Writing & Literature: Classes, Workshops & Camps
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Writing & Literature: Classes, Workshops & Camps
Great Books Summer Camp
Can anybody offer feedback on the Great Books Summer Program?
(Literature-focused summer camp for Middle and High school kids, takes
place on college campuses: Stanford, Amherst, Oxford.) Thinking it
might be right up my bookloving daughter's alley for next year but
haven't actually talked to anybody who has sent their kid there.
mom of bookworm
My daughter spent two weeks at Great Books Summer Camp, Stanford both last
year and this year. She absolutely loves it. It is her favorite camp, maybe
even her favorite place. She loves the lectures, the discussions, and
meeting people from all over the world who share her interests. Many kids
go back year after year, but also welcome newcomers. My daughter started
between 8th and 9th grades.
My 10 year old homeschooled daughter is 112 pages into her first novel (an
elaborate fantasy) and needs someone to act as a mentor to support its
completion and revision. I taught middle school English and, frankly, she has
gone beyond my expertise. Anyone know of an experienced tutor out there that
would enjoy working with a talented young fiction writer?
I'm so glad you posted this and want to congratulate you in supporting your daughter
in her writing.
As an author, I would not suggest a tutor. Your description sounds more like hiring
an editor. An editor can help with re-writes and structure but this is very costly
(hundreds of dollars) and is not recommended until the manuscript is completed and
the writer had made several passes of editing the manuscript themselves.
I would recommend taking classes in the craft of fiction writing (and fantasy since
that is what your daughter is writing) as well as joining writing organizations.
Locally, the Writing Salon (SF and Berkeley) has classes conducted by authors in
various genres as well as general fiction writing. Writers taking the classes come
from various levels of the writing process. The quality of the classes is excellent
and the commitment by the students and teachers is amazing and fosters a nurturing
writing environment. I personally have benefited by the expertise of the instructors
and highly recommend the Writing Salon.
Additionally, there are various writing organizations (on-line and locally) that
provide support, advise as well as craft instruction, some for particular genres and
others for all types of writing. I do not write fantasy and thus cannot direct you
specifically, but a 'google' search will probably find them. Through these
organizations your daughter could find a critique group to also help her in the
Starting with the Writing Salon and local writing organizations would immediately
help your daughter.
Check out what's available at 826valencia.org. Might be a good match for you!
I've been thinking about your post, as a writer, and as the parent of a teen
who writes. My daughter also wrote a few novels, and plays during the years
from 5th to 9th grade. One of the plays was produced with little adult
intervention (probably too little in terms of stress on the children), and it
was performed as part of another event, so it had a large audience. In terms of
the novels, I had a friend, a YA novelist, read one. She liked the novel and
provided few suggestions for revision. However, by the time my daughter was
ready to revise she had already changed so much that she couldn't go back to
the same project.
What's been most valuable for her is reading as a writer, i.e. discussing
techniques, while continuing to write. She's taken classes at 826 Valencia and
through ATDP, and the parts of those classes that have been most helpful have
been the writing exercises.
In terms of teaching writing to children and adults, I always found that
reading good models, actually writing, and seeing what they did well helped
students more than the formal revision process that some in K-12 education
advocate. Only in the latter part of high school, has she been able to do
productive revision. The best revisions have been when she's reimagined a story
and written it again from a different character or starting point. My
suggestion would be to encourage the writing, and to help your daughter find
other young writers to talk to about writing and reading.
My son, a first-year college student, might be interested in a creative
writing workshop in the Bay Area when he comes home this summer. He is a
serious, motivated student who enjoys writing short fiction. I'm looking
for recommendations for a workshop or course he could take with people of
a similar age. He doesn't need, or especially want, a college-credit
course, but rather some structure, feedback, and camaraderie. Thanks!
I too have a teen interested in a summer creative writing program.
I think Dave Eggers has something on Valencia St in SF.
If you hear of anything, I would appreciate your passing it on to me too.
There has got to be more out there for older teens interested in more advanced
Did you check local colleges' and UC Extension class schedules?
My current 6th grade daughter likes to write and is pretty good at
it. I would love to nurture her interest by enrolling her in a
fun writing camp this summer. Does anyone know of one geared
towards 12 year olds?
My daughter loved the writing course she took on the UC Berkeley campus
with the Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP)! The website for the
secondary decision course is http://atdp.berkeley.edu/about/sd/catalog/.
You can contact me if you have questions for either of us.
My 8 year old son, who will be entering 4th grade, has expressed an
interest in going to a writing summer camp. I'm looking for a 1 or 2
week camp for summer 2012. He has expressed an interest in being an
author and illustrator one day so I wanted to give him an opportunity
to explore and work on his creative writing skills (as well as work on
his writing skills for 4th grade!). Something in the Albany,
Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond area would be the most ideal although
we would consider Oakland and San Francisco. Thanks for any ideas!
