Program Overview

The Paris Writing Workshop in July is a month-long creative writing workshop taught by four renowned professional writers. Craft classes in the first two weeks are taught in Fiction, Poetry, Travel Writing, Memoir, Personal Essay, Journal Writing, Plays and Screenplays, and Presentation and Performance, while the second half of the month is centered around the writing workshop, where students have the opportunity to share and revise their own work with the feedback of their peers and teachers.

In addition to taking classes and participating in workshops, students will receive one-on-one consultations with professional writers, attend literary panel presentations, and give readings in Parisian venues. Between classes and tutorials, there will be ample time to experience the city, attend cultural events, visit museums, learn history, take day-trips to the countryside, read books, write in cafes, dance by the Seine, and make friends from around the world.

See for testimonials, a detailed schedule, and information on how to apply.

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Course Details

Required Coursework

Literary Fiction Workshop

Under the direction of novelists John Biguenet and Robin Wasserman, this class will offer students an opportunity to write short fiction and poetry. Examining the student’s own writing alongside published works, the workshop will present instruction in the essential elements of literary forms while providing each participant a community of readers to respond to his or her work. The fundamentals of publishing will also be addressed along with other aspects of succeeding as a professional writer.

Creative Nonfiction Workshop

Travel writer Rolf Potts and memoirist Dinah Lenney will facilitate this workshop, which delves into the essence of nonfiction storytelling. Since the Paris setting is ripe for place-based narrative, travel writing will be a central aspect of this workshop – but students will also be encouraged to explore the art of personal essay and memoir. Though this class primarily aims to sharpen and evolve writers’ instincts for constructing narratives, it will also touch on the practical matters of working with agents and editors, and submitting stories for publication.

Elective Classes

The Paris Notebook (Journal Writing)

Students will keep a notebook throughout the course, working in a variety of modes of journal writing. This notebook will become a source for more finished pieces – poems, memoir, etc. – in the other courses. Daily journal prompts, and in-class free-writing assignments will dovetail with independent student excursions in and around Paris.

Presentation and Performance

The drama of the spoken word is the focal point of this one-time seminar. Participants will learn how best to achieve the desired effect when reading their written work aloud; how to use and interact with the audience; how to convey meaning in all its nuance. We will also learn how to bring the lessons of reading aloud back to writing and revision, so that our work lands as we intend, and sounds like us, regardless of who’s reading it and where.

Plays and Screenplays

This one-time seminar will take a practical and literary approach to writing dramatic works for the stage and screen. Writers will learn how these forms differ from other literary genres at both the practical and conceptual level. This class will also examine the intricacies of adapted versus original playwriting and screenwriting.

Submissions and Publication

This end-of-month seminar will give students information, insight and strategies for getting their portfolio work published. Topics covered include literary agents, book publishing and periodical markets – as well as online publishing and new-media venues.

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Summer Workshop

School fees: $5500 (USD)

Please note that the tuition fees do not include housing, supplies or meals.

Housing fees
-shared accommodation in private furnished apartment: $2500 (USD)
-shared three-star hotel twin room: $3600 (USD)
-private three-star hotel single room: $6200 (USD)

Part scholarships available; see below.

Richard Roy Scholarship

Applicants who have been accepted to study at the Paris American Academy may apply for partial scholarships through the Richard Roy Scholarship Fund. These scholarships range in value from $500 to $1,200 off tuition, and from $300 to $700 off housing.

Students wishing to be considered for a scholarship must submit a brief personal statement (1-2 paragraphs) along with their application. This statement should emphasize the student’s personal and educational background, demonstrating why he / she is in need of financial assistance and how a scholarship might benefit the student’s professional goals.

Fellowship Program

Returning students and alumni may have the option of participating in the summer workshop for a second time, at a reduced cost and with additional program responsibilities / work-study arrangements. Interested students should contact Rolf Potts, Program Director at [email protected].

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How much does the workshop cost?

The month-long creative writing program costs $5500 — a great value, given the unrivaled setting and quality of this intensive writing program.

Tuition for the four weeks includes all classes (4-5 days a week of instruction), formal orientation and introduction to Paris and the Latin Quarter, welcome and farewell banquets, and a few informal activities that introduce students to French language and culture.

Students are encouraged to find their own accommodation in Paris (Airbnb, Craigslist, and related online services can help with this). The Paris American Academy does offer some housing options, including a shared three-star hotel twin room, including daily buffet breakfast ($3,600); and a three-star hotel single room ($6,200). All accommodation options are close to the school in the Latin Quarter.

Those interested in immediately reserving a slot in the program must send in a $250 non-refundable deposit. You can pay by check, bank transfer, or credit card.

To start the application process, send an email to: [email protected]

What expenses aren’t included with the tuition?

As detailed above, school-arranged housing is an optional expense. Insurance and airfare (usually $1000-$1,500 from North America; much less from Europe) are not included. Nor are most food expenses, which should run about $20-$50 a day. Ground transportation (including airport shuttle) is not included — but Paris is inexpensive and easy to navigate by foot, bus and subway. Tips on how to live cheaply in Paris are included with the course orientation.

Do I need to speak French?

French fluency is not required, as all of the courses will be taught in English.

What kind of students typically take the program?

It’s usually a mix of young-to-mid-career professionals and university students. The program also attracts a number of retirees (often couples). Most students are Americans, Canadians, Australians or Brits — though students from around the world have participated in the past (workshops in recent years have included participants from Ireland, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ghana, China, Japan, Brunei, Brazil, Grenada, and Mexico). Students of all nationalities are welcome, of course — though class instruction will be in English only.

Is there an age requirement?

The Paris American Academy writing program is open to all qualifying adults. Applications from older teenagers (i.e. 18 and 19 year olds) will be considered if the potential student can establish that he or she has completed at least one semester of university, or has lived/traveled abroad for an extended period of time.

Are scholarships available?

The Paris American Academy doesn’t offer any scholarships for first-year participants, but many students attend the writing program on grants, fellowships, or scholarships from their local school, civic organization, or business community.

How does college credit work?

The international transfer of academic credits to your local university or college is possible because the Paris American Academy is registered by the Academie de Paris as a private institution of higher learning. If you’re interested in receiving college credit, we will provide a transcript to your dean, advisor, or registrar that can be used to request up to six semester hours of academic credit. In recent years, PAA credit transfers have been accepted by the likes of Columbia University, Bard College, Ohio State University, the University of Connecticut, and Wittenberg University.

Can I take all of the classes offered?

Absolutely. There will be ample time for students to participate in each class offered. In fact, all the writing classes dovetail with one another thematically, and we encourage students to participate in as many as possible.

What if I don’t want to take all the classes?

That’s fine. The coursework is flexible, and students can take as many or as few classes as they wish. Students seeking formal college credit, of course, will need to attend all the classes if they wish to receive full credit.

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