This list features writing workshops and writing conferences for teens and children. Many communities offer one-day young writers workshops, but my focus here is on longer workshops, retreats, writing camps, and events that give young writers the opportunity to work with literary agents and editors. Many of these events are run by college-level instructors or publishing professionals: editors, agents, and published authors. Nothing like this was available in my youth, and how I wish it had been! Maybe it wouldn’t have taken me so long to fall in love with writing.
Application deadlines can be well in advance of the events. Some workshops offer scholarships, and some have strict application requirements. Limited spaces may fill quickly, so mark these events on your calendar and keep a eye out for registration announcements. I’ll add more events as information becomes available. Please spread the word about this list to your local schools, libraries, churches and other organization where future authors might be discovered!
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Markets for Young Writers
If you are a young person looking for places to sell your writing, you might find an opportunity on Ev Christensen’s page Magazine Markets for Young Writers. The magazines listed there accept submissions from young writers or illustrators.
Please share this information with aspiring young writers and teachers!
2018 Young Writers Workshops
NOTE: TBA* LINKS MAY CONTAIN OUT-DATED INFORMATION FROM PREVIOUS EVENTS
AUGUST 4: 2018 CHAPTER ONE YOUNG WRITERS CONFERENCE, CHICAGO, IL
The Chapter One Young Writers Conference is for and by young writers
Founded in 2012, the first conference took place in Chicago with six teenagers in attendance in person and countless others attending via an online live stream. It was an experiment limited to members of the Scholastic’s Write It community and their friends: Could a group of teenagers from across North America really get together and run their own conference? Like, with worthwhile and informative presentations, and networking, and all the cool stuff of a writing conference for adults?
AUGUST TBA: CAPE COD WRITERS CENTER YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP, HYANNIS, MA
Accommodations available but not required
Every summer, CCWC hosts the Young Writers Workshop, a creative writing program for students ages 12-18 from the schools of Cape Cod and southern New England, during the week of our Annual Conference. Students are selected on a competitive basis, and those unable to pay are given a tuition-free scholarship.
SUMMER TBA: THE YOUNG WRITER WORKSHOP #1, ARCHER CITY, TX
SUMMER TBA: THE YOUNG WRITER WORKSHOP #2, ARCHER CITY, TX
Residential: Spur Hotel and other host homes around town with their chaperons, college students from nearby universities
SEPTEMBER 21-23: 9th ANNUAL TEENSPEAK NOVEL WORKSHOP, SANTA CRUZ, CA
Lodging: Chaperoned Beachfront Condo in Gated Community
TEENS who love stories: From plot lines to pizza, our coastal workshop (12th event) is bound to delight you! Spend a weekend at the beach with a cozy group of fiction-loving friends! Get feedback from a published YA author, a HS English teacher/drama coach, and friendly New York editor and agent. This teen event is integrated with a whole-novel workshop for adults writing middle-grade and YA novels—a unique approach that benefits all. Enjoy stories and s’mores on the beach under the stars. Brainstorm with new writer-buddies. Unleash your creativity, discover your voice. Read more perks here!
OCTOBER 20: ANNUAL FLORIDA YOUTH WRITERS CONFERENCE, ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FL
Florida Youth Conference features a colorful cast of characters—a team of authors, agents, and other industry professionals who will help fine-tune your writing skills and supercharge your publishing savvy.
Sessions will include the craft and business of prose and poetry, the legal stuff, and practicing your perfect pitch. We’ll also have a Q&A session, so you can ask all those burning questions about how to become a successful writer.
2019 Young Writers Workshops
NOTE: TBA* LINKS MAY CONTAIN OUT-DATED INFORMATION FROM PREVIOUS EVENTS
MAY TBA*: NEW ENGLAND YOUNG WRITERS’ CONFERENCE, MIDDLEBURY, VT
Residential, Middlebury College
The New England Young Writers’ Conference (NEYWC) is a four day writing-focused workshop for high school students in New England and from around the country. The long weekend is packed with writing seminars, workshops, readings, and opportunities to meet fellow young writers. Hosted at the Breadloaf Campus at Middlebury College, students will work with real writers to gain inspiration and develop your skills.
