Writing the Rainbow: Middle Grade and Young Adult, A Working Symposium 2020

September 13 - 16, 2020

Join Us To:

Explore where LGBTQIA+ topics, heroes, characters and experiences fit in the business of writing middle grade and young adult novels. Hear panel discussions with publishing industry professionals. Enjoy free time to write and revise in this retreat-focused course. Sign up for optional one-to-one consultations with faculty.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Understand the needs and wants of the diverse LGBTQIA+ community in regards to MG or YA audiences.
  • Identify topics that could be addressed in LGBTQIA+ themed MG and YA novels.
  • Hear from publishing industry pros about what they’re looking for in submissions.
  • Sign up for optional one-to-one consultations about your work with a faculty member.

Attend If:

  • You identify as LGBTQIA+. This program is designed to be an exchange of ideas and a place to connect in community.
  • You write middle grade or young adult LGBTQIA+ fiction. We’ll be focusing on novels in this retreat.
  • You work in children’s publishing. This “Essential Conversations” course will be stronger with voices from all sides of LGBTQIA+ publishing.
  • You need time to connect with others, and time to work independently. This workshop begins with an inspirational or craft focused lecture in the morning, and ample time to write in the afternoons. Meals will be a time to connect informally.


Our workshops typically include faculty presentations, hands-on exercises, specialty topic sessions, some level of feedback, and retreat time for working on your own projects. Although we don’t have a finished agenda for this course yet, see a sample agenda here to get an idea of what to expect.


“The staff at Highlights is what consistently continues to impress me. They go above and beyond in everything they do. When I’m there, I don’t have to worry about anything but learning, nurturing my creativity, and writing.”

“The faculty/conferee ratio and the availability of the faculty are two of the best and unique features of these small workshops.”

Scholarships Available

Scholarships are available for this workshop from the Writing the Rainbow LGBTQIA+ fund:
Application deadline is June 25, 2020. Scholarships will be announced July 25, 2020.
Click here to apply!
For more information about scholarships, click here.


Cori McCarthy

Cori McCarthy [they/them] is the acclaimed, bestselling author of five released children’s books and just as many forthcoming titles. Their books…
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Amy Rose Capetta

Amy Rose Capetta [she/they] is a bestselling author of YA genre fiction. Amy Rose’s first novels, Entangled and Unmade, comprise a space duet. Echo…
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Patrice Caldwell

Patrice Caldwell is a graduate of Wellesley College and the founder and fundraising chair of People of Color in Publishing,…
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Anna-Marie McLemore

Anna-Marie McLemore (she/they) was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and taught by their family to hear…
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Laura M. Jiménez

Laura M. Jiménez is the Department Chair for Language & Literacy Education at Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education &…
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Rob Costello

Rob Costello (he/him) writes fiction for and about queer youth. He holds an MFA from the Writing for Children and…
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All-Inclusive Event Cost: $1,295.00

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Free shuttle service is available from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AVP) International Airport. Airport pick-up at Newark Airport is also available for $75 round-trip.

We offer payment plans as low as $75/month. We'll be in touch with details after you register.

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workshop information

Begins with dinner on Sunday, September 13; ends on Wednesday, September 16, with lunch.