Working Retreat: Nonfiction and Informational Fiction

In-Person | Nonfiction, Working Retreats
Join Heidi Stemple, Andrea Page, and their guests for time to create and connect during this "Working Retreat" for those who infuse facts into their writing (including nonfiction, nonfiction elements, nonfiction adjacent stories, and informational fiction).

May 16 - May 19

Highlights Foundation Campus

$1199

Overview

In-person 4-Day/3-Night Working Retreat

Join Heidi Stemple, Andrea Page, and their guests for time to create and connect during this “Working Retreat” for those who infuse facts into their writing (including nonfiction, nonfiction elements, nonfiction adjacent stories, and informational fiction).

A “Working Retreat” is lightly structured with one lecture each day, informal conversations, optional consultations with faculty, and plenty of time to create in the comfort and care of the Highlights Foundation retreat center.

  • This is an in-person retreat for writers eager to create engaging nonfiction and/or informational fiction for kids and teens (with themes of STEM/STEAM, biography, social justice, history, and more).
  • This “working retreat” has light instruction and ample time to work on your individual projects.
  • Lodging and meals are included.
  • Begins at 5:30pm Eastern on Thursday, May 16
  • Ends after lunch on Sunday, May 19

Why This Working Retreat?

All creatives need time and space to accomplish their goals. We invite writers eager to create engaging nonfiction and/or informational fiction for kids and teens to gather with fellow research enthusiasts for an immersive experience where productivity meets inspiration!

At the heart of this working retreat is the “work.”

Days will be spent on individual projects. You choose what that means for you!  Maybe you’ll draft new words on the porch of your cabin, sketch in the Art Coop, finally get to the revisions that your work-in-progress needs, research, or rest.

In addition to your personal time, we’ve invited authors Heidi Stemple, Andrea Page, and their guests to work alongside you. They’ll offer one presentation and one creative exercise each day of the retreat.

Finally, you can join fellow creatives for informal gatherings by the fire in the evening, at meals, or throughout the retreat as you wish to discuss creativity, nonfiction topics, share your work, and more!

This working retreat includes:

  • Presentations on research and revision techniques that complement a variety of nonfiction and nonfiction adjacent projects
  • Generative writing/illustration exercises to move your project forward
  • Shared studio and writing time with informal feedback
  • Independent time to write, revise, and discuss your work

Your retreat will be well appointed with space to create, as every accommodation option includes a personal workspace. You’ll also find various spaces around the campus to get work done, or explore the grounds if you need a change of pace or some inspiration.

“Attending a retreat at the Highlights campus felt like a portal fantasy, in the best way possible. Everyone was so friendly, and I felt so taken care of while I was there. The campus itself had wonderful spots to get creative work done (shout out to the Art Coop…I nerded out big time in there!), and I loved the routines we had where we got to do individual creative work and then come together during meals and after hours to bond and connect. It was just such a beautifully crafted atmosphere…The faculty was [also] amazing all around. They provided great insight in their presentations, and they were warm and welcome to discuss anything about the craft. I deeply enjoyed their company and their brilliance.”

What's It Like on a Working Retreat at the Highlights Foundation?

See a virtual tour of the campus, testimonials, and more information about the experience.

Feedback Expected

  • Optional consultations can be scheduled with one of our faculty mentors. These opportunities are available at an additional cost, and can be added at the time of registration or during your retreat stay. No submissions will be required or accepted for these 1:1 consultation opportunities, but you will fill out a questionnaire in advance (in our virtual classroom) to prepare. Consultations will include time to discuss where you are in your stories, and ideas for moving forward with drafting, revisions, and/or submissions.
  • There will be informal feedback opportunities and time to share work during generative creative exercises, and as you connect with fellow attendees.

