4 Northern Virginia Writers’ Colonies & Conferences to Explore

We’re lucky to be within close proximity to a number of great writers’ colonies and conferences in the Washington, DC, metro area.

Writers’ colonies offer quiet space and solitude to support the creation of new work, and to remove daily distractions like friends and families and routines from the writing process. Workshops and conferences offer the vibrancy of community—energizing conversations, sharp feedback, and inspiring instruction.

Below are a few of the opportunities that we encourage AU students to explore in the area:

  1. Virginia Center for the Arts
    Tucked into the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, writers, artists, and composers enjoy private studios, bedrooms, and three meals a day. They spend their days working alone before coming together for dinner to get to know other colony artists.

Length: Offering residencies between two weeks and two months

Cost: Fellows are asked to contribute as they can


  1. Hurston/Wright Summer Writers Weeks
    At Howard University in the heart of DC, the Hurston/Wright Foundation offers a safe space for fiction and nonfiction writers, in a week of intensive master classes and workshops. The program includes workshop sessions led by award-winning writers—this year it’s Ralph Eubanks in creative nonfiction and Elizabeth Nunez in fiction—as well as craft talks, public readings, and private writing time to put new learning into practice. Breakfast and lunch are provided.

Length: One week (this year, August 6-August 12)

Cost: $700 tuition (housing not included, but discounted hotel rates are available)


  1. Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop
    On the campus of Hollins University, writers gather for workshops in a range of genres and forms—novel writing, genre writing, poetry, flash fiction, and more—to receive guidance from experienced teachers and to work alongside other serious writers.

Length: One week (this year: June 12-17)

Cost: $795 tuition (plus additional fees for housing and meal plans)


  1. Virginia Quarterly Review Writers’ Conference
    Fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and poets are invited to gather on the historic University of Virginia campus alongside committed writers at various stages in their careers. They participate in workshops and craft talks with distinguished faculty—this year it’s Major Jackson, Meghan Daum, and Bret Anthony Johnson. In the evenings, students and faculty have the chance to explore Charlottesville’s great restaurants and night life.

Length: One week (this year: July 13-17)

Cost: $1,100 (tuition, lodging, and meals included)


You can also build community even without going to a residency or workshop. Get involved with the Inner Loop or explore other literary organizations and activities for DC writers in our previous post.


Interested in joining the DC writing community? Check out the only creative writing MFA program in Washington, DC.

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