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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: 2021 Virtual Workshop was only $300] and covers all meals and lodging on campus.

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 also have resources available for students with technological limitations. 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.


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.

Both the Alpha 2020 Workshop and Alpha 2021 workshops were run in a virtual format. Although challenging, both were deemed a big success, with students and authors adapting well to the virtual format.

We are currently planning to hold our 2022 workshop in person on the University of Pittsburgh – Greensburg campus. UPG has instituted an array of COVID safety protocols, and Alpha is developing its own risk mitigation tactics in advance of the workshop based on recommendations from the CDC and the American Camp Association, among other organizations. We are keeping an eye on the situation as it develops and will have more detailed information by the time applicants are notified of their acceptance. We will do our very best to keep our students and staff safe.

For further inquiries, please contact

Alpha Workshop 2022

Alpha 2022 will take place IN PERSON
July 20 – July 31, 2022.

Applications are CLOSED.
Applicants were notified on April 19

Alpha Workshop 2021

The 19th annual Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Workshop for Young Writers (ages 14 – 19) was held digitally (on-line) from Wednesday, July 21 to Sunday, August 1, 2021.

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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