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You are working on a biography, a nature or science-themed book, a social justice book, and/or educational work for kids or teens. This workshop is open to those beginning their creative journeys, to those who have more experience. Of most importance is having a project that you would like to work on during your independent, creative time.
  • You want to build skills in weaving research and facts into your fiction. We welcome writers working to bring research practices into their fiction, including informational picture books and/or nonfiction adjacent projects.  This includes longer fiction or poetry with heavy themes and deep research to weave information into the narrative.
  • You have an idea for a nonfiction book for kids and/or teens. You’ll be in company with fellow nonfiction creatives. We’ll share generative writing prompts to help bring your idea to the next level.
  • You enjoy discussing stories and your journey with fellow storytellers. You’ll gather ideas and informal feedback about your story in a supportive environment.
  • You’d like a retreat where you can get to work. This retreat is not based on lecture. It’s time to work on your own projects, with the added immersive experience of presentations, generative writing exercises, and time to connect with fellow creatives over meals and informal gatherings.

Detailed Agenda

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.  Click on the headings below to explore the agenda in more detail.

Pre-Workshop
  • You will receive a link to our virtual classroom where you can introduce yourself to fellow creatives and engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards).  You can also fill out a questionnaire if you opt for a 1:1 consultation with a faculty mentor (at an additional cost).
  • We encourage you to bring projects with you to the retreat at various stages in-progress, as you will have time to draft, revise, research, and polish your work during independent time. This retreat is not filled with lecture.  At its heart, this retreat is time to work on your project.
Day One: Thursday, May 16, 2024
  • 3pm – 5pm Eastern: Arrival and check in
  • 5:30pm Eastern: Appetizers & Dinner
  • Following dinner: Expectations and goals for our time together
Day Two: Friday, May 17, 2024
Morning:

  • Breakfast
  • Presentation: Following the Questions: Gathering Research with Andrea Page
  • Optional Consultations
  • Working Retreat time: read, write, connect

Afternoon

  • Lunch
  • Working Retreat time: read, write, connect
  • Generative writing time

Evening

  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • Informal gathering fireside (weather permitting)
Day Three: Saturday, May 18, 2024
Morning:

  • Breakfast
  • Presentation: Revision Strategies with Heidi Stemple
  • Optional 1:1 Consultations
  • Working Retreat time: read, write, connect

Afternoon

  • Lunch
  • Working Retreat time: read, write, connect
  • Generative writing prompts (materials will be provided)

Evening

  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • Sharing, fireside (weather permitting)
Day Four: Sunday, May 19, 2024
Morning

  • Breakfast
  • Special Guest Presentation
  • Final questions and closing

Afternoon

  • Lunch & farewells
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Commitment Required for the Best Experience

As an in-person event at our Retreat Center, you’ll have a chance to step away from everyday life to experience the retreat. It is important to recognize that this is not a “jam-packed” workshop; rather it is a Working Retreat that combines opportunities for learning with ample time to retreat and work on your own projects.

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

If you would like additional support from faculty, you can add on a private 1:1 consultation at an additional cost. There is no submission required, though we will ask you to fill out a short questionnaire in the virtual classroom prior to your consultation.

How It Impacts Kids

Kids love reading about real people and events! This Working Retreat gives you time and space to bring informational fiction and nonfiction to the page, in a supportive environment.

Testimonials from Our Community

“The faculty was friendly, helpful, patient, accessible. I felt as if they were glad to answer any and all questions and to share their knowledge and expertise.”

“It was, hands down, the best writing experience I’ve ever had. Too often educational encounters are competitive in nature. In this workshop I felt totally relaxed.”

“It really gave me the focus I needed, to sort out my stories and make a strategy for submissions.”

“The cottage was perfect, the surroundings peaceful and relaxing. I was able to find a balance of work and play. So much thought and consideration has gone into providing an inspiring, rejuvenating environment.”

“This retreat was wonderful. There was so much positive energy, and it really gave me the momentum to keep working toward my goals.”

Special Guests

DETAILS

May 16 - May 19

$1199

Highlights Foundation Campus

362 Boyds Mills Road
Milanville, PA 18443

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

LOCATION

All in-person Highlights Foundation workshops and retreats (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.

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Shuttle service is included from the local airport and bus stations, or you can park on site. You’ll receive more information about logistics after you register.

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
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Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
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The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.