Programs

Donation to the Highlights Foundation

Open Dates

Unworkshop

Flexible Dates

Imagine your own private retreat in a picturesque setting – currently just $129/day! We believe all writers and artists can benefit from the gift of time: time to create and time to dream. That’s why we developed a program called “Unworkshops” that gives you the opportunity to create your own retreat. In an “Unworkshop,” time […]

Highlights Guests

Flexible Dates

The Journey: Your Path to Publication 2017

With Carmen Oliver, Don Tate, Floyd Cooper and Kelly Starling Lyons

September 24 - 27, 2017

Engagement, collaboration, mentorship, and a rekindling of joy in your path to publication. We’ve all quoted Emerson a time or two: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” But things get a bit less philosophical on our path to publication, don’t they? Suddenly we are so focused on the end…the destination…the PUBLICATION…that the journey becomes […]

2017 Artists-In-Residency Honoree: Denise Fleming

With Denise Fleming

October 1 - 5, 2017

Our Artists-in-Residence program celebrates the commitment these authors and illustrators have made to the field of children’s literature. Our 2017 Artists-in-Residency include Laurie Halse Anderson, Kathryn Erskine, Denise Fleming, Matt de la Peña and Varian Johnson. Each artist-in-residence will spend five days at the Highlights Foundation Retreat Center working on projects for publication. To raise […]

Books With Bite Workshop And Retreat: Writing Horror And Haunted Novels 2017

With Micol Ostow and Nova Ren Suma

October 4 - 8, 2017

In this unique four-day workshop, you will have your work critiqued, produce new pages, and come away with solid direction for your novel. Horror and heart-pounding suspense… Ghost stories and serial killers…Psychological thrillers, Gothic tales, dark magical realism, and the occult. Dark and twisty kidlit has enjoyed a recent revival. If you’re writing a young […]

Oct 5-8 Retreat

October 5 - 8, 2017

A retreat to unworkshop, which Lauren Castillo organized.

Picture Book Illustration: From Conception to Birth 2017

With Tim Gillner

October 6 - 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. Picture book illustration is a highly competitive field. Art directors and editors are not only looking for the illustrator with the right style for a particular book. The edge goes to the professional who’s confident […]

The Art and Craft of Nature Writing and Illustration 2017

With Julie Zickefoose, Kate Garchinsky and Laurence Pringle

October 8 - 11, 2017

Discover nature and stories through guided observations, research, and mentoring. In order to help children and young adults foster a connection with the natural world, we must be truly connected as adults. We owe it to the world – the Earth – to share this connection, this gift with our children. It is our responsibility […]

The Joke’s On You! The Scoop On Humor, Middle Grade through YA 2017

With Cynthia Leitich Smith, Uma Krishnaswami, Elizabeth Harding, Ginger Knowlton and Sean Petrie

October 12 - 15, 2017

Learn to manipulate humor in your writing, grow your characters, enliven your setting, and add momentum and energy to your story. In this hands-on workshop designed for intermediate-level writers of middle grade through young adult, participants will use a range of classic and contemporary published work as well as workshop manuscripts to study the many […]

The Craft and Heart of Writing Poetry for Children 2017

With Georgia Heard, Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Rebecca Davis

October 15 - 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. Would you love to work in an intimate setting with published poets, make new friends, and immerse yourself in writing poetry and working on the craft? Then this workshop is for you. […]

The Fundamentals of Writing Biography 2017

With Bethany Hegedus and Cynthia Levinson

October 19 - 22, 2017

Engage children in the lives of others through captivating events and compelling narrative threads. Now is the time to capture stories that reflect the human experience. What better way to engage a reader than to show them real history shapers, makers, and changers in biographies? Join Bethany Hegedus and Cynthia Levinson as they explore the […]

Digital Storytelling: Techniques for Creating Engaging Experiences on Screens 2017

With Warren Buckleitner, Kate Wilson and Katie Paciga

October 22 - 24, 2017

Join us to review the “dust” and the “magic” of the latest children’s digital products, with an emphasis on language, literacy, and digital storytelling. Workshops and/or demos of the latest apps will be given by Warren Buckleitner. Special guest presenters will be Kate Wilson CEO of Nosy Crow; Dr. Katie Paciga from Columbia College and […]

