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Fall 2011 Classes, Retreats & Workshops

Classes, conferences and workshops provide opportunities for professional contacts, manuscript critiques, networking and fellowship. Many an unpublished manuscript has been refocused, redefined, rewritten and published after its author attended a class or workshop. The information below was compiled by Oak Park author June Sengpiehl.


36 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603
Dept. of Continuing Studies  Phone 312  899-7458

Multi-Level Children’s Book Illustration   
Wednesdays, October 05  to December 07, 2011, 6 to 9 pm  
Instructor: Lisa Cinelli

Illustration: Materials and Techniques
Thursdays, September 29 to December 08, 2011, 6 to 9 pm
Instructor: Lisa Cinelli
To register, contact Continuing Studies at or Tel: 312-899-7458 

Beginning Children’s Book Illustration 
Tuesdays, October 04 to December 06, 2011,  6 to 9 pm
Instructor: Laura Nyman Montenegro

For more information, check the SAIC.EDU Continuing  Studies website or call Continuing Studies and Special Programs through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Fall 2011:  The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Department of Continuing Studies and Special Programs, now has a Certificate in Children’s Book Illustration Program with Lisa Cinelli and Laura Nyman Montenegro as Instructors.


620 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL 60093

Instructor: Lisa Cinelli

 Fridays,September 16  to December 16, 2011, 9:30 am to noon
(No classes on on Oct. 21 or Nov. 25) 
To register, contact the North Shore Art League at or Tel: 847-446-2870

Materials and Techniques in Children’s Book Illustration 
440 Oakland Drive
Highland Park, Illinois 60035

Teaching Artist: Lisa Cinelli 

Work one on one or in small classes exploring drawing, painting and mixed media techniques used in children’s book illustration. Fine tune images in your picture book dummy and then experiment with materials to best tell the story visually.  Classes can also be arranged to focus on particular drawing or painting techniques such as pen and ink, watercolor or gouache (an opaque watercolor) or mixed media.

For more information about classes or one on one lessons, contact Lisa Cinelli or call (847) 433-4287.  


425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn 60137
New Class This Fall: Introduction to Blogging
Saturday, September 17, 2011 and Saturday, September 24,2011, 9 am to noon
Instructor: Carmela Martino, Author

Learn how to plan, set-up and promote a blog, whether for business or personal use.  In the week between sessions you will design and begin creating a blog based on the information presented in class.  The second week, you’ll learn additional tips and have the opportunity to ask questions of the instructor and receive feedback from classmates regarding your blog’s design. Prerequisite: Basic computer experience.  

Course code: #LEISR-0052-002  $69
To register online, follow the instructions at:


1717 W. 31st Street
Oak Brook, IL 60523 
Craft & Critique Workshop In Writing for Children  And Teens
Tuesdays, September 27  to November 15, 2011,   7 pm  to 9:30 pm  (no class 10/18)   
Instructor: Carmela Martino, Author

This seven-week  workshop is for adult students who are writing for children and teens. Students will hone their writing and revision skills via lectures, readings and writing exercises. You will also receive a critique of your  own work while learning how to critically study the work of other writers in a friendly, supportive environment. You must bring copies of your manuscript--a picture book, short story, nonfiction piece  or novel excerpt -- to the first class. Also, if you are new  to the class, you must email  the Instructor @ ( before enrolling.for additonal instructions.  Attendance the first night of class is mandatory.

Note: class is limited to 10 students, so register early.  
Cost $170, ($160 for returning students)
For more information on either of the above classes, see: 

60 W. Walton St., Chicago
Picture this: Writing Picture Books for Children
Tuesdays, September 27 through November 1, 2011, 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm
Instructor:   Author and Writing Coach  Esther Hershenhorn  

This workshop focuses on how to create and write a succesful children’s picture book that connects with both young readers and today’s ever changing marketplace.  Participants’ manuscripts will be shared and discussed to highlight the variety of picture books and structures, craft, the writing process and today’s children’s book publishing world.  Writers of all levels will be offered  a supportive, challenging and encouraging environment. 
312  255-3700

University of Chicago Writer’s Studio
Publishing Your Book For Children and Young Adults
Thursday, December 1, 2011,  6 pm to 9 pm 
Downtown Gleacher Center, Chicago

If you are thinking about writing  a children’s book, either fiction or nonfiction, this seminar will ground you and point you in the right direction.  Bring a proposal or an idea, a character description, a synopsis, or even a first chapter to help determine your story’s format possibilities, audience, and marketability in today’s diverse children’s book world.

