” The great strength of your conferences involves the near constant availability of your faculty for your students.  The insularity of the venues and your ever-expanding social/formal contact inevitably foster ongoing pedagogical contact one on one or in small, impromptu groups. Intensity is the splendid product you sell to your students.”
Robert Olen Butler
“Attended the Abroad Writers Conference…. in Lake Como, Italy, 6/21-28. Workshop leaders were Pulitzer winners Jane Smiley and Rae Armantrout and several other winners of prominent awards including Alex Shumatoff, Paul Hardin, and Nikky Finney. Workshop students were also accomplished writers with publications. Many held university teaching positions or worked as consultants or editors, which made exchange of ideas about the craft of writing lively and productive.”  Maija Rhee Devine
“I was overwhelmed at the level, quality, and generosity of the instructors.”
“The week I spent with Robert Olen Butler and Paul Harding at Hever castle was marvelous and memorable, not just for the spectular venu that the castle provided for the conference. It was really reinvigorating and reinspiring to get into the work of our eleven participants, an incredibly varied bunch of backgrounds and sensibilities all of whom had serious literary chops and distinctive voices. To know that the written word is not dead, that  it still has such passionate afficinados with whom I could share the insights into the writing game and tricks of the trade I have picked up over the decades, and could make specific textual suggestions on how to make their work clearer and stronger, to “make every word tell,” in Strunk and White’s famous injunction, to “love” the writing, as William Shawn used to tell us at the New Yorker, until the sound and flow and sense of the words become what they are talking about. I particularly enjoyed interacting with two great fiction writers, and I think the participants benefited from having the perspectives of both novelists and a literary journalist. It was fun, but intense. Some of these writers we are definitely going to be hearing more from.  Ic raise my glass to Nancy Gerbault for putting together such an interesting gathering.”
Alex Shoumatoff
“The mix of people, the professionalism of the writers, both teachers and participants. I felt renewed and energized from the experience – the entire climate of the conference was really positive .”
“Enjoyed the variety of readers – the accord given to the big names and the lesser known – loved the addition of local readers as well.”
“I loved the readings. Everyone was brilliant. I was introduced to so many wonderful writers whose work I am now reading. I loved the atmosphere and the hall as well. Wonderful acoustics for the readings.”
Words cannot begin to express how grateful I am to you for acknowledging my work and for making my life-altering (truly) experience in Provence. You have created something truly extraordinary–a communion of artists and thinkers of various backgrounds and disciplines and provided the magical space for like minds to meet. You have, in this rare creation, enabled writers at all stages of their careers to come together and shape their thoughts and ideas, and change one another in the process. You have built in every sense a true contemporary “Salon”, a remarkable forum. You should be so very proud of your brain-child, after so much thought, effort and planning. It’s an extraordinary reality! I am honored and grateful to have been chosen to be a part of it. When my career takes off I know it will be, in no small part, because of the support and encouragement I received from you and all associated with ABROAD WRITERS’ CONFERENCE. It meant more than you know. GRATEFULLY, Kelleigh Greenberg
“I enjoyed the workshops tremendously. Both my workshop leaders were absolutely wonderful, as were my workshop peers. I have never attended better poetry workshops. It was an honor to study with Patricia Smith and Michele Roberts.”
“You introduced us to a new world here and I should never forget this experience. A very brave and inspiring enterprise.”  Margaret Drabble
“The people were extremely talented and inspiring. The castle was gorgeous.”
“I liked the accomplished teachers. Jacquelyn Mitchard, Jane Smiley and Ethel Rohan. Would never have had the opportunity to take a class from someone with their expertise.”
“I had a magical few days in a wonderful location with a very special group of people and I won’t forget a moment of it for a very long time to come. May I say that I was full of admiration for the way you’d brought the whole thing about – not only such an impressive combination of writers, but the huge amount of planning that had gone into making the entire week such a rich experience for everyone, from the fish soup to the pope’s palace.” Rebecca Abrams
“For somebody expecting judgement, Jane’s [Smiley] was a pleasant surprise. I have since found out by research that Jane changed the way this is taught in the entire university system. Instead of you getting anxious about your work, she simply stays completely away from that  and teaches you analytical tools so that you can analyze what does work in your own work or what doesn’t . It is empowering the writer. Since the workshop Jane has continued to be accessible.”
“I liked the teaching style of each leader. I enjoyed being treated like a colleague by everyone including leaders and not just a wanna be writer which at my age and achievment is getting old, older than me lol. I have kept in touch and heard from all the workshop leaders since we came home. All are open to answering questions and lending a hand with publication issues etc.”
“With thanks for inviting me to be a part of this amazing conference–I’m excited by the prospects for the future…..and grateful for the wonderful opportunity. I don’t think I ever could have imagined that I’d find myself in such an astonshing, magical setting– amongst such astonishing people.” Dan Chaon

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