E.B. Bartels

Nonfiction mafia.

Category: Teaching

Looking for an August activity? Sign up for a GrubStreet teen writing camp!

If you are a writer between the ages of 13-18 and you are looking for something to do in August, then consider signing up for one of GrubStreet’s awesome TEEN WRITING CAMPS! Scholarships are available for all classes.

In particular, you should enroll in a Week of Creative Writing from August 6-10, taught by yours truly. It’s going to be so fun. Let me know if you have any questions!

Plus, there are always free snacks at GrubStreet, so I don’t really know what else you want.

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Just a reminder!

My summer classes at GrubStreet start very soon! If you are considering signing up, stop stalling and register today.

Please contact me if you have any questions. Hope to see you around GrubStreet (either in person or virtually) this summer!

GrubStreet summer classes: teen edition!

Are you a teenager who wants to take a creative writing class this summer? Then you should consider signing up for one of the two week-long teen writing camps I am teaching at GrubStreet: Week of Drama: Playwriting and Screenwriting runs from July 16 through July 20, and August Week of Creative Writing for Teens: Section A runs from August 6 through August 10. Keep reading for more information!

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Week of Drama: Playwriting and Screenwriting
Monday, July 16 – Friday, July 20, 10:30am-3:30pm

  • 5-day teen writing camp.
  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • Scholarships available!

Do you know all the words to every song in Hamilton? Are you constantly watching old movies on Netflix? Do you live for the spotlight? Are the Academy Awards your personal Super Bowl? Then this week-long course on playwriting and screenwriting is for you! Designed for theatre geeks, musical nerds, film buffs, and series bingers we will study what makes for great dialogue, character development, pacing, and plot structure when it comes to plays and movies. During this course, you will have the chance to try your hand at writing your own original play or screenplay and also learning the art of adapting a work for the stage or screen as we study famous screenwriters and playwrights from Jordan Peele to Wes Anderson to Mindy Kaling to Nora Ephron to Suzan-Lori Parks to Martin McDonagh to, of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Writing notebooks will be available, but feel free to bring your own. For writers age 13 – 18 ONLY.

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August Week of Creative Writing for Teens: Section A
Monday, August 6 – Friday, August 10, 10:30am-3:30pm

  • 5-day teen writing camp.
  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • Scholarships available!

In this week-long general creative writing course, we won’t discriminate based on genre! Whether you’re working on your first novel or writing memoir, short stories, poetry, plays, or fan fiction, this is an opportunity to improve your skills and learn about new forms. Each day will be filled with exercises designed to get you creating, and to expose you to new genres you may not have previously explored. What is flash fiction anyway? Does nonfiction have to be 500-page biographies of dead presidents? Do my characters have to be likable? How can I make my reader feel the way I am feeling? Do I have to stay confined to one genre? We’ll explore these questions and more! This class is geared toward creative, energetic, and open-minded writers all of levels who aren’t afraid to try something new. Writing notebooks will be available, but feel free to bring your own. For writers age 13 – 18 ONLY.

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Again, let me know if you have any questions! Sign up today!

GrubStreet summer classes: adult edition!

Are you an adult who wants to take a creative writing class this summer? Then you should consider signing up for one of the two classes I am teaching for GrubStreet starting in June: Non-Fiction by Non-Men, taught at the GrubStreet Headquarters in Boston on Monday nights from 6pm-9pm, or Intro to Creative Nonfiction: Online, which you can take from anywhere! Keep reading for more information.

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Non-Fiction by Non-Men
Mondays, June 4 – August 6, 6pm-9pm

  • New class!!!
  • 10-week course.
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!

