Craig Fishbane

Bread Loaf Writer’s Workshop FAQ

How much liquor should I bring with me to the conference?

Since you are going to be in close contact with hundreds of other aspiring writers for two weeks on an isolated mountain in Vermont, you should come prepared to drink accordingly. We recommend bringing at least three bottles of wine or two bottles of hard liquor. You are urged to adjust these quantities based on your personal tolerance for both alcohol and other human beings.

What other supplies are necessary?

Most of our dormitories do not have refrigerators, so you should be prepared to make several beer runs during your stay. Be advised that the nearest convenience store is a twenty-minute drive down winding mountain roads. The proprietor is a septuagenarian who for decades has taken bitter pleasure in denying underage students, especially those whom she believes do not deserve the privileges and advantages that life has handed to them. Be sure to wear your Wrangler jeans and work boots, and to have valid state-issued ID.

What kind of treatment should I expect if I sleep with my instructor?

We offer a full scholarship program for writers who are determined to have exceptional potential. This is a highly competitive process that may require multiple submissions over a period of years. Applicants are encouraged to send a writing sample and a private phone number to the faculty member(s) they have targeted for collaboration.

Will I have to interact with the other students?

Although it will be difficult to avoid human contact altogether during your time on the campus, you will be under no obligation to speak to other people, not even to exchange such pleasantries as “excuse me” or “I believe that was my bottle.” If you do choose to engage in conversation, you are under no obligation to see that conversation through to the end. It is perfectly acceptable to walk away at any time without even offering a transition, such as “This has been fun but I really have to do my laundry” or “I’d love to continue this after my medication starts to kick in.”

What kind of feedback can I expect from the workshops?

Members of our faculty approach the writer’s workshops as an occasion to observe insecure students with hangovers attacking each other’s brittle egos. You will be encouraged to share your highly idiosyncratic opinions in a manner both forceful and uninformed. Rather than dominating the discussion with authoritative insights, your workshop leader will be on hand to facilitate these heated critical discussions and jot down notes on the nature of the exchanges. With luck, you may be the subject of a witty Shouts & Murmurs segment in The New Yorker.

Seriously, you have to drive for twenty minutes just to buy a six-pack?

Cocktail parties are conveniently scheduled each day after the afternoon workshops. These parties offer an excellent opportunity to mingle with the faculty. More than one aspiring author has managed to coax an awkward smile from a Pushcart nominee or earn a nervous wink from a finalist for the National Book Award. You are requested not to pursue faculty members who attempt to walk away at anything more than a casual pace.

Are there poetry readings?

We view the Bread Loaf experience as a way for you to compensate for the many long years when you were the class misfit in high school and college. Your two weeks here may be the first and only chance for you to experience yourself as popular. In order to achieve this rare sensation, you are encouraged to participate in the nightly poetry readings. According to protocol, you will invite your roommate and at least ten other random acquaintances to attend the reading for exactly the five minutes that you are at the microphone. After you complete your performance, your new friends are not only allowed to leave the auditorium, they are expected to. This will both clear space for the next poet’s audience and create the impression of an exclusive clique that is devoted to your every word: a fleeting moment of ostentatious popularity that you may never forget—or repeat—for the rest of your days.

How can Bread Loaf help me get my first novel published?

Bread Loaf has a zero-tolerance policy towards narcotics and any other controlled substances. Students caught in possession of illegal drugs will be asked to leave the conference immediately and may be subject to prosecution by local law enforcement. 

Craig Fishbane

Craig Fishbane’s short fiction collection, On the Proper Role of Desire, was published by Big Table Publishing. His work has been featured in the New York Quarterly, Opium, the Boston Literary Magazine, Night Train and The Nervous Breakdown, as well as the Flash Fiction Funny anthology. He can be contacted at his website: