Area Classes, Retreats, and Workshops

Fall 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  Many an unpublished manuscript has been refocused, redefined, rewritten and  published after its author attended a class or workshop.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

Faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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 Fall, Laura Montenegro will be leading pop-up workshops at her studio in Evanston, Illinois.  These workshops will be  a 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.



Peninsula School of Art

Fish Creek, Wisconsin, 


Sept. 7,8,9, 2017,  9:00 am to 4 pm

Media: Drawing and Mixed Media

Skill Level: Level II to III

Instructor: Laura Montenegro, Author and Illustrator

Tuition: Members: $385/Non-Members $420

Register on line or by phone: 920-868-3455


Concept: Explore the world of visual storytelling in this engaging workshop.

Focusing on the relationship between word, image, pacing, format and design, you will create a hand bound picture book dummy based on a concept of your choosing.  A variety of styles, materials and  techniques used in book illustration will be covered, as well as the children’s book publishing process. 

Experience: Laura will share her experience and techniques trough discussion, demonstrations, exercises, and individualized feedback as you develop your ideas and put them on paper.

Click for supply list.  

For more information, please contact:

Laura Montenegro at:,




425 Fawell Blvd.

Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Instructor: Carmela Martino,  Author

One-day Workshop: Turning Life Into Fiction

Saturday October 21, 2017  9 am to 3 pm

Course ID: HUMNT-0002-003

Cost: $89

Please bring a sack lunch.

This one-day workshop will introduce you to techniques for creating fiction based on your own

life events, or those of others.  Learn how to mine your past for story ideas and details that

will bring your fiction to life.  Find our how to create compose characters from  real people

and turn anecdotes into stories that have a beginning, middle and end.

For more information, see:



The Newberry Library

60 W. Walton Street, Chicago, IL 

“Picture This: Writing Picture Books For Children

Wednesday evenings,October 4 to November 15, 2017,  5:45 -7:45 pm

Instructor: Author and Children’s Book Writing Coach Esther Hershenhorn 

This workshop focuses on how to create and write a successful children’s picture book

that connects with both young readers and today’s ever-changing marketplace. 

Participants’ manuscripts will be shared and discussed to highlight the variety of picture books and structures, craft, the writing process and publishing opportunities. Writers of all levels will be offered a supportive, challenging and encouraging environment.

For more information or to register, visit:  or call 312 255-3700



The Writers Studio, University of Chicago,

The Graham School of Continuing Liberal and

Professional Studies

The  Gleacher Center, 450 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive, (Between Illinois St. and North Water St.), Chicago 60611

Publishing Your Book for Children and Young Adults

Thursdays, November 30, to  December 7,2017, 6 pm to 9 pm

Instructor: Author and Writing Coach Esther Hershenhorn

If you’re thinking about writing a children’s book, either fiction or nonfiction, this two-session seminar will both ground you in today’s children’s book world and help you move forward in

readying your book for readers.  Session one will focus on publishing possibilities and

opportunities—the segments, formats, genres, marketplace and reader considerations. After sharing up to five double-spaced pages of a book proposal or first chapter, session two will focus on providing group and instructor feedback to assess three areas—a story’s likely audience, format, and marketability. 

To register, visit



Off Campus Writers Workshop

Winnetka Community Center

620 Lincoln Ave

Winnetka, IL

Children’s Book Writing Group 101: THE WHO,WHAT, WHEN, WHERE,WHY AND HOW!

Thursday, November 9,2017, 9:30 to noon.

The word group  is both a noun AND a verb.  Author and Children’s Book Writing Coach Esther Hershenhorn shares Writing Group basics, opportunities, and possibilities, highlighting actions children’s book-writing members can take so all in the group successfully navigate the creative process and their Children’s Book World.

Individual critiques are not available. 

However, two manuscripts from those submitted will be selected for group presentation and discussion. Writers can submit- between October 16 and October 20- up to five pages of a picture book or the first chapter of a chapter book (early chapter, mg, YA ,nonfiction)+

story description/summary. Email the pages as an attachment to

Label the subject head “Manuscript for Nov. 9 OCWW Presentation.”

