Journeys Schools’ Sara McWhirter Garners Scholarship

In Sara McWhirter’s request for a scholarship, she easily convinced us that she was a good fit. Last year she fully participated in every workshop she attended which always makes us at the conference happy.

“The Writers Conference, when I attended last year, was the most distilled and powerful poetry education I’ve ever had. I had never had an experience like that, and I value it very highly. In addition, the advice from editors and publishers was essential, and I plan on using what I learned last year throughout my burgeoning writing career. However, I’m still hungry to learn more. I want to continue my creative momentum, and another year of the JH Writers Conference would allow me to do that. I don’t exactly have the resources to pay for full access to the Conference, and a scholarship would give me that access without the strain. I truly would appreciate a scholarship- I cherished every moment of the Conference last year, and I hope to be able to do the same this year. Thank you!”

We look forward to writing again with Sara, who is finishing up her sophomore year at Journeys School. She also will be competing in the second annual Word Duels on May 1 at The Center.



Clerestory Poetry Journal Again On Tap For Special 2018 Issue

More details to come, but Lori Howe, editor of Clerestory Poetry Journal, has offered to put together a third special issue of her on-line ezine for conference participants only.

In the past this has meant, 10 pieces of nonfiction, 10 pieces of fiction, and 10 pieces of poetry were selected by Lori. More details to come, but we at JHWC appreciate this opportunity to have our registrants’ work published.

Lori will be at the conference, so grab her for a chat. There will be fliers at the conference as well with the nuts and bolts of submitting. She will have very specific instructions. The deadline has usually been a couple of weeks after the conference.



Screenwriters: We Have A Writer For You

Academy  Award winning screenwriter Michael Arndt will be a featured speaker and workshop leader at the 2018 conference. Every year we have playwrights and screenplay writers asking about this type of writing. We are excited to have him join us this year.

Arndt received one Oscar for his original screenplay, Little Miss Sunshine, and a second Oscar for his adaptation for Toy Story 3. Under his own name he wrote the 2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and under the pen name, Michael deBruyn, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Oblivion. In all he has written seven screenplays since 2006.

We look forward to having him talk about what it takes to write a successful screen play and working in Hollywood.


Stuck? Write To The Finish Line.

© Can Stock Photo / Morphart

Every writer gets stuck, especially when pulling her or his novel out of that hole. Join Deborah Turrell Atkinson and Lise McLendon, long time JHWC faculty, for a preconference novel workshop that will help you to get that novel off your computer and off to an agent or a publisher.

If you feel as if you have lost your way with your novel, this could be the best recipe to cook up some new energy in that novel. Be prepared to write and to delve into the mechanics of what works and what isn’t.

This six-hour workshop is set for Wednesday, June 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the conference room at the Center for the Arts. It includes a box lunch. Preregistration by May 27. You don’t have to attend the conference to attend this workshop.

You can register for $150 by going to the Register OnLine button on the home page of this site. You can use the Contact Us button to get more information. Space is limited to 12 so this is a very intimate, hands-on workshop.

–Connie Wieneke


UW MFA Student Offered 2018 Conference Scholarship

Emily Rose Powers graduates this May with an MFA from the University of Wyoming, where she has been under the mentorship and tutelage of novelists Brad Watson and Alyson Hagy.

“Emily is first rate,” Hagy emailed us. “Talented, bright, social, mature…with interests in the arts and sciences. I’d take her anywhere. She gets high marks from everyone down here.”

After Emily expressed great enthusiasm for this year’s guest and resident faculty, we had to say yes, come. When she was twenty, Emily says she read Peter Heller’s first novel, The Dog Stars. “Five years later, I still recommend it to others,” she wrote in her application. “From sentence level cadence and beauty to his vision of larger scale plot and character development, I have learned a lot about writing.”

She also cited Jon Pineda (poet, novelist and memoir writer) and writer/editor Mark Hummel as great draws. “I have begun to move into hybrid work and I think that both … are beyond equipped to discuss and inform this new stage of writing for me in profound ways.”

–Connie Wieneke

Real Barbecue Planned For Conference Finale


Meet the Chef for this year’s conference barbecue: Traci McClintic-Hargrave.

Traci has been on the board of the Jackson Hole Writers, the force behind the conference, for two years. But when she dons her other hat, she is catering and planning events. Traci has more than fifteen years of experience in the culinary industry. She has catered for film crews, magazine shoots, on back-country horse packing excursions for private clients, and for guests at her own restaurant. So we are grateful that she is taking on the conference barbecue, which will be a barbecue. See menu below.

