Young-Adult Novel Writing Workshop
June 14 - 19, 2020

Learn what makes great young-adult SF and fantasy.
Using a portion of an in-progress novel, we help you master the elements that create fiction for young people.
Since 2015.

This summer, join the YA Novel Writing Workshop, led by YA fantasy author Tina Connolly.

This small, intimate workshop is designed for students who have some past experience with writing, but are newer to writing novels. Perhaps you've taken a short story writing workshop, and are ready to make the leap to novel writing. Maybe you've done Nanowrimo, but need to revise and polish your novel till it shines. Even if you're newer to writing, don't self-reject, but apply anyway! Past students have had a variety of backgrounds - self taught, undergrads, MFA students, Clarion West and CSSF grads, and so forth.

There will be no more than six (6) workshop participants. Each student submits a synopsis and up to 18K of their novel-in-progress. As part of the workshop, we will be doing a round-robin critique in class. You will receive all submitted manuscripts well in advance of the workshop, and will be expected to read them and write a critique to bring to the workshop.

At the workshop, students will participate in critique sessions with feedback from the entire group, one-on-one time with Tina to ask questions and discuss career planning, and daily discussions of writing craft, the business of writing, and the YA market. Her goal is for the workshop to be intensive, supportive, educational, and fun.

There will also be time to hang out with the other students from the concurrent workshops, meet the other instructors, and enjoy beautiful, walkable, foodie-able downtown Lawrence! The Gunn Center Conference runs the weekend before the workshop, so if you come a little early you can enjoy all that it has to offer as well.

Workshop leader Tina Connolly.

Tina Connolly is the author of the Ironskin trilogy from Tor, and the Seriously Wicked series from Tor Teen. Her novels have been finalists for the Nebula and the Norton, and her collection On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award. Her stories have appeared in, Lightspeed, Analog, Strange Horizons, and more, and her novelette "The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections" is a finalist for the Nebula award. She is the co-host of Escape Pod, and has taught at the Clarion West One-Day Workshop, Cascade Writers Workshop, Literary Arts, and the Willamette Writers Conference, among others.

Tina currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her partner and two kids, but she grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and still loves it. Find out more at

Simultaneous scheduling and adjacent meeting spaces with other spec-fic workshops and the SF Institute provide valuable opportunities to intermingle with the other groups and discuss SF/F and writing from different perspectives outside regular meeting times.

Participants have time for writing, recreation, socializing, and individual conferences.

Enrollment and Registration

Workshop enrollment will be capped at 6 attendees. We are interested in putting together a dedicated, supportive group that will work well together. Writers from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Writers who have previously been rejected are absolutely invited to apply again!

To apply, please contact Tina Connolly (tinaconnolly at gmail dot com) between January 15 and March 27 to be considered for the first wave of acceptances. Please be sure to:

  • Include "2019 YA Novel Workshop" in your subject line.
  • Describe your experience with workshops or critique groups, if any.
  • Talk about your goals as a writer, both generally and for this workshop.
  • The first 10 pages of your novel, either in the body of the email, or as .odt, .rtf, or .doc.
  • A 1-3 page description or loose synopsis of your project. This can be informal for now - don't sweat it. Make sure it reveals what makes you excited about your project.

You may be asked for additional information. The first wave of acceptances will be notified by March 27. Your check for housing and tuition will be due within 30 days of acceptance.

If you are accepted, we'll contact you with registration instructions. Your registration is not complete until you send your check.

Your packet of materials for the workshop is due April 17. This packet can be electronic and will include:

  • The first 12-18K of the novel.
  • An informal synopsis of the book you are working on (around 1000-2000 words is good).
  • Whatever additional materials are essential to our understanding of your goal, including questions about parts you're struggling with, and things that excite you about this project. 

If you are accepted, we'll contact you with registration instructions. Your registration is not complete until you have sent your check by the deadline.


Our official dorm housing is likely to be one of the lounges in Rieger Scholarship Hall at 1323 Ohio Street, located near the Kansas Student Union, Oread Hotel, and downtown Lawrence.

Rooms share a bathroom, either with an adjacent room or down the hall (3 stalls and showers/bath per 6 rooms), and have a sink and counter space for a microwave or other small kitchen equipment. Other building amenities include a lovely wraparound porch with seating (including a chair-swing or two), basketball court, refrigerator, coffee and tea equipment, and many private study areas. We are conveniently located just down the hill from the KU Student Union and a few blocks' walk from lovely downtown Lawrence. Be sure to let us know if you have special needs.

Housing does not include meals, but these are available in the nearby Kansas Union and a variety of wonderful restaurants, and Lawrence offers at least one fine micro-brewery. Check out or Yelp's Lawrence page for a list of many of the local eating establishments. We head downtown most evenings for group dinners with all those interested!

The default housing arrangement is now a single room with a shared bath for each attendee. Some double rooms may be available for people who request them, but we will not be able to find roommates for you.

Logistical information collected over the years is available on the Center's LiveJournal.

