mayacamas0242One of the highlights of 2015 was Lit Camp, a four-day workshop put on by Janis Cooke Newman at Mayacamas Ranch near Calistoga. Lit Camp is billed as summer camp for adults, and  lives up to the description!  It’s a gorgeous setting with top-notch faculty and speakers like Paul Harding, Anthony Marra, and Adam Johnson, and unlike most workshops, agents and working editors also participate as workshop leaders. My only complaint is that workshops are limited to 4,000 word submissions, a little short to really get into the work. I was impressed by the quality of the participants–in particular, there were so many interesting non-fiction writers who had crazy experiences as journalists or travelers–not just the usual memoir fare. Nonfiction writers always liven things up a bit. There’s definitely less socializing and less unashamed performance with a crowd of fiction writers. There was a mind-blowing lecture by Adam Johnson on trauma narratives that left the group simultaneously high and exhausted, ready for him to repeat the entire thing again to hear what we had missed. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen writers that rapt during a lecture, especially after a long day of workshopping. I had recently finished reading The Orphan Master’s Son, which to my mind, is an instant classic, the kind we really haven’t seen since the 1950s. They offer three delicious, healthy meals a day, wine galore, smores, campfires and hot tub excursions . . . it doesn’t really get any better than that.  Makes me wish I lived in the Bay Area so I can see the campers more often!  To apply:  Lit Camp