A Workshop in Writing for High School Students (ages 16-18)
Session I: June 26-July 9, 2016
Session II: July 17-30, 2016
Young Writers is an intensive two-week workshop for intellectually curious, motivated high-school students who value writing. Our goal is to help students develop their creative and critical abilities with language—to become better, more productive writers and more insightful thinkers. For more than nineteen years, Young Writers has provided a lively, supportive environment where students can stretch their talents, discover new strengths, and challenge themselves in the company of peers who share their interests.
Young Writers takes place at Kenyon College, a leading liberal arts college renowned for its tradition of literary study. The program is sponsored by The Kenyon Review, one of the country’s preeminent literary magazines.
Writers discover what they want to say—their ideas, images, narrative direction—in the act of writing (and rewriting). Writing, thinking, and imagining, in other words, are part of the same creative process. Thus, at Young Writers, students write to explore ideas, then develop those ideas through further writing. Because good writers are also avid readers, students read short stories, poems, and essays, which they discuss, write about, and use as inspiration for their own work.
“Through the varied prompts and non-threatening atmosphere each person could write something truly personal, something unique about that individual. That is how I became comfortable sharing my work, and seeing myself as a different writer, not the ‘best’ or the ‘worst’ but a person with something to say.”—Young Writers participant
Workshop groups (with no more than thirteen students in each group) meet for five hours a day. In addition to freewriting exercises and responses to “prompts,” students write stories, poetry, personal narratives, dialogues, reflective passages, and experimental pieces. They also use writing to explore, creatively and analytically, short works by established authors. While traditional expository essays are not assigned (nor is any work at Young Writers graded), a number of our exercises help students approach difficult texts, formulating their own questions and ideas—skills that will serve them well in writing papers for school and college.
Sharing and discussion of participants’ work is a central part of the workshop. In leading discussions, instructors emphasize techniques for responding to work in ways that will help the writer recognize his or her strengths, potential, and avenues for productive revision. Instructors also meet with each student in individual conferences.
A Community of Writers
Students especially value the opportunity to meet other talented writers and make new friends from all over the country. Workshop sessions are complemented by informal interchange during free time as well as by a series of public readings by visiting poets, fiction writers, and essayists. Several public sessions are reserved for Young Writers—every student reads his or her work at one of these special occasions. In this atmosphere of high energy and camaraderie, students create their own community, one that persists long after the program has ended.
Summer in Gambier
Nestled among rolling hills in the village of Gambier, the Kenyon campus is known for its striking beauty. Its historic buildings and shaded lawns have nurtured excellent writers for generations. Students have full access to College recreational facilities, including basketball and tennis courts and a swimming pool. Weekend activities include social events and field trips.
Tuition and Scholarships
Young Writers is a two-week residential program. The total cost, including tuition, accommodations, all meals, and activities, is $2,375.
Kenyon is committed to socioeconomic diversity, and some scholarship aid is available for students who demonstrate financial need as part of their application. To apply for scholarship aid, please check the box on the application form and send in the scholarship application form by March 1st.
How to Apply
In addition to the online application form, each student must also submit a brief story or essay (not to exceed 300 words) that illustrates why he or she is interested in participating in the Young Writers program and what he or she might contribute to it. A teacher’s letter of recommendation, a high school transcript, and an optional financial aid application must also be postmarked and/or submitted electronically no later than March 1st. The application site for 2016 will open in January 2016.