Getting Your Middle Grade Novel Unstuck 2017

With Chris Tebbetts, Elise Broach and Aubrey Poole

October 25 - 29, 2017

An intimate workshop for middle grade authors looking to explore or revise and polish a work in progress. Whether you’ve jotted down ideas for a novel but can’t get your story off the ground, you’re stuck in the middle of a draft with no idea of where to go next, or you’ve written most of […]

DIY Repair Kit for Writers: Get Your Fixer-Upper to Sell 2017

With Mitali Perkins and Susan Campbell Bartoletti

October 26 - 29, 2017

For published and pre-published authors who have a novel that needs to be renovated for sale. Have a fixer-upper manuscript? One with good bones but in need of some TLC? Then this workshop is for you! Join authors Mitali Perkins and Susan Campbell Bartoletti as they guide you through renovation boot camp. Each morning will […]

Master Class: Understanding “Close Third” Point of View 2017

With Patricia Lee Gauch and Shari Becker

November 2 - 5, 2017

Please note: this workshop is full. Send us an email to join our waiting list! Gain confidence in the “close third,” an intimate and emotionally powerful point of view. From Jane Austen and Mark Twain to Kate Di Camillo and J. K. Rowling, a great variety of authors use “close” or “personal” third to move […]

2017 Artists-in-Residency Honoree: Varian Johnson

With Varian Johnson

November 10 - 14, 2017

Our Artists-in-Residence program celebrates the commitment these authors and illustrators have made to the field of children’s literature. Our 2017 Artists-in-Residency include Laurie Halse Anderson, Kathryn Erskine, Denise Fleming, Matt de la Peña and Varian Johnson. Each artist-in-residence will spend five days at the Highlights Foundation Retreat Center working on projects for publication. To raise […]

Getting to Know Your Novel With Sarah Aronson 2018

With Sarah Aronson and Cori McCarthy

January 8 - 19, 2018

Give your novel the special attention it deserves with this long-form workshop: an activity-based web series paired with a guided writing retreat. We’d like to invite you to spend the first 3 months of 2018 workshopping your novel (either complete or in-progress) in this unique program led by author and writing teacher Sarah Aronson, with […]

Carolyn P. Yoder’s Alumni Retreat January 2018

With Carolyn P. Yoder

January 28 - February 4, 2018

A special and unusual retreat, open only to graduates of Carolyn P. Yoder’s workshops. Participants will come together for seven days and evenings to write, relax, eat, play, and then write some more.

Feb 4-10 Unworkshop Group 2018

February 4 - 10, 2018

Unworkshop days  for  friends - staying in the lodge.

Everything You Need To Know About Children’s Book Publishing: A Crash Course

With Harold Underdown

March 22 - 25, 2018

Join us for a special weekend: start writing or revising your children’s book and learn all you need to know about the children’s book industry! This intensive weekend is designed to give you a comprehensive look at how the children’s book publishing industry works. You will gain understanding of all processes associated with submitting, producing, […]

Novel Writing with Patti Gauch

With Patricia Lee Gauch

March 25 - 31, 2018

Move your novel to the next level with guidance from editor Patricia Lee Gauch.

Getting to Know Your Novel with Sarah Aronson 2018

With Sarah Aronson and Cori McCarthy

April 15 - 19, 2018

Give your novel the special attention it deserves with this long-form workshop: an activity-based web series paired with a guided writing retreat. We’d like to invite you to spend the first 3 months of 2018 workshopping your novel (either complete or in-progress) in this unique program led by author and writing teacher Sarah Aronson, with […]

Color, Light, Line, and Texture Hands-on Workshop 2018

With Denise Fleming and Ashley Wolff

April 26 - 29, 2018

Keynotes, workshops and a creative mentor to provide one-on-one support. The Highlights Foundation tackles summer camp a bit differently than with s’mores by the campfire and hiking in the woods (although those adventures are always on our schedule, too). To us, summer camp is a time to find the kind of encouragement for your writing […]

Crafting Successful Author Visits

With Peter P. Jacobi, Carmen Oliver and Jan Cheripko

April 29 - May 4, 2018

Create and deliver an impressive school visit with our faculty by your side. School visits are a powerful way to get your book into the hands of readers. But how do you take what you’ve written or illustrated and turn it into an attention-grabbing presentation for kids? In “Crafting Successful Author Visits,” you will learn […]

Writing and Revising Narrative Nonfiction 2018

With Deborah Heiligman, Barbara Kerley and Elizabeth Partridge

May 7 - 12, 2018

Learn narrative nonfiction storytelling skills and get the feedback you need to complete your revision. Please check back soon for more details!

