Writers' Workshop Program: January 5-9, 2025

Hilton Als

Key West and the Queer Home

Hilton Als, photo by Ali Smith
Hilton Als, photo by Ali Smith
  • January 5-9, 2025
  • All Levels, $675
See all 2025 Workshops


For decades now, Key West has been a haven for queer artists, including the playwright Tennessee Williams and the poets Elizabeth Bishop and James Merrill. Away from the commercialism of life in Miami and other parts of Florida, domestic life in Key West has always offered a safe, unhurried haven where artists could develop their craft—and the care of home.
In this class, we will explore literary expressions of place and community and discuss students’ own writing in fiction or nonfiction, novels, short stories, and/or plays. All curious writers are welcome to join in this unique location, where we will work together reading literature and critiquing each other’s writing, in any genre.

One day will be devoted to a poem or play set in Florida or Key West. At the beginning of each session we will discuss how these works render place and community. The rest of the class will be devoted to workshoping  students’ writing (3-5 double spaced pages, submitted in late fall). The instructor will offer critiques of your writing before opening it up for discussion. After class, Als is happy to meet individually with interested students.


  • This is an all-levels workshop.
  • Please submit a cover letter that states your interest in this workshop and gives an overview of your prior workshop experience, if any.
  • The cost is $675. If you are selected to participate in the workshop, a deposit of $300 is required to register, with the balance due by September 30.
  • If you are accepted, you have the option of attending the Keynote on Thursday, January 9, at a reduced price of $150 (we will send you a link upon confirmation). Alternately, you may purchase a ticket to attend the Seminar in full, as it runs after the workshops (January 9 – 12).
  • Financial Assistance is available to those who would not otherwise be able to attend—click here for guidelines and/or to apply for a Workshop Fellowship Award. (Do not submit a regular application if you are requesting financial aid.)
  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the class is full.



Hilton Als won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2017 and the Langston Hughes Medal in 2018. A former Guggenheim fellow, he was an inaugural Presidential Visiting Scholar at Princeton University in 2020-21 and was recently voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He began contributing to the New Yorker in 1989, writing pieces for The Talk of the Town, and he became lead theater critic in 2012. Before coming to the New Yorker, he was a staff writer for the Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe.

His debut book, The Women, mixes memoir, psychological study, sociopolitical manifesto, and literary criticism. His second book, White Girls, discusses various narratives of race and gender and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Lambda Literary Award for nonfiction. Als is currently working on a book about his experiences in AIDS-era New York.

Als is an associate professor of writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan University, and Smith College.