The sun reflected in Lake Tahoe during a summer sunset
writer to writer

The Residencies

The MFA in Creative Writing program meets each year in January and August for a 10-day residency filled with writing workshops, classes, readings, panels, trips in the region, and more. Since we spend most of the year at home working remotely with mentors, these residencies are our time to connect writer to writer. We share explorations of our work and ideas in the making, and build creative conversations that can last a lifetime.

At SNU Tahoe, we encourage a meaningful conversation in the art of creative writing, one that fosters the work of the individual within a community of writers and artists. The world needs our voices. Join us at the next Tahoe residency and learn how to tell your story. Apply now, and claim your spot in the Creative Writing MFA Program.

Tomar Portugal: Summer 2020

June 4 – 13

Skyline image of Lisbon, Portugal, home to the summer 2020 creative writing residency.

Our summer residency offers a 9-day creative writing workshop featuring Rebecca Makkai, author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Great Believers, and Lacy Johnson, writer of the critically-acclaimed essay collection The Reckonings. The extraordinary poet Patricia Smith will also join us, along with special guest writers and thinkers from Portugal and other parts of Europe! Delve into your writing in Tomar, a lush, riverside village in central Portugal; explore the cobbled alleyways, ancient ruins and domed cathedrals of Lisbon, a vibrant city renowned for its poetry; bask in the sun-splashed Mediterranean town of Nazar’e and wander dewy forests and exotic gardens in Sintra, a writer’s dream and UNESCO World Heritage site. Along the way you might sample Portuguese dishes such as bacalhau and listen to the haunting notes of traditional Fado music.

Rebecca Makkai is the Chicago-based author of the novels The Great Believers, The Hundred-Year House, and The Borrower, as well as the short story collection Music for Wartime. The Great Believers was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and received the ALA Carnegie Medal and the LA Times Book Prize, among other honors. Makkai is on the MFA faculties of Sierra Nevada University and Northwestern University, and she is Artistic Director of Story Studio Chicago.
Writer and activist Lacy M Johnson, author of 'The Reckonings'Lacy M. Johnson is a Houston-based professor, curator, activist, and is author of The Reckonings, which was named a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in Criticism and one of the best books of 2018 by Boston Globe, Electric Literature, Autostraddle, Book Riot, and Refinery 29. She is also author of The Other Side. For its frank and fearless confrontation of the epidemic of violence against women, The Other Side was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography, and was named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus, Library Journal, and the Houston Chronicle.
Headshot of poet Patricia SmithPatricia Smith is the author of eight books of poetry, including Incendiary Art, winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the 2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the 2018 NAACP Image Award, and finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize; Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist; and Gotta Go, Gotta Flow, a collaboration with award-winning Chicago photographer Michael Abramson. Her other books include the poetry volumes Teahouse of the Almighty, Close to Death, Big Towns Big Talk, Life According to Motown; the children’s book Janna and the Kings and the history Africans in America, a companion book to the award-winning PBS series.

Past International Residencies
Goblin Hill Jamaica: Winter 2017

The residency featured visits from Jamaican writers including Nicole Dennis-Benn and Tanya Shirley, and field trips for travel writers, alongside faculty readings, electives, and workshops.

Poet Patricia Smith teaching a course for the MFA in Creative Writing program in Jamaica
Patricia Smith’s elective on the Hummingbird Terrace
MFA in Creative Writing program students relaxing in the Caribbean
Students by the sea
Graduates from the 2017 low residency MFA in Creative Writing program held in Jamaica
The 2017 winter graduates
Doolin Ireland: Summer 2014

Before our overseas residency in Doolin, Ireland, students met and worked with Colum McCann, Matthew Sweeney, Sinéad Morrissey, John F. Deane, Billy Ramsell, and Mary Noonan.

Gus O'Connors pub, a social hot spot in Doolin, Ireland where the 2014 MFA in Creative Writing residency was held
Gus O’Connor’s Pub
Doolin, Ireland cliffside where the 2014 residency was held for the MFA in Creative Writing
Doolin Cliffs
Picture of author John Deane in Ireland
Irish writer John F. Deane