COVID-19 Update: The Juniper Institute will not be held in June 2020.

We wish everyone good health and fortitude through this global pandemic. We look forward to running the institute in 2021. Stay tuned for updates.

Any payments made (deposit, tuition, housing, mss consult) will be refunded in full or, by request only, rolled over to 2021 enrollment.

For information regarding COVID-19 at UMASS Amherst at large, please visit

We have kept the guidelines for applications posted below so that you can prepare your applications for the 2021 institute, which will take place June 13-19, 2021.


The Juniper Summer Writing Institute is an inclusive literary space that welcomes adult writers at all stages of their careers. Writers interested in participating submit an application to their workshop of choice. Acceptance to the Institute is based upon the strength and promise of the writing sample. We operate on a rolling admissions basis.

Once accepted, enrollment in the Institute is guaranteed on a first-come, first-served basis. You will need to put down a non-refundable deposit of $200 to secure your space.

Workshops fill quickly, so we recommend applying and enrolling early. Enrolled participants have the option to sign up for craft sessions in May. Roundtables, Q&As and readings are open to all enrolled participants.

(Applicants under the age of 18: please apply to the Juniper Institute for Young Writers, our companion program for high school students.)

Application Process

Applications are accepted online and admission is on a rolling basis. See the sections below for detailed information about each part of the application process.

Application materials include:

  • $40 application fee
  • Writing sample
  • Indication of your preferences for workshop leader (or residency option)
  • Writer’s Statement

Application Fee

A non-refundable application fee of $40 (U.S.) is required with each application, and is used to cover the administrative costs of running the program. Applicants pay the fee by debit or credit card through a secure site on the online application.

Writing Sample

The strength and promise of your writing sample is the most important component of your application. Send your best work; it needn’t be published, though published work is acceptable, and does not have to be the same sample you wish to present in workshop. Writing samples are comprised of:

  • 5 pages of poetry (one poem per page) or
  • up to 10 pages of fiction or creative nonfiction/memoir (double-spaced)

Samples should be saved in one document (doc, docx, pdf, rtf, or txt). Please include your name & email address as a header or footer in each page of the writing sample.

Workshop Preference

You will have the opportunity in your application form to indicate your preferences for workshop leader. Every effort will be made to accommodate your requests.

Independent Writing Residency Option

Our residency option offers writers the opportunity to attend readings, craft sessions, Q&As, community meals, open mics and writing sessions, but leaves the afternoon workshop time available for self-directed writing time. We’ll offer five residencies this summer. Funding for residencies is not available; scholarships are available for workshop applications.

Writer’s Statement

A statement of around 300 words addressing any of these (or similar) questions:

  • What do you hope to work on during Juniper?

  • What excites you about your current project?

  • What does being a valuable member of a writing community look like to you?

If you are applying for funding, please also address how receiving a scholarship would affect your ability to attend, in up to an additional 200 words. To learn more about the scholarships we offer, head to our scholarships page.


Applications are reviewed by our staff team and a group of outside readers. Admission decisions are made collaboratively by the committee of readers. Scholarship applications are reviewed by at least two readers, and award decisions made on the basis of the strength and promise of the writing sample, the needs of the applicant, and (if applicable) the dissemination desires of the sponsors who fund each scholarship.


We do our best to contact applicants with our admission decision within 2-6 weeks of receiving their applications. Please note that notification can take longer after the scholarship application deadline, as the number of applications received around that time increases exponentially. Your acceptance will come by email.

Scholarship awards will be made by late spring, and notification will come by phone and email.