Information for Participants

SLS Georgia 2019 will be the last program—after 21 years and 32 successful events on 3 continents. Come join us for what will be a fantastic farewell experience!

Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi — in the heart of Georgia — is a strikingly beautiful, hospitable city steeped in history and culture — both ancient and modern. Situated at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, this amazing city and unrepeatable country have an inestimable amount of inspiration to offer writers.

Welcome aboard! Here you will find information about the SLS Georgia 2019 program.

If you require further assistance with any of the below or have more questions, please email


answers to common questions

How do I make payments? What are the deadlines?

Through PayPal

15 May 2019 (or sooner): the second payment is due.

15 June (or sooner): the final payment—balance of your application—is due 

Payments can easily be made through PayPal.

If you have questions, or don’t have a PayPal account, contact

What are the program dates?

July 14–28, 2019

The SLS Georgia program begins on July 14 with an opening party. Classes run July 15 – July 27, with a closing event on 28 July. 

You may wish to arrive at least one day before the program starts, to orientate yourself, and to adjust to the time zone.


Each day is different

Workshops with your selected instructor (Meet the Faculty) are Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 10am-12pm (noon).  

On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-12pm (noon) and 1pm-3pm, you can attend your selected seminar class, check out these course descriptions.

Between morning and afternoon sessions, you can explore the area for a lunch break. 

Weekends and some evenings are optional group trips and events—please come join us or feel free to plan your own adventure:

How do I find a place to stay?


Though not the only way to find a place, offers lots of options near The Writers’ House: the SLS meeting location. There’s also the new Ibis Hotelother hotelshostels, and the very cool Fabrika: a Soviet-era sewing factory turned multi-use cultural space.

Participants are responsible for booking their own accommodations, though let us know if you have difficulty; we’ll help.

Hotels and accommodations are likely to fill up quickly for July; book as early as possible.

What's the address of the Writers' House?



Tbilisi is one of the safest cities in Europe.

If you have any concerns, please email us


We will arrange for a taxi to pick you up

from the airport and take you to where you are staying. Please send your travel details—specifically arrival time—to Virginia, the program coordinator well in advance of your travel.

Meet the rest of the team



There are approximately 14 languages spoken in Georgia with Georgian as the most popular language. Other common languages include English, Russian, Assyrian, Svan, and Urum.

If you want to practice Georgian try:

  • Hello. Gamarjoba.
  • Please. Tu Sheidzleba.
  • Thank you. Madloba.

Though not perfect and requires Internet, the Google Translate App is also a good starting point for communication—especially the microphone & speaker functions.

Is English spoken in Georgia?


According to this WorldAtlas page, the number of English speakers in Georgia has significantly increased in the last two decades due to the government’s interest in the language. 

But, it’s always fun to pick up a few new words in another language (like hello!)—or learn about the language itself.


Taxis, Walking, Metro

In general, taxis are cheap; rides within central districts usually cost $2-3. However, most of the attractions in Tbilisi are walking distance from one another. The Tbilisi Metro System is also very efficient, clean, and easy to use.

Do I need to pay extra for trips outside Tbilisi during the program?


Transportation for trips outside of the city [e.g., Sighnaghi (Georgia’s wine region) and Batumi (resorts & vistas)]  is not included in the overall program costs. To get there, we’ll rent buses for a small fee, and split the costs amongst those who choose to come.

Do I need a Visa to visit Georgia?

Most likely, no

You will need a valid passport, but citizens from these 94 countries can enter Georgia visa-free! Americans can enter and stay in Georgia without a visa for up to 365 days, and Canadians can stay for up to 90 days. Read more about Georgia on the US Department of State page and the Canadian Visa Services page.

what are other places of interest near Tbilisi, Georgia?

The Black Sea; Istanbul, Turkey; Armenia; Moscow…

Just to name a few!

You may want to consider booking a few days (or more) before or after the SLS Georgia program to explore more of the region. Georgia, being between East and West, offers plenty of options for additional trips. Be sure to check visa requirements and plan accordingly.


Metro Stations

There are small electronics shops in the underground stations. Have cash. Go there. Someone will be eager to help you. 

If you don’t plan on getting Internet, definitely download Offline Google Maps for Tbilisi. Or become friends with someone who has a SIM card.

What's the currency in georgia?

The currency in Georgia is the Georgian Lari (GEL)

Here’s an exchange rate site.

ATM machines, banks and money-exchange offices (with their exchange rates clearly displayed) are widely available, and all major credit cards are accepted.



Georgia is known for its food and wine, and has a wide range of dietary options. In fact, there’s a vegan restaurant,  Kiwi Vegan Cafe, down the street from The Writers’ House, and many of the nice hotels and cafes nearby offer veg options or can accommodate special veg or other dietary requests. 

Where can I find traditional food?


You’ll be introduced to some of Georgia’s delicacies at our program opening party, and we’ll have some evenings where we dine together in the city center as a group—but definitely explore on your own:

It’s 2019 and Georgian food has been named “Cuisine of the Year”! Read about some traditional dishes and why Americans are looking to Georgians for savory inspiration.

I like to cook. What is the name of a good grocery store?


Walking distance from the Writers’ House is the European-chain supermarket, Carrefour, with a large produce section & all the staples to get your through your stay in Tbilisi. 

Note: If you haven’t purchased produce outside the US, you must have it weighed in the weigh station before you check out.



Same as Europe. A universal plug adaptor (with multiple inputs, if you have multiple devices) is a travel essential. Here’s a quick comparison of models—all easily found on Amazon.

Do I Need Travel Insurance?


We require that you obtain travel insurance before your trip. Many SLS participants go with United Healthcare (formally MEDEX) or Patriot, though please research the best option for you.

We also recommend that you obtain travel insurance that makes flight refundable, in case of any exigencies.

Do I need to sign a liability waver form?


We require that participants sign and bring to Georgia a liability waver form. Forms will be sent to you by the program coordinator in advance of the program.

What is the Fee and Payment Schedule?

The program fee is $1950 USD, which pays for faculty honorariums and location fees, among other built-in costs. Please note that the fees do not include meals, accommodations, and transportation to, from, and within Georgia.

We require a $150 USD deposit (non-refundable) in order to guarantee your space in the program. A second payment of $300 is due by May 15, and the remaining balance of the program fee must be received by June 5, 2018. Any exceptions must be negotiated with the Program Coordinator at Please note that unless payments are made on schedule, we cannot guarantee a place in the program.

Payments can be sent via paypal using the following link:

Are there fellowships and financial aid available?


A limited number of need-based fellowships are available. Please submit a short statement of need (2-3 paragraphs) and any supporting documents (optional) to the Program Coordinator at You may also wish to look into other sources of funding.

What are the cancellation and refund policies?

SLS will not assume responsibility for participants’ accommodations and travel. We will, however, offer assistance in finding suitable accommodations.

All monies will be refunded in full to students who are not accepted into the program, or, if for any reason, the program is cancelled.

All payments (excluding the deposit) are fully refundable if a participant withdraws from the program voluntarily by June 5, 2018. A cancellation fee of $500 USD will be assessed for any cancellation after June 15, 2018. No refunds will be made once the program starts, regardless of the student’s participation. The effective date of cancellation will be the date that such written notice is received by the Program Coordinator.

What is SLS's privacy policy?

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