March 27–29, 2020 (optional early arrival March 26)

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!

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

Participants will have solitude and quiet time to work on their current projects, with opportunities for feedback from our faculty via one-on-one meetings or workshop. All participants may attend lectures and panels with our esteemed guests, and for an additional cost participants can opt for a workshop or put their first chapters under the editorial microscope for a critique with our guest authors and editor. Participants and faculty share meals, and evenings are filled with readings, a lecture from our VCFA alumnx guest, and an open mic session.

Writing Track

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

Critique Track

The Critique Track includes an opportunity for feedback on 10 pages of creative work in a one-on-one meeting with our author guests.

Workshop Track

Workshop will be led by a VCFA faculty member and will include workshop sessions with constructive critiques and feedback. To join this workshop, please prepare a 10-page submission, plus a one-page synopsis for your whole novel. Limited to 8 participants.

Editor Critiques

For an additional cost, participants from either track can put their first chapters (up to 10 pages) under the editorial microscope with a critique from guest editor Dhonielle Clayton. Critique slots are filled in the order of applications received.



The fee includes accommodations (double occupancy) in VCFA dorms for Friday and Saturday nights. Meals are included from Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. Participants should plan on arriving by 5 pm on Friday, and the retreat will wrap up by 2 pm on Sunday. Participants can opt to arrive on Thursday afternoon and partake in an optional Thursday night group dinner for an additional cost.

  • Writing Track expenses, room & board: $500
  • Critique Track expenses, room & board: $600
  • Workshop Track expenses, room & board: $700
  • Optional Critique with Dhonielle Clayton: $100.00
  • Extra fee for single room: $50.00
  • Extra fee for early arrival on Thursday: $50.00
  • Optional Thursday night group dinner: $20.00
  • Non-refundable deposit due upon registration: $200.00

Balance due by January 24, 2020


Applications will be accepted starting November 1, 2019; please note the retreat fills quickly. There will be a waiting list in case of last-minute cancellations.

Manuscripts for author and editor critiques and workshop submissions are due by January 24, 2020. Please include a one-page synopsis with all novel submissions. Instructions on how to submit will follow your registration confirmation.


We are pleased to offer a $250 need-based scholarship 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. 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, October 25, 2019. The scholarship award winner will be notified by Friday, October 31, 2019, and will be given advance registration.

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

Registration Deadlines

  • Starting registration: November 1, 2019


Tirzah Price, ’15 WCYA
Retreat Director
Email: [email protected]

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