Hone The Craft in New England

For serious writers of children's books and YA fiction, New England offers a wealth of opportunities this summer to work on craft. We're a gorgeous destination for those who live elsewhere. Why not combine work and play? Here are three retreats and conferences, but feel free to add more in the comments:

Cape Cod Writer's Conference

The 47th Annual Writers Conference will take place August 15- 22 at the Craigville Conference Center in Centerville on Cape Cod. This year's double conference allows participants to attend for three OR six days of classes along with the usual opening night, keynote speaker night, afternoon/evening Master Class for each conference, plus readings by faculty and attendees.

Two three-day conferences allow the Center to compress the usual five meetings over one week (for the 7.5 hour courses) into three 2.5 hour meetings. This format allows for twice as many courses, smaller classes (class size capped at 18), and courses at different levels.

Faculty includes Roger Sutton, editor of the Horn Book, Mary Donovan of Candlewick, Deborah Kovacs of Walden Media, Alison Morris of Wellesley Booksmith, and authors Nancy Werlin (IMPOSSIBLE), Helen Frost (KEESHA'S HOUSE) and Martin Sandler (THE STORY OF AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHY), among others.

Costs are $65 per Short Course (2.5 hours, one day only), $135 per Master Class (6 hours with multiple faculty), and $185 for Three-Day Courses. For information about registration, accommodation, and becoming a member of the Center, head here.

Rhode Island ASTAL Summer Institute

From June 24-30, the Alliance for the Study and Teaching of Adolescent Literature (ASTAL) at Rhode Island College is offering an institute for those interested in learning to write for young people. This conference is perfect for unpublished writers, but experienced writers can also gain insight into technique and craft in advanced workshops.

Participants will write for six days, working with authors who serve as their instructors and mentors. They also attend presentations about book publishing featuring editors and publishers and meet and hear from guest authors. 

Faculty includes authors Kelly Easton (HIROSHIMA DREAMS), Mark Peter Hughes (LEMONADE MOUTH), Padma Venkatraman (CLIMBING THE STAIRS), Peter Johnson (I AM A MAN), and Steve Krasner (THE LONGEST GAME), and the editor-in-residence is Kara LaReau.

The instructor/mentor to student ratio is at most 1:8. Full registration costs $894 for credit and $750 for non-credit, a one-day workshop costs $10, attendance at the author presentations and luncheon is $70, and to just go to the luncheon and book fair with discounts on June 27 (featuring SOLD author Patricia McCormick), it's $30. For more information or to register, go here.

Vermont Postgraduate Writer's Conference

The Postgraduate Conference, August 11-17, held on the campus of the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, is open to all experienced writers with graduate degrees or equivalent backgrounds.

Teachers emphasize process and craft in workshops limited to 5-7 participants, and mingle with students at meals, individual consultations, readings, and social activities in scenic Vermont.

Faculty members for young adult fiction are Kathi Appelt (UNDERNEATH) and An Na (THE FOLD). Tuition is $825, and fees for lodging, meals, and other registration and application information may be found here. Limited scholarship support is available.