Each year, writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror from all over the world apply to the Odyssey Writing Workshop. Held for six weeks each summer in Manchester, New Hampshire, Odyssey is widely considered one of the top programs for writers of the fantastic. Only fifteen are admitted. Top authors, agents, and editors serve as guest lecturers. Advanced lectures, in-depth feedback, and one-on-one guidance help students make major improvements. Fifty-nine percent go on to professional publication. Among Odyssey’s graduates are New York Times bestsellers, Amazon bestsellers, and award winners.
This summer’s program runs from JUNE 4 to JULY 13, 2018. Class meets for over four hours each day, five days a week, with time split between lectures and workshopping. Lectures explore powerful techniques while feedback reveals the strengths and weaknesses in each writer’s work. Students spend about eight hours more per day writing and critiquing each other’s work.
The workshop is held at Saint Anselm College, one of the top small liberal arts colleges in the Northeast, and students live in campus apartments. They love the peaceful grounds and friendly staff. College credit is available on request.
Odyssey is for writers whose work is approaching publication quality and for published writers who want to improve their work. The early action application deadline is JANUARY 31, and the regular application deadline is APRIL 7. The workshop is held by the Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Odyssey is funded in part by donations from graduates, grantors and supporters, and in part by student tuition. Tuition is $2,025, and housing in campus apartments is $892 for a double room and $1,784 for a single. All applicants receive feedback on their writing sample.
Beginning this year, bestselling author George R. R. Martin is funding a scholarship for an Odyssey student. The Miskatonic Scholarship will be awarded to a promising writer of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. It will cover full tuition, textbook, and housing. As Martin notes, “We are not looking for Lovecraft pastiches, nor even Cthulhu Mythos stories. References to Arkham, Azathoth, shoggoths, the Necronomicon, and the fungi from Yuggoth are by no means obligatory…though if some candidates choose to include them, that’s fine as well. What we want is the sort of originality that H. P. Lovecraft displayed in his day…. What we want are nightmares new and resonant and profound, comic terrors that will haunt our dreams for years to come.”
The Parasite Publications Character Awards, sponsored by Odyssey graduate Sara King, 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.
Several 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. She works individually with students, meeting with them over the six weeks to set goals, chart progress, and talk out problems. She also provides students with detailed, constructive critiques that average over 1,500 words each. In 2015, Jeanne was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for her work teaching and running Odyssey.
Our 2018 Guest Lecturers
Lecturers for the 2018 workshop include top teachers in the field: award-winning authors Elizabeth Hand, Theodora Goss, E. C. Ambrose, Nisi Shawl, Meagan Spooner, and Gary A. Braunbeck; and editor/ publisher of the award-winning fantasy magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies Scott H. Andrews.
Comments from the Class of 2017
“Odyssey is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and lived up to the very high expectations I had coming in. I learned more in 6 weeks here than an entire MFA program.” –Michael Hallows
“Odyssey is an amazing and transformative experience that has forever altered how I read, write, and think. Jeanne is a supportive teacher who offers invaluable feedback and even more invaluable encouragement.” –Katherine Heath Shaeffer
“Spending the past six weeks at Odyssey has been an extraordinary experience. I have learned so much about the writing process. Jeanne Cavelos is amazing, as an instructor, lecturer, and mentor. I highly recommend Odyssey to anyone considering it!” –Jason Febery
A video of graduates describing their Odyssey experiences is available here: http://ow.ly/UWiD3.
Recent novels by Odyssey graduates include Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; The Thickety: The Last Spell by J. A. White, from HarperCollins; The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss, from Saga Press; The Dark Apostle: Elisha Mancer by E. C. Ambrose, from Baen Books; and Hunted by Meagan Spooner, published by HarperTeen. Odyssey graduates have had short fiction published in the top magazines in the field: Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, Asimov’s, Tor.com, Weird Tales, Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, and many more.
Other Odyssey Resources and Services
The Odyssey site, www.odysseyworkshop.org, offers many programs and resources for writers, including online classes, webinars, a critique service, consultations, coaching, free podcasts, author interviews, writing tips, and a monthly online discussion salon. To apply to the workshop, visit the site or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.