The Young Writers Studio is an exciting five-day writing program for local high school students.
Open to any student in Monroe County who will be starting their sophomore, junior, or senior year in the fall of 2018, the Young Writers Studio is for young people who want to become better writers, learn about themselves, and see their island home 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 for you!
The Young Writers Studio is free for all accepted applicants and is open to writers or would-be writers of all levels. Students who are homeschooled or from unconventional educational backgrounds are also encouraged to apply.
“Island in the Works” | June 25-29, 2018
Students will spend five full days exploring Key West and learning about authors who have lived and worked here, including Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Bishop, José Martí, and others. The program emphasizes journaling, close observation, and site-specific writing exercises, together with constructive feedback and group critique.
Daily classroom exercises will be paired with visits to local historic sites such the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum; and investigations of rare archival material at the Monroe County Public Library. Site-specific writing exercises will take participants 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.
Each afternoon will feature a writing workshop led by esteemed visiting writer Victor LaValle. A former Guggenheim fellow and 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.
Together with LaValle, a skilled and caring group of KWLS educators will support young writers as they explore the relationship between identity and place and discover the joys and challenges of the writing process.
The theme of our first Young Writers Studio references James Merrill’s poem, “Island in the Works.” Written from his Elizabeth Street home in the 1980s, the poem is rooted in natural phenomena and vernacular language that are distinctive to Key West. Full of observed imagery, a relish for language, and a great sense of humor, the poem represents the ethos of the Young Writers Studio.
How to Apply
Click here to apply via Submittable.
Write a letter to the Key West Literary Seminar:
- Introduce yourself. Explain why you want to be part of this program. What makes you a great candidate? What in the description of Young Writers Studio intrigues 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.
- 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 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 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), which is the standard maximum length for a college application essay. It will be good practice!
Extended Deadline. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, and all applicants will be notified of their status within two weeks of applying. We expect the program to fill quickly and encourage you to apply as soon as possible.
Questions? Please email or call us at 305-293-9291.
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.