Kindling Words

In 1991, fellow Center for the Study of Children’s Literature alum, J. Alison James, and Donovan launched Kindling Words, a weekend-long retreat for children’s literature professionals, with the aim of challenging published authors, illustrators, and editors of children’s books to hone their craft. Kindling Words has grown to hold two retreats per year, one on the east coast every winter and one on the west coast every spring or summer. While Mary Lee Donovan is no longer involved in the running of the retreats, she remains a member of the board. Kindling Words has always been a unique offering in the working retreat arena, and remains so to this day, offering a structure and intentionality not found elsewhere.

For more than 25 years, Kindling Words has been the leading professional retreat for the children’s book world. Published authors and illustrators and editors hone the tools of their craft, engage in deep conversation with colleagues and fill the creative well with fresh ideas.

The village of Kindling Words is working hard to welcome all published creators to our intentionally diverse community of children’s book professionals. Come experience opportunities to learn, network, and relax!

Kindling Words 2022 Retreat Dates

Kindling Words East will hold a four-day Retreat in Southbridge, Massachusetts, March 31-April 3, 2022.

Kindling Words West is scheduled for May 2-9, 2022 hosted by the beautiful Whidbey Institute, a retreat off the coast of Seattle.

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