Writers' Workshop Program: January 5-9, 2025

Malinda Lo

Developing the Young Adult Voice

Malinda Lo, photo by Sharona Jacobs
Malinda Lo, photo by Sharona Jacobs
  • January 5-9, 2025
  • All Levels, $675
See all 2025 Workshops


Young Adult literature encompasses all genres, but nearly all YA books share a distinctive voice that is direct, accessible, and emotionally immediate. How can writers create a believable and authoritative “young adult” voice without relying on teenage stereotypes? Learning how to establish a voice that is authentic and fresh will teach YA writers—or any writers—how to portray young characters in their work.

In this workshop, we will dismantle teen stereotypes in order to engage with contemporary “coming-of-age” novels with open minds and new perspectives. Through craft talks, readings, and discussion of compelling YA texts, as well as in-class writing exercises, students will be inspired to discover the voice that is true to the stories they wish to tell. This class focuses on generative writing, and students will have the opportunity to share some of their in-class writing aloud.

Writers at any level of experience with YA are welcome; it will be helpful if you have a YA project and some characters in mind for the exercises. Participants are encouraged to read a few recently published YA books and be prepared to share your thoughts on a favorite one during the first class. Students will receive reading suggestions in the fall.


  • This is an all-levels workshop.
  • Please submit a cover letter that states your interest in this workshop and gives an overview of your prior workshop experience, if any.
  • The cost is $675. If you are selected to participate in the workshop, a deposit of $300 is required to register, with the balance due by September 30.
  • If you are accepted, you have the option of attending the Keynote on Thursday, January 9, at a reduced price of $150 (we will send you a link upon confirmation). Alternately, you may purchase a ticket to attend the Seminar in full, as it runs after the workshops (January 9 – 12).
  • Financial Assistance is available to those who would not otherwise be able to attend—click here for guidelines and/or to apply for a Workshop Fellowship Award. (Do not submit a regular application if you are requesting financial aid.)
  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the class is full.



Malinda Lo is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including A Scatter of Light. Her novel Last Night at the Telegraph Club won a National Book Award, a Stonewall Book Award, an Asian/Pacific American literature award, and was a finalist for the Michael L. Printz Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Her books have received fifteen starred reviews and have been finalists for multiple awards, including an Andre Norton Nebula Award and a Lambda Literary Award. She has been honored by the Carnegie Corporation as a “Great Immigrant.” Lo’s short fiction and nonfiction have been published in the New York Times, Autostraddle, the Horn Book, and multiple anthologies.

Lo frequently speaks at conferences, libraries, schools, and colleges, including Boston University, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Wellesley College, and Brown University. She has taught creative writing at workshops and conferences such as SCBWI (The Global Community for Children’s Book Creators), Lambda Literary’s Writers Retreat, and the Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Workshop for Young Writers.