Area Classes, Retreats, and Workshops

Winter/Spring 2017 Classes, Retreats & Workshops

Classes, conferences and workshops provide opportunities for professional contacts, manuscript critiques, networking and fellowship.  Many an unpublished manuscript has been refocused, redefined, rewritten and  published after its author attended a class or workshop.  The information below was compiled by Oak Park author, June Sengpiehl.   June lives in Oak Park, with her husband, Paul.  She writes poetry, articles, picture  books and chapter books. Her special interests are mysteries and fairy tales. Her email is





1700 Crain Street. Evanston, IL

Instructor: Laura Montenegro,Author/Illustrator

Workshop dates to be announced. 

Are you an author who would like to explore illustration?  Or an illustrator who wants to write

a picture book story that really works? Or an author/illustrator who would like to create a book

dummy that you can send to agents and publishers? These three areas: writing, illustrating and book design, are at the core of picture  book making study.  This summer, Laura Montenegro will be leading pop-up workshops at her studio in Evanston, Illinois.  These workshops will be the

laboratory for playful experimentation and growth, addressing many of the challenges that we as picture book makers face in our work.

Beginners as well as the very experienced are invited to attend. 

For more information, please contact:

Laura Montenegro at:,


Upcoming: Fall 2017, September 7-9, 2017

Peninsula School of Art

Door County, Wisconsin

Book reservations now.

For more information, please contact:

Laura Montenegro at:,

instagram: lauranymanmontenegro


Creativity Camp Writing Session for children aged 9 to 12

July 10 to July 14, 2017, 9 am to 12 pm

Mayslake Peabody Estate

1717 W. 31st Street

Oak Brook, IL 60523

Instructor: Carmela Martino, Author

Carmela Martino will be teaching the writing portion of a new Creativity Camp to be

held this summer. An optional drawing and painting session will run from 1 to 4 pm.

For more information, see  the right sidebar of the Writing Classes page of

Carmela’s website.




The Newberry Library

60 W. Walton Street, Chicago, IL  312  255-3700

Ready,Set,Go! - Using Marketing Tools to Revise Your Children’s Book Manuscript

Wednesday evenings,June 7, 14, 21,28,2017,  5:45 -7:45 pm

Instructor: Author/ Writing Coach Esther Hershenhorn 

It’s easy to get lost when revising your manuscript for publishing consideration. Except, the

required accompanying synopsis, pitch and query letter can also serve as your GPS for

finding your way through the revision process! Fine-tune these tools in this hands-on

workshop to “recalculate” and  take control so you can fine-tune your manuscript.

 Agent/editor discovery resources are included.  Open to children’s book writers of all

formats and genres with a manuscript close to submission.

Visit: to register



The Manuscript Workshop

July 9 to 14, 2017

Landgrove Inn, VT

Instructor/Facilitator: Author/Childrens Bpp Writers Coach Esther Hershenhorn

This small Sunday night through Friday workshop honors Barbara Seuling’s love and knowledge of writing for children, dedication to craft and personal investment in her writers and their stories.  Set in the magic-making Green Mountains, writers of all genres are offered up  close and personal learning, writing and connoting opportunities to take their existing manuscripts to the desired Next Level.

Interested writers can visit and to learn more and/or email:  Esther Hershenhorn at with any questions.

For more information abut the beautiful historic Inn, visit



Writing For The Educational Market

Highlights Foundation

Boyds Mills, PA

June 25 to 29, 2017

Instructors: Paula Morrow and Jan Fields

Paula Morrow may have moved out of state but still considers herself a Chicagoan at heart so she’s sharing this news about the workshop she and Jan Fields are co-leading.  Previous participants have built successful careers in this niche, some with multiple book deals. This workshop covers both fiction and nonfiction, and each participant will go home with a submissions package.  Bonus: the weekend includes in-person visits from two acquiring book editors.  Scholarships are available. 

For further information visit the Highlights Foundation web page or email Paula if

you have questions:



Summer at ECC (the Kids College)

Elgin Community College

1700 Spartan Drive, Building K

Elgin, IL 60123

June 19,20,21,22, 2017, 9 am to 1 pm

Instructor: Author Norm Cowie


Sessions include Being A Writer, Crafting

a Story, Finding Your Funny Bone and

Writing YA.

