What Is Alpha – The Young Writers Workshop?

Alpha is a twelve-day writing workshop at the University of Pittsburgh’s Greensburg campus. There are 20 students, 10 staff, and 4 author guests at the workshop. Past author guests include Tamora Pierce, N. K. Jemisin, Ellen Kushner, and Mark Oshiro. Each guest spends two days at the workshop, giving lectures on writing, eating meals with students, and leading writing exercises. Tuition is $1200 [* NOTE: Virtual Workshop only $300] and covers all meals and lodging on campus.

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Scholarships are available for any students with financial need.

All students are expected to write an original science fiction, fantasy, or horror short story during the workshop (2000 words or more). During the workshop they learn how to generate ideas, turn those ideas into a complete draft, critique their own and other’s stories, how to attack revisions, and how to submit their work to professional, paying markets and think about a career in writing.


We take the health and safety of our students seriously, and we want to be sure our actions are consistent with the current expert guidelines on how to limit the spread of the virus.

Consistent with the Alpha 2020 Workshop, we will be running Alpha 2021 in a virtual format. The Alpha staff are hard at work creating another stellar digital workshop.

We have resources available for students with technological limitations (for example, if you will not have access to a personal computer and/or internet during the virtual workshop). We are also committed to meeting all accessibility needs. If you have any concerns (for example, if you require an ASL interpreter), please contact us at any time during the application or acceptance process.

For further inquiries, please contact alphawritersworkshop@gmail.com

Guest Lecturers for the 2021 Alpha Writing Workshop

P. Djeli Clark

P. Djeli Clark

Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee

Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders

Alpha Workshop 2021

Alpha 2021 will take place
July 21 – August 1, 2021.

Applications are now CLOSED. 
Successful applicants will be notified 19 April 2021

Alpha Workshop 2020

The 18th annual Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Workshop for Young Writers (ages 14 – 19) was held digitally from Wednesday, July 22 to Sunday, August 2, 2020.

Support Alpha

Our goal is to put Alpha within reach for as many students as possible, regardless of financial need.  Donations like yours help us fund scholarships and cover increases in workshop expenses without raising the costs. 

Alpha 2020 Group Photo

Alpha 2020 Group Photo

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