Q. So, what’s this Lit Fest I keep hearing about?
A. We’re so glad you asked. It’s a two-week celebration of the art and craft of writing. During the two weeks, there are weeklong Master Workshops for advanced writers of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and dramatic writing; weekend workshops for writers of various levels and genres; one-time seminars on particular topics; readings; salons; and parties galore. This year's fest will be our twelfth, and will be held June 2 through June 16.
Q. Who should take the weeklong Master Workshops?
A. In 2017, the weeklong Master Workshops are designed for people who have been writing for a long time, who have experience in the writing workshop, and who want a little extra push to get them to the next level. This is a chance to work with some of the great writers and teachers working today. The priority deadline was March 1.
Q. What's this about a weekend Master Workshop?
A. For the fourth year running, Steve Almond will be working throughout an intense weekend with 10 writers of short prose (short stories or essays). This is a chance to work with an advanced group for a shorter span of time, along with working with one phenomenal teacher. The priority deadline for this workshop was also March 1.
Q. What’s a priority deadline for Master Workshops?
A. After March 1, our jury will convene to review all of the applications that have come so far, and offer spots to those who qualify for the class. In other words, everyone who submits by the priority deadline will be guaranteed consideration for one of the 10 spots in each workshop.
Q. What if I missed the priority deadline?
A. If there are still open spots in the weeklong Master Workshops, you can still apply. Applications received after the priority date will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Q. If I’m accepted into the Master Workshops, when does my work need to be submitted for workshop?
A. May 5 (noon, MST) is the deadline for Master Workshops with Steve Almond, Geoff Dyer, Sarah Manguso, Rebecca Makkai, and Elizabeth McCracken (week one). May 12 (noon MST) is the deadline for Master Workshops with Ada Limón, Jennifer Haigh, Andre Dubus III, Akhil Sharma, and David Henry Hwang (week two). You will then receive copies of your workshop’s manuscripts to read in advance of the workshop dates.
Q. How many pages can I submit?
A. For most of the prose workshops, one chapter, one short memoir or essay, or one story, 20 pages or fewer. That’s 20 manuscript pages, double-spaced, 12-point font. For poetry, you will be invited to submit up to four poems. Please consider that other people spend a lot of time and energy editing down their submissions, and it’s not considered cool to fudge spacing, font, or margins to fit more in. (And yes, everyone can tell when you do.) Those enrolling in the Master Workshops will receive more detail once you’ve accepted a spot.
Q. I'm from out of town. Where can I stay?
A. There are many affordable options around Lighthouse, including a few that offer discounts to Lighthouse Lit Fest participants. See our recommended hotels for details.
Q. How do I meet with an agent or editor at Lit Fest?
A. You have to hold a Gold, Silver, Bronze, Almond, Penny, or Full-Access Business Pass. There are a limited number of slots with agents and editors due to the fact that they’re only here for a short while, and we like them to have time to read manuscripts and engage in thoughtful discussions with participants. If slots remain available after all of the passholders have an opportunity to schedule meetings, we will release those slots for purchase. Based on past Lit Fests, however, this is unlikely.
Q. But I don’t want any of these passes; I just want to meet with an agent!
A. Lit Fest is a two-week celebration of the art and craft of writing, and we bring in the agents and editors as part of the program. We are committed to first allowing participants who are engaged in this intensive learning experience the opportunity to meet with an agent or editor, but of course if there are spots left after they have that opportunity, we’re more than happy to open up meetings to anyone! In the meantime, there are some really great manuscript marts out there that allow pretty economical access to a large number of agents over a short period of time—you might try Googling it!
Q. That doesn’t help me. I need an agent.
A. There are ample opportunities to meet with agents throughout the year in various ways. You are also always free to query agents (for just the cost of postage or clicking “send” via e-mail!) and try to acquire them the old-fashioned way. There’s no reason you have to pay to be involved in a festival or conference to meet your agent. Most people meet them through queries and you can find details on querying agents all over the Web. While many people have found their agents at Lit Fest, we think of it more in terms of the possibility of learning from an agent, who usually doesn’t have time to respond to individual queries and manuscripts.
Q. What about editors of literary magazines?
A. Not all the editors attending Lit Fest will be available for meetings, but a few will be! Editors available for meetings at Lit Fest 2017 include Julie Carr (Counterpath Press), Mairead Case (Denver Quarterly), Matthew Cooperman (Colorado Review), and Lindsey Drager (Crazyhorse).
Q. If I’m a passholder, when do I need to have my material ready for the agents and editors?
A. We’ll need your top three agent/editor choices by May 8 and a final draft of your query letter and first chapter by May 19 (noon MST). We need it electronically as the agents prefer it that way—as a Word Doc attachment or a pdf. You’ll e-mail the query letter and chapter to [email protected]. We will do our best to match you with an agent or editor who’s familiar with the type of work you’re writing.
Q. Query letter? How do you write one of those?
A. We know! It’s hard stuff. There are some Web sites out there that do their best to show what stands out in this regard. For starters, take a look at queryshark.blogspot.com, agentquery.com, and nelsonagency.com/pub-rants.
Q. When will my meeting be?
A. Those who get meetings with agents or editors will receive their meeting schedule by May 12, via e-mail.
Q. What if I still have more questions?
A. Give us a call! We’d love to chat. 303.297.1185.