We don’t know about you, but if we read another essay about shooting elephants or drinking war buddies under the table at a Barcelona bar or hanging out by a famous Concord pond, we’re going to throw ourselves into the Charles. If you’re looking to learn about nonfiction writers outside the range of those typically taught in English class, take this ten-week course to study and learn from some of the greatest contemporary women and non-binary folks writing nonfiction, with a special emphasis on women of color and LGBTQ individuals. In each class, we will study both the works of these writers and look at interviews with each of them discussing their craft, taken from the site Fiction Advocate’s interview series Non-Fiction by Non-Men. The reading list will include but is not limited to: Margo Jefferson, Michelle Kuo, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Edwidge Danticat, Suki Kim, Nina MacLaughlin, Samantha Irby, Eula Biss, Daisy Hernández, and Scaachi Koul. In addition to reading and studying works by these writers, for each class you will be expected to respond to writing prompts inspired by the works we have read. You will leave this course with the beginnings of several new pieces of your own nonfiction writing, a broadened knowledge of the range of individuals writing contemporary nonfiction, and an understanding of useful techniques and strategies for conducting interviews. Plus, you will have the chance to be a guest interviewer in the Non-Fiction by Non-Men series and publish an interview of your own on Fiction Advocate.

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Intro to Creative Nonfiction: Online
ONLINE, June 12 – July 17

  • My first ONLINE course with GrubStreet!
  • 6-week course.
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!
  • Did I mention it is ONLINE so you can take it from ANYWHERE?!

What defines creative nonfiction? Writers can’t even agree on the name: “Few seem willing to embrace the term,” writes essayist and memoirist Dinty W. Moore, “though by this point, almost everyone uses it.” And yet, the fundamentals of creative nonfiction are as old as Montaigne, and the genre has thrived in recent decades—from the tell-all memoirs of Mary Karr to the online personal essay boom. More readers are feeling “reality hunger,” it seems, craving stories based in fact. Intro to Creative Nonfiction Online will introduce you to this inventive form, with the flexibility of scheduling your own weekly attendance.

In this six-week course, we’ll explore what creative nonfiction is, what it isn’t, and what it might be, examining a mix of published nonfiction works—personal essays, memoirs, criticism, lyric essays, narrative journalism, flash nonfiction, autobiographical comics, nonfiction poetry, and hybrid genre work—to better understand the array of styles and approaches writers bring to true stories they tell. Focusing on voice, details, perspective and language, we’ll analyze work that fits neatly within nonfiction norms as well as boundary-pushing work that lives on the fringe, and apply this craft awareness to our own writing. Authors may include, but are not limited to: Hilton Als, Eula Biss, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Doyle, Roxane Gay, Leslie Jamison, Margo Jefferson, Maxine Hong Kingston, Maggie Nelson, and Mary Roach.

During the six weeks of class, students will respond to six short prompts inspired by our reading each week. This class is classified as a survey, which means the focus is on introducing students to new topics and forms of writing. Though student work will be discussed, the emphasis is not on formal, instructor-driven critique, but on learning, class discussion, and writing exercises. While there are no live meetings to attend, students will be expected to complete weekly readings and exercises by a specified day each week and to contribute to online class discussions. At the end of the class, students will have the opportunity to submit one revised piece to the instructor for feedback, and recommendations on next steps. Please expect to devote 4-6 hours/week to this class, in which you’ll gain a strong foundational knowledge of creative nonfiction, along with a sense of its possibilities and where such work is being published. This class is ideal for novice writers or more experienced writers looking to delve into this ever-evolving and flourishing genre.

*Note that while our handy dandy “Schedule” tab states a 6-7pm class time, there are actually no live meetings for this class! Assignments and deadlines will be given by your instructor. Students will have access to the online class portal starting at 5pm on the first day of class. Instructions for logging onto the online portal will be emailed to registered students before 5pm the first day of class.

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Let me know if you have any questions!

You can still sign up for 6 Weeks, 6 Essays!

grubstreet logo

It’s not too late to sign up for my class 6 Weeks, 6 Essays at GrubStreet! It now starts this Wednesday, April 25, and runs through Wednesday, May 30. Six sessions, meeting 10:30am to 1:30pm. Here’s the course description:

In this fun, intensive class, over the course of six weeks, writers will produce six short essays (between 500 and 1,000 words each). Each week we will look at model essays, including pieces by, but not limited to, Eula Biss, Roxane Gay, Brian Doyle, Margo Jefferson, Natalia Ginzburg, David Sedaris, Leslie Jamison, and Daisy Hernández. Students will respond to prompts based on the works we have read and bring copies of their completed essays to class each week, where they will read them aloud and receive on-the-spot feedback in brief workshop sessions. At the end of the class, students will leave with a path forward to possible publication for their half-a-dozen essay drafts!

