Thursday, December 17, 2015

Odyssey Writing Workshop


About Odyssey
The Odyssey Writing Workshop is widely considered one of the top programs in the world for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror in the world. Writers from all over the world apply. Only fifteen are admitted. Fifty-nine percent of graduates go on to professional publication, and among Odyssey's graduates are New York Times bestsellers, Amazon bestsellers, and award winners. A video compilation of graduates describing their Odyssey experiences is available here:

Odyssey is for writers whose work is approaching publication quality and for published writers who want to improve their work. The six-week program combines an advanced curriculum with extensive writing and in-depth feedback on student manuscripts. The director and primary instructor, Jeanne Cavelos, was nominated for the World Fantasy Award this year for her work teaching and running Odyssey. Top authors, editors, and agents have served as guest lecturers, including George R. R. Martin, Jane Yolen, Robert J. Sawyer, Nancy Kress, Ben Bova, Holly Black, Catherynne M. Valente, and Dan Simmons. 

This summer's workshop runs from JUNE 6 to JULY 15, 2016.  Class meets for over four hours each morning, five days a week. That time is split between workshopping and lectures. While feedback reveals the weaknesses in students' manuscripts, lectures teach the techniques necessary to strengthen them. In-depth lectures provide advanced insights into the elements of fiction writing. Students spend about eight hours more per day writing and critiquing each other’s work. 

The program is held on the beautiful campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. Saint Anselm is one of the finest small liberal arts colleges in the country, and it provides a peaceful setting and state-of-the-art facilities for Odyssey students. College credit is available upon request.

The early action application deadline is JANUARY 31, and the regular application deadline is APRIL 8. Tuition is $2,025, and housing in campus apartments is $850 for a double room and $1,700 for a single. 

Odyssey graduate Sara King is sponsoring the Parasite Publications Character Awards this year to provide financial assistance to three character-based writers wishing to attend. The awards provide three scholarships in the amounts of $2,025 (full tuition), $500, and $300.  They will be awarded to the three members of the incoming class who are deemed extraordinarily strong character writers, creating powerful, emotional characters that grab the reader and don't let go. 

Several other scholarships and a work/study position are also available.
Odyssey's Director and Primary Instructor
Jeanne Cavelos is a best-selling author and a former senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, where she won the World Fantasy Award for her work. As an editor, Jeanne gained a reputation for discovering and nurturing new writers. She provides students with detailed, constructive critiques that average over 1,500 words each.  She also meets individually with students several times over the six weeks to discuss their progress and explore ways in which their writing process might be altered to improve weak areas. These discussions often lead to breakthrough insights. 

Comments from the Class of 2015
"Odyssey required six weeks of complete humility, energy, creativity, but gave so much back in terms of insight, strength and positivity. I believe that Jeanne has not only opened amazing doors of skill, but also doors to self-confidence and to realms of possibility. There is no limit to the gratitude I owe her, and I hope I can go on to show my gratitude by implementing all of the things she taught me and continuing to grow as a writer."
                                                                                    --Cara DiGirolamo

"Odyssey is the single best thing I've done for my writing. The program is rigorous and empowering and offers the most comprehensive introduction to creative writing and fantastic fiction that I can imagine.  Jeanne is brilliant:  she is encouraging and thoughtful and she has an outstanding ability to analyze and conceptualize stories and to share those insights with students. I cannot recommend Odyssey highly enough."
                                                                                    --Gregory Baum

Our 2016 Writer-in-Residence
Mary Robinette Kowal is one of the most highly regarded teachers for writers of the fantastic. Mary has received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, three Hugo awards, and the RT Reviews award for Best Fantasy Novel. Her work has also been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. She is the author of The Glamourist Histories series of fantasy novels. Her stories have appeared in top magazines and in several Year's Best anthologies as well as in her collection Scenting the Dark and Other Stories.

Other Guest Lecturers
Lecturers for the 2016 workshop include some of the top teachers in the field:  New York Times bestselling author Meagan Spooner; award-winning authors Patricia Bray, N. K. Jemisin, and Deborah DeNicola; and award-winning editor and publisher Scott H. Andrews. 

Odyssey Graduates
Recent novels by graduates of the Odyssey Writing Workshop include This Shattered World by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman, published by Disney-HyperionThe Thickety: The Whispering Trees by J. A. White, from HarperCollins; Unforgettable by Eric James Stone, from Baen Books;  Low Midnight by Carrie Vaughn, published by Tor Books; and Vacant by Alex Hughes, from Roc. Odyssey graduates have had short fiction published in the top magazines in the field:  Fantasy & Science Fiction, AnalogAsimov’sWeird TalesLightspeed, Clarkesworld, Intergalactic Medicine Show, and many more. 

Other Odyssey Resources and Services
The Odyssey site,, offers many resources for writers, including online classes, a critique service, consultations, free podcasts, a monthly discussion salon, writing tips, and a blog.  Those interested in applying to the workshop should visit the site or e-mail

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