Writing Novels for Young People Retreat

The VCFA Writing Novels for Young People Retreat is a working weekend for serious writers of middle-grade and young adult books. If you want to take your writing to a new level in a condensed, dynamic weekend, please join our community!

What are you looking for? Feedback? Inspiration? Time to write?

There are two tracks for this craft-focused event: critique or writing. The critique track includes informal small critique groups and a one-on-one meeting with one of the chosen faculty members. The writing track offers the writer time and space for revision. Lectures and discussions are open to all. Evenings will include our annual Alumni lecture as well as an open mic session.

For an additional cost, 13 participants from either track can put their first chapters (up to ten pages) under the editorial microscope for a critique with the guest editor. Critique slots are filled by the order of applications received.

New This Year

Guided Workshop

Critique track writers have the opportunity to join a traditional self-guided workshop or a guided workshop led by Jill Santopolo and Sarah Aronson. To join this group, please prepare a 10 page submission, plus chapter to chapter synopsis for your whole novel. Jill and Sarah will email you feedback before the retreat begins. This workshop will include not just critique but also writing exercises and prompts.

To sign up:

Enroll in Critique Track and the Guided Workshop option.


The fee includes accommodations (double occupancy) in the dorms at Vermont College of Fine Arts for Friday and Saturday nights. Meals will be prepared by the New England Culinary Institute and Woodbelly Pizza.

  • Retreat expenses, room & board: $475.00
  • Deposit due upon registration: $200.00
  • Balance due by January 27, 2017: $275.00
  • Guided Workshop fee: $100.00
  • Optional Critique with an Editor: $50.00
  • If you would like to arrive on Thursday or would like a single room, that can be accommodated for an extra fee of $50.00


Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis beginning November 1, 2016. Participants are notified as they are included. Otherwise, applications and deposits will be returned. There is a waiting list in case of last minute cancellations.

Manuscripts for critique (10 pages) and workshop (20 pages) are due by January 27, 2017. Please include a synopsis.

Cancellation Policy: the $200 deposit will be refundable if the Retreat is able to fill the spot. No refund of the deposit for critique track after Jan 27, 2017.

Registration is now full. To be added to the waitlist, please email the Retreat Coordinator at sarah.n.aronson@gmail.com.


Sarah Aronson

Retreat Coordinator
417 Lee St
Evanston, Il 60202
Phone: (847) 868-4703
Email: sarah.n.aronson@gmail.com

Cindy Faughnan

Retreat Coordinator
Phone: (802) 649-2881
Email: faughnanc@yahoo.com

Retreat Date

March 16-19, 2017

Registration Deadlines

  • Starting registration: November 1, 2016


  • Kekla Magoon
  • Jill Santopolo
  • Margo Rabb
  • Grace Kendall

View faculty bios