High School English Teachers or Guidance Counselors may nominate up to 5 students from their school to participate in the conference. Up to two may be selected.
MAY TBA*: CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE YOUNG WRITERS’ CONFERENCE, BURLINGTON, VT
Residential, Champlain College
Participate in over ten hours of intensive workshops in fiction, poetry, songwriting, creative nonfiction, script writing, and environmental writing; exchange and critique manuscripts; listen to faculty readings; attend interactive craft sessions; and share work with the CCYW community.
JUNE TBA: THE CENTRAL ARIZONA WRITING PROJECT INSTITUTE FOR YOUNG WRITERS, PHOENIX, AZ
JUNE TBA: Session B
A component of the Central Arizona Writing Project, YAWP Young Adult Writing Program (formerly Rl Txt) is designed to offer young writers a non-evaluative environment in which to explore the power of writing. Offering time and inspiration, YAWP sessions support writers in a collaborative atmosphere as they interact with other youth authors and share works in progress. YAWP sessions engages young writers in crafting a variety of writing forms, such as poems, autobiographical sketches, heart maps, short stories, arguments, nature/science observations, craft secrets, and daily writing workshops. Each camper chooses a piece of writing for publication in the camp anthology.
JUNE TBA: GOVERNOR’S INSTITUTE FOR YOUNG WRITERS, SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT
Residential, Bennington College
Spend a week on the Bennington College campus honing your writing, developing critical and collaborative skills, and being inspired by readings put on by writers teaching in the renowned Bennington Writing Seminars. In this Institute you will: discover a passion for expressing yourself through writing; enjoy an intense week of reading, writing, and critiquing each other’s work under the guidance of practicing writers; be inspired with new-found confidence and identity as literary artist; leave with an individualized plan to continue your writing and reading long after the summer.Three genres will be offered: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry.
JUNE TBA: THE JUNIPER INSTITUTE FOR YOUNG WRITERS, AMHERST, MA
Residential, University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Juniper Institute for Young Writers is a nine-day creative writing program for students who are finishing their sophomore, junior, or senior years of high school. Hosted by the University of Massachusetts MFA Program for Poets and Writers, the Institute offers participants a unique opportunity to participate in intensive creative writing workshops, craft sessions, and studio courses designed especially for young writers. Admissions are accepted on a rolling basis, and the Institute will do their best to make admission decisions within 2-6 weeks of receiving applications.
JUNE TBA: WRITING & THINKING WORKSHOP, LAKE FOREST, IL
Residential, Lake Forest College
High school students can join a creative community of writers who share a commitment to the work and fun of writing together in our residential summer workshop. Our program is part of a long-standing national program established by the National Writing and Thinking Network at Bard College. Supportive faculty work with students in small groups to help them develop confidence in their voices as writers. Participants learn strategies to generate fresh and compelling ideas, the kind of well-reasoned ideas first-rate colleges and universities expect from their students.
JUNE TBA: WRITEOUT CAMP, CEDAR CITY, UT
Lodging not included
WriteOut aims to bring writing outreach, cultural experiences, and outdoor exploration to students in rural areas. Our inaugural writing camp for teens 13-18 will be held at Southern Utah University and offers opportunities for students to work alongside published authors Brandon Mull, Ally Condie, Margaret Stohl, Brendan Reichs, and Ann Dee Ellis. With author/student workshops, student trips to national parks for hiking and writing outdoors, plays at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, a costume ball, and evening events open to the public, WriteOut is the wildest writing camp in the West. If you’re a student who would like to attend, follow us on Twitter for updates.
