Imagine having The Writing University visit you in the comfort of your home each day for three weeks this summer. Learning from world-class faculty and graduates of the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop, from the first UNESCO City of Literature in the US. Envision spending your time participating in workshops, lectures, and events that excite and stretch you as a writer. Picture investing three full weeks in your passion, learning with other high school students from all over the world who are as consumed with writing as you. This dream is reality with Summer Writing Online, an immersive 3–week online residency presented by the University of Iowa’s Belin-Blank Center. It’s not just an online class; it’s an online experience!

About the Program

SWO takes place July 8–26, 2024.

Application Timeline:

  • Applications are reviewed in the order we receive them and seats are limited. Apply now to secure your spot!

Program Events:

The closing ceremony will take place on Friday, July 26th and will feature our digital anthology.

Summer Writing Online is a unique opportunity to work with world-class faculty at The Writing University. The art of creative writing will be taught through a combination of seminar discussions and critiques of class members' work. The creative writing produced by the students will be in response to the literature and techniques discussed in class. You will start your day with class time and structural approaches to writing. Next, you will have an opportunity to take electives in Screenwriting and Poetry. To round out your day, we will have Author Talks, Industry Experts, events, and more. All students will have time to workshop, critique, and give feedback utilizing the critical response process (either in the morning for our Eastern/Midwestern students, or in the afternoon for our West/West coast students).

The University of Iowa’s Undergraduate Creative Writing Program is partnering with the Belin-Blank Center to provide an exciting program designed for talented high school writers from across the country. Instructors include University of Iowa faculty, graduates, and graduate students from the English Department, the Writers Workshop, and special visiting authors.

Nina Morrison

Nina Morrison is a playwright, director and teaching artist. She is the Provost's Postgraduate Visiting Writer in Playwriting 2019-2020 at the University of Iowa. Select recent credits: Nina’s play Féminaal was presented in Minneapolis by The Grumble Theater; her play Ibsanity was presented in the mainstage season at Fordham University, NYC; she directed Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men at Riverside Theatre. She was a finalist for New Dramatists in 2018 and 2019, and a 2019 finalist for the Jerome. Nina is currently based in Iowa City. Before Iowa, she was based in New York City for 17 years where her work as a playwright and director was presented at Dixon Place, HERE Arts Center, The HOT! Festival, the Little Theatre series, the NYC International Fringe Festival, Upright Citizens Brigade, The Peoples’ Improv Theater, and the Yardmeter series among others. Nina was a Dixon Place Artist-in-Residence, and she was an LMCC WORKSPACE Writer-in-Residence, a residency program of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She holds an MFA in Directing and an MFA in Playwriting both from the University of Iowa.

Andrew David King

Andrew David King is a Provost's Postgraduate Visiting Writer and Visiting Assistant Professor in the University of Iowa's English Department. His work spans across genres, but focuses on the intersections of poetry, the essay, and visual art. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Teaching-Writing Fellow, and a Graduate Certificate from the University of Iowa Center for the Book. His writing has appeared with ZYZZYVA, Crab Orchard Review, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and other publications, and was included in the University of Virginia Press’s Best New Poets 2018 anthology. He is currently a Research Assistant at the Walt Whitman Archive and the author of the chapbook Fire Sonnets (Clepsydra Press, 2018).

Being surrounded by professional writers like our teachers, and such skilled classmates, has inspired me to write and read more, and be so much more excited about my own writing.

SWO Student

How to Apply

While the application process is straightforward, planning ahead is essential. Here's all the information you'll need in order to submit your application.

Application Process

Students currently in grades 9–11 may apply. Students will be admitted on a rolling basis.

When you apply online, you will need to submit the following:

  • One essay question on what inspires you as a writer
  • Two samples of your writing


Completed applications will be reviewed by a selection committee that will evaluate applications based on the following criteria:

  • Content of essay and supporting materials
  • Participation in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

While priority will be given to students who have participated in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, we invite all interested writers to apply. 

Ready to Apply?

Summer Writing Online

Grades 9-11

July 08 - July 26, 2024

Students will connect online and attend class with their writing peers. The online SWR is 100% synchronous and gives you an opportunity to create community with other talented, young writers as they read, write, laugh, and learn together.

Applications are closed.

Already started an application? Log in

After You're Accepted

You can look forward to a fun and enriching summer! Here you can find answers to all the pressing questions you may have while making your plans to join us.

Cost & Financial Aid


The cost of the program is $295 to cover instruction and materials, thanks, in part, to generous funding from the Bucksbaum family. Financial aid and payment plans are available to families who qualify.

Payment Deadlines

You must either pay in full or have arranged monthly installments by June 1 in order to participate. All fees are payable to the Belin-Blank Center.

Payment Options

  1. Pay the entire amount on a credit card.
  2. Pay in three equal installments using a credit card.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis, while funds are available. Eligibility is typically determined by qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. After your information is reviewed, a decision will be made, and you will receive an email regarding the amount of your award. Awards will be applied directly to your program fees. Additional scholarships may be available. International students are not eligible for scholarships or financial aid.

Daily Schedule

During the three weeks of SWO, you will spend most of your day in an intensive writing atmosphere. Along with classmates from across the country, you will have the unique opportunity to work with world-class faculty and build a writing community - all from the comfort of your own home. Check out the schedule below and remember that the times listed are in the Central Time Zone:

9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m. Workshop East

For those of you who live in the Eastern half of the US, you will participate in workshopping in the morning. We will use the critical response process to give you feedback on your writing

10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Structural Approaches to Writing

The art of creative writing will be taught through a series of seminar discussions. The creative writing you produce will be in response to the literature and techniques discussed in class.

12 p.m.–1:00 p.m.  BREAK

1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m. Poetry and Fiction Elective

You will get to do both!

2:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Flex Time

Author Talks*, industry experts, special projects, and more.

3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Workshop West

For those of you who live in the Western half of the US, you will participate in workshopping in the afternoon. We will use the critical response process to give you feedback on your writing.

*Past Author Talks have been given by poet Robyn Schiff, fiction writer Larry Baker, poet and illustrator Lauren Haldeman, creative nonfiction author Inara Verzemnieks, and more!


You will be using the University of Iowa's digital learning platform, ICON, to manage course discussions, materials and assignments. The University also uses Zoom for in-person discussions. Please make sure the device you plan to use during the Summer Writing Online is capable and that you are comfortable with these platforms.

Cancellation Policy

If you must cancel, email as soon as possible to decline the acceptance so that a student on the waiting list may attend. Cancellations after June 1st may not be refunded.

  • Cancellations that are processed at least four weeks before the class begins, we will refund program fees, less a $100 cancellation fee per class.
  • Cancellations that are processed less than four weeks before the class starts, we will refund half the cost of program fees.
  • If a student misses class, regardless of reason, program fees will not be prorated and refunds will not be issued.

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