Skip to main content

2017 VQR Writers’ Conference

PUBLISHED: January 31, 2017

The fourth annual VQR Writers’ Conference takes place July 10–15, 2017, on the grounds of the historic University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Our conference is designed for serious writers at all stages of their careers looking for inspiration and camaraderie. 

Conference Details

Conference participants pay $1,100, which includes lodging and meals. For participants who do not need housing, the cost is $950.

Once admitted to the conference, a nonrefundable deposit of $200 is due by May 31. The balance is due at or before registration. Payment may be made by check or credit card.

A limited number of $350 scholarships will be made available based on the potential for literary excellence.

Application Process

Applications are now closed.

To apply in fiction, please submit no more than fifteen pages total. If your manuscript is excerpted from a longer work or a novel, please provide a brief summary of the project with your cover letter.

To apply in nonfiction (includes creative nonfiction and literary journalism), please submit no more than fifteen pages total. If your manuscript is excerpted from a longer work, please provide a brief summary of the project with your cover letter.

To apply in poetry, please submit four to seven poems of no more than twelve pages total.

To apply to the #VQRTrueStory Instagram journalism workshop, you may submit any combination of nonfiction words and pictures. Pictures do not have to be the work of “photographers”; snapshots are especially welcome. This workshop—our first of this kind—will guide participants through the process of creating Instagram essays. Please familiarize yourself with #VQRTrueStory prior to applying.

Additionally, in your cover letter, please provide a biographical statement of up to one hundred words that includes relevant information such as any notable publications and literary awards. 

Questions? Email:

The 2017 writing faculty includes:

Meghan Daum is the author of four books, most recently the collection of original essays The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion (FSG, 2014), and is the editor of the New York Times bestseller Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not To Have Kids (Picador, 2015). An opinion columnist at the Los Angeles Times for more than a decade, she now writes the Egos column in the New York Times Book Review and has also contributed to the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, and Vogue. She is the recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and is on the adjunct faculty of the MFA Writing Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Daum is currently the Bedell Distinguished Visiting Professor in the University of Iowa’s Graduate Nonfiction Writing Program. Her 2003 novel, The Quality of Life Report, originally published by Viking, has just been reissued by the University of Texas Press.

Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the internationally bestselling novel Remember Me Like This (Random House, 2014), which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Barnes and Noble Discover Great Writers selection, and the winner of the 2015 McLaughlin-Esstman-Stearns Prize. The book has been translated around the world and is being made into a major motion picture. He is also the author of the short-story collection Corpus Christi (Random House, 2004) and the editor of Naming the World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer (Random House, 2008). His work has appeared in the Atlantic, the Paris Review, the New York Times MagazineEsquireGlimmer Train, and Tin House, as well as in the anthologies Best American Short StoriesPushcartBest American Sports Writing, and New Stories from the South. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and a 5 Under 35 honor from the National Book Foundation, he is the director of creative writing at Harvard University.

Chigozie Obioma is the author of The Fishermen, which was a 2015 finalist for the Man Booker Prize and a winner of several other awards, including an NAACP Image Award and the FT/Oppenheimer Prize for Fiction. The novel, which is being translated into twenty-six languages, is also being adapted into a stage play. Obioma was named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Influential People of 2015. He has lived in Turkey and Nigeria as well as the US, where he is a professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Anne Helen Petersen received her PhD at the University of Texas, where she wrote her dissertation on the history of the gossip industry. She taught at Whitman College before leaving academia to write full-time for BuzzFeed, where her work focuses on the intersection of gender, celebrity, and popular culture. Her forthcoming book, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman will be released by Blue Rider/Penguin Press in June 2016.

Jeff Sharlet is associate professor of creative writing at Dartmouth College and a contributing editor to VQR, Harper’s, and Rolling Stone. He is the bestselling author or editor of six books of literary journalism, including The Family (Harper Perennial, 2009), Sweet Heaven When I Die (Norton, 2011), and, most recently, Radiant Truths (Yale, 2014) Sharlet is a cofounder of VQR’s #VQRTrueStory series of Instagram essays. His own Instagram essays have appeared in or on Esquire, GQ, New York Times Magazine, Documentum, and Longreads.

Mark Wunderlich is the author of three volumes of poetry, the most recent of which is The Earth Avails, (Graywolf Press, 2014) which received the Rilke Prize and which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award.  His other volumes include Voluntary Servitude (Graywolf, 2004) and The Anchorage (Mass), which received the Lambda Literary Award.  He is the recipient of fellowships from the NEA, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Amy Lowell Trust, Fine Arts Work Center, and the Wallace Stegner Program at Stanford University, among others.  His poems, reviews, essays, and translations have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Poetry, the New Republic, Paris Review, and have been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered.  His work is widely anthologized, and has been translated into Swedish, Italian, Bulgarian, and Turkish.  He teaches literature and writing at Bennington College in Vermont, and is also a member of the graduate faculties of the Bennington Writing Seminars and Columbia University School of the Arts.  He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.  

Monica Youn is the author of Blackacre (Graywolf, 2016), which has been shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN Open Book Award and longlisted for the National Book Award. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and BuzzFeed named Blackacre one of the best poetry collections of 2016. Her previous book Ignatz (Four Way Books, 2010) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including the New Yorker, Poetry, the Paris Review, and Best American Poetry. The daughter of Korean immigrants and a former lawyer, she currently teaches at Princeton University and in the Sarah Lawrence and Columbia University MFA Programs.


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Recommended Reading