The Fifth Semester is like a writing workshop, book doctor, mini-MFA, and writing conference, all rolled into one.

Maybe you have an idea for a book. Maybe you have a whole draft. At The Fifth Semester, we put our collective writing and publishing expertise for you, giving you the guidance and tools you need to take your manuscript from inspiration to publication.

This four-month course includes writing mentorship and full manuscript development by bestselling authors and professional teachers, two weekend residencies featuring more than 20 instructional hours on story development, craft, and the business of writing, a built-in writing community, and access to agents, editors, and other industry leaders.

How The Fifth Semester Works

Upcoming Residencies

  • 2017 Session 2 SOLD OUT

    • Residency I – Chicago: July 13 – 16
    • Mentorship: July through November
    • Residency II – New York: November 3-6
  • 2018 Session 1

    • Residency I – Chicago: January 4-7
    • Mentorship: January through May
    • Residency II -New York: May 4-6

Place and Space

Residencies are held in two of the country’s most exciting and literary cities: Chicago and New York.

Students will kick off their Fifth Semester in Chicago in a chic luxury loft and conclude their Fifth Semester in New York, where home is a classic and elegant Upper East Side brownstone.

Directors & Faculty

Best-selling authors and university-level professors with a passion for great writing, years of teaching and publishing experience, and extensive industry connections. We’re with you every step of the way.

Dr. Ann Garvin

Ann Garvin

Erin Celello

Erin Celello

The Fifth Semester is the golden egg for anyone serious about learning the ‘craft of writing.’ It’s absolutely brilliant.

Gaye Mack, MA
Gaye Mack, MAAuthor

I found the Tribe I didn’t even know I wanted or needed. We challenge each other to keep forging ahead, but also offer honest guidance and support on a professional and personal level.

Rachel Werner
Rachel WernerAssistant Editor, BRAVA Magazine

Before The Fifth Semester, all I had was an idea. Four months later I have a completed manuscript, an invaluable mentoring relationship with an experienced author, and a community of talented cohorts.

Maggie Ginsberg
Maggie GinsbergWriter

The Fifth Semester has turned me inside out in all the best ways possible. Ann and Erin are supportive, brilliant and not afraid to give critical feedback. They are mentors, friends and bad-ass cheerleaders everyone needs in their corner.

Kate Buckholz
Kate BuckholzWriter