Recently, I’ve noticed a growing number of serious writing workshops for teens. A lot of communities offer one-day young writers workshops, but my focus here is on longer workshops, retreats and writing camps. 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.

2017 Young Writers Workshops

NOTE: TBA* LINKS MAY CONTAIN OUT-DATED INFORMATION FROM PREVIOUS EVENTS

MAY 18-21: NEW ENGLAND YOUNG WRITERS’ CONFERENCE, MIDDLEBURY, VT

Residential housing at Middlebury College
Submissions closed

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 26-28: CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE YOUNG WRITERS’ CONFERENCE, BURLINGTON, VT

Residential housing at Champlain College
Registration open! Postmark deadline: February 24

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.

SUMMER 2017 TBA: WRITING SHORT STORIES: A SUMMER WORKSHOP FOR TEENS, CHARLOTTE, NC 

For teens, ages 13+. More info: miriamfranklin.com

Learn the basics of writing a short story, from prewriting through final draft, from Middle Grade fiction writer Miriam Franklin. In this workshop, teen writers will learn the elements of short fiction—characterization, plot, setting, theme, dialogue, voice—through study and analysis of well-written works, then jump into their own story crafting. From inspiration to polished work, students will participate in every part of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, critiquing, revising, and editing. They’ll practice giving and receiving constructive feedback and learn techniques for revising a story until it shines.

SUMMER 2017: CALIFORNIA STATE SUMMER SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS: CREATIVE WRITING PROGRAM, SACRAMENTO, CA

Residential housing
Applications open! Deadline February 28

The CSSSA Creative Writing Program offers personalized and interactive workshops for approximately seventy talented and motivated young writers. A faculty of four professional writers guide and instruct students in the techniques of fiction, poetry, memoir, and dramatic writing.

JUNE 5-16 (3rd-8th Grade): THE CENTRAL ARIZONA WRITING PROJECT INSTITUTE FOR YOUNG WRITERS, PHOENIX, AZ 

JUNE 5-16 (9th-12th Grade)

JUNE 19-30 (3rd-8th Grade)

JUNE 19-30 (9th-12th Grade)

Applications open! Registration closes May 19

A component of the Central Arizona Writing ProjectYAWP 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 5-16: THE CENTRAL ARIZONA WRITING PROJECT INSTITUTE FOR YOUNG WRITERS, PHOENIX, AZ

     JUNE 19-30

Applications open. Deadline May 19

A component of the Central Arizona Writing Project, YAWP Young Adult Writing Program is a program designed to offer young writers a non-evaluative environment in which to explore the power of creative 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 18-30: DUKE YOUNG WRITERS CAMP, DURHAM, NC

JULY 9-21

JULY 23-AUGUST 4

Residential housing at Duke University, or Day Camp
Registration open!

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.

JUNE 17-25: THE JUNIPER INSTITUTE FOR YOUNG WRITERS, AMHERST, MA

Residential housing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Applications open! Deadline May 26, 2017

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 18-24: GOVERNOR’S INSTITUTE FOR YOUNG WRITERS, SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT

Residential housing at Bennington College

Applications open! Rolling deadlines in March!

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 18-JULY 1: IOWA YOUNG WRITERS STUDIO, IOWA CITY, IA

Residential housing at the University of Iowa
Applications closed

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 2017*. Applications to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio will be open during a one-week Application Period in February, 2017*.

JUNE 19-30: CAMPWRITE, CHAPEL HILL, NC

Day Camp at University of North Carolina
Applications open! Deadline: April 2, 2017

CampWrite UNC is a free, two-week creative writing camp. Student campers are recruited from local middle and high schools and are accepted after submitting an application, writing sample, and teacher recommendation. Applications are open to current middle school and high school students throughout the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School district.

JUNE 19 – JULY 6: COLLEGE FOR KIDS 2016, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA

     JULY 10-26

Registration opens April 13

Cuesta’s College for Kids program provides an enriching opportunity during the summer for students entering the 5th through 9th grades in the fall of 2017. The varied curriculum is designed to meet the needs of younger students who are eager to explore subjects in a fun and educational environment.

JUNE 28-30: WRITEOUT CAMP, CEDAR CITY, UT

Lodging not included
Registration open! Deadline March 31, 2017

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 25-JULY 7: THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP, SWEET BRIAR, VA

     JULY 9-28

Residential housing at Sweet Briar College
Apllications open! Deadline March 1, 2017

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.

JULY 2-15: SEWANEE YOUNG WRITERS’ CONFERENCE, SEWANEE, TN

Registration closed
Residential housing at 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 9-14 (ages 12-14): WORDSWORTH 2017, CALGARY, CANADA

     JULY 16-24 (ages 15-19)

     JULY 23-28 (ages 14-19)

     2-wk option JULY 16-28

Residential at Kamp Kiwanis
Applications closed

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.

JULY 9-15: THE CENTRUM HIGH SCHOOL WRITERS’ CONFERENCE, PORT TOWNSEND, WA

Residential, Fort Worden State Park
Scholarship application deadline: June 20, 2017: notifications on a rolling basis.

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 16-27: LONGFELLOW YOUNG WRITERS’ WORKSHOP, FARMINGTON, ME

Residential housing at University of Maine Farmington
Applications open! Deadline May 1

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.

JULY 24-28: THE WRITERS CIRCLE SUMMER CREATIVE WRITING INTENSIVES, MADISON, NJ

     JULY 31-AUGUST 4

     AUGUST 7-11

Nonresidential day program.
Registration open

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.

JULY 27-AUGUST 6: ALPHA SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR WORKSHOP FOR YOUNG WRITERS, PITTSBURG, PA

Residential housing at University of Pittsburgh’s Greensburg Campus
Applications open! Deadline April 2

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. Guest authors for 2016 will be Tamora Pierce, Malinda Lo, Max Gladstone, and Amal El-Mohtar! The workshop is small, with a maximum of 20 participants. Admission is based solely on the strength of the application story.

SUMMER 2017 TBA*: YOUNG AUTHORS’ WRITING CAMP, CORPUS CHRISTIE, TX

Non-residential day camp.
Middle School Camp  Session 2: SUMMER 2017 TBA*, 8:30 AM -4:00 PM, Monday-Friday
High School Workshop Session 2: For students entering Grades 9-12: SUMMER 2017 TBA*, 8:30-4:00 PM, Monday-Friday

Day Camp at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christie. Six different camp sessions are open to 25 students each in June 2017. The Elementary School Camp is for children entering Grades 3-5. Middle School Camp is for children entering Grades 6-8. The Island Writers’ Workshop is for High School students entering Grades 9-12. Campers may register for one or both camps in their age-group.

AUGUST 4-7: 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.

SEPTEMBER 22-24: 9th ANNUAL TEENSPEAK NOVEL WORKSHOP (click FOR TEENS), SANTA CRUZ, CA

Lodging: Beachfront Condo
Registration open!
EARLY BIRD deadline: May 30. Stories (for peers, teachers) due in July.

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!

Please share this information with aspiring young writers and teachers!