-Pye’s, and Lucy’s words on this evocative subject and to having Maggie Cleveland–cited as the topic’s inspiration in Lucy’s posting–moderate the discussion. During the days that follow, there will be quiet times for writing, as well as times to choose to gather together as writers:  Works-in-Progress sessions provide opportunities for informal readings and feedback,  “Impromptu Hours,” allow participants to share a variety of writing prompts, “Stations of the Word” brings a morning’s first writing to the outdoors, and workshops led by conference attendees cover a broad range of topics, from elements of craft to the writer’s relationship to society and social issues.  The nationally-dispersed CWC Board of Stewards and CLOCKHOUSE staff are also able to hold their annual in-person meetings during this time as well, and there is a Preview Reading and Celebration of the new CLOCKHOUSE volume.  Evenings are filled with formal readings—and often, informal gatherings and writings games.

At the same time as we nurture our own writing lives, we’re able to give back to the Goddard and the MFAW program.  All are invited to the CLOCKHOUSE Preview Reading and Celebration not only as guests but as part of the supporting community for this national literary journal, which is published by CWC in partnership with Goddard College.  The Clockhouse Conference & Retreat also supports the program with such activities as the “Life After Goddard” workshop, our annual hosting of the MFAW residency’s closing gathering and, more informally, by making MFAW alumni available to the program’s current students as mentors.

We recognize that writing requires space and time in order to remain central in our lives, but that finding that space and time in writing retreats and conferences can be prohibitively expensive.  Part of the mission of CWC is to offer a truly professional and truly affordable writing Clockhouse Writers’ Conference and Retreat.  Conference & Retreat participants play a role in making this possible.  Everyone signs up for a task during the conference (for example, moderating a reading, leading a workshop or a works-in-progress session, or helping to decorate for the MFAW closing party). In short, the Clockhouse Writers’ Conference & Retreat provides MFAW alumni with an annual presence on campus and a community home that part of a graduate’s life long after the two-year MFAW program is completed.

The 2016 Clockhouse Writers’ Conference & Retreat will take place from June 27 through July 1 on Goddard College’s Plainfield, Vermont, campus. If you’re an alum of Goddard’s MFAW program–from either Plainfield or Port Townsend–please consider joining us! Registration forms are available here.

– Kathryn Cullen-DuPont