Sign up today!

 

Spring and summer classes at GrubStreet!

It may still be snowing in Boston (!!!!), but it’s time to start thinking about taking a spring or summer class at GrubStreet! Here is the upcoming list of courses I will be teaching in the next few months. Sign up today!

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6 Weeks, 6 Essays
Starts NEXT WEDNESDAY!
Wednesdays, April 11 – May 16, 10:30am-1:30pm

  • 6-week course.
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!

In this fun, intensive class, over the course of six weeks, writers will produce six short essays (between 500 and 1,000 words each). Each week we will look at model essays, including pieces by, but not limited to, Eula Biss, Roxane Gay, Brian Doyle, Margo Jefferson, Natalia Ginzburg, David Sedaris, Leslie Jamison, and Daisy Hernández. Students will respond to prompts based on the works we have read and bring copies of their completed essays to class each week, where they will read them aloud and receive on-the-spot feedback in brief workshop sessions. At the end of the class, students will leave with a path forward to possible publication for their half-a-dozen essay drafts!

—-

Non-Fiction by Non-Men
Mondays, June 4 – August 6, 6pm-9pm

  • New class!!!
  • 10-week course.
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!

We don’t know about you, but if we read another essay about shooting elephants or drinking war buddies under the table at a Barcelona bar or hanging out by a famous Concord pond, we’re going to throw ourselves into the Charles. If you’re looking to learn about nonfiction writers outside the range of those typically taught in English class, take this ten-week course to study and learn from some of the greatest contemporary women and non-binary folks writing nonfiction, with a special emphasis on women of color and LGBTQ individuals. In each class, we will study both the works of these writers and look at interviews with each of them discussing their craft, taken from the site Fiction Advocate’s interview series Non-Fiction by Non-Men. The reading list will include but is not limited to: Margo Jefferson, Michelle Kuo, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Edwidge Danticat, Suki Kim, Nina MacLaughlin, Samantha Irby, Eula Biss, Daisy Hernández, and Scaachi Koul. In addition to reading and studying works by these writers, for each class you will be expected to respond to writing prompts inspired by the works we have read. You will leave this course with the beginnings of several new pieces of your own nonfiction writing, a broadened knowledge of the range of individuals writing contemporary nonfiction, and an understanding of useful techniques and strategies for conducting interviews. Plus, you will have the chance to be a guest interviewer in the Non-Fiction by Non-Men series and publish an interview of your own on Fiction Advocate.

—-

Intro to Creative Nonfiction: Online
ONLINE, June 12 – July 17

  • My first ONLINE course with GrubStreet!
  • 6-week course.
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!
  • Did I mention it is ONLINE so you can take it from ANYWHERE?!

What defines creative nonfiction? Writers can’t even agree on the name: “Few seem willing to embrace the term,” writes essayist and memoirist Dinty W. Moore, “though by this point, almost everyone uses it.” And yet, the fundamentals of creative nonfiction are as old as Montaigne, and the genre has thrived in recent decades—from the tell-all memoirs of Mary Karr to the online personal essay boom. More readers are feeling “reality hunger,” it seems, craving stories based in fact. Intro to Creative Nonfiction Online will introduce you to this inventive form, with the flexibility of scheduling your own weekly attendance.

