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!

Join us March 22-24, 2019 on the beautiful campus of Vermont College of Fine Arts for a craft-focused weekend with renowned faculty!

No matter where you are in your writing project, the retreat offers lectures and discussions interspersed between blocks of unstructured time to work, ensuring a productive and inspirational weekend for all.

Participants can choose between solitude and quiet time to work on their current projects, or writing time with added feedback and workshop options. All participants may attend lectures and panels with our esteemed guests, and for an additional cost, participants can opt for a writing consult or put their first chapters under the editorial microscope for a critique with our guest authors or editor. Participants and faculty will share meals, and evenings will be filled with readings, a lecture from our VCFA alumni guest, and an open mic session.

Writing Track

The Writing Track offers writers time and space for working on new pages or revision. Lectures and discussions are open to all. 

Critique Track

The Critique Track includes small, informal critique groups with your peers, and an opportunity for feedback on ten pages of creative work in a one-on-one meeting with A.S. King, or a thirty-minute manuscript consult with Malinda Lo. 

Workshop Track

The Novel Openings Workshop will be led by Linda Camacho and Tirzah Price. It will include feedback from both workshop leaders, and the workshop sessions will offer constructive critiques, writing exercises, and prompts. To join this workshop, please prepare a 10-page submission, plus a 1-page synopsis for your whole novel. Limit to 12 participants.

Editor Critiques

For an additional cost, participants from either track can put their first chapters (up to ten pages) under the editorial microscope with a critique from Scholastic editor Erin Black. Critique slots are filled in the order of applications received. Limit to 12 participants.

Registration opens on November 1, 2018.


The fee includes accommodations (double or single occupancy) in the dorms at Vermont College of Fine Arts for Friday and Saturday nights. Meals are included from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch, with an optional Thursday night group dinner for an additional cost.

  • Writing Track expenses, room & board: $500.00 shared room, $555.00 single room
  • Critique Track expenses, room & board: $550.00 shared room, $605 single room
  • Workshop Track expenses, room & board: $600.00 shared room, $655 single room
  • Optional Critique with an Editor: $100.00
  • 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
  • Optional Thursday night group dinner: $25.00
  • Non-refundable deposit due upon registration: $200.00
  • Balance due by January 25, 2019


Applications will be accepted on November 1, 2018; please note the retreat fills quickly. There will be a waiting list in case of last-minute cancellations.

Manuscripts for critique and workshop are due by January 25, 2019. Please include a one-page synopsis with all novel submissions.


New this year! We are pleased to offer a limited number of partial, need-based scholarships to offset the cost of the retreat. To apply, please compose a letter no longer than one page detailing the following:

  • Your writing background
  • What you’re currently working on
  • What you hope to achieve during the retreat

BIPOC and LGBTQ+ writers are especially encouraged to apply. All application information is confidential. At this time, partial scholarships can only be awarded to those who register for the retreat and pay the $200 registration fee. Please send your application in the body of an email with the subject heading NOVEL RETREAT SCHOLARSHIP to Retreat Director Tirzah Price at [email protected] by Friday, November 9, 2018. Scholarship award winners will be notified by Friday, November 16, 2018.

*This event was founded by VCFA MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults alumnae Sarah Aronson and Cindy Faughnan.



Tirzah Price

Retreat Director
Email: [email protected]

If you require any additional accommodations or need special arrangements, please contact [email protected].

Retreat Dates

  • March 22-24, 2019 (Optional early arrival March 21)

Registration Deadlines

  • Starting registration: November 1, 2018


  • Erin Black, Editor, Scholastic Press
  • Linda Camacho, Agent, Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency
  • A.S. King, VCFA Faculty
  • Malinda Lo, Author

View faculty bios