Her passion for cooking led Traci to pursue a formal degree in the culinary arts. In 2015 she graduated from Le Cordon Bleu International, receiving certificates in pastry and cuisine from schools in Canada, New Zealand, and England. Her culinary skills have been honed by Chefs from around the world. In 2016, she launched her own catering and event planning company in Jackson, Wyoming, providing services that reflect years of training and experience in the hospitality industry.

Final Conference Night Barbecue

Pulled Pork BBQ (Sauce on Side)
Herb Rubbed Chicken Thighs
Artisan Dinner Rolls (Assorted)
BBQ Baked Beans
Southwestern Roasted Corn Salad
Kale and Cabbage Slaw
Potato Salad
Mixed Green Salad
Strawberry Shortcake Parfait
If that doesn’t make you want to come to the conference…. The barbecue has always comes with your conference registration. If you bring a guest, it’s another $20.
Thanks, Traci, for taking this on.
–Connie Wieneke


, ,

Catherine McKenzie Young Writer Scholarship

Catherine McKenzie Young Writer Scholarship

Long-time JHWC resident faculty and best-selling author Catherine McKenzie is providing a full scholarship to an area high school student; this will include three one-on-one manuscript critiques as well.

“I’m sponsoring this scholarship because I’ve been extremely fortunate in my writing career and have benefited from feedback and support from other authors,” she emailed from her home in Canada. “It would have been a wonderful experience for me to have attended something like the JHWC when I was young, and I’d like to give that opportunity to a deserving student.”

Read about Catherine at her website. Her next book, The Good Liar, will be released in April. She will be critiquing manuscripts during the 2018 conference, June 28-30.

For this particular scholarship, applicants need to provide a five-page sample of their writing (fiction, poetry or nonfiction). Submission should be double-spaced, 12 point type and sent in either .doc format or as a PDF. Do not embed in an email; send as an attachment. Catherine will read the top five manuscripts.

In the email application, let us know why you want the scholarship, which school you attend, and what grade you are in as of June 2018.



Conference Lifted Everyone


Clerestory Guidelines announced for special issue

Clerestory editor Lori Howe wants to hear from JHWC participants by Aug. 31. Work will be considered for a special edition of Clerestory. Read on.

Clerestory: Poems of the Mountain West

Jackson Hole Writers Conference Special, Multi-Genre Issue

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the JHWC or this is your first year attending, the editorial staff at Clerestory invites you to submit your work in poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, or non-fiction (whatever the genres mean to you), to be considered for publication in the JHWC special Fall, 2017 issue of Clerestory, which is reserved for conference attendees.

This year, ten individual pieces will be selected from across the genres to be showcased in this special issue, from across the different genres, so send us your favorite piece of your own previously-unpublished writing–poetry or prose, or something in between.

Submissions Guidelines:

Submissions may include, but are not limited to, pieces written during the Jackson Hole Writers Conference;

Submissions must be sent as Word document attachments to an email with the subject line: JHWC Special Issue Submission, to lhowe@uwyo.edu;

Submit up to three poems of any length,  or short fiction, creative non-fiction, or non-fiction up to 5,000 words;

Submit, in a second Word doc attachment, a third-person author’s bio up to 100 words;

Submissions must be previously unpublished

Note: Clerestory DOES NOT ACCEPT:

Work by, about, or intended for children;


Hate speech of any kind;

Rhyming poetry;

Visual arts such as paintings, photography, or images of three-dimensional artwork;

Screenplays or scripts of plays;

Full-length novels or collections of poetry

See previous JHWC special issues at Clerestorypoets.org


REMEMBER: Submissions must be sent as Word document attachments to an email with the subject line: JHWC Special Issue Submission, to lhowe@uwyo.edu;


QUESTIONS? Email Dr. Lori Howe, Clerestory‘s Editor in Chief, at

lhowe@uwyo.edu or visit with her at the conference, June 22-24, 2017.


2017 Scholarships Go To Students And Vet

Update: Following the Youth Poetry Slam (Duel) on June 13 we awarded a fifth scholarship to Journeys student Marlie Curren. Read about her and the other scholarship recipients. All seem to be jazzed to come write withus.

Jackson Hole Writers is excited to announce scholarships for four people, who will attend this year’s conference, June 22-24, at the Center for the Arts. Journeys School student Sara McWhirter, JHHS senior Zoe Curran, University of Wyoming MFA candidate Ammon Medina, and disabled Army vet pilot Thomas Parker of Denver, Colorado will be joining the conference this year. Each of these recipients expressed a great love for and commitment to writing. We look forward to having them here in June.

On a side note and before you read about our honorees, Jackson Hole Writers is looking for sponsors for these scholarships. We received no funding this year specifically earmarked to these scholarships, but are still offering them. Please visit us at jhwriters.com and consider fostering For The Love Of Writing.

