Thanks to all who’ve responded to our initial posts. I don’t know how to reply yet individually(!) so will wrap some quick answers into this new post, which I planned to write anyway today, since our deadline for applications is approaching (July 15.) Our January program is deliberately intense and deliberately selective. I think you know what intense means: nine days in an instant community of writers from around the world, with three-hour workshops two days out of three and ample time to write the rest of the time—except when you’re attending bilingual readings or conversations about the future of memory or how to use words to dissolve barriers and walls and who we want our narrators to be, not to mention walking the hills and hanging out with new friends. But what about “selective?" As founder and director I look for just two things: talent and a commitment to using words to make connections. Talent can be raw or polished, but in either case it lifts off the page.
Natural writers take leaps with ideas and generally also with style. That’s what my radar is for: for hearing and seeing the voice that gave rise to the page.
So Under the Volcano is open to writers at different stages of their development. Rank beginners, maybe not, but if you have high standards for yourself without being perfectionistic (fatal flaw!) we encourage you to apply. If you look at our gallery of participants you’ll get a feel for the kind of writers we accept.
As someone who’s taught many writers over the years, I can say that the next best delight to discovering a new talent is being surprised years later by a writer whose gift was less apparent at the time. People learn, people change and the art of writing develops differently—and in mysterious ways.
So if you’re ready, or even think you’re ready, please apply by July 15 for Under the Volcano 2020. And be sure to tell colleagues and friends. We offer limited financial aid to qualified applicants (talent + need.) All the info is on our website. Enjoy!