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Explore the Rich History of Writing While in Ithaca

The Ithaca Writers Institute is a place where promising students come together to celebrate, study, and practice the creation of literature, laying the foundation for a successful life of writing.

This is a picture of a boat with the words Ithaca Young Writers Institute, begin your writing odyssey in Ithaca.

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery...

May there be many a summer morning when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

you come into harbors seen for the first time.

-- from "Ithaka" by C.P. Cavafy

For the past century, a legion of famous writers have found their muses in Ithaca, so many that one of its downtown streets—Tioga—bears the nickname “Writer’s Block.”  Pearl S. Buck, Junot Díaz, Mark Doty, Lorrie Moore, Toni Morrison, Vladimir Nabokov, Téa Obreht, Thomas Pynchon, Carl Sagan, Kurt Vonnegut, and E.B. White are just a few of the writers who have called Ithaca home. That rich literary history is alive today in Ithaca’s vibrant literary community, including a cooperative independent bookstore, Buffalo Street Books; a renowned M.F.A. program in creative writing, Cornell; a legendary biannual book sale, Friends of the Library; and a lively literary festival, Spring Writes. Read more about Ithaca’s writing scene here.

At Ithaca College, in the past three years alone, the writing department's Distinguished Visiting Writers Series has brought to campus Pulitzer Prize winners Jennifer Egan, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Rae Armantrout; National Book Critics Circle Award Winners Eula Biss, Philip Gourevitch, and C.K. Williams; and National Book Award winner Jean Valentine—all of whom worked directly with our undergraduate majors on their writing.

In collaboration with the Department of English, the Department of Writing also hosts the New Voices Literary Festival, an annual three-day symposium featuring nine emerging writers, bringing more opportunities for interaction with our students.

Finally, Ithaca is home to publishers Cayuga Lake Books and Cornell University Press, where our students can work through our department’s thriving internship program. Read more about the Ithaca College Department of Writing here.