Now in its sixth season...

the Washington Island Literary Festival is a moveable feast of writing, reading, discussion, and thought about the written word. Writers’ workshops, author panels and presentations, readings and parties are scheduled at various quaint, historic and beautiful venues around the Island.  Participants have a unique opportunity to share time with prominent authors and dedicated readers in the intimate, friendly setting of Washington Island, a half-hour by ferry from the Door County mainland, in September’s color and warmth.


In 2018, our theme is “Words on Water,” celebrating, reflecting upon, and generating literature with a focus upon topics, plots, issues and ideas concerning water.  2018’s Festival dovetails with an on-going initiative on Door County, “Celebrate Water,” ( and adds a specifically literary approach.  Surrounded by water as we are, a world apart yet vitally connected, we are ideally situated for focus upon watery themes.

 Photo via <a href="">Good Free Photos</a>

Photo via <a href="">Good Free Photos</a>

All our programs are small and intimate; this is our intention and our charm.  Attendance at the Festival is limited to about 150 people.  This is a comfortable house for the Trueblood Performing Arts Center, a fully-equipped facility which is the Festival’s home.  Other venues include beautiful and historic locales such as the Island Dairy, the Hotel Washington, the Washington Island Farm Musuem, and, for writers’ workshops, woodland or lake-side paths for inspiration, and a privately-owned boathouse opening to the panorama of Lake Michigan lapping at its door.  Offering inns and guesthouses, beaches and beautiful byways to explore, and eateries which may feature local produce from organic Island farms, Washington Island is a permanent home to 500 residents.  During “The Season,” it swells to host thousands of visitors and summer residents.  Our Festival’s September dates provide the perfect, “wind-down” set of days:  an opportunity to enjoy the Island after the season has died down, as fall’s colors tinge the landscape with peaceful beauty. 




2017:  Exploring Frontiers:  Real and Imagined

·      Featured Authors:  Dan Egan, Kao Kalia Yang, David Stuart MacLean, Rachel Dewoskin, Amy Hassinger, Karla Huston

·      Writers’ Workshop Faculty:  James S. McCormick, Rachel Dewoskin, David Stuart MacLean, Amy Hassinger, Kao Kalia Yang, Karla Huston


2016:  Mystique and Mystery of the Midwest

·      Featured Authors:  Kimberly Blaeser, Kathleen Ernst, Brian Freeman, Rebecca Makkai, Michael McCarthy, Nick Petrie, and Patricia Skalka.

·      Writers’ Workshop Faculty:  Rebecca Makkai, Lynn Kaczmarek, Kathleen Maci, Patricia Skalka, Kimberly Blaeser


2015:  Spirit of Place:  Literature of the Land and Sea

·      Featured Authors:  Hampton Sides, Lin Enger, John Hildebrand, Anne-Marie Oomen, Peter Geye, Kevin Miyazaki, Don Kilpela, Danielle Sosin, Alice D’Alessio

·      Writers’ Workshop Faculty:  Elizabeth Sachs, Rebekah Keaton, Anne-Marie Oomen, Alice D’Alessio


2014:  Rooted in the Heartland:  Themes of Family

·      Featured Authors:  Susanna Daniel, Larry Watson, Max Garland, Fritz Damler, Mari Anderson, Susan Gloss, Marnie Mamminga, Adam Schrager, Elizabeth Sachs

·      Writers’ Workshop Faculty:  Michelle Wildgen, Susanna Daniel, Susan Gloss, Max Garland


2013:  Writing Wisconsin:  Facts and Fiction

·      Featured Authors:  Jean Feraca, Norman Gilliland, Dale Kushner, Bruce Dethlefsen, Martha Egan, Richard Purinton, Ralph Murre, Sharon Auberle

·      Featured Presenters:  Terese Allen, Jerod Santek


The Washington Island Literary Festival thanks its contributing partners


Fair Isle Books & Gifts

Gathering Ground

Write On Door County