We understand that you, as a parent or guardian, have concerns about your writer's safety and supervision during the Studio. We hope the following information will answer most of your questions. If you can't find the information you need then please contact us at (319) 335-4209 or by email: iyws@uiowa.edu.

A great deal of your young writer's time will be spent in scheduled activities. Mandatory workshops and seminars take up most of each day, and there are optional activities in the evening. However, students at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio are not directly supervised at all times. During free time, between classes during the day and in the evening until 10 PM curfew, students may sign out and leave the dormitory on their own or in small groups, without an adult present, to walk the four blocks to downtown, where there are book stores and coffee shops and restaurants, or to engage in other permitted activities (sports, games, music, reading, writing) in the nearby park and Arts Campus along the river. These areas are all on the University of Iowa campus or downtown, and are all populated, well-lit, and safe. Students must inform IYWS staff of their whereabouts when they sign out and are encouraged to carry cell phones at all times so that we can reach them, and vice-versa.

The rules are a set of operating instructions delineating appropriate and acceptable behavior at the Studio. Students who break the rules may be expelled from the program and sent home at their parents' expense. Some of the rules are:

  • Smoking and/or the use of alcohol, illegal substances, or un-prescribed medications is strictly prohibited.
  • Nightly room check-in and morning roll call are mandatory.
  • Students must be on their hall by 10:30 p.m.
  • Lights out is at midnight.

Our teachers are all students or graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop or one of Iowa’s other renowned graduate writing programs. They are experienced teachers, both at the high school and college level, and are selected by the Studio for their knowledge, teaching ability, and enthusiasm.

The Iowa Young Writers' Studio is a program devoted to the art and process of creative writing. And while the Studio does not teach academic essay or college essay classes, the technical problems involved in those types of writing are identical to the ones that occur in a short story or a poem. Creative writing promotes a positive feedback process: the more one writes, the better one writes, and so on.

The Studio does not offer college credit for participation in the Summer Residential Program.

The Studio hires its own counselors, who undergo training by the Studio and by the University of Iowa. There will be at least one counselor on each hall for every 12 students. The counselor’s job is to help students develop a safe, creative community. They listen to students' concerns, solve problems that may arise, and help provide for the safety of every student in the program. They are also professional writers themselves, and mentors individual students, providing a valuable supplement or counterpoint to the perspective of the student’s teacher.

Catlett Hall is located on a large, bright street in the heart of the University of Iowa campus. The residence hall and its surroundings are well lit and well staffed. Nightly room checks and morning roll calls are performed daily. Students are required to be on their hall by 10:30 p.m. Lights out is at midnight.

We expect each student to have medical insurance. In the event of an emergency, care is provided by University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. UI Quick Care, a satellite of the UIHC, handles routine matters. All health care costs are the responsibility of parents or students. All health information given to the Studio is confidential.

The Studio is open to students who will have completed 10th, 11th, or 12th grade by the time the program begins. In rare cases we will admit an exceptionally talented and mature 9th grader.

If a student cancels before June 1, the Studio will refund all but $100 of the deposit. If a student cancels after June 1 the Studio will refund all but the deposit. There will be no refund of any kind after the arrival date and no refund in the event of early dismissal.

The Young Writers' Studio is a residential program. Local students must live in the residence hall for the entire program. Classes and other scheduled activities are only part of the Studio; living with other writers is integral to the learning that goes on here.

If you choose to drive to the Studio you will have to make arrangements to store your car for the duration of the Studio. Getting into a motor vehicle with anyone other than Studio staff or instructors can be grounds for expulsion.


The Iowa Summer Writing Festival offers adults more than a hundred and thirty classes in a broad range of creative writing genres. Weekend and week long sessions are offered throughout June and July.