The North Country Institute For Writers of Color

The North Country Institute and Retreat for Writers of Color

The North Country Institute and Retreat, a collaboration with the Center for Black Literature, The English Department at SUNY Plattsburgh and the Paden Institute and Retreat, provides a creative environment where established and emerging writers can focus on the craft of writing and create cross-cultural conversations around the literature produced by writers of color. The North Country Institute alternates between the Valcour Educational Conference Center in Plattsburgh, New York, and the campus of Medgar Evers College. Writing fellows have an opportunity to draw upon their experiences as writers in a racialized society; to become knowledgeable about the issues and concerns facing writers of color; and to study with a professional in the genres of fiction, poetry, and memoir.


The Goal

The North Country Institute and Retreat (a) provides a retreat and institute for emerging and established writers of color, (b) provides writers of color with an opportunity to draw upon their experiences as writers in a racialized society, and (c) provides the broader New York State area with an opportunity to become knowledgeable about the issues and concerns facing writers of color. Writing fellows are invited to study the genres of fiction, poetry, and memoir.


Scheduled Retreats

Applications will be reviewed as received until all spaces have been filled for each scheduled retreat. Scholarships are made available based on sponsorship.


Tuition fees vary based on location. Tuition fees include lodging based on double occupancy and meals at the Valcour Educational Conference Center. Please see the hotel options if traveling from out of town for the Medgar Evers College location.


Applicable Deadlines for this Retreat:

If you are interested in participating in an upcoming retreat please download the application below or call 718-804-8883 or e-mail

Please note that all dates and instructors are subject to change without notice.


Applicants’ materials must include:

  • a cover letter expressing reasons for wanting to participate,
  • two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with their writing, and a sample of writing.
  • a nonrefundable application fee of $25, payable to the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, should accompany the application


Past NCI Faculty include:

Jeffrey Renard Allen, Martin Espada, Bernice McFadden, Indira Ganesan, Aracelis Girmay, Marita Golden, Tonya Hegamin, Sandra Jackson-Opoku, Victor LaValle, Tony Medina, E. Ethelbert Miller, Greg Pardlo, Ernesto Quiñonez, and Sonia Sanchez.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can students apply? Yes. Students at the upper level of high school and above may apply. If in high school they should be exceptional in the genre of writing for which they are submitting an application.


  1. Do I have to be a professional writer? No. Anyone with an interest in the craft may apply.


  1. How are Fellows selected? Fellows are selected by a committee that includes writing instructors, writers and other qualified individuals for the genre. All recommendations for potential writing fellows and sample writings are reviewed.


  1. Do I have to submit my references with the application? No. References may be submitted separately via mail or Internet to with your name and “NCI” in the subject heading.  References must be received at least one to two weeks prior to the first day of the scheduled retreat.

Notes: Applications received without the $25 application fee will be considered incomplete until the payment is received by the Center for Black Literature.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.