To register: 847  214-7123



The following classes are taught by  Michelle Kogan

Email Michelle with any questions at:

Evanston Art Center

1717 Central Street

Evanston, IL 

For registration,  call (847) 475-5300 or visit:


Figures and Nature Drawing/Painting #0158, #0159

Two- 6 Week Sessions

Starts Monday June 12th, 2017, 9:30 to 12:30pm

Starts Monday, July 24th, 2017, 9:30 to 12:30 pm

Using drawing and painting mediums we’ll begin with the figure and add nature

elements to your compositions.  Bring in images of nature—drawn or photos.  Each

class will begin with warm up sketches. Instruction will focus on creating strong

compositions, anatomy, materials, color and combining figures in nature.  This

class will have a life model.

All Levels. Ages 18+.  EAC Member $210/Non-member $200



Watercolors: Materials, Composition & Technique  #EO160A,  #EO160B

Two- 6 Week Sessions

Starts Tuesday, June 13th, 2017, 9:30 to 12:30 pm.

Starts Tuesday, August 1st, 2017, 9:30 to 12:30 pm. 

Class focuses on creating vibrant paintings with strong compositions using watercolor

tubes, and watercolor pencils. Instruction includes demos on watercolor techniques-

applying transparent versus opaque watercolor, washes and painting wet in wet

All Levels. Ages 16+ EAC Member $185/Non-Member $205


Children’s Picture Book Illustration #0153- 12 week Session

Starts Wednesday, June 14,  2017, 9:30 to 12:30 pm

Choose a classic children’s picture book or bring in your own picture book story and learn about

making sequential scenes and creating a picture book dummy. The  class will cover creating thumbnail layouts, storyboarding and using a scanner/computers to create the book dummies.  Bring to 1st class: 9 x 12 inch or larger sketchbook and tracing paper pad, kneaded eraser, 3 staedtler mars #3b drawing pencils, pencil sharpener and reference materials for your picture book drawings.

All Levels. Ages 18+, EAC Member, $370/Non-member $390


Tropical Plein Air

2   3 day Classes, Thursday 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

A: June 15, 22. 29, 2017 #9005A; B: July 13, 20, 27, 2017, #9005B

We’ll draw/paint inside/outside the Lincoln Park Conservatory or the Chicago Botanic

Garden. Work in watercolors, drawing mediums, or acrylics.  Focus includes instruction on creating quick thumbnail sketches, composition and color.  Materials: small sketchbook, Staedtler #3b pencils, kneaded eraser; see posted list for all materials.

All Levels.  Ages 16+ EAC Member $90/Non-member $110


Create  a Zine #0211

1—4 week Class, Friday 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

July 7,13,21 & 28, 2017

Zines are mini magazines that are self-published-using copy machines, having a specific

focus.  Many zine’s contain art, writing-poetry, short stories, and book/movie reviews,

When you’ve discovered your topic, gather material to use for your zine: poetry, writing

and art.  When researching  make sure you look for images/writing in the “Public

Domain.”  Format: 8.5 x 11 inch paper- folded in half to make 5.5 x 8.5 inch pages,

stapled on side.

Ages: 11-Adult, EAC Member $125/Non-member $145 


Michelle Kogan also works independently with students; email her to arrange



The Fiction Writer’s Toolbox

New Trier West High School Extension Division, Northfield

July 11 to August 15, 2017, 1 pm to 3 pm.   

Instructor: Pamela Dell, Author

Cost: $189/ Seniors $170

To master the art of writing fiction it’s essential to have a good handle on the tools of the trade—the elements of craft, including  characterization, scene-setting, dialog, and other essential writerly skills.  In this hands-on, writer-friendly workshop, participants will have the opportunity to strengthen these skills and take their work to a higher level through in-class writing prompts and take-home exercises.  Each session will also include critiques of participants' work, including professional editorial feedback. Many would be authors aren’t aware of what they’re doing wrong and this class will go a long way to remedy that.  

For more information, 847 446-6600 and to see the catalog or register on line:



The following institutions also offer classes and workshops for writers and illustrators.  Specific class information was not available at time of publication.


