9. The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference
The oldest writers’ conference in America, and arguably the most prestigious, Bread Loaf was founded in 1926 by, among other notable names, Robert Frost.
Bread Loaf’s main conference runs 10 days each August and has been described as literary summer camp. But make no mistake: This is the big leagues. Last year alone, Bread Loaf received 2,100 applications for its 220 slots. Attendees study with one of 20 faculty members, each of whom offers a workshop. There are 10 workshops in fiction, seven in poetry and three in nonfiction. Each participant submits a manuscript, for which he or she gets feedback during the conference.
Past faculty: Patricia Hampl, David Shields, Natasha Trethewey, Lynn Freed
Why you should go: If you are serious about networking with contemporary writers and making friends in the literary world, this conference is for you. The schedule is jam-packed and very social, energizing participants to go back home and write. Don’t miss the hayride, which is so popular it was featured in an episode of The Simpsons.