Writing Novels for Young People Retreat Faculty

The following faculty will be leading our retreat.

Donna GephartDonna Gephart's award-winning middle grade novels include: Lily and Dunkin, Death by Toilet Paper, How to Survive Middle School and others. She's a popular speaker at schools, conferences and book festivals. Donna has taught writing workshops at The Writing Barn, Erma Bombeck’s Writer Workshop, The Thurber House Children's Writer-in-Residence Program, etc.  

She lives in South Florida with her family.  Visit donnagephart.com for writing resources and to learn more.

Nova Ren SumaNova Ren Suma is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the YA novel The Walls Around Us, which was a finalist for an Edgar Award and was named the #1 Kids’ Indie Next Pick for Spring 2015 and a Best Book of 2015 by The Boston Globe, NPR, School Library Journal, the Chicago Public Library, and The Horn Book. She also wrote the YA novels Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone and the middle-grade novel Dani Noir, and her next YA novel is forthcoming from Algonquin Young Readers in 2018.

She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. She has taught creative writing at Columbia University, Arizona State University’s Your Novel Year program, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Highlights Foundation, the Writing Barn, and elsewhere. She is currently on faculty in the Writing for Children & Young Adults MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. For more information, visit novaren.com.

Amanda MacielAmanda Maciel has worked in children's book publishing since 2001 and is an executive editor at Scholastic. Current projects include the New York Times bestselling Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland, the Enchanted Pony Academy chapter book series by Lisa Ann Scott, the YA novel Girl in a Bad Place by Kaitlin Ward, and the graphic novel The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag. She has also written two YA novels, Lucky Girl (2017) and Tease (2014), with Balzer + Bray.

She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, young son, and cat.

Maggie LehrmanMaggie Lehrman is an author and editor with an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her young adult novel The Cost of All Things came out in 2015 and has been translated into eight languages. Her new book, The Last Best Story, will be coming out in 2018 from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. She is also a senior editor at Abrams Books, where she has worked on young adult, middle grade, picture books, and graphic novels for the past twelve years. Some of the books she has acquired and edited include the New York Times bestselling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series of graphic non-fiction, the Morris Award nominated In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters, and many others.

For more on her writing and editing, visit maggielehrman.com.

Sarah AronsonSarah Aronson began writing for kids and teens when someone in an exercise class dared her to try. Since then, she has earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and published a variety of books for young adults and kids: Head Case, Beyond Lucky, and Believe as well as the first title in The Wish List Series, The Worst Fairy Godmother Ever. Titles forthcoming include her first nonfiction picture book, Just Like Rube Goldberg (Beach Lane Books, TBD).

When Sarah is not writing or reading (or cooking or riding her bike), she is talking to readers about creativity, writing, and of course, sparkle power! She loves working with other writers in one of her classes at Writers on the Net or the amazing Highlights Foundation. She has served as an SCBWI mentor in both Illinois and Michigan. She overuses exclamation points. When she’s excited, she talks with her hands.

Registration opens November 1, 2017.


Sarah Aronson

Retreat Coordinator
417 Lee Street
Evanston, Il 60202
Phone: (847) 868-4703
Email: [email protected]

Cindy Faughnan

Retreat Coordinator
Phone: (802) 649-2881
Email: [email protected]