Chadron State College
Chadron State College

Registration open for Story Catcher Writing Workshop

Apr 5, 2021

The 2021 Story Catcher Writing Workshop and Festival will be June 14-17 at Chadron State Park.
The 2021 Story Catcher Writing Workshop and Festival will be June 14-17 at Chadron State Park.

CHADRON – Registration is now open for the 2021 Story Catcher Writing Workshop and Festival set for June 14-17 at Chadron State Park.

Now in its 10th year, the Story Catcher workshops offer aspiring writers an opportunity to improve their skills in an inspirational outdoor setting with the benefit of personalized guidance from professional writers.

Writers-in-residence at this year’s workshops include PEN USA award-winning author Laura Prichett, Pushcart Prize recipient Alyson Hagy, poet and editor Derek Sheffield, and Nebraska journalist and author Carson Vaughan.

Workshop sessions led by the writers-in-residence offer participants the opportunity to learn about key elements or issues in writing, and share works they create based on writing exercises or prompts. Time is also set aside for participants to focus on their individual writing projects and receive feedback from other writers and faculty members.

The four-day event includes evening fireside readings and culminates in the Story Catcher Festival, with an open mic for retreat participants to share their work with the public.

New this year is a roundtable discussion with workshop leaders on aspects of the writing profession including graduate programs, publishing options, agents, and career options.

The full festival is preceded by a half-day Advanced Workshop with Laura Pritchett focused on book length prose projects and tailored to writers who have developed drafts of their work.

Story Catcher workshops offer writers tremendous access to talented people, and have always received rave reviews from participants, said Chadron State College English Professor Dr. Matt Evertson.

“People love the writing community that develops and the prominent writers we are able to attract,” Evertson said.

The Story Catcher Workshop is funded in part by the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Society. It takes inspiration from Mari Sandoz, who built a successful career writing stories inspired by the High Plains region of Nebraska where she grew up. A prolific author and thorough researcher, Sandoz was also a passionate teacher of writing who conducted summer writing workshops on college campuses.

Story Catcher Workshop registration is open until June 4. Early registration is encouraged as space is limited to 20 writers. The cost is $350, which covers all workshop sessions, the opening night barbeque/reception, some lunches and dinners and four nights lodging in apartments surrounding the meeting area at Chadron State Park. The Advanced Workshop is limited to five writers and has an additional cost of $50.

Guest registration for spouses, friends and significant others who accompany retreat participants is $60 and does not include access to workshop sessions.

A limited number of full and partial tuition waivers are offered to support student writers. Graduate students, teachers and working writers may apply for Mari Sandoz Emerging Writer Fellowships, which include waiver of fees and a small stipend for travel expenses.

Check-in for the workshop and festival is at 1:30 p.m. June 14 at the Group Event Area at Chadron State Park. The event concludes with the Story Catcher Festival June 17, which is open to the public.

More information and registration forms are available at or by email to

The workshop will be managed with state and local COVID-19 protocols outlined by the Panhandle Public Health District. Use of outdoor spaces will be maximized as much as possible, and social distancing practices such as masks, spaced seating, safe food preparation/distribution, hand sanitizing, and disinfecting procedures will be maintained.

—George Ledbetter