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

January 9-12: New Year, New You, Austin TX
The Writing Barn

Claire Campbell—Writing Coach
Bethany Hegedus—Author
Laura Kirtan
Jenny O

January 10-12: Beach Retreat—Picture books from A to Sea, San Simeon, CA

April Halprin Wayland—Author

January 19–22: Writing Retreat For Jewish Kidlit Authors!, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

None

January 20-25: Christian Children’s Writers, Waleska, GA

Sally Apokedak—Agent, Apokedak Literary Agency
Lynne Marie Davis—Author/Illustrator

January 27-February 2: Breakout Novel Graduate Learning Retreat, Sarasota, FL

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

February 20-23: Complete Picture Book Intensive, Austin TX
The Writing Barn

Melissa Sweet—Author/Illustrator
Kathleen Merz—Managing Editor, Eerdmans
Kristen Cappy—Marketing Coach
Carmen Oliver—Author

February 23-April 26 Online & May 30-June 3 Retreat: Getting to Know Your Novel, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Sarah Aronson—Author
Tiffany D. Jackson—Author
Liz Kossnar—Editor, Simon & Schuster BFYR
Melanie J. Fishbane—Teaching Assistant
Jim Hill—Teaching Assistant

March 21-28: The Art of Storytelling in Narrative Nonfiction, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Tod Olson—Author
Steve Sheinkin—Author
Paula Yoo—Author
Connie Hsu—Executive Editor, Macmillan Children’s Publishing

March 25-28: 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

March 27-29: VCFA Writing Novels for Young People Retreat, Montpelier, VT

An Na—VCFA Faculty
Alexander London—Author
Dhonielle Clayton—Author
Marianna Baer—Author

April 2-5: Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Retreat, Colorado Springs, CO

TBA

April 6-12: 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

April 19-22: Writing and Refining Fantastical and Otherworldly Stories, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Nova Ren Suma—Author
Anna-Marie McLemore—Author
Emily X.R. Pan—Author
Elise Howard—Publisher, Algonquin Young Readers
Meera Trehan—Author
Rajani LaRocca—Author

April 24-25: SCBWI & Smithsonian Institution Nonfiction Workshop, Washington D.C.

TBA

April 30-May 3: Color, Light, Line, & Texture,Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Denise Fleming—Author/Illustrator
Ashley Wolff—Visual Artist

May 7-10: From Premise to Pitch, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Jennie Dunham—Agent, Dunham Literary
Gina Maccoby—Agent, Gina Maccoby Literary Agency

May 8-10: 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

May 26-30: Crafting Successful Author & Illustrator Visits, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Carmen Oliver—Author
Jan Cheripko—Author
Andrea J. Loney—Author

May 31-June 6: Concord Master Skills Workshop, Concord, MA
Whale Rock Workshops

Gary Schmidt—Author
Patti Gauch—Former VP/Editor at Large, Philomel Books @ Penguin

June 3-7: Community Retreat for Published Authors & Illustrators, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

Jennifer Jacobson—Author
Meg Medina—Author
Carole Boston Weatherford—Author
Mike Curato—Author/Illustrator
Emily Feinburg—Editor, Roaring Brook Press
Ellice Lee—Associate Art Director, Philomel Books, Penguin Young Readers Group

June 5-7: Breakthrough Weekend, Dallas, TX
Free Expressions

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

June 5-8: Algonquin Park Writing Retreat, Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada

Bryan Henry—Writing Instructor/Quick Brown Fox

June 11-14: Novels In Verse, Honesdale, PA
Highlights Foundation

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

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 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

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, TXNew!

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

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

TBA

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

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

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


Host your own retreat

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Great Stories don't Write Themselves
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WRITING BLOCKBUSTER PLOTSREVISING YOUR NOVEL FIRST DRAFT TO FINISHED MANUSCRIPTWHAT KIND OF LOSER INDIE PUBLISHES AND CAN I BE ONE, TOO by Pamela Fagan HutchinsTHE ANATOMY OF STORY

OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL
How To Self Publish A Children's BookSELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERSWRITE YOUR NOVEL FROM THE MIDDLE