About the Program

Join us from home and let us bring the Writing University and our UNESCO City of Literature to your living room! Challenge yourself by exploring form, discussing creative writing fundamentals, and completing stimulating assignments. Learn from world-class faculty and graduates of the University of Iowa's famed writing programs. Learn how to give and receive artist-centered feedback with your peers and enjoy the benefits of building a community with other inspired young writers. Check out this digital anthology for examples of our students’ quality of work. Connect with us in the Writers' Room to make your writing stand out from the crowd!

Dates for the 2023-2024 academic year TBA

Nina Morrison

Nina Morrison is a playwright, screenwriter, director and teaching artist. She is a Lecturer at the University of Iowa, and she teaches playwriting at Chicago Dramatists. She is the senior script editor and script consultant for Sita Girl Productions, NYC. Nina was a University of Iowa Provost's Postgraduate Visiting Writer 2019-2020. 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, and before Iowa she was based in New York City for 17 years. In NYC Nina's work has been presented by Dixon Place, The NYC International Fringe Festival, The HOT! Festival of Queer Performance and the Little Theatre series. Nina was a Dixon Place Artist-in-Residence, and she was a 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.

"I've never had the chance to do anything like this before in school or in another setting. It has opened my mind to different types of writing that I haven't worked with before, and now I have a bunch of starters for pieces that I can use."

How to Apply

While the application process is straightforward, preparation is essential. We're here to help with all the information you will need to complete the application.


Any student in grades 7–10 on the course start date is eligible to apply. (Please note which classes correspond to your grade.) Students are not required to be in a talented and gifted program. Qualified students will show a high level of interest in writing, motivation to learn, and positively contribute to an online classroom environment.

Application Process

We review applications and admit students on a rolling basis, so the sooner you apply, the more likely we will still have spots available! The application includes:

  • One essay on what inspires you as a writer
  • One sample of your writing


A selection committee composed of faculty and staff from the University of Iowa will review completed applications. We will notify selected students on a rolling basis.


Creative Writing | Generative Approaches

Grades 7-10

January 03 - March 09, 2022

In this course we will explore generative approaches to creative writing applicable to all forms including fiction, personal essay, memoir, poetry, and screenwriting, among others. Each week the instructor will introduce a new generative technique, and students will incorporate their writing into a larger work or use it to start a new piece. We will hear everyone’s new work out loud, and students will receive individual feedback from the instructor as well as from their peers using Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process. At the end of the course every student will have approximately 10 new pages of work.

Applications are closed.

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Special Topics | Worldbuilding

Grades 7-10

January 04 - March 08, 2022

In this course students will meet once a week for 90 minutes and collaboratively create a detailed new world. The instructor will provide the geography using a map generator. Students will create: the history of the various regions, resources and economies, religions and magic, governments, politics, gender roles (if there are genders in this world), arts, culture and languages, among other things. Throughout the process, prompts will be offered for students to explore writing scenes in the world they have built.

Applications are closed.

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After You're Accepted

Cost & Financial Aid

For each student accepted into a writing class, the Belin-Blank Center will provide an automatic scholarship.

Creative Writing | Generative Approaches

  • Tuition : $1,095
  • Scholarship: $200
  • Total Owed: $895

Special Topics | Worldbuilding

  • Tuition: $545
  • Scholarship: $100
  • Total Owed: $445

Students accepted into both classes will receive $200 off the total cost.

We know that times are hard for many students and their families right now. Fortunately, the Iowa way is to support one another, so financial aid and payment plans are available to families who qualify.

Payment Options

There are three options for payment of program fees:

  • Pay the entire amount on a credit card.
  • Pay in three equal monthly installments using a credit card.
  • Set up an individualized payment plan. Payment plans are available by contacting the Belin-Blank Center at belinblank@uiowa.edu.

Financial Aid

You may receive financial aid for up to half the cost of the program. Awards are offered on a first-come-first-served basis, while funds are available. Qualification for free or reduced-price lunch typically determines eligibility. After reviewing your information, we will send you an email regarding the amount of your award if you qualify. Aid will be applied directly to your program fees.


Students will be using the University of Iowa's digital learning platform UI Learn to manage course discussions, materials, and assignments. The University also uses Zoom for in-person conversations. Please make sure that that you are comfortable with these platforms, and the device you plan to use is compatible with them.

Cancellation Policy

If you must cancel, please email the Belin-Blank Center at students@belinblank.org as soon as possible to decline the acceptance so that a student on the waiting list may attend. Please note that we will retain your non-refundable down payment for all cancellations. We may not refund cancellations made after September 5.

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