In this six-week course, we’ll explore what creative nonfiction is, what it isn’t, and what it might be, examining a mix of published nonfiction works—personal essays, memoirs, criticism, lyric essays, narrative journalism, flash nonfiction, autobiographical comics, nonfiction poetry, and hybrid genre work—to better understand the array of styles and approaches writers bring to true stories they tell. Focusing on voice, details, perspective and language, we’ll analyze work that fits neatly within nonfiction norms as well as boundary-pushing work that lives on the fringe, and apply this craft awareness to our own writing. Authors may include, but are not limited to: Hilton Als, Eula Biss, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Doyle, Roxane Gay, Leslie Jamison, Margo Jefferson, Maxine Hong Kingston, Maggie Nelson, and Mary Roach.

During the six weeks of class, students will respond to six short prompts inspired by our reading each week. This class is classified as a survey, which means the focus is on introducing students to new topics and forms of writing. Though student work will be discussed, the emphasis is not on formal, instructor-driven critique, but on learning, class discussion, and writing exercises. While there are no live meetings to attend, students will be expected to complete weekly readings and exercises by a specified day each week and to contribute to online class discussions. At the end of the class, students will have the opportunity to submit one revised piece to the instructor for feedback, and recommendations on next steps. Please expect to devote 4-6 hours/week to this class, in which you’ll gain a strong foundational knowledge of creative nonfiction, along with a sense of its possibilities and where such work is being published. This class is ideal for novice writers or more experienced writers looking to delve into this ever-evolving and flourishing genre.

*Note that while our handy dandy “Schedule” tab states a 6-7pm class time, there are actually no live meetings for this class! Assignments and deadlines will be given by your instructor. Students will have access to the online class portal starting at 5pm on the first day of class. Instructions for logging onto the online portal will be emailed to registered students before 5pm the first day of class.

—-

Week of Drama: Playwriting and Screenwriting
Monday, July 30 – Friday, August 3, 10:30am-3:30pm

  • 5-day teen writing camp.
  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • Scholarships available!

Do you know all the words to every song in Hamilton? Are you constantly watching old movies on Netflix? Do you live for the spotlight? Are the Academy Awards your personal Super Bowl? Then this week-long course on playwriting and screenwriting is for you! Designed for theatre geeks, musical nerds, film buffs, and series bingers we will study what makes for great dialogue, character development, pacing, and plot structure when it comes to plays and movies. During this course, you will have the chance to try your hand at writing your own original play or screenplay and also learning the art of adapting a work for the stage or screen as we study famous screenwriters and playwrights from Jordan Peele to Wes Anderson to Mindy Kaling to Nora Ephron to Suzan-Lori Parks to Martin McDonagh to, of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Writing notebooks will be available, but feel free to bring your own. For writers age 13 – 18 ONLY.

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August Week of Creative Writing for Teens: Section A
Monday, August 6 – Friday, August 10, 10:30am-3:30pm

  • 5-day teen writing camp.
  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • Scholarships available!

In this week-long general creative writing course, we won’t discriminate based on genre! Whether you’re working on your first novel or writing memoir, short stories, poetry, plays, or fan fiction, this is an opportunity to improve your skills and learn about new forms. Each day will be filled with exercises designed to get you creating, and to expose you to new genres you may not have previously explored. What is flash fiction anyway? Does nonfiction have to be 500-page biographies of dead presidents? Do my characters have to be likable? How can I make my reader feel the way I am feeling? Do I have to stay confined to one genre? We’ll explore these questions and more! This class is geared toward creative, energetic, and open-minded writers all of levels who aren’t afraid to try something new. Writing notebooks will be available, but feel free to bring your own. For writers age 13 – 18 ONLY.

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Let me know if you have any questions!

Writing From Found Objects class at GrubStreet!

Have you been stuck in a creative rut? Are you looking for a low commitment but super fun writing class? Have no plans for this Friday, March 23rd, from 10:30am-1:30pm? Perfect! Sign up for my class Writing From Found Objects at GrubStreet! This one-time, three-hour session is guaranteed to get you back into a writing flow. Plus, you get to look through my collection of old photographs from Russian flea markets. What more could you want?!

