Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop

If you don't find the answer to your questions here or on the page called How to Apply, please drop us a line:

What does it cost?

Please see the this page.

Who sponsors the workshop?

The Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop is an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization registered in the state of New Mexico.

Here is the contact information:

Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop
P.O. Box 1442
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-1442

Why can't I call you on the phone?

We don't have an office staff or, for that matter, an office. We (Sandra Blakeslee and George Johnson) organize the workshop during spare moments from home offices on opposite sides of Santa Fe. At the same time we are writing articles and books on deadline. The measured and unobtrusive nature of email and the Internet is what allows us to pull off what is essentially a labor of love.

How quickly do you fill up?

Usually by April. We accept a maximum of 45 people, after which there is usually a waiting list.

How do you decide on applicants?

Writing an interesting personal statement counts for a lot. But there are other factors. We've found that the liveliest discussions occur when there is a good mix of people from different backgrounds -- freelance writers and journalists, scientists edging into writing, staff writers for universities and other organizations, and those who fall into a category of their own.

I applied weeks ago. Why have I not heard back from you?

All notices of acceptance are sent out in batches by email. For privacy, your email address is in the hidden Bcc field. Occasionally this causes someone's spam filter to reject the email. If you use filtering, we recommend that you configure it to allow all mail from to pass through.

How do I go about paying for tuition and lodging?

Please see the payment instructions for details.

Why haven't I received an information packet in the mail?

All communication is by email and through postings on our website. We recommend that you check regularly for updates.

How do I book my lodging?

Directly with the hotel. You will receive contact information by email.

How do I get there?

You'll probably fly into Albuquerque. Sandia Shuttle Express provides transportation to Santa Fe. Door to door, the ride takes about an hour and a half. Reserve a seat online at least 24 hours in advance.

You can also land at the Albuquerque airport, take a shuttle to the train station, and then ride the Railrunner Express to Santa Fe (the last stop on the line). Details are on the New Mexico Railrunner Website. From the Santa Fe Depot there is a free shuttle to downtown (you are just blocks away). The driver should be able to give directions to the hotel.

American Airlines has daily flights from Phoenix and Dallas directly into Santa Fe's small, wonderfully retro airport. United flies via Denver. Roadrunner Shuttle meets each flight (you'll probably notice the driver calling out in the lobby) and offers service to all local hotels.

If you are driving, please see the advice on the hotel's web site.

Which meals are included?

The hotel's lodging price includes breakfast and lunch. We will provide a buffet supper for the reception on opening night and a picnic lunch during the trip to the Santa Fe Institute. The group dinner on Thursday evening at a local restaurant gets good reviews, and the highpoint of the week (culinarily speaking) is the barbecue on the final night.

For dinner on other nights, the Plaza area is filled with excellent restaurants in all price categories, ranging from the funky Plaza Diner to the elegant Santacafe. These outings offer a great chance to get to know your fellow students.

May I bring a guest?

Yes. Please see this page for details.

Is it possible to extend my stay at the hotel?

Very likely if you book early. Please contact the hotel directly.

Will I have my own instructor?

Yes. The program is divided between lectures attended en masse and workshop sessions in which students meet in groups of about 10 with one of the five instructors. In addition there are many informal group activities at which you can socialize with all the instructors.

Will I receive an evaluation of my work?

Yes. If you are already writing about science, you may bring along material to be critiqued by your instructor and the other members of your group: an article, book proposal, or short book chapter. (Please bring 10 copies.) Or you can complete a writing assignment during the workshop. The choice is yours.

What will the writing assignment be like?

We will all attend a couple of lectures at the Santa Fe Institute. You can work with your instructor to hammer out an opening for an article and a strategy for researching and writing it.

I've already attended a previous workshop. Is it worth coming back again?

Many people have thought so. We make a point of having different instructors and a different program each year.

Will I need a laptop?

Not necessarily. Even those doing the writing assignment can survive with pencils and notebook. If you do bring a laptop, there is wireless Internet in the hotel. There is also a public computer with a printer.

What will the weather be like?

Probably wonderful: sunny in the day with the air cooling at night to the low 50s or high 40s. There may be short afternoon thunderstorms or even snow. At this altitude, 7,000 feet, the barely filtered sunlight is intense. Bring sunscreen. Here's a weather link.

What is appropriate attire?

Very casual for both the workshop and the evening events. Keep in mind the warm days and chilly nights and the possibility of precipitation. For the hike you'll want comfortable walking shoes.

Do I have to stay at the hotel?

Most people find that they enjoy the camaraderie of staying onsite, but others prefer to lodge at one of the many inns in walking distance to the workshop. Here is a link to a reservations site. Previous participants have recommended Casa de la Cuma and Inn on the Paseo. Also nearby are Casa del Toro, Chapelle Street Inn, Hacienda Nicholas, and others listed on the site mentioned above. Ask the reservations clerk how far the inn is to the Plaza. (If you stay offsite, you'll have to pay the commuter fee to cover breakfasts, lunches, and other costs.)