Lake Forest, IL

Phone (847) 234-1063 or visit www.ragdale



Elgin, IL

Regular writing workshop plus weekend special-topic workshops

Phone (847) 697-1000, Ext 7578







August 11, 4 pm to August 13, 2017, 4 pm

Words in the Woods

East Bay Camp at Lake Bloomington

24248 Roy Smith Memorial Highway

Hudson, Illinois



Indiana SCBWI Summer Kick-Off Retreat

June 2 to June 3, 2017

Potawatomi State Park

6 Ln150 Lake James

Angola, Indiana



Farmington Hills Shop Talk

May 6, June 3, 2017, 10 am  to 12 pm

Heritage Park Visitors Center

24915 Farmington Rd.

Farmington Hills, MI


Ann Arbor Shop Talk             

June 24,July 29, August 26, 2017, 10 am to 12 pm

AADL Downtown

343 S. 5th Avenue

Ann Arbor, MI



Peer Critique Meeting

June 17, 2917. 10 am to 12 pm

Brecksville Library

9089 Brecksville Rd.

Brecksville, Ohio



Young At Heart Writing Workshop

June 10, 2017, 10 am to 4 pm

Write on Door County

4177 Juddville Rd.

Juddville, WI


MG/YA Meetup

May 17,June 21, July 19,August 16, 2017, 7 to 8 pm


961 S. Park St.

Madison, WI




46th Annual Summer Conference

July 7 to 10, 2017

Los Angeles, California

Visit for faculty, registration and information.






Honesdale, PA

Conferences include seminars, small-group workshops, and one-on-one sessions with some of the most accomplished, prominent and supportive authors, illustrators, editors, critics and publishers of the world of children’s literature, all determined to help authors and illustrators meet their goals

To register:


Writing The Unreal: The Whole Novel Workshop in Fantasy & Speculative Fiction

May 7 to May 14, 2017

Please note: this workshop is full. Send us an email to join our waiting list! Designed for anyone with a. . .


Crafting Successful Author Visits

May 7 to May 12, 2017

Create and deliver an impressive school visit with our faculty by your side.  School visits are a powerful way to. . .


Whole Novel Workshop: Historical Fiction 2017

May 14 to May 20, 2017

A concentrated week of revision for historical fiction novelists.This workshop provides novelists in middle grade or young adult historical. . .


Defining Your Voice

May 18 to May 21, 2017

Defining what ‘voice’ means may be subjective, but defining  your voice is not,  As a reader,you know ‘voice’ is. . .


Capturing the Unexpected: Beginning Your Novel—Right

May 28 to June 3, 2017

Please note: this workshop is full.  Send us an email to join our waiting list! For all novelists as  they. . .


Novels in Verse: Take your Manuscript to the Next Level: Intermediate and Advanced Tracks

June 4 to June 8, 2017

Have a finished novel in verse and need strategies for revision? Or do you have a novel in verse. . .


Capturing Character: Hear Their Voices

June 8 to June 11, 2017

Bring your cast of characters to life through this dynamic workshop! Readers (and editors) are clamoring for character-driven stories.  Character informs. . .

Your Guide to Graphic Novels

June 11 to June 14, 2017

Have an idea for a graphic novel or comic book? Join us to learn about the narrative style of this. . .


2017 Artists-in-Residency Honoree: Kathryn Erskine

June 9 to June 13, 2017

Our Artists-in-Residence program celebrates the commitment these authors and illustrators have made in the field of children’s literature.  Our 2017. . .


Middle Grade Mysteries 

June 15 to  June 18, 2017

For writers eager to begin or complete a mystery for middle grade readers,  Children love to cozy up with a. . .


On The Bookshelf: Reading With and Writing for Children

June 16 to June 18, 2017

 A hands-on workshop bringing education, authors, and illustrators together to celebrate picture books.  Deepen your understanding of the world of. . .


Self or Indie Publishing: Answering the Big Questions

June 19 to June 22, 2017

Considering self or indie publishing? Let us help you prepare. Thanks to advances in technology, it’s easier  than it’s ever. . . 


PB&J: Picture Books And All That Jazz

June 22  to June 25, 2017

Go beyond the basics to understand the “whys” behind current picture book bestsellers. Everyone loves picture books! But writing stories. . .


