Summer Children’s Literature Workshops

Children's Literature and Illustration

Hollins University’s graduate programs in children’s literature are renowned for their emphasis on the study, writing, and illustration of work in that field. During the summer of 2019, the program is offering a wide array of intensive workshops for teachers and librarians, aspiring authors and illustrators, and alumnae/i of Hollins’ undergraduate and graduate programs. Whether you want to grow your skills as a picture book creator or selector, or would like to enhance your ability to write for children, these workshops offer practical guidance through the expertise of accomplished artists and authors. 

Creating a Picture Book
Instructor: Ruth Sanderson
Monday, June 10 – Saturday, June 15, 2019

Everyone can remember that special childhood picture book— a beloved story read over and over, the pictures examined and reexamined for special details. This workshop by award-winning author/illustrator Ruth Sanderson outlines the fundamentals of writing picture books and learning to think visually as a picture book creator. Students will create simple storyboards to help with the process of writing and revising a picture book manuscript. Everyone will then create a book dummy with the text placed on the page, with the emphasis on pacing the story for appropriate page turns, adding simple sketches or picture descriptions. (Housing is not available for this workshop. It is designed for those living in the Roanoke area and for teachers in particular. Classes will be in the evening and on Saturday.)

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Picture Book Trends: A Curated Reading Workshop
Instructor: Elizabeth Dulemba
Wednesday, June 12 – Sunday, June 16, 2019

Are you a teacher or librarian overwhelmed by the prospect of picking out the best new picture books for your young readers? Are you a creator who needs to stay on top of today’s picture book marketplace? If so, let this expert guide you on a curated reading journey. Over the course of five days, award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba will work you through the picture book submissions for the annual Margaret Wise Brown Prize and other best-sellers, covering current themes and trends, and pointing out the written and visual tricks that make them popular, successful, and beloved. By the end of the week, you will have a solid grasp of the current picture book landscape to better prepare you to recommend books to others or create them yourself. Workshop limited to 12 participants.

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Writing for Children Intensive: The Middle Grade Novel
Instructor: Candice Ransom
Monday, June 17 – Friday, June 21, 2019

You’re six chapters into your novel and it has fizzled. You’ve written 10 chapters and your story wants a divorce. Where did the relationship go wrong? You may have started too soon or didn’t invest in enough prep work. Whatever the case, you’re stuck.

Get back on track with this small-group intensive. Over the course of five days, we’ll cover five major elements in middle grade novels. In addition to the morning lecture, we’ll review a mentor text focusing on that day’s craft aspect. Afternoon workshops, one-on-one critiques with the instructor, and evening work time will be mingled with mealtime mini-sessions on writing a pitch, editors and agents, and the current middle grade market. Fall in love with your novel again!

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Writing for Children: An Introductory Workshop for Hollins Undergraduate Alumnae (and their Friends)
Instructor: Nancy Ruth Patterson
Wednesday, July 3 – Monday, July 8, 2019

Have you ever thought about turning your favorite childhood memory into a story? Do you dream about writing a children’s book, but don’t know where to begin? Let a week at the internationally respected Hollins University graduate program in children’s literature show you how to wake up from that dream and get started. Designed to introduce you to everything you ever wanted to know about writing for children, from brainstorming to book signing, this workshop will nurture you through your first steps. Limited to eight participants on a first-registered, first-served basis.

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Writing for Children Intensive: Writing is Rewriting
Instructor: Dhonielle Clayton
Monday, July 15 – Friday, July 19, 2019

Finished a first draft? Or have a solid chunk of a novel? Now what? The best writers are really revisers. Join this intensive to find the right ingredients to transform your rough pages into a compelling book for young people. Writing demands complex characters, high stakes, a layered world, and research. In this workshop, the emphasis will be on the building blocks of craft: the one-line pitch, voice and character, worldbuilding, plot and pace, and revision. The core of the intensive is a 20-hour intermediate to advanced writing tutorial. Limited to eight to 10 participants on a first-registered, first-served basis, the participants will exchange up to 50 – 75 pages of work with the instructor and other writers in the class.

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Writing Intensive for Hollins M.A. and M.F.A. Alumnae/i
Instructor: Nancy Ruth Patterson
Sunday, July 21 – Friday, July 26, 2019

The third Writing Intensive will be the ideal time for you, our M.F.A. and M.A. graduates (and soon-to-be graduates finishing your thesis) to be enveloped in the supportive and caring Hollins community. The core of the intensive will be a very advanced 20 hour writing tutorial. Limited to six participants on a first-registered, first-served basis, the Writing Intensive participants will exchange up to 120 pages of work with the professor and other writers in the class by mid-May. Participants will critique that work before arriving on campus and discuss each other’s manuscripts in depth during the workshop. Workshops in publishing procedures, conferences on polishing query letters, access to the graduate faculty, and individual conferences will supplement the tutorial work.

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