In-Company: Community Retreat for Experienced Authors and Illustrators

June 12 - 16, 2022

Please note: This course is full. Click here to be added to the waiting list.


In-person 5-Day/4-Night Workshop and Retreat

  • This is an in-person workshop at our Retreat Center with inspirational sessions and opportunities for time in the company of fellow creatives.
  • We include ample time to relax, retreat, and work on your own projects.
  • Lodging and meals are included.
  • Optional consultations are available as an add-on to the course. (See details in the agenda.)
  • Begins at with dinner 5:30pm Eastern on Sunday, June 12
  • Ends with lunch at 1:00pm Eastern on Thursday, June 16
  • 16 participants max

Join us in company to share, grow, and cultivate creativity when you’ve been working in the industry for a long time.  Talk with your peers about your career, challenges, deadlines, and upcoming projects.  Share with us the ways you wish to push the boundaries of your work.

Please note that this workshop is for a limited number of established authors and illustrators. There is a questionnaire required for acceptance. Please fill out the questionnaire no later than May 31.  Click “register now” to reserve your spot; then fill out the questionnaire. Acceptance will be made on first come basis, as long as the program is a good fit for your career needs.


  • Informal feedback throughout the workshop via discussions and open sharing during free creative time.
  • Optional feedback is available during the retreat as an add-on to the program. This optional written feedback, paired with an in-person consultation. Details about this optional consultation will be available from your faculty in your virtual classroom.
In Company


This workshop aims for meaningful conversation about how to continue to push the boundaries of your work, acknowledge the power of your recurring themes, and at the same time, find ways to break new ground and gain innovation. You will:

  • Enjoy presentations and activities intended to spark artistic leaps.
  • Have time to write, illustrate, and collaborate according to your own goals.
  • Participate in an editor Q&A.
  • Spend evenings and mealtimes in community, making connections and filling the creative well.


  • You are an experienced author or illustrator looking to connect with peers at a similar stage in their careers.
  • You could use some creative inspiration. There will be daily presentations designed to spark new ideas, and you’ll have time to network and collaborate with the community.
  • You’d appreciate some retreat time. This course has plenty of built-in time to write, draw, hike, or rest–whatever you need.



  • During the registration process, we’ll ask you to tell us a little about yourself and your work as we want to be sure that this program is the very best fit for you. Participants will be accepted into the program on a rolling basis from January 15 – May 31 (or until all spots are filled.)
  • Approximately 1-14 days Before the Workshop: you will receive a link to our virtual classroom where you can introduce yourself to peers, engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards), and view materials for your time at the retreat center.
  • Optional *feedback is available during the retreat as an add-on to the program. This optional written feedback, paired with an in-person consultation. Details about this optional consultation will be available from your faculty in your virtual classroom.
    • *Please note that Emily Feinberg will be virtual for her feedback sessions.

Retreat Details:

  • There will be structured lectures each morning. Then, you will have ample free writing time to stretch and work on your own projects. Informal and optional gatherings will take place each evening.
  • All times Eastern Standard Time.

Sunday, June 12

  • 3pm – 5pm Eastern:        Arrival and check in.
  • 5:30pm:                             Appetizers & Dinner
  • Following dinner:            Welcome from Jennifer Jacobson and presentation: Creating with Fractals

Monday, June 13

  • Optional meditation or yoga
  • Breakfast
  • Presentation: Carole Boston Weatherford: Tick Tock: Time Is on Your Side
  • Free creative time


  • Lunch
  • Free creative time


  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • After dinner: Participant Directed Merriment

Tuesday, June 14

  • Optional meditation or yoga
  • Breakfast
  • Presentation: Barbara McClintock: Finding Joy in New Approaches: Lose the fear, find the fun in exploring new ideas and styles of writing and creating art.
  • Free creative time


  • Lunch
  • Free creative time


  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • After dinner: Publishing Q/A session with Melissa Manlove and Ellice Lee

Wednesday, June 15

  • Optional meditation or yoga
  • Breakfast
  • Presentation: Cece Bell: The Best Tape in the World and What It’s Like to Turn Your Book into a TV Show 
  • Free creative time


  • Lunch
  • Free creative time


  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • After dinner: Open Reading/Sharing

Thursday, June 16

  • Optional meditation or yoga
  • Breakfast
  • Presentation: Meg Medina: Facing a Crisis of Faith
  • Closing remarks: Jennifer Jacobson


  • Lunch and farewells

Note: Lecture themes are still being developed by faculty. Past In-Company session topics have included:

  • Perfectionism & the Artist
  • A Picture is Worth a Variable Number of Words
  • Living the Creative Life
  • Move Into Your Character
  • Memory, Research, Imagination
  • Creating an Aural Landscape for Creativity
  • Word Play: Poetry

A note about workshop agendas and how they change and evolve. 


