Green Mountain Writers' Conference - About

Green Mountain Writers Conference

 

Introduction Introduction | Accommodations




Friends, we are tentatively and hopefully planning a scaled-down conference for the first full week in August in response to the challenges that the Covid presents. We are accepting deposits and full payments but holding them in reserve as time and information allow. All payments will be returned if we need to cancel again. Additionally, we will have a new location, at the Brandon Inn, a beautiful, historic inn in a lovely walkable town.

WITH THAT HOPE IN MIND, the Green Mountain Writers Conference invites you to celebrate its 23rd anniversary this year, Aug. 2 - Aug. 6, 2021! We will close registration at 25 participants.

Background: The Green Mountain Writers Conference started subversively as an effort to create a gathering of writers that would be as encouraging to new or inexperienced writers as it would be useful and inspirational to those who had succeeded in publishing stories, novels, nonfiction work, and poems. After several years of attending and presenting at numerous conferences and classes for writers across the genres, conference director Yvonne Daley had become dismayed by what she saw as a pattern of management in which emerging and developing writers could easily become discouraged by a nasty critique or grandstanding on the part of another participant, or lack of respect by a workshop leader. Yvonne felt the inherent hierarchy of many of the conferences she'd attended was at the root of the problem. The "stars" among the staff and the participants got all the attention and perks while newcomers and developing writers got the left-overs. Yvonne vowed to have a different tone at the conference she instituted in 1977.

Yvonne also felt that size mattered. Several of the conferences she taught at had become too large for conferees to attend the workshops they wanted or to get to know other attendees. Writing is a solitary act, a leap of faith in which we work to bring the ideas in our head, our own experiences, our research and our true and imaginary tales to life on the page or screen. It is both an art and a craft. It requires attention, commitment, truthfulness, self-examination and encouragement ... and spending time with people of like minds. By keeping our conference small, even the most shy or reticent person can make a friend, share work with another attendee or a staff writer, and feel surrounded by people who care to listen. To this end, also, in recent years we've scheduled both intensives focusing on the various genres and will host two- to two-and-a-half-long workshops, allowing for deep discussion and illustration of specific aspects of craft, followed by time to write and receive feedback. Our workshops are designed to build on one another throughout the week.

All this is what we set out to do in 1997 when a group of Vermont writers who had published across the genres and also had given considerable thought to teaching the mechanics and magic of writing joined Yvonne in her experiment. We were blessed with a remarkable gift -- the munificence of writers living and working in Vermont -- including many Vermont poet laureates and best-selling authors such as Grace Paley, David Huddle, David Budbill, Howard Frank Mosher and Chris Bohjalian, for examples -- all so generous as the conference began on a shoestring. The result, for 22 years, has been a weeklong gathering of writers who practice the art and craft of writing together, joyfully and sometimes tearfully, experiencing a level of freedom and support that can't be found in large conference settings or places where the value is set on big publishing contracts rather than the quality and enjoyment of the craft. That is not to say that we don't value publishing. Indeed, many of our past and returning attendees have had considerable success with their books, poems, articles and other work. But it is not our reason to be. You are.

The reason is that the staff is carefully chosen to include published authors who also have a gift for sharing their expertise, open to conceding their own limitations, struggles and even failures, and helping others to grow as writers. Writing is hard work as you know. But it should also be fun. We promise both at the conference.

Simply put: our philosophy is to meet each person at his or her level of comfort and competence and provide strategies, techniques and feedback that might make you a better writer and reader.

And because music is so essential to the creative process, again this year we've invited our esteemed poet Verandah Porche and multi-talented musician Patty Carpenter to share new work with us and lead a song-writing workshop. Of course, Verandah will also teach several poetry workshops but it's always fun to experiment with song and music together; if you're so inclined and musically adept, bring a harmonica or kazoo or other instrument to join in the fun.

We've chosen a new location for the conference to introduce attendees to one of our favorite Vermont towns, one that will allow us to blend some of the local flavor into the program. Along with the gorgeous and restorative Brandon Inn, attendees will discover a walking village with several restaurants, taverns and a bakery, a bookstore, art galleries, clothing and other stores, along with a post office, town green and architecturally intersting buildings. Established in 1786, the inn itself is an architectural gem that has been updated for comfort while retaining its charm. The building is included on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the oldest, continuously operating hospitality businesses in Vermont.

Family-owned and run with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. the inn will offer us comfortable rooms for workshops, meetings and readings. Conference participants will find the bedrooms and bedroom suites especially comfortable, many large enough to share. Topping it off, the inn specializes in homemade food of top quality offered at breakfast, lunch and dinner. A meal plan will be available for those not staying at the inn. Inn guests will have the opportunity to eat out on the town for one or two dinner meals. To faciltate all this, the building includes a large dining room, a smaller breakfast room, a huge porch overlooking the village green, a patio room, a bar, and a swimming pool. The handsome grounds and gardens abut a small river.

None of these words about the location or logistics of the conference rightly describes the Green Mountain Writers Conference, because what happens here each year is something magical. For five days each summer, people who have been coming to the conference for years and first-timers together and separately joyously tackle the job of putting words together to tell story, to craft poetry, to communicate, to share, learning from one another under the close tutelage of published authors. We are a casual lot but we are fierce about using our time together to learn and grow.

This year's staff includes:

Yvonne Daley, Verandah Porche, Elizabeth Inness-Brown, Justen Ahren , Jensen Beach, T. Greenwood, Joan Aleshire, Stephen Kiernan, Patty Carpenter, Chuck Clarino.

Please read biographies and information about our staff members on the writers' page or link to them here.