Here’s the course description:

Have you ever found an old photograph at a flea market and wondered: who are these people, and what is their story? That’s how Ransom Riggs wrote Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, structuring the plotline entirely around found photographs. Have you ever looked at a page of an old book and thought: is there is a poem in here somewhere? That’s how Tom Phillip’s created A Humument, making beautiful paintings and found poems out of each page of an unknown Victorian novel he stumbled on one day. Using these two texts as our models, this course will be all about looking for inspiration for your writing in the objects that surround you, creating narratives out of things that already exist. We will look at an array of items––old photographs, video footage, antique maps, even junk and trash––and find the stories and poems hidden within. You’re welcome to bring in your own items, but objects will be provided––you just need to find their story. We may even take a trip to the antiques store next to GrubStreet for inspiration! This course will also explore the relationship between images and words, which makes it a great course for those who are visual artists in addition to writers. This will be a generative class, and hopefully you will leave the session feeling inspired and with the beginnings of several new pieces of work!

Sign up here!

There’s still time to sign up for Writing About Family!

Are you totally bummed because you think you missed your window to sign up for my Writing About Family class at GrubStreet? Well, don’t be! There is still time to enroll. The class now starts January 24 and runs through March 28: 10:30am-1:30pm on Wednesdays for ten weeks. 

Also, to clarify: the definition of “family” in this course is extremely broad. We will be looking at examples from writers who define family in all kinds of ways — from biological to adopted to chosen, from parents to children to friends, from human to non-human. This course will be helpful for anyone attempting to write nonfiction about people (or animals) they love or hate, but, for better or for worse, are bound to by some familial-feeling kind of force.

Sign up now!

 

Write about holiday family drama with me at GrubStreet!

Give yourself a present this holiday season and sign up to take my winter GrubStreet multi-week course: Writing About Family! You know you want to. You are going to have so many family stories to write about by the time December is over. Work through that holiday family tension with nonfiction! The timing is ideal.

The class begins on January 10, 2018 and runs through March 14, 2018, meeting from 10:30am-1:30pm for ten Wednesdays.

Here’s the course description:

As a nonfiction writer, you often pull material from your own life, and that means you may end up writing about the people closest to you: your family. But this brings up some tough questions: How is it possible to create a well-rounded portrait of someone you don’t want to upset? How can you ever get past the thought: what will my grandmother think when she reads this? In addition, when writing about family members who have passed or about intimate family history, how can you avoid falling into the trap of nostalgia and sentimentality? These are exactly the questions that we will tackle. In this ten-week course, you will write several short pieces, including a profile of someone near and dear to you, as well as a retelling of a family story that happened before your time. Through discussion of published works, craft lectures, and workshops, we will delve deeper into the elements of nonfiction that can elevate a personal piece of writing. You will leave the class with several short works based on your family history that you can continue to develop into polished personal essays or memoir pieces. Readings may include excerpts by Mary Karr, Maxine Hong Kingston, Alison Bechdel, Margo Jefferson, Tobias Wolff, Phillip Roth, David Sedaris, Janet Mock, and Vladimir Nabokov.

Did you know that we have scholarships available for all GrubStreet classes? To apply, click the “APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP” button in the top right corner of this page. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your scholarship application and await our Scholarship Committee’s decision before registering for the class. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Reminder about upcoming classes at GrubStreet!

In the next few weeks I am teaching four different one-day classes at GrubStreet––two for teens, two for adults, and three are 100% completely FREE, including the Brown Bag session which is A WEEK FROM TODAY!

Check out the course descriptions below, and let me know if you have any questions. Sign up now!

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FREE Brown Bag Lunch Writing Series
Wednesday, October 18, 12:30pm-1:15pm

  • Open to all writers.
  • ***100% COMPLETELY FREE!*** 
  • No registration necessary!

Do you work downtown and want to fit some writing into your day? Or do you have a schedule that gives you free afternoons instead of evenings? Join our FREE Brown Bag Lunch Writing Series.

Bring your lunch and come on over to GrubStreet on Wednesday, October 18th from 12:30pm – 1:15pm. For 45 minutes, you’ll meet fellow writers and get your creative juices flowing with some cool writing exercises. Led by one of our award-winning instructors or ambassadors.

