The goal of the N.C. Summer Arts Camp is to provide artistic and enrichment opportunities for students in the greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. During the summer, our writing programs are offered for middle and high school students to participate in half- and full-day workshops. The program offers various classes in such areas as poetry, playwriting, novels, short stories, essays and spoken word.


Study verse forms: narrative and lyric, figurative language and poetic genres — in a supportive environment of fellow writers through poetry workshops.


Engage in a rich and diverse experience in theater arts through drama workshops.

Short Fiction

Study the fundamental components of short fiction and storytelling in the most advanced workshops.


Experience the process of writing the first chapter of a novel, mentored by a faculty of distinguished teachers and notable guest artists.


Write essays in a fun and focused environment by choosing an emphasis in either the personal essay or creative nonfiction.

Spoken Word

Exchange techniques, ideas and performance opportunities in workshops led by talented faculty.

Workshop Descriptions

Poetry& Mixed Media

If you want to have fun writing and performing poems, if you want to learn a little more about the art of poetry, if you want to find your voice and share your poems with others, this course is for you. Campers start from a basic idea and begin by shaping memories, dreams and passions into finished free verse, rhyme and lyric poems. Campers will spend part of each session writing original work; at other times they mix poems with another art form. The workshops will challenge and inspire campers to combine their poems with visual art, photography, music and dance. The combined work will yield a poetry booklet and performance/reading. This workshop is taught by Phillip Shabazz.

My “Too Sense” (the persuasive essay and column writing)

In this workshop students explore the world of opinion and column writing. They’ll debate current events and read news headlines from around the globe. They’ll write their own columns and send letters to various newspaper editors and explore issues from politics to sports to pop culture. Students will learn how to make a solid argument as well as how to respond through the written word to opinions they disagree with. Through this workshop students will enhance their critical-thinking skills, essay writing and debate skills while having fun putting in their “Too Sense.” This workshop is taught by Howard L. Craft.

From Dream to Screen

How many times have you said to yourself, “Man, this would make a great play or movie.” Well, would it? Maybe yes. Maybe no. This is the workshop that helps you learn how to figure it out. From Dream to Screen teaches students the fundamentals of screen- and playwriting. Students learn how to draw plot diagrams, write back stories, character sketches and treatments, as well as write scenes effectively. Students also learn how to work in a writer’s group made up of their peers and take and give feedback on work. Students will vote on their favorite scenes and perform the top picks during the end-of-camp celebration. Local theater professionals will also give guest lectures, and students will have the opportunity to ask them questions about the business. The future Oscar for best screenplay is only a workshop away. Stop dreaming about that movie or play and start writing it! This workshop is taught by Howard L. Craft.

Fiction: Write the First Chapter of Your Novel

This course is designed for the emerging writer who wants to begin a novel. The elements of structure found in novels are designed into exercises to get students started on their novel right away. This course will show students how to start from a basic idea and test it; begin by developing the characters, time and place; develop a basic conflict and premise; select a plot or story line; write from a selected viewpoint; develop a theme; employ exposition, description, narration and action; and revise and finish the first chapter. This workshop is taught by Phillip Shabazz.