The Hero’s Journey

June 25 to June 28, 2017

Strengthen your story with this highly celebrated archetypal narrative plot structure.  Join author Jillian Sullivan on a journey through your. . .


Writing for the Educational Market

June 25 to June 29, 2017

Would you like to have editors actually contacting you and asking you to write for them? Welcome to the educational . . .


Summer Camp At the  Barn: A Week of Creative Mentorship

July 9 to July 14, 2017

Keynotes, workshops and a creative member to provide one-on-one support.  The HighlightFoundation tackles summer camp a bit differently than. . .


Master Class In Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adult

July 16 to July 20, 2017

Work with our talented group of mentors to explore factual writing! Nonfiction matters. Publishers crave it.  Teachers and librarians need. . .


Super Children’s Book Boot Camp

July 20 to July 23, 2017

Finish your picture book and get it ready for submission!  Designed for authors and illustrators with a picture book project. . .


Revision Retreat

August 5 to August 9, 2017

Intended for writers wanting to revise a draft of a manuscript and explore proven techniques for self-editing,  In this working. . .


Whole Novel Workshop

August 13 to August 19, 2017

Revise and polish your novel in preparation for submission.  Take your novel to the next level! Our instructors will challenge. . .


Carolyn P. Yoder’s Alumni Retreat

August 19 to August 26,2017

Please note that this workshop is full.  Send us an email to join our waiting list!  A special and unusual retreat. . .


2017 Artist-in-Residency Honoree: Matt de la Pena

August 23 to August 27, 2017

Our Artists-in-Residence program celebrates the commitment these authors and illustrators have made to the field of children’s literature.  Our 2017. . .  


For all workshops, phone (877) 512-8365 with questions.  To register or to request  more

information, e-mail Jo Lloyd, Program Assistant,




Off Campus Writer’s Workshops Winter 2015

Winnetka Community House

620 Lincoln


Join the writing group that will help you start your first or finish your seventh novel, memoir, non-fiction, young adult or children’s book.  OCWW meets Thursday mornings 9:30 am  to 12:00 pm and provides professional workshops from September to May each year, featuring current authors, editors, professors and publishers.  Per session fee $15. (Members $10 with yearly membership).   Yearly membership @$30 entitles members to reduced session fees, manuscript critiques by presenters, and member critique groups.  Our final meeting the first Thursday in May each year presents a panel of publishers and agents who provide vital information for all authors.

Check our website for further information,  







Montpelier, VT

July, January

11-day intensive residencies in July and January on campus alternate with 5 month

nonresident projects  (4 semesters, 5residencies).  Faculty includes M. T. Anderson, Kathi Appelt, Marion Dane Bauer, Sharon Darrow, Ellen Levine and Norma Fox Mazer

Contact Melissa Fisher at (800) 336-6794, Ext. 8637 or e-mail or visit the website at





with a Concentration in Writing For Children

Semesters begin in May or October

Program is 4 semesters, 5 residencies

Contact Graduate Admissions at (800) 896-8941, Ext. 2423 or e-mail: or visit the website at




Cambridge, MA

Offering a concentration in Writing for Young People

Semesters begin in January and June

Program is 4 semesters, 5 residencies

Contact Jana M. Van der Veer

Assistant Director, Advising and Student Services

[LINK: mail to:]





1536 Hewitt Avenue

Saint Paul, MN 55104

Semesters begin in January and July

Program is 4 semesters, 5 residencies

Office phone: (651) 523-2047, Fax: (651) 523-2490

For questions, call (651) 523-2900 or e-mail








Correspondence courses and access to articles, tips, chat room discussions on writing. 





“Fundamentals of Writing For Children”  (12 week beginning course)

“Focus Course in Writing For Children” (14 week intermediate course)

For details and starting dates on these workshops and other Writer’s Digest Online Courses, visit


Illustrating Children’s Picture Books

On going, online course, five weeks  

Cost: $300

Instructors: Denise Holmes

Sabina Radeva www.sabinaradeva,com

This course covers creating characters, book dummies. anatomy of a picture book,

finalizing sketches to book covers.  Feedback will be given on all assignments to

encourage students along the way.  By the end of the course, students will have

completed a book dummy and 2 finalized color spreads for their portfolio.

Course information:’s-picture-books/

Discount for rea