Instructor: Author and Writing Coach Esther Hershenhorn
773  702-1722

Class offered at New Trier Extension Division, Northfield

The Nuts, Bolts & ABC’s  of Writing For Kids
Mondays, Sept. 19 to Nov. 28,2011, 1 to 3 pm
(No. class Oct. 10) Class #113-930
Instructor: Pamela Dell, Author and Editor
$200 (seniors $160)

Thursdays, September 15 to December 15, 2011, 7 to 9 pm  
(No class Sept. 29, Oct 6, Nov. 10, Nov. 24) Class #113-931
$200 (seniors $160)
Instructor: Pamela Dell, Author and Editor

With a strong focus on the various elements of narrative  craft--plot, characterization, dialog and other essentials---this course offers a combination of in-class presentations, on-the- spot writing exercises, and  take-home assignments, as well as a chance for students to receive valuable feedback on their work.   Every aspect of the course is designed to help writers sharpen their skills and to become clearly aware of the writing ‘red flags’ that editors and agents consider signs of an amateur at work.   Participants will also learn the ins and outs of today’s children’s publishing industry, including information on writers’ resources, what editors are looking for, and how to go about finding an agent.  Whether you’ve got a work in progress or just want some basics to help you begin writing with confidence, this classs will take you several steps further toward a successful finished product.

For more information, call 847/446-6600 or see:

Facilitated Critique Group
Wednesdays, beginning in September, 2011,  6:30 to 8:30 pm (Six Weeks)
Urbana Bahai Center
807 E. Green Street
Instructor: Alice McGinty, Author

Each week we’ll focus on a different element of craft as we critique participants’ manuscripts.

For more information, contact Alice McGinty at

The following classes are taught by  Michelle Kogan
Email Michelle with any questions at
Her website is:

Michelle also works with students independently, email her for more specifics.

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022

Plein Air Watercolor:In the Greenhouse and Garden 
Thursdays, Sept. 22, 2011, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm (Eight Weeks)
$299 member/$374 non-member
Click on link below to  register, or call (847) 835-8261   Search Kogan

Evanston Art Center
2603 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60201

Figure & Composition   (0267)
Tuesdays,Sept. 13, 2011, 7 to 10 pm (Twelve Weeks)
$320 Regular Member Rate/$310 Discounted Resident Rate

Studio Drawing: Composition/Space/Value (0282) 
Start Date: Wednesdays, September 14, 2011, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, (Ten Weeks)
$300 Regular Member Rate/$290 Discounted Resident Rate

Transparent  Watercolor (0261)
Fridays,Sept. 16, 2011,  9:30 am to 12:30 pm (Twelve Weeks)
$300 Regular Member Rate/$290 Discounted Resident Rate                  

To register, call (847) 475-5300 or click on the link below:

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum  New Class
Plein Art Watercolor Class with artist Michelle Kogan
First Session: Tuesdays, Sept. 27 & Oct. 4, 2011 with raindate: Oct. 11, 9:30 to 12:30 pmSecond Session Tuesdays, Oct. 18 & 25,2011 with raindate: Nov. 1, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm$150 per session
Click on link to register, or call 773  755-5122


Poetry Writing Correspondence Course
What: The ABC’s of Children’s Poetry Correspondence Course
When & Where: At your convenience in your own home
Instructor: Heidi Bee Roemer
Details: Author of three poetry books and over 400 magazine sales, Heidi teaches students how to write poetry for children with an eye on publication.  Learn how to write a variety of poetry forms, basic meters, rhyme schemes, devices of sound and more.  Poetry assignments are exchanged via e-mail.  Detailed  critiques offered.  Includes instruction on how to find and target poetry publishers.  Materials you receive: 60 page ABC workbook, POETRY PLACE booklet, five CD’s sample magazines and market newsletters.  
Cost: $195 (includes shipping)

Do you want professional feedback on your story-in-rhyme, poetry collection. picture book or nonfiction? Heidi Bee Roemer, a children’s author and instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature, offers detailed written critiques with an eye on publication--yours!      
For more information, please contact Heidi at 

Writing Poetry For Children with Children’s Book Author, Deborah Ruddell
Saturday, September 24,2011, 10 am to 2 pm
Fraase Farm
782 Farmingdale Road
New Berlin, IL 
$40 for SCBWI members, $50 for non-members
Gourmet lunch included
Critique of a single poem (12 lines or less) for $10
Contact Gail Wilkinson for registration and information
Phone 217  556-2662, email:

The following institutions also offer classes and workshops for writers and illustrators. Specific class information was not available at time of publication.

Lake Forest, IL
Phone (847) 234-1063 or visit

Elgin, IL

Regular writing workshop plus weekend special-topic workshops
Phone (847) 697-1000, Ext. 7578

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For more information on any of the programs listed below or for contact information, please visit the SCBWI organization for that state. Find regional chapters at the SCBWI website.