Potential Future Author's Mom
Try ATDP for the summer, the
that's run by UC Berkeley's school of education. Google ATDP and
it will come up right away.
My kids have done the writing courses for years, and the
creative writing class in third grade is especially rewarding
and valuable. Heather MacLeod is teaching it again, I believe,
and she is a wonderful, warm, encouraging, and thoughtful
teacher. Both kids have learned so much and love to write!
Good luck - the application process is a bit complicated, and
the deadline is in March, so best get started as soon as
possible. You won't be sorry, it's been great for our kids.
Parent of writers
My daughter attended ATDP the summer after 3rd Grade and took a
wonderful writing class for 3 weeks with Heather MacLeod called
Author's Corner. Here's the link for ATDP
http://atdp.berkeley.edu/about/overview/ The application process
is somewhat onerous but my kids have loved EVERY class they have
done so far! And Heather is a dynamic and inspiring teacher!
For my daughter the class really put her on the road to
considering herself a writer. She is now 10 and is an editor for
a kid's magazine called Our Words Magazine ourwordsmagazine.com
Maybe your son would like to submit a piece to the next issue,
deadline March 1st )
Heather also teaches small writing groups, here is her website
http://giftedyoungwriters.wordpress.com Good luck!
My daugher, 17, a graduating senior, will off to college in Fall. She
wants to imporve her writing skills in summer before attending college.
I tried a few places already, bay area writing project, class
matters... But they don't take high school graduates.
Do any of you know any writing class that fits her age? Thanks! I
appreciate any thoughts.
Hi there, you might not realize it, but UC Berkeley Extension offers
writing courses and will take recent high school grads.
Here's a link to our
UC Berkeley Extension
Can anyone suggest a summer program/workshop that focuses on
reading and writing? My 10 yr old son needs practice during
the summer. Ideally, it should be a part-time program that
includes camp in the afternoon. Any suggestions, even an
informal (home based) program could work. I'd prefer the
Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville areas.
Sondra Hall's Berkeley-based creative writing and art summer
day camp - Take My Word For It - is perfect for a 10yo
writer. Exercises range from shape poems to onomatapoeaic
story hooks (campers learn about these topics, and then
write original pieces), all in a fun and supportive creative
environment. Sondra uses current kids' books in her lesson
plans, and has a great fun and funky attitude that engages
her students. You can find out more at the website
I'd like to sign my daughter up for a story writing class or
short camp this summer. Does anyone know of any good camps
or classes for children? My daughter is 9, going in to 4th
grade and loves creative writing, so I'd like to feed that a
little bit this summer if possible.
'My daughter and her friend went to Take My
Word For It camp last summer and enjoyed it. It is for
something like 9 to 13 year old girls. There were about five
girls in the class. They do art projects for half the day
and writing projects for the other half. At the end of two
weeks they have a show to show off what they've done. I
think the girls were particularly pleased with the wearable
art that they made, but I was particularly pleased that they
got to do writing in a fun, supportive environment.
Bay Area mother Dove
I signed up my nine-year-old daughter for the three-week
session of the Bay Area Writing Project at Longfellow middle
school. She hasn't done it before, but I've heard good
things about it. http://www.bayareawritingproject.org/bawp/
Wondering if anyone might recommend a creative writing workshop this
coming summer? Our daughter loves the literary arts, writes short
stories and fiction on her own, and is an avid reader. Turns out
she has a few unscheduled weeks early in the summer, so a workshop
that is one-two weeks in length would be great for her. She'd also
be interested in pursuing something like this in the fall, so a
recommendation for that would be much appreciated as well. She's
just finishing up ninth grade at BIHS. We're in North Berkeley but
There's a writer's workshop with Deborah Davis for teens going on in
North Berkeley this summer that might be just the ticket!
It's from 9 to 12 June 22-26 6th to 9th grade
June 29th - july 2 6th to 9th grade
July 6 - 10 9th to 12th grade.
Summer Teen Writing Workshops (in Berkeley)
Info at http://www.deborahdavisauthor.com
I hope that helps!
If you're mobile, you might check out 826 Valencia. Founded by Dave Eggers, this writing
studio in San Francisco's Mission District really meets young people where they are and
works with them to foster and build on their love of writing. My daughter has told me that
she wishes she lived there; she has found a community of peer authors, support and
challenge for her work, and a fun, respectful atmosphere. Workshops are free; donations are
Looking for summer writing courses in basic writing for 14
year old boy entering highschool in the Fall who doesn't
like to write. Many years behind in writing. Needs help on
expressing himself in writing and basic writing mechanics.
