Odyssey Writing Workshop: A Life-Changing Educational Experience

News from Odyssey Writing Workshop:

Over its 25-year history, the Odyssey Writing Workshop has become known as one of the most effective programs in the world for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.  Graduates commonly describe Odyssey as inspiring and transformative and say they learned more in their 6 weeks at Odyssey than they did in “3 years of creative writing classes” or “an entire MFA program” or “30 years of reading the ‘How to Write’ books.”  Fifty-nine percent of Odyssey’s graduates have gone on to professional publication, and they include award winners, Amazon bestsellers, and New York Times bestsellers.

Odyssey has become so effective by combining advanced, comprehensive lectures; in-depth feedback; and 1-on-1 guidance.  Class meets for over 4 ½ hours, 5 days a week, and students use afternoons, evenings, and weekends to write, critique each other’s work, and complete other class assignments.  To help students maximize their improvement, Director Jeanne Cavelos packs in as much as possible.  Students often comment that they’ve never worked so hard.  Chris Degni, class of 2019, said, “It’s exhausting, but I miss it already!”  You can find a video of Odyssey graduates describing their experiences here:  http://ow.ly/UWiD3.

Each year, writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror from all over the world apply to Odyssey.  Fifteen are admitted.  The application deadline is APRIL 1.  Those wanting early action on their application should apply by JANUARY 31.  All applicants receive feedback on their writing sample.

The 2020 workshop will be held from JUNE 1 to JULY 10 on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Saint Anselm is rated one of the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the country.  It provides a beautiful setting and high-quality facilities for Odyssey.

The Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, funded in part by donations from graduates and supporters, and in part by student tuition.  The tuition, $2,320, includes a textbook, weekly group dinners, and weekly snack breaks.  Housing in campus apartments is $892 for a double room and $1,784 for a single.  College credit is available for an additional fee.

Financial Aid

The Miskatonic Scholarship, awarded each year to a writer of Lovecraftian cosmic horror attending Odyssey, is funded by George R. R. Martin (New York Times bestselling author of A Game of Thronesand covers full tuition and housing.

The Chris Kelworth Memorial Scholarship, created in memory of a 2013 Odyssey graduate, will be offered to a Canadian writer admitted to Odyssey and will cover $900 of tuition.

Two other scholarships and a work/study position are also available.

Odyssey’s Director and Primary Instructor

Odyssey founder Jeanne Cavelos is a bestselling author and former senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, where she won the World Fantasy Award for her work.  Her lectures are often called thought-provoking and revelatory, and her detailed, constructive critiques average over 1,500 words each.  In addition, she works one-on-one with students to set goals, chart progress, and talk out problems.

Our 2020 Guest Lecturers

Lecturers for the 2020 workshop include some of the best teachers in the field:  bestselling authors Brandon Sanderson and Yoon Ha Lee, award-winning authors J. G. Faherty and Barbara Ashford; award-winning editor/publisher Scott. H. Andrews (Beneath Ceaseless Skies), and more.  Award-winning editor Sheila Williams (Asimov’s) will participate as a Skype guest.

Comments from the Class of 2019

“Odyssey was truly the best six weeks of my life.  To spend all my time focused on the thing I’m most passionate about and surrounded by like-minded and inspirational people was just amazing.  Jeanne is by far the most helpful and knowledgeable writing teacher I’ve ever had, and she genuinely cares about all of her students and wants us to do well.  My writing process has been completely transformed at Odyssey.”

–Cheyenne Shaffer

“Odyssey has revolutionized my writing.  Every day, I came to class excited and left astounded.  Jeanne is a gift to the writing community and a first-class mentor to individuals.  I can’t overstate how wonderful this experience has been.  I will be forever proud to call myself an Odfellow.”  –Christine Tyler

Odyssey Graduates 

  1. F. Kuang, class of 2016, won the Crawford Award and was nominated for both a Nebula Award and a World Fantasy Award for her first novel, The Poppy War, published by HarperVoyager in 2018.  The novel was included on multiple “Best of 2018” lists (including the Washington Post‘s and Timemagazine’s).  Linden Lewis, also from the class of 2016, sold her trilogy to Skybound/Simon & Schuster in a major auction.  Booklist Online named I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall (published by Penguin Random House), class of 2005, one of the “Top 10 First Novels for Youth,” and Universal has optioned the movie rights.  Ben Affleck will co-star and produce.  Nightbooks, by J. A. White (class of 1996), is being produced as a movie for Netflix.  And it was just announced that The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (Saga) by World Fantasy and Locus Award-winning author Theodora Goss (class of 2000) is in development as a television series on the CW.

Other Odyssey Resources and Services

The Odyssey site, www.odysseyworkshop.org, provides information about Odyssey’s workshop, online classes, webinars, critique service, consultations, coaching, and many free resources, including podcasts, a blog, writing tips, and a monthly online discussion salon.