Great Books Summer at Amherst and Stanford College Campus

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The Great Books Summer Program is an experience like no other in American education. For the past thirteen years, GBSP has gathered exceptional middle and high school students from across the world to read, discuss and debate selections from the greatest works of literature, experience college-level discussions and seminars, and enjoy summer fun with other literary-minded students.  We offer summer camps at Stanford University, Amherst College and Oxford University.

A sample of life at Great Books: Read and discuss the likes of Plato, Jefferson, Tolstoy, Borges and Vonnegut with an international community of literature-loving students and distinguished college faculty. Then join our arts and literature electives to write in a creative fiction workshop, paint “en plein-air,” learn a new instrument, act in a Shakespeare play, or closely read a Russian novel with a group of new friends.  Join us in the evening for a camp dance, ice cream social or for a surprise guest speaker … perhaps a Pulitzer-prize winning author or celebrated movie director! Enjoy a world-class university campus.  Make friendships that will last a life-time.

The Student Experience: Find your voice in the classroom. The Great Books Summer Reading Program gives students the opportunity to grow academically and socially as they prepare for high school or college. Open discussions encourage students to express themselves and give power to their ideas. Students gain confidence in their ability to read a text closely and express their ideas clearly both verbally and in writing.

Three Distinguished Campuses: Amherst College in Massachusetts, Stanford University in California and our inaugural session at Oxford University in Oxford, England. This is the perfect opportunity to preview life on a college campus!

Don’t miss your chance to join students from 49 states and 29 countries in this unique learning experience!  Register today!

Special Guest Series


Throughout the summer, Great Books Summer Program welcomes special guests, authors and educators to campus to join our discussion. This series is a major feature of the program and brings fascinating and sometimes well-known visitors to engage with our young people.

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Special Guest Series


The faculty of Great Books Summer Program is led by distinguished college professors and experienced teachers from the finest educational institutions in the country.

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Our talented program assistance


Join us this July for our inaugural program at Somerville College at the Oxford University. Students in grades 9 – 12 are invited to this two-week course that will celebrate English Literature. Read More

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Great Films: Greatbooks goes to the movies


Watch Hollywood classics, as well as cutting edge new films, and explore the philosophical questions and ideas…

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What Guest Speakers Are Saying About Us

"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."

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 the 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 learn and 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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