Washington Island Literary Festival

2024: Come This Far

September 19 - 21, 2024

Thursday, September 19: Creative Lab

Friday, September 20: Writing Workshops

Saturday, September 21: Author Talks & Panel Discussions

2024 Presenting Authors

Leif Enger

Kelcey Ervick

Maggie ginsberg

nicholas gulig

julie schumacher

Festival Schedule

  • Thursday, September 19, noon - 3 pm: FREE Community Creative Lab

    Thursday's Creative Lab is free; no registration required. Open to all!

  • Friday, September 20: Writing Workshops & Opening Reception

    Writing workshops held at various locations. Find descriptions below.

    10:00 am - noon and 1:30 - 3:30 pm

    Welcome reception at the Farm Museum for all registrants, workshop leaders, presenters, and their guests.

    4:30 - 6:00 pm 

    Open Mic at the Farm Museum. Share your words with other Festival attendees! Guests and non-Festival attendees are welcome.

    6:00 - 7:00 pm

  • Saturday, September 21: For Readers & Writers: Author Talks

    8:00 am: Coffee and refreshments; registration check-in

    8:30 am: Welcome remarks

    8:45 am: Panel discussion with featured presenters, moderated by Elizabeth Evans Sachs

    10:00 am: Break

    10:15 am: Maggie Ginsberg

    11:00 am: Nicholas Gulig

    11:45 am: Book signing with Maggie Ginsberg and Nicholas Gulig / Lunch break

    1:00 pm: Kelcey Ervick

    1:45 pm: Break

    2:00 pm: Leif Enger

    2:45 pm: Julie Schumacher

    3:30 pm: Closing remarks

    3:45 pm: Book signing with Kelcey Ervick, Leif Enger, and Julie Schumacher


  • PROSE: Practice Resurrection with Leif Enger

    The difference between a story flying and falling nearly always lies in revision - in your willingness to examine the work from a fresh angle, to question it honestly without condemnation, and to trust that rewriting will, at last, fetch it back to life. For both fiction and nonfiction writers.

  • POETRY Ghost Work: On Negative Capability and Eco-Poetics with Nicholas Gulig

    How might the haunted spaces of paradox  breathe new life into the tools we use as poets and help us to see these tools as the embodiment of our poetic principles?  Part craft lecture, part creative prompt, we'll think anew about the ways our aesthetic and ecological principles can change the way we write our poems.

  • FICTION Don't Say It: How to Ramp up Subtext in Your Writing with Maggie Ginsberg THIS SESSION IS FULL; WAIT LIST ONLY

    Too often as writers, we want our readers to know as much as we do about our characters—but that’s a mistake. We’ll look at ways to pit our characters’ deepest beliefs, desires and motivations against each other to drive plot and infuse every page with tension and subtext. 

  • NONFICTION: Psychogeographies: Writing About Place with Catherine Jagoe

    In this workshop we will explore the connections between place and identity and practice some techniques for bringing a place alive on the page in prose. We will discuss the role of observation, research, journaling, and memory maps, as well as some tips for revision.


  • PROSE: Have Fun with Form with Julie Schumacher THIS SESSION IS FULL; WAIT LIST ONLY

    Combat the terror of the blank page by kick-starting an essay or story or novel by playing with a particular structure rather than with subject or character.  In this workshop we'll experiment and play with a number of options. Bring material from your real life or imagination, and get ready to have fun with form. 

  • NONFICTION Writing -- and Drawing -- Life Stories with Kelcey Ervick

    Most of us writers don’t do a lot of drawing, but it can be a powerful tool for honing our powers of observation and tapping into our imaginations. Drawings can be used simply to generate ideas for stories—or as an integral part of the stories themselves. In this workshop, we will do a series of quick drawing and writing exercises to mine our memories and make unexpected connections. We’ll discuss examples of powerful visual storytelling and practice key comics techniques that will transform your personal stories.

  • POETRY Bearing Witness with Albert DeGenova

    This workshop will consider examples of how poets connect personal poetry to the wider social experience, telling the stories of their lives in the context of society with all its good and ill.  Writing prompts will be designed to open an exploration into poetry that lives inside us while connecting us to the world we live in.

  • Writing 101: A Beginners Toolkit with Paula Carter and Marianne Fons

    Many people who love words and stories would like to try writing, but something holds them back. Maybe they fear the blank page, or they think real writers belong to some secret club, or they're just not sure how to start. If you have a novel or memoir inside you -- a story that needs to be told -- or you're just curious about what you could create, this workshop will demystify the solitary process of writing and equip you with tools to start your own writing practice. 

2024 Additional Faculty




Albert Degenova


marianne fons


catherine jagoe


2024 Books click cover to order

About the Washington Island Literary Festival

The Washington Island Literary Festival is a moveable feast of writing, reading, discussion, and thought about the written word. Writers' workshops, author panels and presentations, readings and social activities are scheduled at various quaint, historic, and beautiful venues around the Island.

Participants have a unique opportunity to share time with prominent authors and dedicated readers in the intimate, friendly setting of Washington Island, a half-hour by ferry from the Door County mainland, in September's color and warmth.

If you aren't an Island resident, we recommend you secure your housing as soon as possible! Visit Destination Door County for a listing of accommodations. (Narrow your search to Washington Island.)

Come for all or just part of the Festival. We look forward to welcoming you to our community!

Thank you to our partners and sponsors

Fair Isle Books
FE_B_1_IG copy - Four Elements Lodging (1)

Connect and Celebrate with Literature:
What Past Participants Love

Marion Boyer

The venues chosen for all the events were just perfect. The barn was magical with its lights and chickens and beautifully laid tables. I appreciated being able to give my workshop on the veranda of such a lovely hotel!  The auditorium was perfect for the panel and readings. It was lit so well and the sound systems were flawless.  Believe me, as planning chair I appreciate these things. 

Paula Carter

An intimate engagement with world-renowned writers. 

Sandra Lindow

Intelligent and challenging workshops in an absolutely gorgeous setting.

Libby Sachs

Washington Island is a perfect place to read and write and therefore a perfect place to immerse one's self in the spoken and written word.