past event

Aspen Summer Words Public Panels with Literary Luminaries

Series passes ($75 Member / $100 Non-member) are available in advance and include access to all five panels.
$25 individual tickets can be purchased at the door with cash or credit card.


Workshop students and Readers’ Retreat participants do not need to purchase a pass – this is included with tuition.

Doors open 30 minutes prior to the event start-time. Passholders should arrive early to guarantee their seats.

Author Bios


How to Start a Writing Project and Make It to the Finish Line
The Gant Conference Center | Maroon Room | 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Moderator: Caroline Tory
Panelists: Helen Schulman, Anthony Marra, Tina Chang, Bruce Handy

Just like in stories, beginnings and endings are important in your writing process. Helen Schulman, Anthony Marra, Tina Chang and Bruce Handy share advice about how to launch a new project, navigate the revision stage and make it to the finish line.

4:30 – 5:15 p.m. HAPPY HOUR WITH CASH BAR

Real Life Stories and How to Tell Them
The Gant Conference Center | Maroon Room | 5:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Moderator: Jamie Kravitz
Panelists: Margot Lee Shetterly, Heather Harpham, Beth Nguyen, Aran Shetterly

Why do personal stories–whether memoir or narrative nonfiction–matter and who has the right to tell them? Margot Lee Shetterly, Heather Harpham, Beth Nguyen and Aran Shetterly discuss the art of writing about your own life, or someone else’s, in a compelling way.


No author events due to evening Summer Benefit, taking place at the Hotel Jerome Grand Ballroom from 6pm-10pm. This event requires a separate ticket. Click here for more info.


What Every Writer Should Know about Working with Agents + Editors
The Gant Conference Center | Maroon Room | 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Moderator: Elizabeth Nix
Panelists: J. Courtney Sullivan, Brettne Bloom, Ben Loehnen, Barbara Jones, Ayesha Pande

What does it take to have a successful working relationship with an agent and editor? Writer- agent pair J. Courtney Sullivan and Brettne Bloom will be joined by editors Ben Loehnen and Barbara Jones and agent Ayesha Pande to discuss the dynamics of effective literary collaborations.

The Writer’s Life: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times
The Belly Up | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. *Please note the different location for this event
Moderator: Adrienne Brodeur
Panelists: J. Courtney Sullivan, Margot Lee Shetterly, Peter Ho Davies

The world can feel like a complicated place these days. What does it mean to be a writer in this cultural and political moment? Margot Lee Shetterly, J. Courtney Sullivan and Peter Ho Davies discuss how to navigate the noise and create art in chaotic times.


The Take Away
The Gant Conference Center | Maroon Room | 4:00pm – 5:15pm
Moderator: TBA
Panelists: Helen Schulman, Tina Chang, Heather Harpham, Peter Ho Davies, Anthony Marra

After a creative, inspiring week in Aspen, how do you keep the momentum going when you return to your writing desk? Summer Words faculty share their advice and discuss what they wish they’d known before publishing their first books, among other topics.

Event information
Mon Jun 18, 2018 - Thu Jun 21, 2018
The Gant
610 S. West End St
Aspen, CO