Admissions & Policies

How to Apply

The application process is currently open, and will close when spots are filled. We strongly encourage students to get their applications in by June 1, 2021. A committee of writers will review every application. Students will be accepted on the merit of their writing sample and on the degree to which they might benefit from attending the workshop. Admissions are rolling, and early application is highly recommended. We will strive to notify applicants as soon as possible regarding their application status.

All applications must be submitted through Submittable online submissions manager.

Please make sure you include the following items with your application:

Completed application
Writing sample (see below)
Application fee of $25 (non-refundable)

Writing Sample: Please paste your writing sample at the bottom of the application. Include genre and length. Writing sample must be under 3,000 words. The sample does not need to be a complete piece.


$1,500 Includes tuition, most meals* and excursions

Participants may elect to pay in two installments: Half ($750) upon acceptance, with the other half due by May 1.

*Meals include the welcome dinner (August 15), catered breakfasts and lunches (August 16-19), and hearty appetizers at the Gala reading.

You will be on your own for dinners on August 16-18.

Chico Hot Springs Resort has a fine restaurant (reservations recommended) and a more casual poolside grill as well as a small store. Other restaurants and stores are within driving distance.

Horseback riding and the float trip are add-ons, and are not included in the fees.


We are offering a $300 discount for tuition payments made in full by January 1, 2021. We also offer a $150 discount for tuition payments made in full by March 1, 2021.


We are pleased to offer two $1,500 scholarships to the 2021 workshop:

The Printing For Less scholarship will be awarded to a Park County high school student who shows promise in creative writing. To apply, send one complete piece of writing in any genre to Park High English teacher Kelly Dick. The application deadline is May 1, 2021.

The second scholarship has been awarded to a Native American student who is an enrolled member of a federally recognized North American tribe.

In addition, we are pleased to offer a limited number of $500 travel stipends, compliments of High Desert Journal and the Montana Quarterly. If you are interested in applying for one of these, please email us by June 1 at, with a brief description of your need.


Lodging arrangements must be made and paid for separately by the student. Chico Hot Springs has a variety of lodging options, and we’ve reserved a block of rooms for your convenience, including the elegant sheepherder wagons at Camp Conestoga, where we’ll be hosting evening campfire readings. There are also accessible, shared and pet-friendly rooms in our block. To reserve a room, call Chico at (406) 333-4933 and ask for a room for the Elk River Writers Workshop. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you make your arrangements as early as possible.

Other area lodging is available at the Sage Lodge, and through AirBnB and VRBO.


Rick Bass and Pam Uschuk are available for a limited number of individual manuscript critiques. These will include two one-on-one sessions during the workshop week, as well as one follow-up via digital communication. The cost for this service is $1,250 and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrangements may be made upon acceptance into the workshop.

Cancellation policy

We understand these are uncertain times and it is hard to plan for the future. The health and safety of our writing community is a priority. Because of this, we want to extend a generous cancellation policy.

Cancellations by May 1st, 2021 will receive a full refund minus a $150 cancellation fee.  Refunds after May will be subject to the $150 fee as well, with the remainder dependent on whether your spot can be filled.

Should we have to cancel due to COVID 19, or should you have documented Coronavirus reasons for cancellation, a full refund for the 2021 workshop will be provided.


By registering for this workshop, I give permission for the Elk River Writers Workshop/Elk River Arts & Lectures to take photographs and video. These images may be used for publicity purposes in print, digital and social media. Permission excludes audio of original writing, and no recording of any sort will be permitted during the faculty workshop sessions.

Nondiscrimination Policy

The Elk River Writers Workshop does not discriminate on the basis of race/ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone at the Elk River Writers Workshop.