Lighthouse Writers Workshop is the largest nonprofit literary center in Colorado and the Mountain West. Since 1997, we’ve offered high-quality writing instruction in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, playwriting, and many other genres. We’ve twice been designated one of the best things in Denver by the indie newspaper Westword, and in 2008 we received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.
But perhaps our success is most truly measured by the success of our students. Lighthouse members have published books with the likes of Little Brown, Harper Collins, Red Hen Press, and Pegasus Books. Their books have been on the New York Times bestseller list, been made into award-winning movies, been short-listed for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and received several Colorado Book Awards. We don’t take credit for their accomplishments—it was the authors who logged those hours over the keyboard, not us—but we do try to promote them any time we can.
But publication is only a small part of our mission at Lighthouse. Our primary interest is the art and craft of writing. We care about the written word, the beauty and energy of language, and the transformative power of telling stories. We welcome people who want to learn more about writing, no matter their age, experience, or education.
Our workshops aim to support—and to challenge—writers. At Lighthouse you’ll find a safe, creative learning environment, whether at the introductory, intermediate, advanced, or masters level.
We offer eight-week, four-week, one-day, and half-day workshops at our Race Street location and online. Our eight-week courses are critique-based, while our four-week workshops focus on a particular author, form, or technique. In addition to our regular workshops, we hold two mountain retreats. In June we put together a fifteen-day literary festival. Meanwhile, our Young Writers Program conducts lively lively in-school, after-school, and summer programs for writers in grades 5-12.
Because we believe our workshops should be accessible to all, we strive to keep tuition as low as possible. We think you’ll find our workshops as affordable (if not considerably more so) than any comparable program in the country. Still, we reserve some financial aid for those who cannot afford to enroll. Young writers may apply here, and adults here.
Our faculty rivals that of any creative writing program in the country. All are working, published writers as committed to their students as they are to their craft. We could build a two-story house from their books, and insulate it with their awards and fellowships. And that’s not even considering their many publications in the places like the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly and the Pushcart Prize anthology, or their appearances in all of the best literary journals in the country. In addition to our core faculty, we bring in nationally and internationally known authors for craft workshops several times a year through Inside the Writer’s Studio and our Fly-By Writer’s Project.
A writer’s life needn’t be solitary—at least not all the time. The Lighthouse community brings together literary types and others who value arts and culture in Denver. Our public events include the monthly Writer’s Buzz (a series of free events with ever-evolving topics) and the Draft Reading Series (which celebrates the diversity and talent in our workshops). Member events include Monday Writing Hours (where members can find a quiet space to write at Lighthouse), Friday 500 (where we gather to crank out 500 words before weekend), and Willfully Submit (where we submit our work for publication, with bagels for fortification).
Each year, a member of the Lighthouse community is honored with the Alice Maxine Bowie fellowship: a full year of literary support and involvement for a writer with financial constraints. The fellowship culminates in a reading and celebration.
Lighthouse is located at 1515 Race Street, in the historic Milheim House. Built in 1893, the house has six classrooms (each with their own distinct character) plus a large ground-level room (we call it the Grotto) for talks and readings. In nice weather, we find that people like to gather on the wraparound porch.
Want to get involved? Enroll in a workshop. Attend an event. Become a member. Volunteer.
Not sure what’s right for you? We can help at 303-297-1185 or by email.