woman at laptopNonfiction Writers Intensive 2019

The Nonfiction Writers Intensive (NWI) is a workshop series collaboration between Park University’s Watson Literacy Center and The Little Fig. Th Nonfiction Writers Intensive’s purpose is to promote and support the writing of nonfiction picture book biographies that showcase cultural, linguistic, ethnic, or gender diversity. The Nonfiction Writers Intensive will help authors craft biographical stories that are noteworthy but have yet to be told.

The Nonfiction Writers Intensive is open to authors worldwide, whether published or not. The focus of January 2019’s intensive is to create inspirational picture book biographies that depict untold and diverse stories. During this 16-week-long intensive each author will be guided along the process from concept to submission-ready manuscript.

Apply now, as class size is limited to 20 individuals.  Manuscripts completed through this comprehensive workshop will be reviewed by The Little Fig. Selected authors may be offered a contract for publication in English and the native language of the subject.

This is an online program that requires participants to have internet access. The intensive will be conducted through the applications of Canvas (a learning management system), Zoom (a video communication system), and Slack (a collaboration and chat service). Participants will be given all of the appropriate access, instruction, and support for the use of these tools. Participants will be required to upload and download documents and faithfully check their emails.

Each week of the January 2019’s intensive will focus on a specific area: conceptualization, drafting, research, editing, book design, etc. Participants will receive individual, one-on-one editorial reviews of their work by the instructors and will receive peer critiques. There will be recommended reading lists, discussion prompts, and program-related hand-outs. Workshop discussions will range from craft topics to how to find the heart of your story. We are planning at least two guest lectures—one on research techniques and one on the importance of cultural accuracy. Participants who fulfill the workshop requirements will receive a certificate of completion.

Jenn Bailey has her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has received the Candlewick Picture Book Scholarship and the Beyond Words award, among others. Jenn is a frequent guest lecturer and workshop leader for SCBWI, Heartland Writers for Kids and Teens, and the One Year Adventure Novel workshops. Jenn is published by Chronicle Books and is represented by Rosemary Stimola.

Tessa Elwood is a Park University honors graduate in Communication Arts. She is a successful web developer and graphic artist and is the founder of Pop Color (ipopcolor.com). She is published by Hatchette and is represented by Victoria Marini.

  • Applications accepted until 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST) November 15, 2018, (4:59 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) November 16, 2018)
  • All applicants will be notified of their status by December 1, 2018
  • If you are accepted into the intensive, your registration payment of $320 will be due by December 8, 2018
  • Waitlisted participants will be notified of any openings by December 9, 2018, and have until December 16, 2018, to pay their registration in full in order to secure their place in the program.
  • NWI begins on January 17, 2019, and ends on May 12, 2019. Since the intensive is in collaboration with Park University, NWI will be off March 11-17, 2019, for Spring Break.
  • Weekly 2-hour live online sessions via Zoom every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. CST (12:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. GMT); Access to NWI content will be available via Canvas beginning on December 14, 2018, and continue through until the end of the program.
  • You are encouraged to attend the live sessions; however, if you must miss a session, program material will be available to you online. There will also be ample discussion times and online chat throughout the 16-week intensive.
  • $32 nonrefundable application fee
  • Full payment of your $320 registration fee is due by December 8, 2018, in order to secure your place in the January 2019 NWI. (Any applicant who has not paid in full by December 8, 2018, will be considered withdrawn from the program and their place will be offered to individuals on a rank ordered waitlist.)
  • Waitlisted applicants will be notified of any openings by December 9, 2018, and will have until December 16, 2018, to pay their registration in full in order to secure their place in the workshop.
  • Scholarships available on individual basis; email nwi@park.edu to inquire

General Guidelines

  • Worldwide call for submissions
  • 20 authors will be selected to participate
  • Applications and supporting documents must be in English
  • Waitlist will be created and offered in order of receipt of applications for any open slots
  • You must be 18 years of age or older to participate
  • You must have internet access as this is an online program that will use Canvas, Zoom, Slack, and email
  • Submissions are due no later than 11:59 p.m. CST November 15, 2018 (4:59 a.m. GMT November 16, 2018)

Requested Materials

  • An informal, 350-word biographical letter regarding why this intensive is of interest to you and what you hope to get out of it.
  • A brief list of possible subjects for your manuscript. (Please, no more than three.) Include why you have chosen this person and what resources you plan on using to obtain factual content.
  • A writing sample of either a completed picture book manuscript (no more than 1,500 words) or 5 pages from a work of fiction, nonfiction, a short story, or an essay. No poetry please.


When is my application due?
On or before November 15, 2018, by 11:59 p.m. CST

How much does it cost to apply?
A $32 nonrefundable application fee.

When will I know if I am selected to participate in the NWI?
All applicants will be notified via email on December 1, 2018, with one of the following decisions:

  • You have been accepted into the intensive
  • You have been placed on a waitlist for possible openings
  • You have not been accepted into the program.

What if I am on the waitlist?
You will be notified of any openings by December 9, 2018, and will have until December 16, 2018, to pay your registration in full in order to secure your spot.

What if I was not accepted?
We encourage you to try again for the next intensive. Your nonfiction concept may fit better in a future program.

How much does it cost to participate in the NWI?
A $320 registration fee.

What does my NWI program fee include?
Your program fee includes a comprehensive 16-week online intensive workshop that includes the following:

  • Weekly instruction in the following areas: conceptualization, drafting, research, editing, book design, etc.
  • Individual, one-on-one editorial reviews given by the instructors
  • Peer critiques
  • Reading lists, discussion prompts, and program-related hand-outs
  • Workshop discussions ranging from craft topics to emotional through lines
  • At least two guest lectures—one on research techniques and one on the importance of cultural accuracy
  • A certificate of completion

If I cancel or dropout, will I get a refund?
No. Once you have paid your registration fee NWI considers you committed to the 16-week intensive.

Will my manuscript be published?
NWI is committed to guiding you through the process of completing a submission-ready manuscript. If you are equally committed The Little Fig and Park University are very interested in considering your work for publication in dual languages.

Do I maintain the rights of materials I produce during the NWI?
You maintain all rights to your work

Is course credit offered?
No. The NWI is a special program and course credit is not available at this time.

My question isn’t here. I need to talk to somebody.
Please contact us at NWI@Park.edu  We will do our best to help you.

Park University’s degree programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Park University is a private, non-profit, institution of higher learning since 1875.