NILA residencies are an exhilarating experience. Students from across the country bring a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm. The community is diverse and welcoming, offering a unique balance of support and rigor to inspire and sustain your writing career. We look forward to seeing you there!

At residencies, students spend their mornings taking masters-level craft and workshop classes with NILA faculty members; their afternoons in sessions with notable guest faculty members; and their evenings enjoying and participating in literary readings. There’s something of interest for everyone, including fantasy, magical realism, poetry, nonfiction, marketing, pitching, humor, and more.  Find out more by reviewing our Residency Handbook. It was created by students and alumni to help new students know what to expect at residency.

Writers come to residency with a variety of goals – from gaining new skills to getting the support of a community of writers.  Many do not have any interest in continuing on in a MFA program.  But for others, it is the perfect segue.  Over the years many students have joined the MFA Program by first trying us out at a residency.  It is a wonderful way to get your feet wet and see if the MFA Program will help you meet your goals.

For NILA’s MFA students, ten-day intensive residencies set the foundation for each fourteen-week online semester. Students who have completed their coursework and theses graduate during the August residency, and all are welcome to attend.

Ponepinto Quote 10-2015

Previous Guest Faculty

The afternoons at residency include a variety of sessions on the profession of writing.  Every residency features a new group of distinguished writers, editors and publishers from all genres. Some of our outstanding guests include:

Fiction: Elizabeth George, Molly Gloss, Natalie Baszile, Robert Dugoni, Craig Lesley and Ru Freeman

Nonfiction: Phillip Lopate, Brian Doyle, Tim Egan, Elena Passarello and Ryan Van Meter

Poetry: Tess Gallagher, Sam Hamill, Kim Stafford, Melissa Kwasny, Kathleen Flenniken and Elizabeth Austen

Children’s/Young Adult: Gary Schmidt, Linda Urban, Matt de la Peña, Martha Brockenbrough and Kirby Larson

Editors and Agents from: Dutton – Penguin, Tin House, The Normal School, River Teeth, Orion magazine, Sunset magazine, Curtis Brown, Ltd, Sandra Dijkstra Agency, Andrea Brown Literary Agency and Wales Literary Agency

From Residency to MFA

Students who attend the residency with an interest in transitioning to the MFA Program will be evaluated at the residency by the program faculty prior to the end of that residency. With the approval of the program director and the faculty in the student’s genre, the student may be granted provisional admission to the MFA Program. If granted, the student may continue in classes during the online portion of the semester.

Such provisionally accepted students are then allowed 45 days from the end of the residency in which to complete their formal application to the MFA program. Once the provisional student’s entire application package has been reviewed, the program director will determine whether the student is eligible to continue the program and if so will admit the student. If the program director determines based on the application materials that the student is not eligible to continue the program, the student will not be allowed to register for the coming semester.

Cost of residencyResidency on the lawn

The cost for a 10-day residency for non-MFA students is $900, or $850 for members of the Whidbey Island Writers Association. Payment is due after you’ve been accepted into the residency.

Meals and lodging costs are not included in the residency fee. We offer rooms at the Captain Whidbey on a first come, first served basis.  The typical cost for a room at the Inn is $1225 for the 9 nights of residency ($130 per night).  Meals are also available for advance purchase at the Inn.  There are various meal plans to choose from for example a full-meal package includes all breakfasts, lunches and dinners for approximately $450.  Meals and lodging can also be found in the Coupeville area.