My daughter, a current sophomore at BHS, took the
Summer Writing Course last year and it
improved her writing.
My 15-year old daughter enjoys creative writing,
particularly short stories and plays. Does anyone know of
a good, enjoyable, creative writing class offered in the
Berkeley-Albany area during the summer?
Bay Area Writing Project (organized by UC Berkeley) runs a
Young Writers Summer Camp every summer. This summer's
session starts next Monday, June 25. They are in multiple
Bay Area locations.
My Berkeley teen (age 15), who took part in the Bay Area
Writing Project a couple of summers ago, is looking for a
creative writing class for the summer. I think she wants
something fairly challenging. She could take a Berkeley
City College class this summer, but the schedule doesn't
quite work. She enjoys writing short stories and essays.
826 Valencia Street has excellent workshops -- they will be
doing a one-month high school camp. They treat the students
as writers, rather than kids who need to be cajoled into
doing something good for them. I wish my daughter was old
enough for the camp.
Some colleges have overnight writing programs. I know the
University of Iowa does -- you probably could get more info
on overnight programs at Poets & Writers.
I want to take a class or seminar to brush up on my writing and
editing skills. In my job I proofread materials with lots of
syntax and grammar problems and I need more confidence that I am
making the correct edits. Has anyone taken or heard of a class
that sounds appropriate? Thanks!
UC-Berkeley Extension offers two one-day classes that sound
perfect: Grammar Intensives 1 and 2.
English 657 at SF State sounds like the class you are looking
Any recommendations for a beginning creative writing course?
UC Extension is a great source for beginning creative writing
classes. Particularly good are classes by Susan Ito -- she
teaches ''Fiction from life experience.'' She is a very
enthusiastic, encouraging, and knowledgeable instructor. I've
seen her able to teach to all levels of the classroom and really
cares about the craft of writing.
if you don't mind travelling to san francisco, i highly recommend
the writing salon, in bernal heights. they offer small, well
organized, friendly, supportive classes in a range of different
areas. check out their website. http://www.writingsalons.com/
My name is Barbara Joan Tiger Bass, mfa. I am a creative writing
teacher. I look forward to speaking with you: 510-336-0050
barbara joan tiger bass btigerbass AT aol.com
I'd highly recommend the creative writing classes taught by
Charlotte Cook. She teaches both at Piedmont Adult School
http://www.piedmontadultschool.org and through the City of
Lafayette Department of Recreation http://www.lovelafayette.com,
as well as in private sessions. I've found the classes to be
really friendly to writers of all skill levels, and her tips and
suggestions have greatly improved my writing. Good luck!
Check out the creative writing classes offered through UC
Extension! They have a wide array of classes for all levels.
I am looking for a develompental writing class (2wks) for my 8
yr. old daughter for this summer. She is not fond of writing,
but has the appropriate tools. If you know of a good
inspirational writing class in Albany, El Cerrito, or Berkeley,
I would appreciate your recommendation.
Here are some folks who have offered writing programs in
Bay Center Associates 848-6868
Educational Services Associates 873-0801
New Learning Clinic 643-8727 ( the LANGUAGE! program)
My 10 year old daughter loves to write, and so do I. I've
heard in the past of child/parent writing workshops, over a
weekend or in the form of a weeklong summer camp, but I can't
seem to find information on anything like this. There are all
sorts of programs that are just for kids, or just for adults,
but nothing parents and kids can do together. Suggestions
In response to the mom looking for a parent/child writing workshop for her ten
year old daughter -- I run a drop-in poetry writing workshop on the second
Wednesday of each month at the Albany Public Library. It's open to adults and
children aged 8 and up. It's a wonderful mix of people -- fourth graders, a few
people in their 80s and everyone in between! We get a lot of parent/child pairs
and siblings. There is something very powerful about people of all ages sharing
their writing. And no experience is necessary -- just enthusiasm!
The Albany Public Library is located at 1247 Marin Avenue. The workshop is
free. Our next meeting dates are February 11, March 10, April 14, May 12, June
9. For more info contact the library at 510-526-3720.
I'm planning to lead one this summer. At the workshop there will be exercises
that both parents and kids can do, some shared writing games, and some time
for each partner to write alone.
Let me know what times would work for you. I'll put a more formal
announcement out at the end of April/the beginning of May.
I also write with my daughter, so if you want to get together informally to
write before the summer send me an email.
My husband lately became very much involved in writing. He
writes mostly short stories, but now is thinking about writing a
novel. I wanted to give him as a gift some books on composition
and writing. I would really appreciate recommendation on the
books to buy. Thank you very much.
