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A free eight-week writing workshop for Allegheny County students in grades 9-12 who are interested in writing true stories about difficult topics.

It’s hard to be a teen any time, but maybe even more so this year. Writing about challenges—whether personal or political, big or small—can help.

During this multi-week workshop you’ll have the opportunity to share and reflect on the writing process, and specifically on how writing about difficult topics gives you the opportunity to investigate your life and take ownership of your experiences.

In this workshop, you will…

  • Be part of a special cohort of writers working together
  • Learn the basics of creative nonfiction, such as crafting scenes and characters, finding your audience, and revising your work
  • Receive training on how to prepare a portion of your work to be performed aloud
  • Participate at a final (online) “graduation” event.

Workshops will be led by Sarah Shotland, the author of the novel Junkette and a playwright whose work has been produced nationally and internationally. She is cofounder and Program Director of Words Without Walls, which brings creative writing classes to jails, prisons, and drug treatment centers in Pittsburgh. Her work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and her essays have been published or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, Baltimore Review, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. She teaches in the MFA program at Chatham University.


What is creative nonfiction?
Simply put, creative nonfiction is true stories, well told—factually accurate, artful prose about real people and events. "Creative nonfiction can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir, or a poem; it can be personal or not, or it can be all of these." -- Lee Gutkind. Learn more about the genre here.

Who should apply?

Any resident of Allegheny County in grades 9–12 who has a story to share. All applicants must be available to join an online meeting on a reliable wifi connection— preferably on an actual computer with a camera rather than a smartphone or tablet. Meetings are scheduled to run from 6 PM until 8 PM each Thursday.

Applications are due by January 15th, 2021.

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