This list focuses on intensive workshops and retreats for serious writers of children’s literature. The retreats and workshops listed here are not MFA or long-term programs. These are one-day to two-week programs focusing on craft. Although many of these workshops are led by editors or agents, the focus is on the craft of writing children’s and young adult literature. If you are looking for a MFA program in writing for young readers, this list may help you.

Some events listed here may not be specifcally for children’s writers but offer craft workshops that may benefit writers for any age group. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) offers many workshops and retreats, but scouring their site is too time consuming for me to include their events. You can find information for the chapters near you here. If you are an organizer for a SCBWI retreat or workshop and would like to have your event included here, please send me your information through my Contact page.

NOTE: Some retreats or workshops may have registration deadlines far in advance of the workshop. Please note/verify the deadline to register/apply. Some of these retreats or workshops may be by application only.

2020 Retreats & Workshops

June 14-17: Writing First Chapter Books & Early Readers, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Laurie Calkhoven—Author
Wiley Blevins—Author

June 20-23: Picture Books and All That Jazz, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Darcy Pattison—Author/Publisher
Leslie Helakoski—Author/Illustrator
Kelly Bennett—Author
Trisha de Guzman—Associate Editor, Farrar, Straus, Giroux BFYR, Macmillan

June 23-27: Writing for the Educational Market, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Jan Fields—Author
Paula Morrow—Children’s Literature Specialist/Editor, Highlights Hello 

July 9-12: Algonquin Park Writing Retreat, Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada

Brian Henry—Writing Instructor/Quick Brown Fox

July 10-15: Summer Camp: Writing Fiction for Children & Teens, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

July 19-22: Summer Camp: Intensive in Illustration, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Kathryn Otoshi—Author/Illustrator
Steve Light—Illustrator
Juana Martinez-Neal—Author/Illustrator
Joe Cepeda—Illustrator
Merrill Rainey—LittleRainey Illustration & Design

August 6-9: Ghosts, Witches, and Craft: A Salem Writing Retreat, Salem, MA

Holly Hughes—Author
Nova Ren Suma—Author

Fall 2020 TBA: SCBWI Western Washington Weekend on the Water Retreat, Blaine, WA

Anu Ohioma—Editor, Penguin Random House
Sherri L. Smith—Hamline MFA Faculty

September 4-5: SCBWI & Smithsonian Institution Nonfiction Workshop, Washington D.C.

Marcie Flinchum Atkins—Author
Kevin Noble Maillard—Author
Elizabeth Partridge—Author
Elizabeth Rusch—Author
Steve Sheinkin—Author
Melissa Stewart—Author
Carole Boston Weatherford—Author
Lin Oliver—Author/Co-founder & Executive Director, SCBWI
Jill Corcoran—Director of Licensed Publishing, Smithsonian
Matt Shindell—Curator, Planetary Studies, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
Carrie Heflin—Program Manager, National Museum of American History
Elayne Silversmith—Librarian, Vine Deloria, Jr. Library, National Museum of the American Indian
Michelle Smith—Media & Communications Director, Smithsonian Center for Learning & Digital Access
Chris Wilson—Director, African American History Program, National Museum of American History
Kandace Coston—Assistant Editor, Lee & Low Books
Eduardo Díaz—Director, Smithsonian Latino Center
Emily Feinberg—Associate Editor, Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Publishers
Carol Hinz—Editorial Director, Millbrook Press & Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group
Farrin Jacobs—Editorial Director/VP, Little, Brown BFYR
Melissa Manlove—Senior Editor, Chronicle Books
Amanda Shih—Associate Editor, Scholastic

September 11-13: Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop, North Falmouth, MA
Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Andrea Brown—President of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Jennifer Laughran—Agent, ABLA
Jennifer Mattson—Agent, ABLA
Jennifer Soloway—Agent, ABLA
Kelly Sonnack—Agent, ABLA
Nikki Garcia—Editor, Little, Brown BFYR
Ashley Hearn—Associate YA Editor, Page Street Publishing
Yolanda Scott—Associate Publisher/Editorial Director, Charlesbridge
Jennifer Ung—Senior Editor, Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

September 24-27: Odyssey into Writing Middle Grade Science Fiction, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Nicole Valentine—Author
Fran Wilde—Author
Lamar Giles—Author

September 25-October 4: The Writing Excuses Cruise Conference, (Departing) Houston, TX

Dan Wells—Author
Nilah Magruder—Author
Howard Taylor—Author/Illustrator
Mary Robinette Kowal—Author
Erin Roberts—Author

September 27-October 2: Fall Writing Retreat,Sorrento, BC

Gail Anderson Dargatz—Author

October 2-4: Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop and Retreat, Santa Cruz, CA

TBA

October 2-5: Novels In Verse, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Joy McCullough—Author
Padma Venkatraman—Author
Andrew Karre—Executive Editor, Dutton BFYR, Penguin Random House

October 10: The Inaugural Central Nebraska Writers Intensive, Kearney, NE

TBA

October 4-10: Anne of Green Gables Adventure Workshop, Concord, MA
Whale Rock Workshops

Gary Schmidt—Author

October 19: Regency Retreat, Lindon, UT

Julianne Donaldson—Author
Jaime M. Kirby—Author

October28-31: Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat, Andalusia, AL

Lynn DeShazo—Song Writer
Patricia Durgin—Marketing Coach
Tessa Emily Hall—Author
John Herring—Publisher, Iron Stream Media
Bob Hostetler—Executive Editor, The Christian Writers Institute
Susan King
Julie Lavender—Author
Jill Roman Lord—Author
Susan Neal—Writing Coach
Kim Vogel Sawyer—Author
Cindy K. Sproles—Author
Connie Stevens—Author
James Watkins—Author
Denise Weimer—Author
Lenora Worth—Author

November 6-8: Breakthrough Weekend, Portland OR
Free Expressions

Donald Maass—Agent, Maass Literary/Writing Coach/Author

November 13-16: Writing Retreat at the Briar’s Resort on Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

Brian Henry—Writing Instructor/Quick Brown Fox TBA

November 9-15: Breakout Novel Intensive, Hood River OR
Free Expressions

Donald Maass—Agent, Maass Literary/Writing Coach/Author
Lorin Oberweger—Author/Director/Owner Free Expressions
Brenda Winberg—Author/Editor
Jason Sitzes—Author/Editor
Laurie Calkhoven—Author/Editor

December 4-6: Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop, Big Sur State Park, CA

Andrea Brown—President of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Jennifer Laughran—Agent, ABLA
Jennifer Mattson—Agent, ABLA
Jennifer Soloway—Agent, ABLA
Kelly Sonnack—Agent, ABLA
Emma Ledbetter—Editorial Director of Picture Books, Abrams BFYR
Melissa Manlove—Senior Editor, Chronicle Books
Clarissa Wong—Editor, HarperCollins Children’s Books

March 11-14, 2021: Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Retreat, Colorado Springs, CO

TBA


Host your own retreat

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Great Stories don't Write Themselves
WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVELSTORY GENIUS
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How To Self Publish A Children's BookSELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERSWRITE YOUR NOVEL FROM THE MIDDLE