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2014 Clockhouse Writers' Conference & Retreat

2014 Clockhouse Writers' Conference & Retreat
Mon, 06/30/2014 - 10:30am to Fri, 07/04/2014 - 1:00pm
Goddard College, 123 Pitkin Road
Plainfield, VT

The Clockhouse Writers' Conference was founded in 1996 to provide Goddard College MFA in Creative Writing (MFAW) alumni the time, space, and community to continue the writing practice they established at Goddard and have since brought to the world at large, and--just as importantly--the opportunity to support the MFAW program and its students. 

The conference runs from June 30th to July 4th. A full conference schedule will be sent to all registrants in early June. In the meantime, here is the schedule for Monday, June 30:

11:00 am – 2:00 pm Arrival and check-in
11:45 am – 1:00 pm Lunch (optional, additional cost)
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Opening Community Meeting
3:45 pm – 5:15 pm Plenary Panel & Discussion, “Body and Word”
5:30 pm – Election of CWC Board of Stewards
5:45 pm – 7:00 pm Dinner
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm TBD (Conference & Retreat participant readings or possible attendance at MFAW Visiting Author or other event)

What to Expect at the Conference & Retreat

Each year's Conference & Retreat opens with a Plenary Panel featuring essay presentations on a theme chosen by consensus the previous year, and this Plenary Panel presentation is followed by a follow-up Q&A and discussion session.  

During the days that follow, there are quiet times for writing, as well as times to choose to gather together as writers: 

  • Works-in-Progress sessions provide opportunities for informal readings and feedback, 
  • “Impromptu Hours” allow participants to share a variety of writing prompts,
  • and workshops led by conference attendees cover a broad range of topics, from elements of craft to the writer’s relationship to society and social issues. 

The nationally-dispersed CWC Board of Stewards and CLOCKHOUSE editorial staff hold their annual in-person meetings during this time as well, and their discussions are brought back to the MFAW alumni community for its input at the Conference & Retreat's closing meeting. 

Evenings are filled with formal readings—and often, informal gatherings and writings games.  At the same time, the CWC & Retreat makes MFAW alumni available to the program’s current students as mentors, and it supports the program with such activities as its annual hosting of the closing party of the summer residency in Vermont and its unveiling of the most current issue of CLOCKHOUSE journal.

We recognize that writing requires space and time in order to remain central in our lives, but that finding that space and time in writing retreats and conferences can be prohibitively expensive.  Part of the mission of CWC is to offer a truly professional and truly affordable writing Conference and Retreat.  To make this possible, each of the conference's participants contributes to its success.  Everyone signs up for a task during the conference (such as moderating a reading, leading a workshop or a works-in-progress session, or helping to decorate for the MFAW closing party). In short, Clockhouse Writers’ Conference is an ongoing MFAW alumni group with a continuing presence on campus, offering a vibrant and sustained community that can be part of a graduate's life long after the two-year program is over.


The non-refundable conference fee is $75 and is due by May 1, 2014, along with your Registration Form. Housing is available on campus. Download the Registration: 2014_cwc_registration_form.pdf

If you're an MFAW alum of either Goddard's MFAW program in Plainfield, Vermont, or Port Townsend, Washington, please consider joining us!

Questions? Contact Conference & Retreat Coordinators Patricia Shepherd ( and Carolyn Locke (