Djerassi Resident Artists Program




Workshop Information

Young Adult Novel Writing Reunion

with Nova Ren Suma

The Reunion Workshop has been filled any new applicants will be put on the waitlist.

The "Reunion" workshop is for Alumni of Nova Ren Suma's workshops at the Djerassi Program. Only those writers who have attended Nova's workshops at the Djerassi Program are eligible to apply.

A fiction workshop tailored for writers working on YA novels of any style and genre, featuring daily critique sessions and time to retreat and produce new work. Includes 75 pages (25 for group critique; 50 in private conference) of manuscript review. Full novel review available for an additional fee.

Acceptance will be on a first come, first serve basis by application submission date.

Dates: Thursday, March 17 - Wednesday, March 23, 2016
December 17, 2015
by January 5, 2016

Application fee: $10

Workshop fee: $1500/$1650 private room, shared bath/private room and bath
Special couples rate: $1200 each (shared room/bed)
Includes 6 nights lodging, all food, and local transportation from and to the San Francisco Airport.
Deposit: $500 due by January 12, 2016 (Deposits holds your place and are non-refundable)
Final payment: due by February 4, 2016

Application Process:
Applications for the workshop can be accessed through this link:
or by clicking on the APPLY button on the top left of this page.

Application materials requested - Application form only no work samples required.

  • 2016 Nova Ren Suma Reunion Workshop Application Form

Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novel The Walls Around Us (Algonquin, 2015), which was named the #1 Kids’ Indie Next Pick for Spring 2015 and a Best YA Book of the Month on Amazon, as well as the YA novels Imaginary Girls (Dutton, 2011) and 17 & Gone (Dutton, 2013), which were both named 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound by YALSA. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Millay Colony, and an NEA fellowship for a residency at the Hambidge Center. She worked for years behind the scenes in publishing, at places such as HarperCollins, Penguin, Marvel Comics, and RAW Books, and now she teaches writing workshops, at the Djerassi Program, in Arizona State University’s Piper Center for Creative Writing’s Your Novel Year certificate program, Columbia University, the Highlights Foundation, and elsewhere.

“In 2012 I was awarded a month-long residency at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, where I was given the time and space to work on a new novel. The exhilarating period I spent deep in my work at Djerassi, in such an inspiring and vividly beautiful place, made me especially excited to share a piece of that experience with other writers in a workshop setting, leading to the YA Novel Writing Workshops that we began holding in the winter of 2014. Now, for 2016, I am delighted to again offer this workshop, open to a new group of writers. My passion is working closely with fellow writers to help them meet their vision for their novels, and to leave them inspired and driven to keep writing (and revising!) after the week is over.” — Nova

What to Expect:
Alumni of Nova Ren Suma’s YA novel workshop-retreat are invited back for a week of more workshopping, craft talk, and writing at Djerassi.

For our reunion week, we will meet each morning for workshop, where we will again critique pages from each participant’s novel in a constructive group discussion. The pages for workshop will be distributed online a month ahead of time, so there will be time to read and prepare comments before arriving at Djerassi.

We will also have regular writing prompts and voluntary group writing sessions, to encourage new words and ideas to spill out, if you are so inclined. In the afternoons, you will have retreat time for writing new pages or exploring the grounds and sculptures left behind in the landscape by Djerassi artists. In the evenings, there will be reading nights and craft discussions.

Each writer will also have a private conference with Nova, on up to 50 additional pages of your novel. You are welcome to submit pages from a different novel for the private conference, if you’d prefer.

For an additional fee, writers are offered the opportunity for a full manuscript critique with Nova, following the workshop week. Once accepted to the workshop, more details about the additional full manuscript consultations will be sent to you.


“Nova Ren Suma often focuses on turning points in one’s writing career. The five days spent at her Djerassi YA novel workshop was mine. Insightful, kind, and inspiring, Nova sets the tone for an incredible retreat—and Djerassi provides the space and muse that every artist craves.” —Anna Waggener

“Nova is an absolute gem! She was wise, generous, and perceptive—in workshops, in one-on-one sessions—and set up a safe, inspiring space for us to share and grow our stories. I traveled many miles and crossed a time zone to work at Djerassi and it exceeded my expectations—it’s heaven on earth for artists and dreamers.” —Pip Harry

“Questions, and all the right ones. In her generous and observant way, Nova urges writers to question issues large and small, to tug at a thread of a theme that may be submerged, to ask if the novel starts in the right moment, to breathe possibility into the pages. What an inspiring and empowering week.” —Susan Carlton

“Nova created a wonderful, positive environment that offered each writer time and opportunity to be highlighted. The Djerassi environment, for me, was one of utter peace that allowed my mind the stillness it needed to work through some of my most challenging problems.” — Zoë Harris

“I couldn’t have imagined how at home I would feel at Djerassi. The friendliness and accommodating nature of the staff exceeded my expectations and made the time away from my actual home and family very comfortable. Nova’s genuine interest in my work and her concern for meeting my personal needs within her feedback made working with her feel like chatting with a compassionate friend. Hers is a method that conveys knowledge of craft as well as tools for personal growth as an individual writer.”
— Shelli Cornelison

“Nova’s calm, thoughtful style of teaching kept the workshop comments constructive, encouraging, and enthusiastic. The whole week at Djerassi was an amazing experience.” 
— Susan Crispell

“Working with Nova at Djerassi opened my mind in such a way that freed me to believe in myself and my book again. I’ve hit a creative stride coming to this workshop. I absolutely loved it and would do it again in a heartbeat.”
— Marie Cruz

“Nova is a wonderful mentor who is fully invested in the growth and success of the writers in her workshops. I have developed a stronger confidence in my writing thanks to her guidance and support.” 

— Alisia Leavitt

“Djerassi provides the perfect space to recharge your creative brain, explore ideas, and pull inspiration from your surroundings. Between the staff and Nova’s supportive and encouraging environment, I found the space I needed to leave daily life behind and honor 
my writing.”
— Jessica Capelle

“So many writers, especially women or older people with families or jobs or both, cannot get away for a month. This doesn’t make us less dedicated to our craft, our art, our passions; it’s just a reality. These week-long workshops also give us the ‘gift of time’ and community that some of us may not have access to. This period of quiet has been nothing 
short of bliss.”
— Asale Angel-Ajani

“Nova fosters a sense of community that permeates her workshops at Djerassi and beyond. I leave knowing that out there is a group of writers and artists who are supporting me and rooting for my success.”
— Alexandra Grizinski

“A weeklong writing workshop at Djerassi can only be described as inspirational. It is a brilliant orchestration of talented alumni, breathtaking setting, and like-minded creative people. Nova Ren Suma is a generous and honest teacher that graciously encourages every writer she works with to become the best version of him or herself. Her keen eye, industry knowledge, and overall love for the YA genre combine to make her a valuable resource for both aspiring and experienced writers.” 
— Jessica Fonseca Honiotes

“Nova Ren Suma is a workshop goddess! She creates a wondrously kind and nurturing environment to review your work-in-progress. At Djerassi, you can commune with other writers in a magical nature setting with deer out your front door, inspiring sculpture art, and scrumptious nightly meals provided by the incredible Chef Dan.” 
— Edith Cohn



Djerassi Resident Artists Program
2325 Bear Gulch Road  
Woodside, CA 94062

650 747-1250