Ends in 5 days, 23 hours

 A free eight-week writing workshop // Your true story, well told

Mental illness affects one in five young people (ages 13–18)—a rate of occurrence that is staggering compared to cancer, broken bones, and the other physical ailments we hear about regularly. And yet, there is still a powerful stigma attached to mental illness, which often makes it hard for people to ask for help. If you’ve ever faced the challenges of mental illness, or seen its impact on family or friends, then you likely know the isolation caused by stigma. 

This multi-week workshop at Creative Nonfiction is a chance to write about your experiences with mental illness—whether your own or someone else’s—and the stigma surrounding it. In addition to learning the basics of creative nonfiction, such as crafting scenes and characters, finding your audience, and revising your work, you’ll also receive training on how to prepare a portion of your work to be performed aloud at a public event. You’ll gain control over your story and your experiences, and the event will allow a larger audience to better understand and appreciate what it’s really like to live with mental illness. 

You’ll also become part of a special cohort of young adults working together to dismantle the stigma surrounding mental illness and show that people affected by mental illness can survive and prosper emotionally, creatively, and academically. Part of working together and dismantling the stigma means sharing what you're writing each week with the workshop group. If you're feeling shy, you may ask the instructor or a peer writer to read for you. This workshop will help you find your voice and help advocate for change.

Workshops will be led by author Yona Harvey, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, an award-winning author of both poetry and essays, and a writer for Marvel Comics.


What is creative nonfiction?

Simply put, creative nonfiction is true stories, well told—factually accurate, artful prose about real people and events. Learn more here


Who should apply?

Any resident of Allegheny County in grades 9–12 with a true story to tell about the challenges or the satisfactions of confronting mental illness—whether your own or that of a friend, peer, or family member. You must also be prepared to travel to the Creative Nonfiction Foundation (5119 Coral Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15224) for weekly workshops.

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