Housing costs have gone up dramatically, but we do not wish to pass on the increase. If you'd like to help future attendees, please consider making a tax-deductible donation! Click the button below to give using a credit card, or write a check made out to TBA and mail it or bring it with you. Thanks!


Because of new procedures change how the University makes housing available to summer programs, we have changed our rate structure for the workshops, with a single flat rate that includes tuition, administrative costs, and housing, payable within a short time after acceptance (TBA in your acceptance letter). Please inform us as soon as possible if you have a roommate; we cannot find room-shares for you.

This year, we begin offering variable rates for our summer workshops: Listed below is the cost for those who can afford full price (and who wish to help support those who cannot). Thanks to the Center for the Study of Science Fiction and generous supporters, we now offer rate-reduction scholarships for those in need, ranging from $100-$200 discount. In order to be considered, you must request it when applying.

Full-price cost to attend this year:

Young-Adult Writing Workshop with Tina Connolly

  • tuition, administrative fees, and single room with shared bathroom (5 nights): $825
  • tuition, administrative fees, and shared room (5 nights), per person: $750
  • tuition and administrative fees without housing (for locals, or if you make arrangements to stay elsewhere): $625

Please send a check for your tuition and housing as soon as you are accepted, payable to University of Kansas.

Meals and incidental costs rise the longer you stay, of course, so plan appropriately.

Diversity and Disability

Everyone enjoys equal access to our offerings, and we actively encourage students and scholars from diverse backgrounds to study with us. All courses offered are also available to be taken not-for-credit for professionalization purposes by community members (if space is available). Click here to see our Diversity Statement.

The Academic Achievement and Access Center (AAAC) coordinates accommodations and services for eligible KU students. If you have a disability for which you wish to request accommodation and have not contacted the AAAC, please do so as soon as possible. Their office is located in 22 Strong Hall; their phone number is (785)864-4064 (V/TTY). Also please contact us privately about your needs in this course.

Transportation from Airport to Lawrence

Many transport services offer rides between the Kansas City International (MCI - the "M" is for "Mid-Continent") airport and Lawrence, including: 

  • Better Alternative Transportation Services (BATS): 24/7 door-to-door service; individual rates.
  • SDM Transportation: 24/7 door-to-door service; offers airport shuttles or luxury cars with individual rates.
  • Jayhawk Taxi: 24/7 door-to-door service; fixed rate to the airport for 1-2 passengers.
  • Super Shuttles: 24/7 door-to-door service; group rates; group discount code: S6Q2W.
  • Five Guys Shuttle: 24/7 door-to-door service; rates per van, not per person.
  • Here 2 There Shuttle: 24/7 door-to-door service, airport shuttle, and reservations for special events. Can hold up to 10 passengers at once. Call or text 785-380-8879 or email
  • KCI Express Shuttle offers pickup and delivery right to our dorm or your hotel for only $5 more than the normal rate. Phone Reservations: (816)645-1815. After 8:00 PM CST (816)372-1556.
  • Ground Transportation Services is a local Lawrence business that provides 24/7 taxi service within Lawrence, and the surrounding areas. They also operate daily door-to-door shuttle service from Lawrence to the Kansas City Airport. (888)467-3729 or (785)838-4500. See a schedule here.
  • Uber and Lyft also operate in the area.


  • Reserve well in advance of your trip to confirm pricing and availability.
  • The Kansas City International Airport's official airport code is MCI - "Mid-Continent International Airport."
  • This list is for your information only. KU and the Gunn Center are not affiliated with these services, and some attendees had problems with others, so do your research.


Here's a cropped map of the University of Kansas (click the image to see it in full-screen size):
 click for larger map

Here's a map showing where KU is located in Eastern Kansas:

University of Kansas map.

Kansas Union map (in .pdf format).

Lawrence bus routes and maps.

Google Maps centered on the KU Kansas Union.

Lawrence in the Summer

For anyone who hasn't visited, Lawrence is wonderful, a lively small city in the Kaw River valley, filled with art, events, and activities. The location of the University of Kansas, Lawrence is situated about 40 miles from Kansas City and 20 miles from Topeka. Summers can be hot, but classrooms and housing are air-conditioned.

Among its many amenities, the University of Kansas contains a large science-fiction collection (including a number of single-author paper and manuscript collections, such as Theodore Sturgeon's) and other great reference collections; museums of natural history and art; and sports, theater, and lots more. Lawrence offers many excellent restaurants and shopping and recreational opportunities. Kansas City is less than an hour away. Nighttime opportunities include movies, dinner, live concerts, star-gazing sessions, and of course talk about writing and more.

The nearest major airport is Kansas City International (MCI), about 55 miles from Lawrence. Transportation to Lawrence from Kansas City International can be arranged through one of several airport shuttle services. By car, Lawrence is at the intersection of U.S. 59 and I-70 (Kansas Turnpike) or K-10. The I-70 West Lawrence interchange is closer to campus. Lawrence can also be reached along the lovely Kansas Highway 10.

Find out all about Lawrence - its history, stores, museums, observatories, and SFnal activities - here.

updated 2/24/2020