All Highlights Foundation workshops (including this one) are held at our Retreat Center: The Barn at Boyds Mills.  This site was the home of the original founders of Highlights for Children Garry and Caroline Myers, and is located in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania on the traditional and contemporary lands of the Lenape Nation.

Your workshop tuition includes lodging, farm-fresh meals with snacks, and shuttle service from our local airport or bus/train stations if you need it.  For more information about attending a workshop or retreat here, visit the Barn at Boyds Mills website.


As a published author or illustrator, your work has already impacted the lives of children.  What’s next for your characters or themes?  This workshop helps you push the boundaries of your own creative self so that you may continue to inspire kids.

Why do we mention this? Learn about the Highlights Foundation mission. 


As an in-person event at our Retreat Center, you’ll have a chance to step away from everyday life to experience the workshop. This program has a good amount of independent time so you have space for your personal needs. While we encourage participation in all group events, we know that as an adult learner you can decide if you need more time to yourself. Please let someone from our staff or faculty know if you plan to step away from group activities.

The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our code of conduct prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.

Read some ideas about planning for the right level of commitment.


Podcast: Jennifer Jacobson talks about writing retreats and taking your creativity to the next level
Creative Process with Juana Martinez-Neal
Creative Process with Gareth Hinds
Creative Process with Padma Venkatraman
Creative Process with Melissa Sweet
Creative Process with Ruth Behar
Creative Process with An Na


“Everyone’s presentations and the week as a whole was just so beautifully crafted, and I enjoyed every second of it. I came in just hoping to have time to work on a few personal projects, and I’m leaving with soooo much more – fixing past projects, so many ideas for new projects, and just a deeper understand of what I want to create!”

“I attended this course last year. It blew my writing process wide open. I highly recommend it for published authors who need a shot of innovation in the arm and a week of pampering and community that only Highlights and the talented Jennifer Jacobson can deliver.”

“I think of myself as a very creative author but I was needing to feel coaxed, pushed, nudged in new ways, so I signed up for the first published author creativity workshop and was it ever terrific! Responding to the guidance from the various workshop leaders led me to places I never would have found on my own. I had a breakthrough with a picture book text and also a novel-length project. It was great for spots where I knew I was stuck and also spots where I was stuck and didn’t know it.”


Jennifer Jacobson

Jennifer, a graduate of Harvard Graduate School of Education, is the author of over a dozen award-winning children’s books including…
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Carole Boston Weatherford

Carole Boston Weatherford is an award-winning author of children’s books, including Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White…
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Meg Medina

Meg Medina is a Newbery and Pura Belpré award-winning author of picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction. She is…
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Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock has written and/or illustrated 47 picture books for children. Her books have received five NY Times Ten Best…
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Cece Bell

Cece Bell lives in an old church in Virginia and works in a new-ish barn right next door. She met…
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Laurie Calkhoven

Special Guest Laurie Calkhoven is the author of more than 50 books for young readers ranging from award-winning nonfiction early…
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Emily Feinberg

Special Guest After earning her master’s degrees in Children’s Literature and English Literature from Simmons College in Boston, Emily joined…
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Melissa Manlove

Special Guest Melissa Manlove is an Executive Editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She has been with Chronicle for…
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Ellice Lee

Ellice Lee (she/her) is VP, Senior Art Director of Philomel/Viking/Flamingo Books and has been at Penguin Young Readers for 5…
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All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks.

Free shuttle service is available from the local airport, train, and bus station, or you can park on site. Get more logistics information here.

Pay in full or secure your spot with a deposit of $200 and payment plans as low as $75/month. We'll be in touch with details after you register.

Do you want help finding a workshop or resources that will fit your needs? Talk to one of our ambassadors.

workshop information

Our all-inclusive price means we provide transportation to and from the airport, lodging, all meals, unlimited snacks, and wireless Internet access.