Last Saturday, when I gave my "flash fiction" workshop via Dancing Chiva in Mexico City, one of the many and, it seemed, most burning questions was, how can I find a good writers conference? They're popping up all over like Starbucks, judging from the ads in Poets & Writers magazine, so I would not pretend to be able to comment on the merits of each and every one. I can recommend several I've attended myself; several where I have and will serve on the faculty, and also a few I have no personal experience with but I do know and highly respect some of the faculty--- so I'd say they're a good bet. If you visit the websites, you'll get an idea of the variety of focus, cost, length, and character. Which is the best? The answer depends on what you want--- and your budget, both in terms of time and money.
In the U.S.
Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Middlebury, Vermont
The most distinguished literary writers conference in the United States, no question. In rural Vermont.
Sewanee Writers Conference, Sewanee, Tennessee
A close second to Bread Loaf. Very similar format.
New York State Summer Writers Institute, Saratoga Springs, NY
At Skimore College, just up the road from Yaddo.
Squaw Valley Writers, Squaw Valley, California
Washington Independent Writers
A wide variety of writing--- more than just literary--- and they always have a good agents panel and pitch session.
Writers at the Beach, Delaware
F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference, Rockville MD
Writers At Work, Salt Lake City, Utah
Hassayampa Institute for Creative Writing, Prescott, Arizona
Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Gambier, Ohio
Writing It Real, Port Townsend, Washington (State)
With Sheila Bender
San Miguel Writers Conference, San Miguel de Allende
Under the Volcano, Tepoztlan, Morelos (near Cuernavaca; about an hour from Mexico City)
Anywhere with a telephone
The Writers Telesummit
A new concept--- I'm giving the session on travel writing.
P.S. Dancing Chiva maintains a links page with more resources for writers. My next Dancing Chiva workshop, Techniques of Fiction, is scheduled for October 18. More workshops and events here. And more anon.