November 12, 2011 
Seventh Annual Prairie Day
Wojcik Conference Center 
Harper College
1200 West Algonquin Road
Palatine, Illinois  
Contact: Darcy Zoells

September 23 to September 25, 2011
Fall Conference 
Mission  Point Resort on Mackinac  Island
Contact: Pat Trattles

September 23 to September 24, 2011 
Discover Your Voice
Cleveland Airport Sheraton
Contact: Victoria Selvaggio

October 15, 2011
After Conference and Submission Meeting
Contact: Victoria Selvaggio 

November 12, 2011
Publication Celebration
Contact: Victoria Selvaggio

October 14 to October 16, 2011 
20th Annual Fall Retreat
Olympic Resort
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Contact: Pam Beres

13th  Annual Winter Conference
January 27 to 29,  2012
New York, NY 

Visit for faculty, registration and information

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Honesdale, PA
Conferences include seminars, small-group workshops, and one-on-one sessions with some of the most accomplished, prominent and supportive authors, illustrators, editors, critics and publishers of the world of children’s literature, all determined to help authors and illustrators meet their goals

September 8 to 11, 2011
New! Food and Fiction
Workshop Leaders: Rich Wallace, Marcia Dunsmore

September 11 to 14, 2011
Plotting Your Novel
Workshop Leader: Stephen Roxburgh

October 16 to 23, 2011
Whole  Novel  Workshop
Workshop Leaders: Carolyn Coman, Stephen Roxburgh 

October 13 to 16, 2011
NEW! Mastering Setting
Workshop Leaders:   K. L. Going, Kim T. Griswell

November 3 to 6, 2011
It’s All About Character
Workshop Leaders:  Lindsay Barrett George, Kim T. Griswell

November 6 to 9, 2011
Editing For Writing
Workshop Leader: Stephen Roxburgh

For all workshops, phone (877) 512-8365 with questions.  To register or to request  more information, e-mail Jo Lloyd, Program Assistant,

28th  Annual Writers Workshop 
Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua, NY
July 14 to July 21, 2012
For more information,visit top.html

Winnetka Community Center
620 Lincoln  
Winnetka, IL

This workshop features author-led writing workshops on Thursdays from 9:30 to noon which are open to all writers, including children’s writers.  Admission is $10 per session.  Members at $30 per year receive a session discount and may submit manuscripts in advance for critique for $15.  

The Climax or Breaking Point in Short Stories And Novels
Thursdays Sept 8, 15, 22 and Oct. 6, 2011
Instructor: Fred Shafer, Literary Editor and Writer

Because workshops about story and novel endings often deal with final sentences rather than the decisive scenes that precede them, Fred will focus instead on those big scenes in order to help writers find the most effective climaxes for their narratives.  Fred will use examples drawn from adult literary fiction and genre novels  as well as picture books, stories and novels written for children and young adults. He will read and offer suggestions about manuscripts written for all of these audiences.

Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011
Instructor: Ruth Spiro

Ruth will discuss writing children’s books  providing tools for generating material, examining your writing and designing your ideal writing career.  As a bonus, following the session, Ruth will take us on a field trip to The Book Stall where we will learn to browse a bookstore as a writer. (Bring a sack lunch).   Ruth will critique manuscripts of up to 10 pages in any genre except poetry.

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011
Instructor: Keir  Graff

Graff will share his wrting process, the lessons learned on the road to publication, and the differences in his approach when writing for different audiences.  

Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011
Instructor: Wendy McClure

How does life experience become compelling nonfiction or fiction? Wendy McClure will start by looking at the way Laura Ingalls Wilder turned her pioneer childhood into the well known Little House series and then she will share her insights about her own writing process in her book The Wilder Life.

For more details and for manuscript guidelines,  visit:

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Montpelier, VT
July, January
11-day intensive residencies in July and January on campus alternate with 5 month nonresident projects (4 semesters, 5 residencies) Faculty includes M. T. Anderson, Kathi Appelt, Marion Dane Bauer, Sharon Darrow, Ellen Levine and Norma Fox Mazer

Contact Melissa Fisher at (800) 336-6794, Ext. 8637 or e-mail or visit the website at


Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program
Louisville, KY
with a Concentration in Writing For Children

Semesters begin in May or October
Program is 4 semesters, 5 residencies
Contact Graduate Admissions at (800) 896-8941, Ext. 2423 or e-mail: or visit the website at


Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
Cambridge, MA
Offering a concentration in Writing for Young People
Semesters begin in January and June

Program is 4 semesters, 5 residencies
Contact Jana M. Van der Veer,
Assistant Director, Advising and Student Services
Or visit the website at

1536 Hewitt Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104

Semesters begin in January and July
Program is 4 semesters, 5 residencies
Office phone: (651) 523-2047, Fax: (651) 523-2490
For questions, call (651) 523-2900 or e-mail
Or visit the website at

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Correspondence courses and access to articles, tips, chat room discussions on writing.

• “Fundamentals of Writing for Children” (12-week beginning course)
• “Focus Course in Writing for Children” (14-week intermediate course)
For details and starting dates on these workshops and other Writer’s Digest Online courses, visit

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