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Skidmore College
NYS Summer Young Writers Institute

Experience the Institute!

Writing in Hall Photo by Deb Amico
Photo by Deb Amico

The 20th annual New York State Summer Young Writers Institute will be June 24 – July 6, 2018 at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Co-sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and Skidmore College, this well-established creative writing workshop for high school students provides opportunities to work one-on-one with professional writers and editors. Participants will receive instruction in poetry, fiction, and dramatic writing (screenwriting, playwriting, and dramatic monologue) from nationally recognized writers who are also skillful teachers. The Institute provides young authors with not only opportunities to develop professionally, but also with recognition, respect, and invaluable peer support. The Institute is open to any high school student entering the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade in the fall of 2018, who is a citizen of the United States.

Based on creative writing samples submitted by applicants, 40 students will be chosen to participate from across the country. Full and partial financial aid awards are available for participants based on need.

Students are expected to write extensively and complete one piece of work in each of the three genres - poetry, fiction, and dramatic writing (screenwriting, playwriting, dramatic monologue). There will be three classes every day, except Sunday, July 1st, when the students will travel to Lake George for a chaperoned field trip to The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom amusement park. Students will present readings of their writings at the end of the second week, and selected poems, essays and stories will be published in an anthology. Computers and printers will be available, though participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops and flash drives.

Sample Daily Schedule

  • 7:00am – 9:00am Breakfast
  • 9:15am – 10:30am Class 1
  • 10:45am – 12:00pm Class 2
  • 12:00pm – 1:30pm Lunch
  • 1:30pm – 2:45pm Class 3
  • 2:45pm – 3:30pm Free Time (Personal Editing Sessions)
  • 3:30pm – 4:30pm Young Writers Faculty Panel Discussion
  • 5:00pm – 7:00pm Dinner
  • 8:00pm Visiting Writer’s Reading

The Institute runs concurrently with the New York State Summer Writers Institute, a workshop for college and post-college writers. In 2017, students attended afternoon sessions and evening readings by such prestigious writers as Michael Ondaatje, Robert Pinsky, Phillip Lopate, Joanna Scott, Campbell McGrath, Jim Shepard, Darryl Pinckney, Linda Spalding, and Howard Norman. In addition, exclusive Q and A sessions with celebrated authors are held. During past programs, William Kennedy, Gregory Maguire, Ann Beattie, Russell Banks, Alix Ohlin, Phillip Lopate, Elizabeth Benedict, Darrin Strauss, Hollis Seamon, Francisco X. Stork and other distinguished and well-known writers have conducted seminars specifically for the students.

The vibrant Skidmore campus is alive with creativity during the summer season: a Pre-College Program in the Liberal and Studio Arts as well as a jazz institute, dance institute, and summer theater company are all in residence here during the summer. Skidmore is located in Saratoga Springs, perennially short-listed as one of the most interesting and vibrant small towns in the U.S.

The New York State Summer Young Writers Institute gratefully acknowledges the support of our sponsors, without whom the program would not be possible. Thank you!

  • Ed Swyer of The Swyer Family Foundation, Inc.
  • James LaVigne & Mary Gavin