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Virtual learning opportunities for writers

Since conferences aren’t back on the table for most writers just yet, here are some online learning resources for craft-hungry scribes.

Virtual learning opportunities for writers
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Classes, seminars, & courses

Black Writers Collective

This summer, Victor McGlothin is teaching a 90-day online writing course called “The Writing Coach: How to Start Fast and Finish;” writers can sign up for the Black Writers Collective newsletter to be informed of the course launch date as well as find out about future online course offerings. The organization also maintains a large digital library for Elite Collective members, which contains a wealth of eBooks and audio recordings about craft topics ranging from plot development to avoiding writer’s block.

Membership starts at $10.99/month

Gotham Writers Workshop

Though based in New York City, Gotham has offered an abundance of online courses, available to writers at any location across the country. Since live classes are currently unable to meet in NYC, the organization has also added Zoom courses to its repertoire, meeting “live” at scheduled times once a week via videoconference. Writers can also watch Inside Writing, Gotham’s weekly free Zoom talk show, which occurs every Wednesday from 1 to 2 p.m. EST.

Prices vary depending on length and class option


Highlights Foundation

The Highlights Foundation is known for regularly hosting workshops for children’s authors in Pennsylvania and a large annual gathering in New York; however, it’s increased online-only programming in recent months due to the coronavirus outbreak. Scheduled multi-day workshops for the fall include “Developing a Series in Chapter Books” (Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, $699), “The Advantages and Disadvantages of Writing Novels in Verse and Novels in Vignettes” (Sept. 15 to Oct. 21, $499), and “Creating an Image System That Works for Your Verse Novel” (Oct. 28 to Nov. 25, $299).

Prices and dates vary.


Jane Friedman’s Online Classes

Jane Friedman hosts a variety of one-day virtual classes, taught by herself and others, on her website,

Prices vary per class; average $20-30

Writing with Maggie Stiefvater


Maggie Stiefvater, a No. 1 bestselling New York Times novelist, teaches writing programs around the country but decided to take her teaching online when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Her online seminar, available for downloadable purchase on Etsy, includes eight hours of videos on the creative writing process, transcripts, and a 140-page accompanying digital notebook.



Online events

Fall for the Book

This free Virginia literary festival, now in its 22nd year, recently made the decision to host all events online. Furthermore, instead of four days of programming, Fall for the Book will extend its programming from September through November. Headliners include Rainbow Rowell and Tommy Orange, among others.

Montana Book Festival


This two-day event will be held entirely online, allowing everyone in the country to experience this celebration of all things literary. All readings, panels, and workshops will be hosted online, as will book and merchandise sales, so attendees can easily support authors and publishers in virtual attendance at the festival.

Sept. 10-12


Write on the Sound

This Pacific Northwest conference will be held entirely online in 2020, from sessions and workshops to writing contests and manuscript critiques. Conference organizers also hope to add in virtual networking opportunities as well as an online bookshop.

Oct. 1-4



The Alliance of Independent Authors sponsors international online conferences twice a year for self-published authors. This year’s fall event on Oct. 17 partners with the Frankfurt Book Fair and begins at 9:45 GMT. Best of all, it’s completely free of charge for registrants.

Oct. 17


Nonfiction Writers Conference

This conference has always been conducted online, so there’s no need to change the programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Writers can attend live webcasts or choose to purchase recordings and translations instead. If you purchase a registration tier higher than basic live event access, you can also register for up to three 15-minute ask-a-pro consultations with agents, marketing experts, book coaches, etc., conducted by phone or over Skype.

Nov. 12-13

$99 for live access only, $199 for live access and recordings, $275 for live access, recordings, and transcripts


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Originally Published