JUNE TBA: HAMLINE YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP, SAINT PAUL, MN
Day Camp, Hamline University
A Creative Writing Day Camp for ages 15-18. The Hamline Young Writers Workshop is a chance for high school students who are passionate about creative writing to explore the craft, prepare for college, connect with other young writers in the Twin Cities, and work closely with Hamline Creative Writing faculty and published authors.
JULY TBA: THE CENTRUM HIGH SCHOOL WRITERS’ CONFERENCE, PORT TOWNSEND, WA
Residential, Fort Worden State Park
Since 1974, Centrum’s high-school writing workshops have been at the center of creative-writing education in the Pacific Northwest. Centrum’s High-School Writers’ Conference presents a focus on community and rigorous attention to craft through core morning workshops, afternoon workshops in special topics, and guided freewrites, as well as open-mike sessions and a vibrant readings and lectures series presented by contemporary working writers.
JULY TBA: GATE CITY WRITES YOUNG WRITERS CAMP, GREENSBORO, NC
Day Camp, UNCG, for students grades 9-12
Campers from grades 9-12 will create 21st century texts using digital tools such as storyboarding, blogging, and movie-making during this two-week camp experience. In daily writing workshops, students will work with UNCG faculty, graduate students, NC teachers, and local authors. The camp introduces young writers to the writing process, unlocks strategies of professional writers, and supports development of variety of writing styles. All work will be published on our website.
Writing and Robotics is an afternoon companion program in conjunction with the Young Writer’s Camp. In this program, we will give students an opportunity to design and construct a working robot based on the writing they create in the Young Writer’s Camp.
JULY TBA: SEWANEE YOUNG WRITERS’ CONFERENCE, SEWANEE, TN
Residential, The University of the South
SYWC offers our students opportunities that are otherwise hard to find, either at high schools or at other summer programs. Our workshops in playwriting, fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction are led by writers of significant accomplishment and promise: our former workshop leaders have won the Roerich poetry.
JULY TBA: MESSIAH COLLEGE’S YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP, HARRISBURG, PA
Residential, Messiah College, or Day Camp
Open to students entering 9th-12th grade in the Fall 2018.
*Writing courses taught by published Messiah faculty. *Readings and interaction with published writers. *Unique and practical session about how to write a college admissions essay. *Fieldtrip to the Susquehanna Art Museum for a workshop on art and creative writing and a trip to Harrisburg’s Midtown Scholar Bookstore. *Personalized attention and small class sizes limited to 15 students.
JULY TBA: YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP BARD COLLEGE AT SIMON’S ROCK, GREAT BARRINGTON, MA
Residential, Bard College
The Young Writers Workshop is a three-week summer writing program for students currently completing grades 9,10, and 11. Each year 84 academically motivated students are chosen to participate in the Simon’s Rock program. Former participants have gone on to such colleges as Amherst, Bard, Harvard, Haverford, Kenyon, Princeton, Simon’s Rock, Smith, Williams, and Yale. Unlike conventional workshops in expository and creative writing, Simon’s Rock’s focuses on using informal, playful, expressive writing as a way to strengthen skills of language and thinking. Out of these informal writing activities, using techniques of peer response, students develop more polished pieces, ranging from personal narratives to stories, poems, and exploratory essays.
JULY TBA: LONGFELLOW YOUNG WRITERS’ WORKSHOP, FARMINGTON, ME
Residential, University of Maine Farmington
This program gives high school students entering their sophomore, junior or senior year a full week in the writing world. Workshops are serious, yet supportive, and fun. The focus will be on new approaches to writing, ways of seeing your own writing and the writing of others in different ways, while continuing to maintain faith in your ability to write, and never losing sight of the joy and playfulness inherent in the act of writing.
SUMMER TBA: THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP, SWEET BRIAR, VA
Residential, Sweet Briar College
The Studio Workshops evolve through the dynamic principles of play, invention, response, revision, performance, and publication. Participants learn strategies to invent, develop, and revise material using the writer’s most essential tools—language, imagination, craft, sight, and insight. They conference with instructors and peer writers. They examine contemporary artists’ work. They become more discerning readers. Six studio workshops are offered.
