Nov. 4, 2019—9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Attention high school seniors and juniors!

Join us for a day of workshops, readings and information sessions hosted by the Susquehanna Writers Institute, and learn more about what the Huffington Post calls one of the top creative writing programs in the country!

Susquehanna's creative writing program is taught by seven nationally-recognized writers and supported by a  reading series.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Ashley Houtz at houtzashley@susqu.edu. See below for workshop descriptions, including a new workshop for teachers.


We are happy to host students who wish to visit with their parents as well as students who come in small groups with a teacher.

We are not able to accept more than 10 students from any individual school unless by special arrangement. Please contact Ashley Houtz at houtzashley@susqu.edu if you would like to consider bringing more students.

Journalism: Whether you blog, participate in the school newspaper or just rage against injustice on social media, you need to know the tips for and techniques of opinion writing. This workshop teaches you a common template for persuasive writing, and you'll leave with a publication-ready short opinion piece.

Fantasy Novel Writing: Great novels have at their heart well-established and convincing settings. In this class, we will explore how to use observation, imagination, and language to create convincing worlds that are either fantastical or drawn from a historical time period that predates us all. This class is for anyone wanting to create a world for a fantasy, sci-fi, or historical novel. I'll include tips and insights that will help you get started on a story or perfect something you've been working on for some time.

Novel: No. We are not going to write a novel in one class. But we can talk about the way novels work in contrast to short stories or short short stories or novella. How do they generally begin? What is the concept for a novel? What does the word "concept" even mean? Ah, the idea of a "Big Breath." But the basics of writing a novel are the same as for a short story: scene, scene, scene! Voice! Character! Exposition, sure. And the big one: plot! So, we will read a bit to sample all that. And then write to show what we've begun to learn. Just a beginning. But kind of cool. A way "in."

Performance Writing: Time to dust off the soapbox and turn up the mic! In this workshop, we'll write performance pieces and practice our performance personas, while also exploring the rich tradition of oral history. All genres welcome and no performance experience required!

Poetry: Poetry connects the body and its breath with the pen or pencil in the hand. From the pen-pencil to the page, into language, poetry is a visual and musical art. Emily Dickinson said: "If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry." How does a writer achieve such an effect? In our poetry workshop we will experiment with poetic ways of answering this question!

Screenwriting: Cinema is the story-telling language of the digital age. This workshop gives a basic introduction to writing feature film scripts: how to format scripts, what to include and leave out in set directions, and how to structure and execute a 120 minute visual story.

Short Story: The author John Gardner — a longhaired, motorcycle-riding wild man — said a great story is a “a vivid and continuous dream” that enraptures readers and holds their attention from beginning to end. So how do we build the dream?  How do we charm a reader? (Because charm goes a long way.) Our tools are basic ones: ink, paper, ingenuity. This workshop is for anyone who writes or wishes to write fiction that can be read in a single sitting. 

Sports Journalism: Love sports and enjoy writing? Combine the two to explore sports journalism in a workshop that provides an overview of opportunities in the sports media field and introduces you to the basics of covering live sporting events and crafting athlete profiles.

Register here

Teachers who attend Creative Writing Day are invited to participate in a new workshop from 12:30-2:30 p.m. for high school teachers of ELA. 

Designed for teachers with all levels of experience, the workshop is capped at 18, so spots will fill up fast. Registration is first come/first serve. There is a $5 charge, collected on the day of the workshop, to cover the ACT 48 credits. 

You’ll study the pedagogy and practice of creative writing workshops. After a short fiction workshop demo, you’ll discuss the theory and learning goals to enable you to use the technique in your own classroom. 

More information will be in an email you will receive from Ashley Houtz confirming if you have been registered for the workshop.