The Conference

Located on the beautiful waterfront campus of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, this writers’ conference features professional writers at the top of their form spending quality time with motivated and talented participants seeking an intimate, unhurried climate for learning…in paradise.

  • Les Standiford


  • Dennis Lehane


New for 2018

Participant Lounge
Whether in need of a place to write, read, rest or just mingle with other attendees while on campus, participants will enjoy the use of a dedicated Writers in Paradise student lounge located next to Triton Pub in Lindsey Hall.

3-Day Short Fiction Workshop with Lan Samantha Chang
After great success in our conference in 2017 as Closing Speaker and Guest Lecturer, novel, short story writer and Director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Lan Samantha Chang, will return to Writers in Paradise to teach a 3-day workshop in short fiction (1/18-1/20 for $495).  Workshop will be held in the stunning Armacost Library, and will be limited to 6 participants.  For complete submission guidelines and to apply, click here (Short Fiction Workshop).

7pm Evening Readings
Except for the Saturday readings which will begin at 8pm, all other readings Sunday-Friday will be at 7pm.

Wednesday (Free Day) Movie Night
Movie night at Miller Auditorium will give participants a chance to view films adapted from books written by our faculty!  A craft talk on books-to-movies headed by Conference Director Les Standiford (The Man Who Invented Christmas) and faculty Andre Dubus III (The House of Sand and Fog) will follow on Thursday during the afternoon session.

Poetry Idol
After much demand, in 2018 we will launch the first ever Poetry Idol, giving participants a chance to have a poem read aloud anonymously and be judged by the resident faculty experts.  Get a read all the way to the end without a “gong,” and the writer has a winner.


New Workshop Topics for 2018

Structure in Novel, Memoir & Narrative Non-Fiction
with Les Standiford
This workshop will focus on the overall conception and structure of book-length projects, whether completed or in progress.  Applicants should include a 250-word synopsis of the whole, along with the opening chapter or chapters (limit of 25 pages).  Discussion will center on the clarity and substance of the project and the efficacy of the opening, given the stated intention.  Apply here starting August 1st.

Writing the Middle
with Sterling Watson
This workshop is for students who have completed a draft of a novel or who have at a least the first half of one, and are uncertain as to how to revise or finish their stories. The class will emphasize plot using full-length synopses (25 pages maximum) as the basis for discussions.  Students wishing to enroll should submit either synopses of entire novels or synopses of partially completed novels. In the latter case, the synopses should provide a brief description of how the author might choose to finish the novel.  Apply here starting August 1st (Novel Workshop).


Co-founded by Dennis Lehane and Sterling Watson, and co-directed by Les Standiford, Writers in Paradise offers an intensive eight-day experience of workshop classes, roundtables, panel discussions, Q&As, readings, book signings, and receptions with our award winning-faculty and guest speakers.

The tranquil seaside landscape sets the tone for this informal gathering of writers, teachers, editors, and literary agents. The size and secluded location of the Eckerd College Writers’ Conference allows you the time and opportunity to share your manuscripts, critique one another’s work, and discuss the craft of writing with experts and peers who can help guide you to the next level.

Why You Should Attend?

After eight days of workshopping and engagement with peers and professionals in your field, you will leave with a refreshed understanding of your craft and solid ideas about how to find an agent and get published.  At the heart of the conference are six days of workshops led by master faculty in various genres where techniques are discussed and participant manuscripts are closely examined.

Announcing 2018 Faculty & Guests.

Writers in Paradise offers a wide array of Fellowships and Scholarships.

The Schedule

The 14th edition of Writers in Paradise will take place from January 13 through January 20, 2018.  Esteemed faculty and selected participants (limited to 12 each [except 3-day short fiction with Lan Samantha Chang – limited to 6]) workshop for three hours in the morning, attend panels and craft talks in the afternoon, and attend evening readings and events. Participants are actively engaged with our faculty and guests from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information about Writers in Paradise, please contact Conference Coordinator, Marina Pruna, at

  • Marina Pruna

    Conference Coordinator