For more information visit

For a full list of all OCWW programming, which starts in September, visit



Writers Support Group

Vernon Area  Public Library

300 Olde Half Day Rd.

Lincolnshire, IL

Second Wednesday of each month, 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm

Moderator: Allan Woodrow

Sept. 13, 2017

How a Simple Question Became a Novel. . .and then a Series.

Author  and Northwestern professor Susanna Calkins will share the inspiration behind her award-winning historical mysteries and her own path to publication.  She will discuss strategies for moving a story forward and engaging readers, no matter the genre of writing.


Supporting all genres of writing we critique work, have monthly “homework  shares” and meet for support and inspiration.  Visit our page on for more information,


The following classes are taught by  Michelle Kogan

Email Michelle with any questions at:


Evanston Art Center

1717 Central Street

Evanston, IL 60201 

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


Figures And Nature Drawing. Painting #0158, 0159

Two- 6 Week Sessions

Starts Monday, Sept. 11th, 2017, 9:30 to 12:30 pm

Starts Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, 9:30 to 12:30 pm.

Using drawing and painting mediums we’ll begin with the figure and ad 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 $230


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

Two 6 Week Sessions

Starts Tuesday, Sept. 12th – 2017, , 9:30 to 12:30 pm.

Starts Tuesday, Oct, 24th,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. 16+ EAC Member $185/Non-Member $205


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

Starts Wednesday, Sept. 13th, 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 thumbnail layouts, storyboarding and using a scanner/computers to create the book dummies.  Bring to 1st class: 9 x 12 inch or larger sketchbook, 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



 Plein Air in the City

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

A. Sept. 28th, Oct. 5 & 12th, 2017,#9005A; B. Oct, 19th & 26th & Nov. 2, 2017, #9005B

We’ll draw/paint inside/outside garden venues, in and outside the city including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, and Lurie Garden and others.  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, also see posted list for all materials.

Ages 16+  EAC Member Rate $90. Non-Member Rate $110


Create a Zine #0211

1-4 week Class, Friday Oct. 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th, 2017, 9:30 to 12:30 pm

Zines are mini magazines that are self-published-using copy machines, having a specific focus.  Many zines contain art, writing-poetry, short stories, and book/movie reviews.  When you’ve discovered your topic, gather material 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




Pen & Ink & Dr. Martin Watercolor #9026

Saturday, Oct. 14th, 2017, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm

Create studies and one finished piece using dip pens, micron pens, brush pens, and Dr. Martin watercolors.  The instructor will provide a still life, or you can bring in still life material. A material list will be posted.

Skill Level: All Levels, Ages 18+, EAC Member $135/Non-member $155 


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



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



November 4, 2017, 9 am to 6 pm

Prairie Writer’s & Illustrator’s Day 2017

Wojcik Conference Center, Harper College

1200 W. Algonquin Road

Palatine, Illinois



October 21, 2017 9 am to 4:15 pm

Indiana Superstars Fall Conference

Books Elementary School

12451 Brooks School Road

Fishers, Indiana


Illustrator’s Critique Meeting

August 28, 2017, 7 to 9 pm

Barnes & Noble

8675 River Road Crossing Blvd.

Indianapolis, IN




Storytelling! Unlock Your Superpowers

   2017 Fall Conference

October 13, 2017,1:00 to October 15, 2017, 5:00 pm

Hilton Doubletree

350 1st Avenue

Cedar Rapids, Iowa



Gathering on the Grand

September 15 & 16, 2017

L V. Eberhard Center

301 West Fullerton Street

Grand Rapids, MI


Ann Arbor Shop Talk             

September 23, November 18, 2017, 10 am to 12 pm

AADL Downtown

343 S. 5th Avenue

Ann Arbor, MI



2017 Fall Retreat Conference

September 15 to September 17, 2017,

Chula Vista Resort

2501 River Road

Wisconsin Dells, WI


MG/YA Meetup

Oct. 25, Nov,15,Dec. 13, 2017, 7  to 8 pm


961 S. Park St.

Madison, WI



19th Annual Winter Conference

February 2 to 4, 2018

New York, New York

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:


