Friday, June 24, 2011

Hedgebrook Applications Now Available On-line

This is a cottage at Hedgebrook. This could be your cottage for anywhere from two weeks to two months.  Of course you need to be a woman writer and you need to apply. Do it. Here is the link to the on-line application.

I first went to Hedgebrook sixteen years ago. At the time, I was a graduate student in the University of Oregon MFA program. I spent six weeks in "Owl" during August and September of 1995. Life has never been the same.  My time at Hedgebrook changed how I saw myself as a writer.

If you are thinking of applying, I am happy to answer any questions you may have. I have been on the review committee several times and have a sense of how you can optimize your chances of acceptance. Having said that, the pool is more competitive each year -- and the writers who review the work also change. If you have not been accepted before, that's no reason not to try again now. And for the first time, the application process is now on-line.  Why not give it a try?


  1. Susan - I would love some advice on residency applications. The last four summers, I have been rejected twice(Red Wing and Kimmel-Harding Nelson) and wait-listed twice (Ragdale). I can only apply for summers since I teach.

    I have heard lovely things about Hedgebrook,but hate to feel like I am "throwing away" another application fee.

    Thanks for any tips you could provide.

  2. Hi Donna,
    If you are getting wait-listed at Ragdale then you are on your way to an acceptance. I'm sure of it. I am also sure that acceptance for summer is a thousand times harder than for winter. However, Hedgebrook only takes applications once a year and your ranking is not dependent on your dates.

    My strongest suggestion is that you create a unified writing sample. Stay in one genre and if you have a sequence of poems on food, politics, bird song - I would use at least 2/3rd of your application for this. Remember that readers are going through perhaps a few hundred applications - this means they need something to remember you by. Also, the essay is more important at Hedgebrook than at other residencies as it's used as a way to whittle down applications. I should also say that it's been a few years since I was on either of the committees -- but I know from judging other contests that a unified group of poems (or stories) makes far more sense than the "send us your best" suggestion that most residencies give. Hope this helps -- and best of luck. Feel free to email me if you want more information.

  3. Thank you, Susan! This is very helpful and, since I have been working in "clumps" of poems lately that are related, advice that would be easy to follow. I may follow up with questions about the essay, if I have them. I appreciate your time.

  4. Hi Susan, thanks for your advice on this subject. I would love to have a chance at Hedgebrook since I was turned down in 2008 and haven't applied since. Here's the dilemma that I'd like your take on - it seems that Hedgebrook's acceptances have been weighted heavily towards minority writers with strong political agendas (a worthy group indeed). I need time to write some poems about my brother who was born intellectually disabled and who passed away when I was younger. I'd like to go away to write because the poems feel very fraught with close emotions, and being someplace in solitude would help me get some distance. There isn't any political agenda. Do you think that such an application would stand a chance? Do I really need to manufacture an agenda? Thanks!!!!

  5. Hi Erin,

    Absolutely I think you should apply again. And you certainly know that writing about your brother and his disability is of course a political act. It's true that Hedgebrook tries hard to be inclusive to all writers - but that doesn't mean that there isn't a space for you. I have a dear poet friend who is going to Hedgebrook this fall to write poems about the death of her parents. Hedgebrook strives to be a space that includes ALL women -- and that includes you! Do not manufacture an agenda -- what you want to write about and why you want to be at Hedgebrook makes perfect sense to me. And remember, I've been on that committee (not this year though). I would suggest a cohesive work sample -- have you already written any poems about your brother? Can you tell a story about your relationship with him in your essay? Stay with your passion. I'm sending good thoughts for your acceptance. And I would also recommend Ucross in Wyoming as a very Hedgebrook like place -- beautiful and nurturing...

  6. Hi Susan! Thanks so much; your advice most certainly helps. Hedgebrook is one of those places that I've longed to go. I felt the same way about Breadloaf and it certainly did not disappoint. I'll also look into UCross, but I try to stick to the west coast because airfare is so expensive from Alaska. Sure would be nice to see you at the Kachemak Bay Writers Conference one of these years (perhaps as faculty?).

  7. Hi Erin,

    Glad to be of use. I would love to be on Faculty at Kachemak Bay Writers Conference. Do you know the saying, "From your mouth to God's ear"? This seems the perfect occasion to use it. And I confess, it's usually said by Jewish ladies in their eighties...

  8. Hi Susan,

    I just applied to Hedgebrook and I really hope I get in! I sent in the first 10 pages of a YA novel I am writing. It is dark, comedic sort of Roald Dahl type thing. Does this sort of thing stand a chance?