The Alumnx Mini-Residency (AMR) offers opportunities for alumnx to participate in faculty craft lectures, workshops (if you want them), critique opportunities, panels with top editors and agents, and professional practice workshops to guide you toward the sweet spot of your writing life.

Join us April 5-7, 2024 to reconnect with old classmates, meet new kidlit friends, and thrive in the unique community bond that VCFA creates. Wherever you are in your writing journey, you’ll find something here for you—looking for a new crit group? Start here. Are you looking for a mentor? Do you want to be a mentor? No matter your graduation date, you’re part of the continuum of kidlit writers able to help someone else with your experience or benefit from the advice from someone who’s already where you want to be.

Guest Author

Lauren Wolk is best known for her novels, including the New York Times bestselling and Newbery Honor-winning Wolf Hollow (2016), its sequel, My Own Lightning (2022), the Scott O’Dell Award-winning Beyond the Bright Sea (2017), and Echo Mountain (2020). She anticipates the publication of her next books – a novel and two picture books – in 2025. Over the past four decades, she has also worked as a writer at the St. Paul American Indian Center, a senior editor with the educational publisher Nelson Canada, a high school English and Creative Writing teacher, Assistant Director at the Cape Cod Writers Center, and, from 2007-2022, Associate Director of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. She has led writing workshops for students of all ages. Wolk is also a visual artist represented by the Larkin Gallery (Harwich Port and Provincetown, Massachusetts), an arts advocate, and an award-winning poet.

Workshop Opportunities

VCFA Faculty Workshop Instructors: Evan Griffith, Corey Ann Haydu, Mary Quattlebaum

For those interested, the AMR offers an opportunity to participate in a workshop with a VCFA faculty member. Workshop sessions will offer constructive critiques, writing exercises, and prompts. To join a workshop, please prepare a 10-page submission, plus a 1-page synopsis for your whole novel. Each workshop is limited to 8 participants for a total of 24 available seats.

Editor & Agent Critiques

Additionally, interested participants may opt for a critique from participating agents and editors. Critique slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited to 8 writers per editor/agent for a total of 24 available slots. Critique submissions are 10-pages in manuscript format, plus a 1-page synopsis for your whole novel.

Kelly Dyksterhouse (agent)

Feather Flores (editor)

Amanda Maciel (editor)


Fiction and Non-fiction IP (or Work For Hire) for Emerging Readers: A Conversation with Authors and Editors.

We will introduce some wonderfully imaginative people who work in creating books, often series, for younger readers using the model of IP. For those who don’t quite know what that is, “IP” stands for Intellectual Property and usually means books where the publisher comes up with the concept, and often a detailed outline for a book or series of books (more often), sometimes with a licensed character (ie, Marvel characters) and then hires a writer, or a group of writers to do the writing. We will talk about the advantages to both publishers and authors of this model, some red flags to look out for, the terminology, how work for hire actually works, royalty structures, what can be negotiated, and why it’s the bread-and-butter for so many authors while they also work on their own original concepts and projects.

Panelists: Kate Egan, Evan Griffith, and Jen Breach (WCYA ’24), MacKenzie Cadenhead

Moderator: Victoria Wells Arms (WCYA ’19)


Query Bootcamp

In this hands-on workshop, Brianna Jett and Hannah Morgan Teachout introduce the purpose and process of querying and walk through the components of query letters, including explanations, examples, and exercises to build the blocks of your pitch and query. At the end, you’ll walk away with a rough draft of a query letter and time at the end to revise it or ask questions. The course is designed for all writers, no matter what stage in their career: new, agented, or published. Pitching never stops! Please bring laptops and/or writing utensils and be ready to write!

Moderators: Hannah Teachout and Brianna Jett are 2022 VCFA WCYA grads. Brianna is a mentor with PEN America’s Prison and Justice Writing program and spent much of last year as an intern at the Tobias Literary Agency. Hannah interned with TLA as well and is currently a literary assistant at Folio Literary Management.


Basic Registration = $100

Workshop (optional) = $100

Critique (optional) = $85


Jim Hill (WCYA ’14)
AMR Director
[email protected]

Sarah Madru
Associate Director for Alumnx & Community Engagement
[email protected]