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Voices for the West:
Writing Workshops and Community Conversations

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Good news! The Voices for the West workshop will take place Friday, February 10-Saturday, February 11, 2023, in Springdale, Utah. Join us in the heart of redrock country for an inspiring, unforgettable weekend. Read on for application information and workshop details.


If you were accepted to the February 2022 workshop that was cancelled and would like to attend the rescheduled workshop, please add a message indicating you would like to attend the February 2023 workshop to your previous application in Submittable; you do not need to reapply. Scholarship awardees will not need to resubmit new scholarship applications. Otherwise, workshop fees will be due by the dates indicated.


All workshop attendees must provide proof of vaccination at the workshop. We appreciate your help to make this gathering as safe as possible.


Invigorate your writing at Voices for the West: Writing Workshops and Community Conversations February 10-11, 2023, in Springdale, Utah. Study nonfiction with Craig Childs, poetry with Laura Tohe, or fiction with Kase Johnstun at the doorstep of Zion National Park during this two-day workshop, and enjoy evening readings by instructors. Brought to you by Torrey House Press and Zion Canyon Mesa, Voices for the West will renew your creativity and delight your senses. Apply today!

Generate new work, take risks, and learn from experienced instructors and fellow writers in a supportive and intimate space. The stunning redrock scenery of Springdale, Utah, provides inspiration for poetry, fiction, and nonfiction writers -- writers of all levels are welcome. Hone your craft at writing workshops during the day, and enjoy public events and readings with the award-winning instructors in the evenings. Each workshop will have a maximum of 15 attendees. Ten full scholarships will be awarded to attendees on the basis of financial need.

Instructors and Workshop Descriptions:

Craig Childs (Nonfiction)

Writing Like Water

Flow, pattern, turbulence, and volume are intrinsic elements of writing. How you direct them is the story. Using water as our guide, we will workshop select parts of your written samples. We'll also generate new work in short writing sessions. Send in a single written piece from 1,000 to 4,000 words. We will not workshop whole pieces, but selections. Come prepared to read, discuss, revise, and create new material.

Craig Childs is known for following ancient migration routes on foot throughout the Southwest. He has published more than a dozen books of adventure, wilderness, and science, including Virga and Bone: Essays from Dry Places and the forthcoming Tracing Time: Seasons of Rock Art on the Colorado Plateau. He has won the Orion Book Award and the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award, the Galen Rowell Art of Adventure Award, and the Spirit of the West Award for his body of work. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Men's Journal, and Outside. The New York Times says "Childs's feats of asceticism are nothing if not awe inspiring: he's a modern-day desert father." He has a BA in Journalism from CU Boulder with a minor in Women's Studies, and an MA in Desert Studies from Prescott College and has taught writing at University of Alaska in Anchorage and the Mountainview MFA at Southern New Hampshire University. He lives outside of Norwood, CO.

Laura Tohe (Poetry)

Poems are alive and speak to us. Poems are spirit. Poems are transformative.

We’ve all been under a year of quarantine from the pandemic. Perhaps there will be common themes, images, metaphors, and feelings in our poems as we have made our way through the year, or you might have poems on other topics. It’s okay if you haven’t written about the pandemic. Using students’ selected poems and poems written by established poets, we will learn from their work and improve our own writing. In a supportive environment, you will have time to write and revise poems you would be willing to share with the class. You’re invited to attend whether you’re a beginning poet or not.

Laura Tohe is the Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. An award-winning poet, her books include No Parole Today, Making Friends with Water, Sister Nations, Tséyi, Deep in the Rock, and Code Talker Stories. Her commissioned librettos are Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio on the Naxos Classical Music label and Nahasdzáán in the Glittering World with performances in France in 2019 and 2021. Among her awards are the 2020 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the 2019 American Indian Festival of Writers Award, the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund Award, and the Dan Schilling Public Scholar Award. She is Professor Emerita with Distinction from Arizona State University.


Kase Johnstun (Fiction)

Finding voice. Growing story.

Kase Johnstun’s fiction workshop pushes back on the traditional model where the author has no voice. Johnstun will help writers grow in a strictly positive way through inquisition instead of criticism, highlighting each writer’s work first through a lens that all story ideas bear fruit and finding a way to best help them strengthen story, character, and voice. His workshops aim to be more of a conversation between creators than critique of words.

Kase Johnstun lives and writes in Ogden, Utah. His novel, Let the Wild Grasses Grow, is forthcoming in October 2021 from Torrey House Press. Author of Beyond the Grip of Craniosynostosis and coeditor of Utah Reflections: Stories from the Wasatch Front, his essay collections have been named finalist for the Autumn House Press Awards and the C&R Press Awards. His essays can be found in literary journals, trade magazines, and online zines, nationally and internationally. He is the host of The LITerally Podcast, a podcast devoted to sharing the successes of other writers. Johnstun is a graduate of Weber State University, Kansas State University, and Pacific University, where he received his MFA in Creative Writing. He can be found running the trails of the Wasatch Front.

Registration Fees: 

Full registration (pay by 12/15/22): $375

Early bird registration (pay by 10/31/22): $325

Limited scholarships available. Download the scholarship application form here.

Registration fee includes a full-day workshop on Friday, February 10 and a half-day workshop on Saturday, February 11 with Craig Childs, Laura Tohe, or Kase Johnstun. A light breakfast will be provided both days, and a catered lunch will be provided on Friday.


Application deadline: November 15, 2022

Notification of acceptance: November 21, 2022

General payment deadline: December 15, 2022


Early bird payment deadline: October 31,  2022


Zion Canyon Mesa and Torrey House Press will secure a block of rooms in Springdale hotels for Voices for the West. These rooms will be available to attendees for purchase. Click the button below for more information on hotel lodging and local campgrounds.

Workshop Schedule:

This schedule is subject to adjustment.

Friday, February 10

  • 8:30-9:00: Registration

  • 9:00-9:20: Plenary opening

  • 9:30-12:00: Workshops

  • 12:00-1:00: Catered lunch

  • 1:00-4:00: Workshops

  • 7:00-8:30: Public event with Laura Tohe, Kase Johnstun, and Torrey House Press publisher Kirsten Johanna Allen

Saturday, February 11

  • 9:00-11:50: Workshops

  • 12:00-12:30: Keynote by Laura Tohe

  • Time TBD: Public event with Craig Childs

To apply:


Please submit a writing sample of 1,000-4,000 words (if applying for fiction or nonfiction workshop) or three poems (if applying for poetry workshop) in a single Word document. Please name the file with your last name and the writing track you are applying for (i.e.: Lastname_Poetry). Applicants will be informed of registration status by October 20, 2022.


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