Some of my favorites:
''On Writing Well'' William Zinser
''Bird by Bird'' Annie Lamott
''The Art of Fiction'' by John Gardner
Any of the ''Best American'' short story or essay compilations
A subscription to the New Yorker, Granta and The Sun would also
be a useful gift for a writer.
And tell him to check out McSweeney's whenever he finds it.
I joined a writing group (which I strongly recommend) last year
and was getting pretty negative feedback on the initial drafts of
my first attempt at writing a novel so decided I really needed to
improve my writing skills.
Here are some books I found really helpful:
(1) ''Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into
Print'' by Renni Browne, with Dave King
-After reading this one and applying some of the concepts, I
started getting rave reviews on my manuscripts.
(2) ''Stein on Writing'' and ''How to Grow a Novel'' by Sol Stein
-This guy is an author and an editor and really knows his stuff.
Hope that helps!
--An aspiring novelist
For the writer: if your husband doesn't already have Anne
Lamott's Bird by Bird, that can't be beat.
How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James Frey is a terrific book.
I have just been using it while working on a novel and have
found it to be enormously helpful, despite its cheesy title. I
hear that Self Editing for Fiction Writers is also a terrific
book. It is on my list, but I haven't gotten it yet. Get That
Novel Started and Keep Going Til You Finish didn't help me very
much, except for its advice that you should write 10 minutes
every day (at least), so, skip that one, I'd say (unless your
husband is full of mental blocks that keep him from writing, then
it might be useful)....
There are dozens of books about writing, written from many
different perspectives. Let me give you some titles that I have
used myself, and also have given as reading to my students (I've
taught creative writing in Spanish at UCB). Take a look at them
in any bookshop and pick the one that might better suit your
-John Gardner. The Art of Fiction. This is a very professional,
serious book about writing techniques and philosophies. The
author is extremely opinionated and it always created
controversy in the classroom, but students found it very useful
and thought provoking. It has interesting exercises at the end.
-Ursula K. Le Guin. Steering the Craft. It is structured in
small chapters, each about one aspect of writing (point of view,
repetition, etcetera), and includes very precise examples and
exercises. It is ideal to use as a practicing tool or even as a
springboard for a writing group.
Natalie Goldberg. Writing Down the Bones. A completely different
perspective. It's a very personal book. The author practices Zen
and uses the same approach to writing: be present in the writing
moment with total abandon, use free hand writing, use journals,
etcetera. It's very inspirational, more at a gut level than a
These books might be a good place to start. Good luck!
You might check out two titles by Chalie Baxter, ''Burning
Down the House,'' and ''Bringing the Devil to his Knees.''
The first is a collection of essays all written by Baxter about
the art and craft of writing fiction. It's terrific--fun to read,
illuminating and inspiring. Just reading it makes you want
to sit down and write. The second is a collection of essays
by a number of fine fiction writers who teach in the Warren
Wilson MFA Program, and will include essays by Andrea
Barrett, Richard Russo, and plenty of others. I have not read
this book, but I have heard many of the talks that gave rise to
the essays, and have no doubt the collection is a good one.
You can find both books on Amazon.
I am looking for recommendations on a summer course/camp for my sixth grader
that would cover "advanced" (as opposed to remedial) writing and
composition. Any advice welcome.
Re. the request for a summer writing program for advanced (not
remedial) studies: Call the Graduate School of Education for a
brochure on the Academic Talent Development Program. Don't delay, the
application deadline for new students is February 28. Mark
In response to the request for information about a writing camp, my daughter
(age 11 or 12 at the time) was in a program sponsored by the Bay Area
Writing Project that she absolutely loved.
The Young Writers Camp is for kids entering 4th - 8th grades. Check them
The information there now is for Summer 2000, but it will give you an idea
of what they offer.
My daughter took a summer creative writing course from Becky (darn, can't
remember her last name but everyone goes on first names there anyway) an
English teacher at East Bay School for the Arts Middle School. (548-4837).
She is fabulous and I don't think it matters if you're not a student there as
she teaches it out for her home. G.
The Bay Area Writing Program for students will be at
Jefferson Elementary School
1400 Ada Street
June 26-July 14th
Mon-Fri, 9:00 a.m.-noon
Entering Grades 4-8 (fall 2000)
Its phone number at Cal is 642-0971. My son (after fifth and six
grades) was in the project for two years and loved every minute.
Re writing camps, have heard good things about Young Writers' Program
sponsored by UC Berkeley Graduate School of Ed. It's for kids who are
good writers and who are interested in writing. Grades 4-8.
Also, try "Young Writers" summer class (Grades 3-5) at the
Athenian School in Danville (beautiful campus, small private school).
Transportation by bus is included in camp fees- they have pickups in
Lafayette and other sites. www.athenian.org or call
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