If you’re looking for a friendly, unpretentious conference for published and aspiring writers in a beautiful, unspoiled location, look no further than the new Mesa Verde Writers Conference, directed by writers Lisa C. Taylor and Mark Stevens.
Mark Stevens and Lisa C. Taylor met when his rock band, Flashback, was playing for a wedding she attended. Lisa was new to the area and Mark not far behind. They scheduled another time to meet and came up with the idea that more people should know about this gorgeous and unspoiled place. Mark and his wife, Jody Chapel (an artist) built the Harmony Barn retreat center with artistic decor and Jody’s beautiful paintings on the walls. It was always their vision to use it for gatherings of creative people. Creating an affordable and unique experience for writers was a part of this vision.
Mancos, Colorado is the gateway to Mesa Verde National Park, an amazing park with Pueblo cliff dwellings and breathtaking vistas. There are views of the Mesa and the La Plata mountain ranges from most everywhere in town. Mancos sits in a valley surrounded by mountains. There are no chain stores–no Mcdonald’s, no Walmart. The main area of the town houses many art galleries, a recently restored opera house, and individually owned restaurants, including a fantastic breakfast/lunch spot called Absolute Bakery and Cafe. For those who crave more of a city or suburb, Cortez is 25 minutes away and the vibrant and artsy town of Durango is 30 minutes away. There is a small medical clinic in town and a grocery/everything store. Accommodations range from a boutique motel (Mesa Verde Motel) offering a 10% discount to writers who mention the conference to Airbnbs, a yurt, an inn and hostel, and chain hotels and motels in nearby Cortez or Durango. Mesa Verde Writers Conference can help with this, if needed. There is an airport in Durango.
This conference is welcoming to both published and emerging writers with workshops intended to jumpstart the writing process with innovative ideas. Three of the faculty are novelists or short story writers (the Irish faculty member also writes radio plays) and one is a poet and fiction writer. Two of the writers live in this location and want to share it with the larger community of writers out there. Mancos is a designated dark sky community so the night sky is uninterrupted by ambient light from buildings.
All of the faculty is award-winning. Lisa C. Taylor publishes both in Ireland and the United States so she has familiarity with Irish writers and thought Alan would be a great addition. The faculty for this year include: Lisa C. Taylor (poet, fiction writer), Alan McMonagle (fiction, plays), Nick Avin (fiction) and Mark Stevens (fiction, nonfiction). Lisa taught at a university and an arts high school and has run workshops for all ages for over 20 years. It was a dream of hers to help start a writers conference.
Mesa Verde Writers Conference is using all local businesses for the food. The dinners will be catered by a caterer from Dolores, a nearby town, and the lunches will be provided by Zuma, our local health-oriented store in Mancos. Breakfast (continental) will include bagels obtained from a homemade bagel store in Durango. Lisa and Mark decided that eating together fosters community and keeps the flow going. Since Mancos is a small town, it would be disruptive to have to go into town to get meals though participants are welcome to visit the local Brewery and Cidery at the end of each day. Special diets will be accommodated within reason. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and lactose-free options will be available.
Applications are open NOW! Participants can register on the website and pay by credit card or send a check to the address on the website. Applications close in early May but if there is space, people can continue to register until June. This conference is limited to 25 participants. www.mesaverdewritersconference.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org