Filling the Writer’s Toolbox: Tools for First Lines, Voice, Character, World Building, and Revision 2018

With Emma D. Dryden

May 12 - 17, 2018

Under the guidance of Emma Dryden you’ll prepare your manuscript for submission and gain a deep understanding of the fundamentals of writing for children. Please check back soon for more details! Also, please note that we are still adding faculty to this workshop.

Crafting a Dummy with Heart and Soul 2018

With Floyd Cooper

May 24 - 27, 2018

Find balance with words and pictures as you polish your picture book dummy for submission. Check back soon for details! Also, please note that we are still adding faculty to this workshop.

Chapter Books and Early Readers 2018

With Laurie Calkhoven

June 10 - 13, 2018

Gain understanding of the unique needs of books for children transitioning to independent readers. Please check back soon for more details! We are still adding faculty to this workshop.

Novel Beginnings: Building Strong Foundations for Your Novel and Your Career

With K.L. Going and Clara Gillow Clark

June 21 - 24, 2018

Get feedback on your novel AND guidance about your writing career from two experienced authors with great teaching and editing experience. This course is for you if: You are interested in writing novels for children and want to know how to get started. You have a novel in progress, and want expert feedback. You have […]

A Beginner’s Guide to Historical Fiction

June 21 - 24, 2018

Give your historical fiction novel a strong start by learning the fundamentals of this popular genre. Please check back soon for more details. We are still adding faculty to this workshop.

Getting to Know Your Picture Book

July 2 - 4, 2018

Give your picture book the special attention it deserves by pairing an activity-based web series with our guided picture book retreat. Please check back soon for more details. We are still adding faculty to this workshop.

Summer Camp at the Barn: A Week of Creative Mentorship 2018

July 8 - 13, 2018

Keynotes, workshops and a creative mentor to provide one-on-one support. The Highlights Foundation tackles summer camp a bit differently than with s’mores by the campfire and hiking in the woods (although those adventures are always on our schedule, too). To us, summer camp is a time to find the kind of encouragement for your writing […]

Master Class in Writing Nonfiction for Children & Young Adults 2018

July 15 - 19, 2018

Work with our talented group of mentors to explore factual writing! Nonfiction matters. Publishers crave it. Teachers and librarians need it. Nonfiction connects our children to the world. Stories about real people, real places, and really interesting world events are more important now than ever. Our master class explores nonfiction from many angles: the editorial, […]

Master class 2018

With Patricia Lee Gauch and Shari Becker

July 15 - 19, 2018

Work with our talented group of mentors to explore factual writing! Nonfiction matters. Publishers crave it. Teachers and librarians need it. Nonfiction connects our children to the world. Stories about real people, real places, and really interesting world events are more important now than ever. Our master class explores nonfiction from many angles: the editorial, […]

Revision Retreat 2018 | August 3 – August 7, 2018

With Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson

August 3 - 7, 2018

Intended for writers wanting to revise a draft of a manuscript and explore proven techniques for self-editing. In this working retreat, Harold Underdown and editor Eileen Robinson will teach proven techniques for self-editing and revising and help writers try them out on their manuscripts. Mornings will be dedicated to revision techniques and afternoons to optional […]

Whole Novel Workshop MG/YA 2018

With Sarah Aronson

August 12 - 18, 2018

Revise and polish your novel in preparation for submission. Take your novel to the next level! Our instructors will challenge you to look at your novel critically and to find openings and opportunities for revision. This comprehensive workshop includes one-on-one sessions, lectures, group discussions, and exercises to support and facilitate your creative process. The goal […]

Carolyn P. Yoder’s Alumni Retreat August 2018

With Carolyn P. Yoder

August 19 - 26, 2018

A special and unusual retreat, open only to graduates of Carolyn P. Yoder’s workshops. Participants will come together for seven days and evenings to write, relax, eat, play, and then write some more.