Illustration Intensive

September 7 to 10, 2017

Immerse yourself in Illustration techniques and gain tools for storytelling.  Learn more (

Faculty: Adriana Dominguez, Elizabeth Rose Stanton, Giuseppe Castellano, James Ransome, Lori Nichols, Mike Curato



Historical Realities in Fiction for Children

September 14 to 17, 2017

Build an understanding of the role of writing stories to process historical narratives.

Learn more (http://www.highlights


Faculty: Donna Jo Napoli, Marilisa Jimenez Garcia



The Journey: Your Path to Publication

September 24 to 27, 2017

Engagement, collaboration, mentorship and a rekindling of joy in your path to


Learn more (


Faculty: Don Tate, Carmen Oliver. Special Guests: Floyd Cooper, Kelly Starling Lyons



Artist-in-Residency: Denise Fleming

October 1 to 5, 2017

Spend time working on your project and come together with Denise for meals and

informal feedback.  Learn more (



Books With Bite Workshop and Retreat

Writing Horror and Haunted Novels

October 4 to 8,2017

Have your work critiqued, produce new pages and come away with solid direction.  Learn more (http://www,highlights–horror-and-haunted-novels-2017/)

Faculty: Nova Ren Suma,Micol Ostow




Picture Book Illustration: From Conception to Birth

October 6 to 8, 2017

A down-to-earth, hands-on workshop for the  illustrator who’s looking for the inside track, packed with valuable pointers and solid advice. Learn more (http://

Faculty: Tim Gillner


The Art & Craft of Nature Writing & Illustration

October 8 to 11, 2017

Discover nature and stories through guided observations, research and mentoring.

Learn more (

Faculty: Julie Zickefoose, Kate Garchinsky. Special Guest: Laurence Pringle 



The Joke’s on You! The Scoop on Humor, Middle Grade through YA.  Learn to manipulate humor in your writing, grow your characters, enliven your setting, and add momentum and energy to your story.  Learn more ( 

Faculty: Uma Krishnaswami, Cynthia Leitich. Special Guests: Elizabeth Harding, Ginger Knowlton, Sean Petrie



The  Craft and Heart of Writing Poetry for Children

October 15 to 19, 2017

If you have a passion for writing children’s poetry, then please join us. Beginning poets, seasoned writers, teachers and dreamers are all welcome. Learn more ( 

Faculty: Rebecca Kai Dotlich,Georgia Heard. Special Guest: Rebecca Davis


The Fundamentals of Writing Biography

October 19 to 22, 2017

Engage children in the lives of others through  captivating events and compelling narrative threads.  Learn more (

Faculty: Bethany Hegedus, Cynthia Levinso.  Special Guests: Kandace Coston, AG Frd (via Skype).


Digital Storytelling: Techniques for Creating Engaging Experiences On Screens

October 22 to 24, 2017

Join us to review the latest chlldren’s digital products, with an emphasis on language, literacy and digital storytelling.  Learn more (

Faculty: Waren Buckleitner. Special Guest: Katie Paciga



Getting Your Middle Grade Novel Unstuck

October 25 to 29, 2017

An intimate workshop for middle grade authors looking to explore or revise and

polish a work in progress.  Learn more ( )

Faculty: Chris Tebbetts. Elise Broach. Special Guest: Aubrey Poole


DIY Repair Kit for Writers: Get Your Fixer-Upper Ready to Sell

October 26 to 29, 2017

A hand-on workshop for novelists ready to deconstruct and rebuild their manuscripts.

Learn more (

Faculty: Mitali Perkins, Susan Campbell Bartoletti



Artist-in-Residence: Varian Johnson

November 10 to 14, 2017

Spend time working on your project and come together with Varian for meals and

informal feedback. Learn more (




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 2017

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