Fur conference will run from Monday mie-morning (registration) AUG. 2 until after lunch on Friday, AUG. 6. Registration and orientation will be held in the lounge located in the main part of the inn. We'll have lunch together and then gather in the lounge for quick introductions so we can get right to work with your choice of workshops -- one each in poetry and prose and one cross-genre. We'll have our reception on Monday night with Yvonne Daley giving our keynote. From Tuesday through Friday, our days will begin with open readings in the lounge from 8 to 9 a.m. These are informal affairs organized by the participants, not the staff. The idea is to share your work, talk about a problem, discuss a project you're working on in a casual setting that allows for feedback and support from one another.

After breakfast (open from 7 - 9 a.m.), our formal work day begins as we break into smaller workshop groups focusing on fiction. nonfiction, and poetry. You may find that, while these workshops may focus on a particular genre, they will be useful across the spectrum of writing categories so that, for example, character development might help a person writing a memoir, a personal profile, a short story, a novel or a narrative poem. Step out of your comfort zone!


Why Vermont?

Throughout time, Vermont has attracted more than its share of the nation's best and most interesting writers. The reasons for this are many and complex but, as participants at our conference have experienced over the years, that combination of rural beauty and tolerant community so richly found in this small state snuggled into America's far northeast corner is a fine prescription for breaking through writer's block, restoring confidence, and developing the skills needed to turn thoughts and ideas into stories and poems.

When we first started our conference, we hired only writers living in Vermont but over the years have expanded far and wide. You'll find, however, whichever area our staff writer lives that they share a generosity of spirit and a desire to use their words to make the world a better place, to foster understanding, to bridge cultures and explore common joys and sorrow. That is why they are invited to join us.

Who comes to the Green Mountain Writers Conference?

We use the terms "emerging" and "developing" to describe the kind of writers who usually find our conference particularly useful and enjoyable. Many writers come to us with a desire to write, a longing to write and some natural talent. At the same time, they might feel stalled in their progress or don't know how to approach new material. Other participants need some basic tools to get started or feedback on what they have been struggling to express in the isolation of their notebooks and computers. These are emerging writers.

Other attendees have had some success in their writing endeavors and wish to grow their skills and share the challenges of the writers' life with others who appreciate a good tale, an engaging poem, a thoughtful memoir, a meaningful piece of journalism. And still others have been writing professionally or narrowly for years and now want to try different genres, to spread their wings, to write more freely. These are evolving writers.

Other attendees have published books, poems and articles and bring some of their material to share at the conference. Writing is a continual learning and sharing process; it's important to try new approaches to our work, to get feedback, to listen to others and learn from them. You'll be surprised at the depth and breadth of talent you'll find amongst the participants. It is precisely this range of talent, interest and subject matter that we hoped to attract to our conference 22 years ago.

That said, we also welcome writers who simply seek confirmation of their right to their material and those who want to garner a few necessary tools to record a family story or a once-in-a-lifetime experience ... not necessarily for a large audience, but simply for the pleasure of capturing the moments, ideas and reflections.

We welcome all these and other ways in which people define themselves as writers.



Accommodations Introduction | Accommodations



We have made arrangements for attendees to stay at the Brandon Inn in the beautiful, walkable town of Brandon, located between Rutland and Middlebury. The historic inn is situated opposite the village green and bandstand in the center of the village. Brandon is known for its beautiful and varied architecture, fascinating history and an ever-thriving artistic community. The inn features spacious, individually decorated guest rooms, a beautiful formal dining room, a dining porch, a spacious sitting room with areas for small gatherings, a wide porch facing the green, a swimming pool and expansive lawn abutting a lovely small river. We'll use these spaces along with two smaller meeting rooms and the larger public area for workshops and readings. We've been offered the inn for four nights at an extremely discounted rate of $824 for single occupancy or $588 per person for double occupancu. These rates include a full country breakfast, lunch and three-course dinner. Sample lunches may be a simple salad, sandwich, or quiche and salad, or pasta and salad, with a fruit/cookie dessert plus a beverage while dinner will consist of a choice of two entrees each night with a third vegetarian option, a salad and a homemade dessert and a beverage. A 10 percent tax and gratuity for meals and housekeeping, of course, are extra, as are alcoholic beverages. Additionally, the bar will be available from half an hour before dinner until the dining room is reset after dinner. Those wanting more nighttime entertainment can walk to several nearby lounges after our nightly readings. To support the town itself and its dining establishments, the inn will allow overnight guests to forego one dinner midweek in order to eat at a different location. The room rate will be discounted to allow this but please make those arrangements at the time of reserving a room. Guests attending the conference but not staying at the inn may purchase lunch for $20 and/or dinner for $44, not including tax, tip or alcoholic beverage.

To learn more about housing options please call 800-639-8685 and mention the Green Mountain Writers Conference or visit their website at http://https://brandoninn.com.

Coming from a distance:

The closest airports to Brandon are the Burlington Airport to the north and Rutland airport to the south. Amtrak comes to Rutland from New York City and bus service is also available to Rutland through Greyhouse, depending on Covid restrictions. Should you wish to use these services, we can provide transportation to the inn for a fee. Please alert the director upon registering and make your reservations as soon as possible.

As mentioned, visitors from afar often rent a car upon arrival at the airport as the wider region has little public transportation but lots to offer in terms of both entertainment and outdoor activities. With so many historic and natural resources in the region, along with concert venues and museums, some people try to spend either the weekend before or after the conference exploring Vermont at its best. If this interests you, please discuss rates with the innkeeper.


About the conference | Our writers | How to register
Green Mountain Writers Conference
Brandon, Vermont | Aug. 2 - Aug. 6, 2021