Read on about the scholarship recipients in their own words, either in their bios or in their letters in support of a scholarship.

Malie Curren likes the ocean, coffee, and talking to strangers (all necessary to being a writer). “I write because I’ve noticed that we’re less and less impressed by raw humanity, so I’m really just hoping that my vulnerability will force people to accept their own. I try to make people uncomfortable. Like everyone else, the beauty of emotion and its expression is the greatest inspiration for my writing and other art. Some of my favorite things to read are The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Life of Pi, Harry Potter, Milk and Honey, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Dr. Seuss, and anything by someone I know. My best friends as a writer are the thesaurus on my laptop and a really nice inky pen.”

Journeys School’s Sara McWhirter

Sara McWhirter is 15 years old and attends the Journeys School. She grew up in Cody, Wyoming, but moved back to Jackson to go to Journeys. Her early inspirations included Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, and a first-grade fascination with limericks. Nothing pleases Sara more than spending a Saturday afternoon with a bowl of ramen and an installment in the Harry Potter series. She enjoys lacrosse, cycling, poetry, and cooking. Her favorite bands include Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Dire Straits, though she prefers Metallica when struggling with a particularly odious essay.

“I simply have a great passion for writing, and poetry in particular,” she wrote in her request for a scholarship. “I’ve found it to be my most natural form of expression.”

Her enthusiasm for poetry began with her move to Jackson, where she discovered more support for her writing. Her middle school English teacher, Jon Wall, and her current English teacher, Matt Daly, have aided Sara in her development as a writer. Sara’s parents have also supported her poetic endeavors by providing tea, blankets, and regular subscriptions to literary magazines. Sara has been influenced by Mary Oliver in particular and often emulates her simple enchantment with nature. The culmination of her education thus far has been a first place award in the Young Authors poetry section. Sara also plays guitar, piano, and flute. Her Patronus is a white mare, and she’s in Gryffindor. Her favorite color is TARDIS blue, and she may or may not have an unhealthy obsession with all things Doctor Who. Despite this, though, she manages to keep up a semblance of a normal human life. Almost.

JHHS Senior Zoe Curran

Zoe Curran was born and raised in Jackson. Besides being an avid runner, reader, and Pearl Street Bagels enthusiast, taking time to write is a passion. She recently won Wyoming Young Authors at the local and state levels for her fiction piece, Wicked, and received an honorable mention at the local level for her narrative, Down That Street. She comes to the conference as part of a 2015 winner in the Teton County Library Summer Reading Program for teens.

Look for Zoe’s piece during the showcase of Young Authors winning entries during the conference. All 39 pieces will be posted in the conference room and on the walls on the Glenwood Avenue side of the Center for the Arts beginning on June 23.

Ammon Medina, MFA Candidate at University of Wyoming

Ammon Medina’s letter requesting a scholarship was compelling:

“The conference would provide me with a setting to pursue my writing goals and meet other writers around the state in which I live. The small class sizes and availability of a large group of mentors, in my experience, creates an environment that is encouraging and supportive for everyone involved. I hope to meet a group of Wyoming-based writers who I can both support and receive support from after the workshop is over.”

Ammon is at work on a US/Mexican border-based novel, in which he “is trying to humanize the way we see and understand Latinx people in search of opportunity and space to define themselves.” He cited Jamie Ford’s presence as another reason for wanting to network at the conference. He also was drawn by Katie Dublinski’s presence as an editor from Grawolf Press.

“The work they do pushes the boundaries of genre and is always deeply human. As a writer I am always looking for the best way to tell my story. Sometimes this is solidly in the lines of a single genre. The Novel I’m working on now is a diptych that complicates our understanding of the US/Mexico border and how the far border reaches.”

Thomas Parker

“Instead of punching holes in the sky I write all day every day,” writes Thomas Parker from Denver.

Thomas started writing fiction as a teenager. His short stories have been published in descant, Best New Writing 2014, Echo Ink, Picayune, San Miguel Review, and elsewhere, including the now-defunct The Aegean Review and Colorado Monthly Magazine. His drama, The Rings of Saturn.

A disabled Army veteran pilot Thomas underwent flight training, but lost vision in one eye and shifted to Intelligence where he worked several years. In his long and continued recovery from catastrophic injuries, he has been on assisted-living and only this year has advanced to independent living.

According to his letter of request, he “hopes to get his coming of age novel, Five Points, critiqued at this year’s conference and attract the interest of a publisher.”

We wish all of our scholarship recipients an inspiring conference.

–Connie Wieneke, JHW