Join us this summer!
@Oxford. Amherst. Stanford. Dublin.

What Guest Speakers Are Saying About Us...

"Great Books was a delight to visit: they took care of everything, which meant that all I had to do was prepare a talk for their students - who were uniformly inspired - and inspiring.  It was impressive, humbling, and made me wish I'd had a program like this when I was a kid.  This sounds like a line, but I honestly can't wait to read what they come up with." — Ryan North, Marvel Comics writer, and the creator and writer of the Dinosaur Comics

"I often worry that young people today — a generation growing up staring at computer screens, hand-held or otherwise — are being cast in some cyber-trance that is robbing them of their natural curiosity about the world and their ability to truly listen and see and imagine. But my visit to the Great Books Summer Program at Amherst put my fears largely to rest. Why? I was surrounded by boys and girls from around the world who were totally focused, bright, inquisitive, and fully present in the room. I could have talked to them for hours and hours. This is such an important program, a creative bridge between generations, and I applaud its mission entirely!" — Andre Dubus III, Award winning, best-selling author and educator 

"What a terrific event. Sammy and I had a lovely time. We were so impressed by the program at Amherst and the quality and commitment of your students. They are SO engaged! I hope our paths cross again soon."  — Jodi Picoult, award-winning, best-selling author

“I've hardly ever seen such an enthusiastic audience as the one at the Great Books Summer Program. It was great fun!”   — Jane Smiley, best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author

"What a great visit we had to Oxford! The staff could not have been warmer or more welcoming and the students were an impressive and admirable bunch - poised, curious, sweet and articulate - asking very smart questions. It was a real honor to participate." — Elizabeth Sheinkman (UK literary agent at William Morris Endeavor), Jamie Byng (Publisher Cannongate Books) and Matt Haig (award-winning author)

Speaking at The Great Books Summer Program was a truly inspiring experience and I only hope the kids enjoyed it half as much as I did. What a pleasure to be surrounded by such bright, inquisitive, unique people - kids and faculty both." — Joanna Hershon, Author and educator

“Being a former PA at The Great Books Summer Program, it was especially exciting for me to return as a speaker. As I reflected on my summer at Amherst as a counselor, what stood out was how much I learned from my campers. Every day, their curiosity inspired me. Coming back as a speaker, what impressed me most, was the spirit of possibility and fearlessness that was palpable in the room of nearly 100 young writers. It was their writing and creativity that blew me away. And I was inspired by their belief that being a published author was more than a possibility – it was an inevitability. Of course the passion for learning and drive for creation that is the heart and soul of Great Books continues to move me, but above all, my return to the program reminded me of the power of possibility. The future of literature was in that room. And I, for one, can’t wait to read what they have in store for us.”   — Stephanie Kate Strohm, YA author

“The visit to Amherst and the Great Books Summer Program was a highlight of the year for me. GBSP rocks, and so does the whole team of professionals who program, teach, and nurture its students. Youth there are getting a first-hand education regarding the skills and passions I care about most. I am truly lucky as a teacher and author to have taken part."   Torrey Maldonado, award-winning YA author and educator

“The caliber of young readers I met at Stanford blew me away. I was inspired and humbled by teenagers who have read more in their lives than sadly I ever will. It's inspiring to know that a program like Great Books is fanning the flames for these voracious and bright readers. I enjoyed everyone I met associated with the program and will be spreading the word!;“  — J. Todd Harris, award-winning film and theater producer

"My experience with the Great Books program was purely positive. The students were enthusiastic, engaged, and obviously happy to be reading and discussing literature and philosophy. The staff was as enthusiastic as the students. It's a brilliant notion of a summer camp, and I came away from the Stanford campus hoping to return.” — Jim Blaylock, award-winning author and educator

“I am deeply impressed by many aspects of this program, including the warmth and professionalism of the staff, the rigor and creativity of the curriculum, and the physical beauty of its setting. But what impresses me most, are the students themselves. They seem to sparkle with an enthusiasm, curiosity, intelligence, openness and good humor that I’ve rarely seen elsewhere. They come from all ages and paths – home schools, public schools, private day schools and boarding schools – but together these kids create an atmosphere where reading, writing, discussing and debating becomes not just cool, not just fun, but a genuine passion.” — Dr. Debby Applegate, Pulitzer Prize-Winning author

"Every summer, all I have to do is mosey on down from my hilltop home overlooking Amherst College, and walk into an ongoing conversation about the Big Stuff. It always feels like an intellectual transfusion."    — Dr. Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize-Winning author

"I will mark Amherst as my most memorable event of the year, simply because of the smartest and most generous kids I was surrounded with. I wish they could be my students forever..." — Da Chen, Award-Winning, Best-Selling author

"What a terrific curriculum and an enthusiastic group of young people. Made me want to drop everything and sign up.” — Barry Eisler, Best-Selling author

“The students were such an engaged and smart and interesting group. I really enjoyed talking to them but mostly just appreciated being asked such a varied array of questions. It was a lot of fun.” Jacob Lewis, former managing editor of The New Yorker magazine and Co-founder of

"The Great Books program is a midsummer night's dream- I adored the kids and it all felt so alive and was so much fun! The faculty was warm and embracing. “So important to keep literature alive and connect with kids who want to read books!" — Laura Shaine Cunningham, Memoirist, Novelist, Playwright and Journalist

"I enjoyed talking to and listening to your kids. They are an impressive bunch."    — Dr. Richard Reeves, Award-Winning author, Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker

"I loved my experience with the Great Books Summer Program. The students were brilliant and involved even beyond my expectations, really the ideal young audience for a writer."  — Peter Straub, Award-Winning author

"I give a lot of talks to a lot of groups all over the country and world, but I've never had a more engaged, interested and interesting audience than the students at the Great Books Summer Program. They were clearly primed to learnand think. I hope I gave them some useful ideas about writing and the writing life; I know they inspired me.” — Kurt Andersen, Award-Winning author, Editor and Co-creator of Studio 360 radio show

“I very much enjoyed meeting and talking to the talented students of the Great Books Summer Program. There is nothing like being in a room full of people that are passionate about books. My father lives nearby and came to see the talk, and when I told the kids that it was my father who turned me on to books, they all turned to him and clapped. How cool is that?” — John Rocco, Award-Winning author, and Illustrator



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