Best of all, you’ll leave lunch with some new ideas to ponder for the rest of your day and beyond. No need to RSVP — just come!

*Be sure to arrive early, as space is limited!

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Young Adult Writers Program: Playwriting for Drama Queens and Kings
Saturday, October 21, 12pm-4pm

  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • ***100% COMPLETELY FREE!*** 
  • Includes free pizza for lunch!

Has someone ever told you to stop being so dramatic? If so, disregard that advice and come take Drama Queens and Kings! Through acting and improv games, you will generate material to create the beginnings of your own play and figure out what it takes to make drama exciting, interesting, and, well, dramatic. In addition to theatre exercises, you will work off writing prompts to help inspire engaging dialogue and read excerpts from great playwrights, both contemporary and classic. By the end of the class, you will have one or more scenes that you will be able expand into a play. Writing notebooks will be available, but feel free to bring your own. For writers age 13 – 18 ONLY.

Join GrubStreet’s Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP), a FREE creative writing workshop for Boston-area high schoolers. Our students come from a wide variety of high schools in the Boston area and enjoy cool writing exercises, mingling with fellow young writers, snacks, and an optional open mic. After four great years, YAWP has already been recognized by the Boston Globe as Boston’s hub for writing teenagers. You must be 13-18 years to register.

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Writing About Family
Saturday, November 11, 10am-5pm

  • 6-hour seminar.
  • Open to all writers.
  • Scholarships available!

As a nonfiction writer, you often pull material from your own life, and that means you may end up writing about the people closest to you: your family. But this brings up some tough questions: How is it possible to create a well-rounded portrait of someone you don’t want to upset? How can you ever get past the thought: what will my grandmother think when she reads this? In addition, when writing about family members who have passed or about intimate family history, how can you avoid falling into the trap of nostalgia and sentimentality? These are exactly the questions that we will tackle over the course of our six-hour session. In this one-day class, we will read excerpts from many nonfiction writers who have braved the topic of their families and attempt several writing prompts in response to the reading. This course will be a mix of a discussion-based seminar and a generative writing session, so students can leave the class with the beginnings of several pieces about their families. Readings may include excerpts by Mary Karr, Maxine Hong Kingston, Alison Bechdel, Margo Jefferson, Tobias Wolff, Phillip Roth, David Sedaris, Janet Mock, and Vladimir Nabokov.

—-

Young Adult Writers Program: Writing Inspired by Found Objects
Saturday, November 18, 12pm-4pm

  • Open to writers aged 13-18 years old.
  • ***100% COMPLETELY FREE!*** 
  • Includes free pizza for lunch!

Have you ever found an old photograph at a flea market and wondered: who are these people, and what is their story? That’s how Ransom Riggs wrote Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, structuring the plotline entirely around found photographs. Using Miss Peregrine as our model, this course will be all about looking for inspiration for your writing in the objects that surround you, creating narratives out of things that already exist. We will look at an array of items––old photographs, video footage, antique maps, even junk and trash––and find the stories and poems hidden within. You’re welcome to bring in your own items, but objects will be provided––you just need to find their story. We will even take a trip to the antiques store next to GrubStreet for inspiration! This course will also explore the relationship between images and words, looking at examples such as Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck and Tom Phillips’s A Humument. A great course for those who are visual artists in addition to writers. Writing notebooks will be available, but feel free to bring your own. For writers age 13 – 18 ONLY.

Join GrubStreet’s Young Adult Writers Program (YAWP), a FREE creative writing workshop for Boston-area high schoolers. Our students come from a wide variety of high schools in the Boston area and enjoy cool writing exercises, mingling with fellow young writers, snacks, and an optional open mic. After four great years, YAWP has already been recognized by the Boston Globe as Boston’s hub for writing teenagers. You must be 13-18 years to register.

AllisonandAJontheAT

Together hiking the Appalachian Trail from April to October, 2015!

E.B. Bartels

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