Our mission at Writers in Paradise is to provide talented and hardworking writers of all levels and genres the opportunity to learn from and work with other writers under the guidance of masterful and successful authors. For an entire week, we strive to provide an open, inclusive, and nurturing environment where creativity, critical awareness and writing techniques can be exercised, fostered and encouraged. Every year we try to grow our conference to include new voices and ways of looking at writing and what it means to write in today’s market while maintaining a core faculty of proven authors who are both successful in their genres as well as gifted in the classroom. Our central premise has always been to help talented writers reach their intended audiences. We understand the complexities of putting together effective stories, and this understanding and sensitivity makes our workshops popular and coveted. One of our goals is to create community among our participants which is why our workshops are closed to all but those participants who submit manuscripts and are accepted into workshop—one long time faculty member calls it “having skin in the game.”
We believe that keeping workshops small allows for focus, productive criticism and honesty.
Our commitment to providing a week filled with writing education and sanctuary includes poetry. Nearly every year we rotate a nationally-acclaimed, award-winning poet who teaches as part of our core faculty. In addition to the poetry workshop and craft talk(s), we are honored to have as part of our lineup the poet laureates of St. Petersburg and of Florida, Helen Pruitt Wallace and Peter Meinke.
With the help of our St. Petersburg community and Eckerd alumni, we work with an endowment that affords us the opportunity to help many participants financially. We never want money to be the reason that you can’t come be with us for a week. If you’ve got a story that’s burning to be told, we want to help you add to your set of craft-box tools, so you can effectively tell it. While we are competitive and accept writers based on the strength and potential of their writing, we abide by the notion that good writing is good writing and we all stand to learn from one another no matter where we come from, how old we are, or what we may or may not have studied formally. After a week at WIP, we hope you leave with a new and inspired sense of direction, some good friends who you can share writing with throughout the year, and with confidence you can navigate new writing challenges on your own.
Les Standiford, Conference Director
Marina Pruna, Conference Coordinator