FAQ: Attic Atheneum

FAQ about the Attic Atheneum

One-on-one attention to your work with a community to last a lifetime.


Q: It’s called a master writing program. Is it an MFA program?

A: The Attic Atheneum is an independent, non-accredited, non-affiliated certificate program of the Attic Institute.


Q: How many students are admitted?

A: At most, a dozen Atheneum Fellows are admitted each year, divided among poets, nonfiction writes, and fiction writers.


Q: What does it mean, Atheneum Class?

A: The writers admitted into the Atheneum constitute a community for that year of study. The aim of forming an annual “class” of fellows is to seed a literary community within the Atheneum and also, looking beyond the Atheneum year, in the greater Portland area. The Atheneum includes both individual study and Atheneum meetings and salons. As you plan your Atheneum year, you can count on attending two Atheneum events each month: your one-on-one conference that you schedule each month and a second event, either the salon or genre team meeting.

Upon completion of the certificate year, the class of Atheneum Fellows becomes the Atheneum Alumni. Both the current Atheneum class and the Atheneum alumni often participate in literary activities together. During the 10-month course of study, the Atheneum Fellows will meet four times a year, every other month, for the Atheneum salons and books discussion. Also, each genre team (fiction, non-fiction, poetry) will meet four times a year, also every other month, with their fellow genre-mates and faculty.


Q: What is the ratio of faculty to student?

A: 1 to 2. The Atheneum community includes a maximum of 18 members each year (six faculty, twelve students). Atheneum Fellows work one-on-one for five months with one faculty member and then switch to work with the other faculty member for five months. Both faculty members participate in the genre team meetings. All Atheneum faculty will participate in the Atheneum salons.


Q: How does the individual study work?

A: Each month, fellows submit work by e-mail to a mentor. Later that month at a scheduled conference, the two of you sit down or talk by phone to discuss your manuscript. Discussion areas include one-on-one attention to the specific manuscript, assigned readings, and publication leads.


Q: What are Atheneum retreats and salons?

A: The Atheneum retreats are writing/work days, with the full Atheneum, faculty and fellows, working together on essential compositional and editing goals.

Salons include faculty, fellows, and invited guests who meet to enjoy good food and engaging conversation based on the Atheneum readings assigned to the community for that reception. There are four salons per year and they constitute the primary way that writers meet, network, and develop community.

The assigned readings are designed to stimulate conversation about artistic ambition and experience, the imagination, culture, philosophical and political thought, scientific inquiry, history, religion, and other areas of intellectual and aesthetic interest to every writer.

Some Atheneum salons include individuals invieted to join the reception, including writers, artists, agents, publishers, editors, Atheneum alumni, or others who can contribute to the discussion and experience.


Q: What are Team Meetings?

A: Team meetings include the two faculty in each genre meeting with the fellows in that genre. Meetings run 1-2 hours.


Q: How much does it cost to apply?

A: There is no fee for applying to the Atheneum. 


Q: What if I have more questions?

A: We'd love to talk to you. E-mail us. If you don't hear back in 24 hours, please re-send it. We want to make sure we don't miss anything.


Q: If accepted, how much does the program cost?

A: For information about discounts and payment options, click here.


Q: What is the deadline for nominations?

A: Applications for the 2021-2022 Atheneum are due May 16, 2020.