SUMMER TBA: IOWA YOUNG WRITERS STUDIO, IOWA CITY, IA
Residential, University of Iowa
At the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, you will choose a single Core Course of study—Poetry, Fiction, or Creative Writing—as your focus for the two weeks of the program. The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is open to any academically motivated and socially mature student who will have completed at least their sophomore year in high school by June 2018. Applications to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio will be open during a one-week Application Period in February, 2019*.
SUMMER TBA: DUKE YOUNG WRITERS CAMP, DURHAM, NC
Residential, Duke University, or Day Camp
Middle school and high school-aged campers are eligible.
Why do young people choose Young Writers’ Camp? Here are some reasons noted by past campers: *It’s not like school: Imagine a place where learning and fun are the same. *It’s a stress-free, nonjudgmental, open environment. *It gives campers freedom to write on topics and genres that interest campers. *It teaches “the rules” for writing, but also ways to break those rules. *Even its academic classes allow students to be creative. *It’s full of writing exercises that tease the mind and bond you with fellow campers. *It’s a place to find and make friends; it’s a place to find people like you.
SUMMER TBA: (ages 11-14) WORDSWORTH 2018, CALGARY, CANADA
Residential, Kamp Kiwanis
WordsWorth is a week-long sleepover creative writing residency for young writers who believe in the power of words. Writers will be completely immersed in the creative and diverse world of writing. Guided by established and respected artist-instructors, writers will experience writing through fiction, poetry, spoken word, music, drama, film making, monologue and nonfiction. But the experiences don’t begin and end with the classes, WordsWorth is a place where young writers come together to celebrate writing through friendship, campfires, concerts, open mic sessions, hikes, haikus and rousing games of Death Polo in the pool.
SUMMER TBA: THE WRITERS CIRCLE SUMMER CREATIVE WRITING INTENSIVES, MADISON, NJ
Nonresidential day program
Three, week-long intensives with writing daily from 9:00 AM-3:30 PM on the campus of Drew University. All teens ages 13 and above are welcome to register for one, two, or all three weeks. Students ages 11-12 may apply by submitting a writing sample in order to attend to ensure that their writing quality and enthusiasm will match the intensity of the program.
SUMMER TBA: ALPHA SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR WORKSHOP FOR YOUNG WRITERS, PITTSBURG, PA
Residential, University of Pittsburgh’s Greensburg Campus
Enthusiastic, talented young writers (ages 14 – 19) will spend 11 days working with professional authors, each of whom will spend two to three days at the workshop. The workshop is small, with a maximum of 20 participants. Admission is based solely on the strength of the application story.
SUMMER TBA: COLGATE UNIVERSITY YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP, HAMILTON, NY
For students entering grades 6–12
The Young Writers’ Workshop provides a stimulating and supportive environment in which young writers experiment in poetry, fiction, and other genres of creative and imaginative expression. Young writers work closely with certified teachers and college mentors in writing groups set by grade level. Visiting professional writers from different genres each year start each day with readings of their published work, then lead the students in craft exercises. In addition to writing, students participate in a variety of afternoon recreational activities, including games, swimming, and hiking.
SUMMER TBA: THE JOHN CARROLL YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP, UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OH
Students participate in a rigorous and inspiring program that provides an introduction to the art and craft of poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction. In morning and afternoon sessions, students study with acclaimed writers, engaging in writing-intensive exercises designed to address the elements of craft: form, voice, character, image, scene, and setting. In addition, students will participate in lively workshop sessions in which they will read and discuss each other’s work with an eye toward revision. Students will also read and discuss the work of established authors, investigating the strategies they use to craft their poetry and prose.
Please share this information with aspiring young writers and teachers!