Creative Writing Summer Program for High School Students

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 in multiple genres, 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 26, 2021 to July 17, 2021
July 18, 2021 to August 8, 2021
Tuition: $6,250
Age range: Students currently in grades 9-12
Priority deadline: 
January 14, 2021

We’re currently finalizing Interlochen Arts Camp 2021 programs. Please check back soon or contact Admission at admission@interlochen.org.

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.

You will have the opportunity to focus intensively on two genres during your three-week session. These will include a prose-based workshop, focused on either fiction or nonfiction, as well as either a poetry or playwriting workshop. Students who prefer to take poetry and playwriting instead of a prose-based workshop may indicate this in the application portal. Workshop placement will depend on your preference and portfolio review.

For your prose-based workshop, you will be placed in one of the following two genres:

  • 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 revision.

  • Nonfiction workshop focuses on the fundamental elements of writing creative nonfiction. You will be introduced to the craft of creative nonfiction through in-class exercises and the discussion and analysis of a diverse range of published essays. You will explore essay structure, point of view, voice, character, temporality, setting, and revision.

For your second workshop, you will be placed in one of the following two genres:

  • 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.

  • 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 an elective class, which is an excellent opportunity to explore another art area. 

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 one-page, double-spaced personal essay that addresses these three points:

  1. How the practice of reading and writing enriches your life.
  2. How your time at Interlochen will help you attain your goals for creative writing.
  3. First, second, and third choices in terms of our four offered areas of study: Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Playwriting. (We can only guarantee applicants' first choice.)

PDFs #2-5 Assemble a portfolio that includes at least two of the following genres:

  • Poetry—four to five poems, preferably non-rhyming, that offer a variety of forms, styles, and subject matter.
  • Fiction—two short stories, only one of which may be so-called "genre" writing (science fiction, fantasy, etc.).
  • Playwriting—two dialogue-driven scenes or plays.
  • Nonfiction—two personal or outward-looking essays. Please do not send academic essays, like book analyses for English class.
  • Experimental or Unclassifiable work—one or more pieces that don't play by the rules and which perhaps include visual or sonic components.

All portfolio materials should be typed and proofread, double-spaced, with a standard 12-point font. Single-spacing is preferred but not required for poetry. Portfolios must not exceed 25 pages.

Accepted students will have the opportunity to focus intensively on two genres during their three-week session. These will include a prose-based workshop, focused on either fiction or nonfiction, as well as either a poetry or playwriting workshop. Students who prefer to take poetry and playwriting instead of a prose-based workshop may indicate this in the application portal and in your application essay. Workshop placement will depend on your stated preferences, a review of your portfolio materials, and workshop availability.

While, if accepted, you will only be placed in two genres of study, you may submit work in more genres than just your first and second choices.

Additional Opportunities

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

Students with an interest in screenwriting are also invited to apply for the one-week Screenwriting Intensive offered by the Film and New Media Division.

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.

Faculty

Emily Pittinos

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

Joe Sacksteder

Director of Creative Writing, Interlochen Center for the Arts; Instructor of Creative Writing, Interlochen Arts Camp

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