Virtual Master’s Class in Fiction

Summer Literary Seminars International Retreats

Founded 1998 as SLS

St. Petersburg Review

Speaking the same language through literature • Founded 2007

You asked and we responded. An early Halloween treat. We've extended the deadline for submissions to the Virtual Master's Class in Fiction from Monday, October 19 to Friday, October 30. Limited to ten people, the earlier you get your application in, the better. See you virtually in November. See below for information and to submit.

Summer Literary Seminars International Retreats and St. Petersburg Review are collaborating to bring you a unique online experience in writing. A two-week online master’s course in fiction that will give you the opportunity to:

  • review your manuscript in a ten-person class taught by the internationally acclaimed Dawn Raffel and Laurie Stone
  • receive feedback in one-to-one sessions with faculty members
  • meet the editors of the New Yorker, Graywolf Press, Guernica, and St. Petersburg Review/Springhouse Journal
  • participate in craft lectures with Polina Barskova
  • attend a reading and question and answer period with Mona Awad
  • have your work considered for publication by St. Petersburg Review/Springhouse Journal and Guernica Magazine
  • receive discounts for future virtual programs and residencies in Georgia and Kenya
  • read your work in a publicly advertised event
  • hang out with a vibrant international community of writers

Apply Today

Summer Literary Seminars International Retreats follows in the footsteps of SLS, a one of a kind international literary and cultural organization, founded in 1998 and operated on three continents: North America (Montreal), Europe (Tbilisi, Georgia; Vilnius, Lithuania; and St. Petersburg, Russia), and Africa (Nairobi-Lamu, Kenya). SLS enjoyed its place as one of the most dynamic and innovative programs of its kind. Many participants over the years have cited the program as a life-changing experience. Focusing currently on online programs, SLSIR will be continuing to offer the same caliber international literary and cultural programs in the future.

St. Petersburg Review, Inc. is the publisher of St. Petersburg Review and Springhouse Journal and has published writers from over 60 countries—quality work from established and emerging writers and artists with a special emphasis on translations, disenfranchised writers, and fostering a global literary community that, among other things, provides a forum for freedom of artistic expression especially for those writing and/or living in global conflict areas.

Together we have designed an online program that we hope is dynamic as well as truly a life altering experience.

Tentative Agenda

The workshop involves about 3.0 hours of screen time daily from 5:00 p.m. on and a total of approximately 40 hours screen time in the two weeks.

Sunday November 8, 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Meet and greet with questions and answers

Monday, November 9, 5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Manuscript workshop with Dawn Raffel

Tuesday, November 10, 5:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Authenticity of Voice in Writing, Kadija Sesay

Wednesday, November 11, 5:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Manuscript workshop with Dawn Raffel

Wednesday, November 11, 8:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
Reading with Laurie Stone

Thursday, November 12, 5:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Writing (In) the Storied City/Space on Translation, Polina Barskova

Thursday, November 12, 8:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
Questions and answers with Deborah Treisman

Friday, November 13, 5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Manuscript workshop with Dawn Raffel

Saturday, November 14
Informal talks with international writers about their place, literature, and culture followed by breakout rooms

Monday, November 16, 5:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Manuscript workshop with Laurie Stone

Monday, November 16, 8:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
Reading with Ru Freeman

Tuesday, November 17, 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Reading/questions and answers with Mona Awad

Wednesday, November 18, 5:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Manuscript workshop with Laurie Stone

Wednesday, November 18, 8:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
Reading with Dawn Raffel

Thursday, November 19, 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Fiona McCrae, Graywolf Press

Thursday, November 19, 7:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
Meakin Armstrong, Guernica

Friday, November 20, 5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Manuscript workshop with Laurie Stone

Friday, November 20, 8:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
Mikhail Iossel, Summer Literary Seminars International Retreats
Elizabeth L. Hodges, St. Petersburg Review/Springhouse Journal

Saturday, November 21, 5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Public online readings with participants

Sunday, November 22, 5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Public online readings with participants

All times are EST.


Dawn Raffel, The Strange Case of Dr. Couney (2018); The Secret Life of Objects (2012)

Laurie Stone, Everything is Personal (2020), My Life as an Animal: Stories (2016)

Guest Speakers

Meakin Armstrong, Fiction Editor at Guernica

Mona Awad, Bunny (2019); 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl (2016)

Polina Barskova, poet, The Lamentable City (2010); writer Besieged Leningrad (2017); and critic

Ru Freeman, On Sal Mal Lane (2013); A Disobedient Girl (2009)

Fiona McCrae, Director of Graywolf Press

Kadija Sesay, Publisher of Sable magazine in London for 15 years and currently the Publications Manager for Inscribe, a Black British writer development programme for Peepal Tree Press

Deborah Treisman, fiction editor at the New Yorker

Read more about the faculty and guest speakers.


$895 includes access to all panels, workshops, Q&As, and readings, and special review of your writing by editors from influential, international literary journals. It also entitles you to discounts in future programs including a December 21 residency in Kenya and a summer residency in Tbilisi which are in the beginning stages of being planned.


Each submission must be original and accompanied by a USD $20 nonrefundable deposit that will be applied to your balance if you are accepted into the program.

A manuscript of 20 pages or less is required with your deposit.

You may attach your works as a Word or PDF document.

Your name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript itself, please.

Your privacy is important to us. We will never rent, sell or disclose information to any third party.

Payment is due at time of acceptance to hold your spot along with the manuscript you want to work on (max. 6000 words).

Submit no more than 20 double-spaced pages.

Participants who have attended SLS programs in the last five years are eligible for a 15% discount (can be applied forward if accepted into the online program).

No refunds will be made once the program starts, regardless of the student’s participation. Requests for refunds made 10 days prior to the program will be considered at the programs discretion and on a case by case basis.

For questions: