We are delighted to introduce the Young Writers Studio, an exciting five-day writing program for local high school students.
The program is open to any student in Monroe County who will be starting their sophomore, junior, or senior year in the fall of 2018. We are looking for young people who want to become better writers, learn about themselves, and see their hometown with fresh eyes. If you are curious about the history of Key West and want to find your voice as a writer, this program is designed for you.
The Young Writers Studio is free for all accepted applicants and is open to experienced as well as new young writers. Anyone who is interested is encouraged to apply.
“Island in the Works” | June 25-29, 2018
Students will spend five full days exploring Key West and learning about the authors who have lived and worked and visited here, past and present. We will approach writing with a sense of experimentation and fun through a variety of inspiring writing prompts. The program emphasizes journaling, experimenting, and the joys and challenges of the writing process.
Site-specific writing exercises will take us from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, and as far west as Fort Jefferson and Dry Tortugas National Park during a special daylong excursion. Classroom exercises will be paired with visits to local historic sites including the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum; and investigations of archival collections at the Monroe County Public Library.
Each afternoon will feature a writing workshop led by esteemed visiting writer, Victor LaValle. A former Guggenheim fellow and a member of the writing faculty at Columbia University, LaValle’s most recent novel is The Changeling, which was selected as one of the ten best books of 2017 by USA Today and Time magazine.
The theme of our first Young Writers Studio references James Merrill’s poem, “Island in the Works.” Inspired by the natural world of Key West, the poem playfully explores the changes of an island landscape, replete with creation, destruction, and the creative process. The poem ends, amusingly, with the image of the poem itself being lifted by the wind and dropped into a swimming pool. Full of observed natural imagery and regional detail, a relish for language, and a great sense of humor, the poem represents the ethos of the Young Writers Studio.
How to Apply
Write a letter to the Key West Literary Seminar:
- Introduce yourself. Explain why you want to be a part of this program. What makes you a great candidate? What in the description of Young Writers Studio sounds intriguing to you?
- Describe your relationship to reading and writing. Please tell us what has been your favorite thing (novel, poem, short story, graphic novel, children’s book, anything) you have ever read and why.
- Also, tell us about your relationship to Key West. What do you love about this area and landscape the most? Do you have a favorite place you can tell us about, or a favorite aspect of life here?
- Feel free to address these questions in whatever order makes the most sense to you, and creates a logical and good flow.
- Be yourself. Your letter should be casual and relaxed. Don’t be afraid to give us a sense of your personality and be completely honest.
- Remember that detail, description, and sharing quick anecdotes or examples can help make your writing fun and relatable. Also remember that editing for typos and small errors helps show that you care and are trying to make the best first impression.
Your letter should be no more than 650 words (minimum 500 words). 650 words is the standard maximum length for a college application essay, so it will be good practice!
Applications are due by Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 11:59 pm. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by April 15, 2018.
Watch this space for a link to upload your application letter.
About our Team
The Young Writers Studio is funded in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of the Knight Arts Challenge.