High School Creative Writing Summer Program

Interlochen's summer creative writing program gives you time and space to immerse yourself in the craft of writing. Guided by an outstanding faculty of published fiction writers, essayists, playwrights, and poets, you will expand your skills, deepen your conceptual understanding of writing as an art form, and increase your confidence to share your work with others in print and aloud.

Program length: 3 weeks
Program dates:
June 22, 2019 to July 13, 2019
July 14, 2019 to August 5, 2019
Tuition: $5,670
Age range: Students currently in grades 9-12

Registration for this summer 2019 program will open later this fall.

During the three-week sessions, students spend their days in The Writing House, a beautiful and inspiring space built specifically to meet the needs of young writers. View 360-degree virtual tour. The daily schedule includes fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and playwriting workshops, as well as evening readings by the faculty and visiting authors. Each session culminates with a public reading by the students and the publication of an anthology of student work.

Based on your preference and portfolio review, you will concentrate on two of four areas of study: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and playwriting.

  • Poetry workshop focuses on lyric, narrative, and dramatic poetry, and you will be introduced to traditional and contemporary poets. You will explore topics such as the texture and rhythm of language, image-making, and metaphor.
  • Fiction workshop focuses on the fundamental elements of writing short stories. You will be introduced to the craft of short fiction through in-class exercises and the discussion and analysis of a diverse range of published stories. You will explore story structure, point of view, character, plot development, setting, dialogue, and the craft of revision.
  • Playwriting workshop will introduce you to character creation and dramatic structure through reading contemporary dramatic texts. You will write scenes to explore character, action, theatricality, and dialogue, and workshop a scene in class.

Round out your experience with one elective class. Choose from a variety of arts areas, including music, film, dance, theatre, and visual arts. View elective class options.

High School creative writing students are required to bring a laptop computer, which supports Windows XP, Windows 7, or Mac OSX (version 10.5 or newer) only, and a USB Flash Drive. Other operating systems are not guaranteed to be compatible with campus systems. It is not necessary to bring a printer. Computer use is strictly limited to class work and Internet access is not allowed.


Portfolio Requirements

Please submit up to five PDF files.

(PDF #1) A personal essay that addresses three points:

  1. How the practice of reading and writing enriches your life
  2. How your attendance at Interlochen will help you attain your goals for creative writing
  3. Your first and second choices for poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or playwriting and reasons for your preferences

(PDFs #2-5) Assemble a portfolio for at least two of the following genres that reflect your prior work and areas of interest:

  • Poetry - four to five poems, preferably non-rhyming, that offer a variety of forms, styles and subjects
  • Fiction - two short stories, only one of which may be in the fantasy or science fiction genre
  • Playwriting - two dialogue-driven scenes or plays
  • Nonfiction - two personal essays or a longer work of memoir. Please do not send academic essays.

Applicants who are interested in all four areas may submit material for each one, but will only be placed in two areas of study, if accepted.

All portfolio materials should be typed and proofread, with a standard 12-point font. Portfolios must not exceed 30 pages.

Additional Opportunities

Students are also invited to apply for the one-week Novel Writing Institute, which takes place the week prior to this three-week program.

Students with an interest in screenwriting are also invited to apply for the summer screenwriting program, offered by the motion picture arts department.

Interlochen is also home the Arts Academy boarding high school, which offers a creative writing major for grades 9-12, as well as a post-graduate year.


Caitlin Pryor

Instructor fo Creative Writing, High School Poetry, Interlochen Arts Camp

Instructor of English, University of North Texas

Emily Pittinos

Instructor of Creative Writing, High School Poetry, Interlochen Arts Camp

Joe Sacksteder

Instructor of Creative Writing, High School Fiction and Nonfiction, Interlochen Arts Camp; Instructor of Creative Writing, Interlochen Arts Academy


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