Iowa Young Writer's Studio Summer Residential Program: 9th-12th Graders

From the website:

Students at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio's Summer Residential Program spend two weeks living the writing life in Iowa City, Iowa, a mecca for creative writers. Students take core courses in fiction writing, poetry writing, or creative writing (which includes some combination of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction) with teachers who are students or graduates of the renowned Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Students in the Summer Residential Program share their writing with teachers and peers, receive constructive critique, participate in writing exercises and activities, and attend readings and literary events. We believe that cultivating and protecting one's writing life—the artistic practice, the inner journey of exploration and discovery—should take precedence over pursuing a writing career, though certainly the former can lead to the latter.

A key goal of the Summer Residential Program is to bring adolescent writers together to appreciate and celebrate all that they have in common, and to welcome them into the larger community of writers in Iowa City and beyond.

Core Courses

If you’re accepted to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio's summer residential program, you will choose a single Core Course of study—Poetry, Fiction, or Creative Writing (a survey that includes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction)—as your focus for the two weeks of the program. 


The poetry course will explore voice, image, metaphor, line, language, and other aspects of this most condensed form. If you love writing poetry and want to focus on it exclusively and intensely, with a disciple's devotion, in a small tribe of fellow poets, this is the course for you.


If the short story or novel is your thing, then consider the Fiction course. By focusing on challenges particular to fiction, such as establishing and deepening characters, writing dialogue, using stream of consciousness and interior monologue, working with 1st and 3rd and multiple points of view, managing plot and the passage of time, and creating a vivid setting, this course will help you gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies of the genre.

Creative Writing

Because of the scope of the class, which spans the three major genres of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, the Creative Writing course concentrates on those elements of writing that are universal: language, image, voice/point of view, structure/story, setting, character. The Creative Writing course is a great choice for you if your work already bridges multiple genres or if you want the freedom to explore new forms.

Course Structure

No matter what course you choose for your two weeks at the Studio, your classes will be small, 10 or fewer students. Each course is divided into a seminar component and a workshop component. The same instructor teaches both.

The seminar

To write, you must read. This is a bit like saying, To sing, you must listen, or To cook, you must eat. The emphasis of the seminar is for students to read as writers. Published work will be scrutinized for what can be gleaned about craft: how a writer achieved a particular effect or result, how a writer astonished or moved you. Students will explore and internalize aspects of craft by engaging in generative writing activities related to the readings.

The workshop

A workshop is a dialogue, a collaboration in which a writer and readers, including a teacher, work as a team to guide the writer’s draft toward the fullest expression of itself. With constructive insight from a teacher and peers, a writer gets a better sense of how the work is perceived. The text for this class is the writing of your classmates, although readings and ideas from your seminar will come into play. Our instructors ensure that workshops present a supportive environment in which each student is encouraged to give thoughtful, thorough commentary to their peers in exchange for the same.

Fees & Financial Aid


The cost of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio will be $2,400. This program fee includes room and board, all instruction fees, textbooks, photocopying, and transportation to and from the Cedar Rapids airport or Iowa City bus station. Once a student is accepted into the Studio they must pay a $200 deposit to reserve their position. There is no cost to apply!

Financial Aid

There is aid available for applicants who meet our need-based requirements. Every year we are able to grant several full tuition grants and several partial tuition grants. We encourage all interested students to apply. Accepted students will be asked to fill out a financial aid application and awards will be made in the spring.