Online Summer Camp In Writing Nonfiction for Children & Teens 2020

July 11 - 15, 2020

Please note: this course is full. Please click here to be placed on our waiting list.

Join Us Online

We’ve reinvented our Summer Camp as an online experience, with four whole days of intensive instruction, mentorship, manuscript feedback, peer community and hands-on activities. We’ve been doing this for over 35 years, and within this year’s unique structure you can expect the same focus on craft, community & mentorship that we’ve always provided. Join us for:

  • An immersive experience rich in community, craft, and mentorship that will keep you inspired and accountable this summer.
  • COMMUNITY: Daily informal online meetups with peers and faculty (4 pm EDT) covering topics like submissions, goal setting, establishing writing practices, and more.
  • CRAFT: Daily LIVE online craft breakout sessions with faculty (5 pm EDT), plus daily LIVE keynotes from faculty members (7 pm EDT) followed by a Q&A session.
  • MENTORSHIP: 1:1 online time with your assigned faculty mentor in three parts across the week: 1) written feedback; 2) a 20-minute online video call to review the written feedback; and 3) a 20-minute online video call followup on feedback and goal setting.

Note: Each day you will choose a LIVE breakout session to attend, but all breakouts will be recorded and you’ll be able to view them all. Also, if you have to miss any of the LIVE sessions, you’ll have access to recorded content for 30 days.

Online Workshop Participant Cap:


What You’ll Learn & Experience:

At our online Nonfiction Summer Camp, you will:

  • Hear inspirational and educational keynotes by our celebrated faculty.
  • Explore factual writing through a range of topics, including nonfiction voice, biography, memoir, nature writing, science writing, and narrative nonfiction.
  • Receive guidance on how to submit nonfiction manuscripts to the book and magazine publishers who want to see them.
  • Work one-to-one with your faculty mentor.
  • Attend a Q&A with an editor.
  • Participate in daily break-out sessions in voice, narrative structure, character, theme and more.
  • Develop necessary research and interview skills.
  • Discover how to mine personal experiences to enliven your nonfiction.
  • Study the craft of writing nonfiction: voice, narrative structure, character, theme and more.
  • Participate in community GO! sessions to do writing sprints.
  • Attend “Open Hours,” with themed informal talks and problem-solving
  • Optional open mic sessions.

Here is a sampling of past breakout sessions:

  • Back Matter Matters
  • Voice, Viewpoint & Verbs
  • Life Sentences: Crafting Stories from Real Life
  • Finding the WHY in Research
  • Narrative Structure and Rhythm in Non-Fiction
  • Writing Inspiration: Using Mentor Texts
  • The Art of Biography, Short Form and Long
  • The Extreme Sport of Research
  • The Art and Craft of Narrative Nonfiction
  • Mining Personal Experiences to Enliven Nonfiction
  • World Building in History

Attend If:

  • You are working on a biography for kids or teens. Our faculty is well-versed in researching and writing about people. They’ll help you find out how to make your biography the best it can be.
  • You are working on a nature or science-themed book for kids or teens. Study with our nature-loving faculty and let them help you craft an engaging book for kids.
  • You are working on an informational article for kids or teens. We will explore the magazine market, too.
  • You think you might have something to submit to the educational market. Our faculty has experience with educational packagers and can help you, too.
  • You love nonfiction and are eager to write TRUE stories. This workshop provides a comprehensive introduction to the world of nonfiction children’s books.
  • You have an in-progress or finished manuscript and would benefit from expert feedback. Faculty mentorship gives you the time to ask questions, get suggestions for revision and get support for your goals.

One month prior to Nonfiction Camp you will be invited to send a complete picture book manuscript, or completed article, or the first 10 pages of a longer piece of nonfiction, or a book proposal with a writing sample.  This submission will be used by your mentor to provide you with your first, written feedback. You will subsequently have two Zoom calls with your mentor to discuss feedback, ask questions and set goals.


12 signs that you are destined to write middle grade nonfiction
Theme in Narrative Nonfiction
STEAMing Into Nonfiction
3 Diversity Fellows Talk About Summer Camp Mentorship
Seven Ways to Make Your Nonfiction Stand Out
The hard-but-satisfying work of creative nonfiction
True Storytelling


“The faculty was outstanding in every regard. Their insight, kindness, generosity, approachability, and availability was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced at a writing conference.”

“Master Class in Nonfiction was taught by the best professionals in the field, who are committed to their craft and genuinely care about teaching and sharing their expertise. The curriculum was very well structured. The one-on-one meetings were tailored to fit individual student needs. The class size was small and intimate. Overall, I learned a lot and continue to benefit from the knowledge I gained at the workshop. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning how to write nonfiction from practicing professionals in the industry.”

“On day one of the workshop, I knew I had made the right decision. With insights from expert presenters, incredible feedback from a dedicated mentor, inspiration from other attendees, and just enough time to write and reflect, I came out of the workshop with not only new insights into how to polish my current manuscripts but also a new picture book idea and first draft.”— Read more about attendee Erica Swallow’s experience at the 2017 Master Class in Writing Nonfiction.


Heidi E. Y. Stemple

Heidi didn’t want to be a writer when she grew up. In fact, after she graduated from college, she became…
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Don Tate

Don Tate is an award-winning author, and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children. Books he’s illustrated include…
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Dana Meachen Rau

Dana Meachen Rau has written more than 350 books for children in a variety of genres—early readers, picture-books, historical fiction,…
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Rob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches. He is known for his funny and fierce…
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Yvonne Wakim Dennis

Special Guest Yvonne Wakim Dennis is an award winning author of nonfiction books for children and adults including A Kid’s…
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