Applications for Alpha 2020 have now closed; if you applied you can expect a response by April 15th. If you applied and did not receive a confirmation, please contact

To apply to Alpha, you will need to submit an original short story and a $10 application fee. The application form and additional details are below.

1. Fill out our online application form.

If someone other than you will be paying your Alpha tuition, please let them know that you are applying to Alpha at the time of application and not when the tuition has come due.

A limited pool of financial assistance is available to applicants who cannot otherwise attend Alpha. If tuition aid would make the difference between your being able to attend Alpha and not attending, please indicate accordingly on the application form. Students may also apply for the Tamora Pierce Scholarship which will cover the tuition cost of the recipient. Applying for aid or scholarships will have no effect on your chances of admission.

2. Submit one original SF, fantasy or horror short story between 2000 and 6000 words.

Please don’t send fan fiction, or any story using existing characters or worlds (such as Star Trek). Additionally, you must submit a short story, not an excerpt from a longer work.

You will be considered for admission to the workshop based on your application story alone — in fact, our judges read the stories without applicants’ names attached. However, your submitted work does not have to be perfect. What we look for in the stories is promise, not experience. Send us what you feel is your best work. We encourage every young writer who is interested to apply.

All submitted stories must be:

  • In proper manuscript format (external link)
  • Submitted electronically by Tuesday, March 10 (as long as it’s March 10 somewhere in the world.)
  • Attached in the form below as a document in RTF or MS Word format
  • Followed by submission of the application fee (if you haven’t sent it already)

3. Send in the application fee ($10.00 USD).

The application fee may be sent either by check, made payable to “Alpha” in U.S. dollars and sent to the following address:

Alpha, the SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers
P.O. Box 3681
Pittsburgh, PA 15230-3681

or electronically via PayPal in the form below.

Do not include any payment for the workshop tuition until you have been notified of your acceptance.

How do I know whether my [fill in the blank] arrived safely?

If something arrives over a weekend, or a holiday, you may not receive an immediate reply, but you will receive a timely confirmation of the receipt of each item that you submit during the application process, including the application form, application fee, story submission, etc.

All confirmations are sent via email. Therefore, it is critical that you enter your email address correctly and that you can reliably receive email at the supplied address. We strongly suggest that the email account used is not one that is shared between friends or family members. We’ve had problems more than once with email addresses that are shared by more than one person where mail never made it to the intended recipient. If you sent something in and more than a day or two has gone by without a response (excluding weekends and holidays), please feel free to contact us.

We will notify people of their acceptance by April 15 (by e-mail, unless otherwise specified).

Questions? Contact us.