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Summer Writers Experience exposes teens to creative life

Jun 12th, 2015 | By | Category: Features, Front Page

From E-town NOW

Throughout the summer, Elizabethtown College’s Bowers Writers House provides an opportunity for teens, who have a thirst for writing and creativity, to join in conversations with those whose vocation and avocation center on just that.

Jesse Waters, Writers House director, assembled professional writers in a variety of genre to take part in the Summer Writers Experience—free, casual craft talks and workshops that offer “14 to 17 year olds a creative outlet and interesting activities.”

Teens, who are exploring the creative world and might be considering their educational future, can interact with published writers to hear their stories and pick their brains. In addition, the Experience offers one-hour blocks of writing so participants can express their own creativity in an encouraging and fun atmosphere.

“It’s just for the experience, for their own excitement and creativity.”

Sessions, running from June 29 through Aug. 5, take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Bowers Writers House. Discussion cover character development, professional communications, theatre, performance, technical writing, nurturing the seed of a story, conflict and motivation, poetry, fiction and non-fiction writing.

The free sessions, which include lunch, are limited to 12 participants and their guests as a means of keeping the interaction intimate and personal.

Nicole St. Pierre, an Elizabethtown professional writing alum, who minored in creative writing and theatre performance, is on campus June 29 through July 1. She will talk about theatre performance, character development in acting and writing, professional communications and technical writing.

As a student, St. Pierre earned the Louise Baugher Black Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Writing. She was published in the College’s Fine Print literary magazine, wrote for the Etownian College newspaper and was featured in the College’s Playwrights Fest and Shorts Fest. She also acted in nine theatrical productions.

St. Pierre is a technical writer in Baltimore, Maryland, and recent work has appeared onstage, online and in print.

Austin DeMarco an E-town professional writing alum visits from July 13 through 15. He has twice placed as a semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest and is a member of the Codex Writers Group. His sessions center on planting and nurturing the seed of a story, characters and relationships and building motives and conflicts.

This writer of an eclectic mix of speculative fiction stories is managing editor with a small academic publisher in Hershey.

Jim Breslin shares his stories July 21 through 24. The writer, editor and storyteller is author of Elephant: Short Stories and Flash Fiction and the novel Shoplandia. His short fiction has appeared in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Turk’s Head Review, Metazen and Think Journal, and his micro-publishing project, Oermead Press, has published Chester County Fiction and West Chester Story Slam: Selected Stores 2010-2014. Breslin is founder of West Chester Story Slam and cofounder of Lancaster Story Slam.

His Experience sessions also explore planting and nurturing story seeds, building motivation and conflict and introducing characters and relationships.

At 7 p.m. Friday, July 24, Breslin offers a special evening reading.

Richard Blanco visits Bowers Writers House July 27. In addition to his lunchtime craft talk, the author will present a poetry reading at 8 p.m. His craft talk and workshop registration cutoff is at 4 p.m. Monday, June 15.

Blanco’s first book, City of a Hundred Fires, which explores the yearnings and negotiation of cultural identity as a Cuban-American, earned the prestigious Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from University of Pittsburgh Press, and his second, Directions to The Beach of the Dead, won the 2006 PEN/American Beyond Margins Award. Blanco’s third collection is Looking for The Gulf Motel.

His work also has appeared in “The Best American Poetry 2000,” “Great American Prose Poems” and has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. He is a Fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and a recipient of two Florida Artist Fellowships. A builder of cities and poems, he also is a professional civil engineer.

Winding up the Experience is Jesse Waters, director of Bowers Writers House, who will speak on fiction, non-fiction and poetry writing Aug. 3 through 7. There are early-July registration cutoffs for his workshops.

Waters is winner of the 2001 River Styx International Poetry Contest, runner-up for the Iowa Review Fiction Prize and a finalist in the DIAGRAM Innovative Fiction Prize and the 2014 Paul Bowles Fiction Award. His fiction, poetry and non-fiction has appeared in 88: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry, The Adirondack Review, Coal Hill Review, The Cortland Review, Cimarron Review, Concrete Wolf, Iowa Review, Plainsongs, Magma, River Styx, Slide, Story Quarterly, Southeast Review and Sycamore Review. His first book of poems, Human Resources, was released by Inkbrush Press in February of 2011.

This Summer Writing Experience, said Waters, is a precursor to the Young Scholars Week, a program in development at Elizabethtown for 2016. During that week, seven regional and national writers, theatre professionals and playwrights will share their experiences with creative teens during a full residential program. Young Scholars Week will not only help youth explore their writing, Waters said, but will give them a college campus experience.

Next year’s program, being developed with Admissions, includes all meals, four overnight stays and the insight of artistic professionals. It also introduces prospective students to how an Elizabethtown education helps empower various types of writers.

In the meantime, up and coming writers can speak one-on-one with professionals in creative fields as part of the Summer Writers Experience. “Students don’t need to bring anything,” Waters said of the program participants. “It’s just for the experience, for their own excitement and creativity.”

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