During the week of July 12 through 18, you might notice an unusually large number of young students hanging around the Austin Peay State University campus with ink-stained fingers, jotting stories or poems or even songs into composition notebooks.
They’ll be coming to campus that week for the Tennessee Young Writers Workshop, an annual event co-hosted by Humanities Tennessee and the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, to learn more about writing from some of the top names in that field.
“It’s basically designed to help kids delve deeper into the craft of writing,” Lacey Cook, program officer with Humanities Tennessee, said. “They’ll spend most of their time in workshop classes in fiction, songwriting, creative non-fiction and poetry, but each night, we’ll have entertaining activities with the visiting writers.”
About 40 students, ranging in age from seventh graders to seniors in high school, will travel from across the state to attend the weeklong workshop. They’ll live on campus, get time to write, share their work at events such as open mike nights and receive advice from some of the area’s best writers. They’ll even get the opportunity to meet and learn from this year’s visiting writer, acclaimed novelist William Gay. Gay, recipient of the 1999 James A. Michener Memorial Prize, has written four novels and two short-story collections, each receiving high critical recognition.
The students will also get to work with a diverse faculty of award-winning writers, including novelist and poet Darnell Arnoult, poet and APSU professor Blas Falconer, author and APSU professor Dwonna Goldstone and songwriter Belinda Smith.
The workshop is open to all students between grades 7-12, and applications are still being accepted through the end of this month. Tuition is $650 and includes room and board, all class materials, any field trip expenses, a workshop T-shirt and access to the Young Writers e-mail discussion list and online anthology.
For more information on the workshop or to register, go to www.humanitiesTennessee.org/youngwriters or contact Cook at 615-770-0006 ext. 19.