Writer’s Week: A Creative Writing Workshop

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914.395.2205

For details about this program for summer 2021, please fill out our inquiry form or check back here in the fall.

Online August 3–7, 2020

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Directed by distinguished faculty members, this program allows high school students to explore writing in a non-competitive and non-judgmental environment that values the risks and adventure of the creative process. Each day, participants attend writing and theatre workshops led by prose writers, poets, and performance artists. Included in the week are mini-workshops taught by program faculty and guest artists. Rooted in the Sarah Lawrence College tradition of one-on-one interaction, the program offers students the opportunity to meet individually with workshop leaders. The program also includes faculty and student readings and a celebration of student work on the final day of the program. Classes are limited to 15 students, with two faculty members per workshop. All classes will be held live using Zoom.

We welcome students entering the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grades the following fall. Students must be age 14 or older at the start of the program.

Sponsored by The Writing Institute and the Office of Professional & Summer Programs at Sarah Lawrence College and the Greater New York Chapter of the Fulbright Association.

The Writer's Workshop

The day's work begins with a creative writing workshop, giving students the chance to investigate what defines a poem, a story, and the best way to communicate ideas through writing. This course is a place for students to write, to read one another's work, to learn to observe what is familiar and what is not, and to transform what the writer sees into words. Members work as professional writers do: generating material, collaborating, and talking, revising, and rewriting.

The Writer's Theatre

The work of the writer and theatre professional are similar—both investigate storytelling, character performance, narrative, and more. When studied together, these two related disciplines can produce holistic and more informed writers capable of creating work that reaches broad audiences. In this course, the creative process is explored in an intuitive and spontaneous fashion through improvisation, group projects, and games. Faculty and students participate together to give form and shape to both individual and collective expression. No prior theatre experience is necessary. Students select their theatre specialty. This year’s offerings include: Solo Performance, Character Comedy, Stand Up Comedy, Song writing and Playwriting.

Schedule

Classes will meet daily Monday through Friday from 11am-6pm EST. There will be ample breaks built in each day and a more detailed schedule will be released closer to the program start date.

Faculty

Aadditional faculty will be determined in the coming months.

Portrait style photo of Rachel AydtRachel Aydt has taught writing seminars at the New School University for nearly two decades, with a recent focus on first-year writing. She also teaches short story and memoir classes at the Writing Institute of Sarah Lawrence, and has taught in the pre-college summer programs at both Barnard and Sarah Lawrence. She's published short stories and essays, culture pieces and features for national magazines, and has worked on staff at national consumer magazines including CosmoGirl, American Heritage, and Cosmopolitan. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Sarah Lawrence.


Marcia BradleyMarcia Bradley is a writer, a teacher, and a reader. Originally from Chicago, she earned her BA in Creative Writing at Antioch University in Los Angeles and her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She loves thoughtful words, intentional sentences, and stories that immerse readers in the magic of everyday lives. Marcia looks forward to working with students who write fiction, fantasy, memoir, short stories, poetry, and diverse genres of all sorts. Marcia won a 2019 Bronx Council on the Arts/BRIO award for her story about Englewood on the South Side of Chicago. A piece from her new book-in-progress was chosen to be performed online by the FAU Theatre Lab and her short story Eyes Averted will be published in an upcoming issue of Drunk Monkeys Literature + Film. Marcia has also been published in Two Hawks Quarterly Magazine, in Hippocampus Magazine, received an honorable mention from Glimmer Train, and her memoir essay about her brother was published in The Capital Gazette. Marcia attended Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Writers in Paradise at Eckerd College, and a residency at Ragdale outside of Chicago. Marcia teaches creative writing in programs sponsored by Sarah Lawrence College, the Yonkers School District, and the Greater New York Chapter of the Fulbright Association. Marcia has two daughters, lives in the Bronx, and is working on a novel about women, social justice, and the right to seek freedom no matter the cost.


Photo of Colleen EnnenColleen Ennen is a fiction and nonfiction writer who received her MFA in Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Her writing has most recently appeared in Breadcrumbs Magazine, LUMINA, and The Lit Hub; she is at work on her first book—a spooky and fantastical contemporary novel. This is her second year as a Lead Teacher at the summer workshop, and she can’t wait to start creating with a new batch of young writers.


Information about other faculty and their workshops will be posted in the near future.

Teaching Approach

Marcia Bradley: I truly believe that everyone can write. Not just some people. Not only gifted creative folks. In my workshops, I facilitate everyone finding the point of view they enjoy. I help motivate writing the story or novel or poem or essay that lives within a student’s thoughts. Want to write a book? Let’s do it. Do you have one exceptionally long sentence you can’t let go of? Try it out on us. Only want to write dialogue? We’ll listen. Most anything goes and the results are always wonderful.

Workshop Descriptions

Rachel Aydt: This creative writing workshop will focus on finding inspiration. We'll do close readings together; generative writing exercises; workshops with peers; and polishing. Writers will have the chance to experiment with poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Each day we'll approach our writing from different viewpoints: setting, character, epistolary, personal essay, and more. 

Goals for young writers: Young writers will have a chance to work closely on projects of their own design, with an eye trained on creativity and craft. We'll work together to establish an inspirational workshop environment. We'll read short, published works aloud and discuss them in a seminar format. Above all, we'll find the fun in writing—it's summer, after all! 


Marcia Bradley: Are you a Heart Stopper—a person who yearns to tell a story that is so deep inside yourself that only the word “I” can begin the first sentence? Go for it. May you’re a Crowd Sourcer—a more cerebral observer who watches the world from a distance and can write the story of one of the people in the crowd—please tell us the dancer’s, or baker’s, or sorcerer’s, or the lonely child’s tale. Perhaps you are the Found Voice—the writer who knows that in second person “YOU” reigns supreme. Do it. We’ll get you started each day, offer you ideas and prompts, and let you write mystery or science fiction or a love story or poetry. Write what is in your soul and we will keep you going. Students will write, read aloud to each other, give and receive feedback, and write some more.

I envision my workshop as creating a space for young writers to connect with each other, learn, and play - with different genres, with different voices, with different craft elements, with different topics, etc. We are inclusive to fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, so no young writer’s preferred form is going to be off limits.


Colleen Ennen: I envision my workshop as creating a space for young writers to connect with each other, learn, and play - with different genres, with different voices, with different craft elements, with different topics, etc. We are inclusive to fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, so no young writer’s preferred form is going to be off limits.

In addition to generating a lot of new content, we will take time to talk about the process of revision and the opportunities for submitting their work for publication, both of which are key parts of any writer’s life. 

We’ll begin the week with a bit of reading and a lot of writing each day. The exercises will be exploratory and generative, designed to feed the imagination, and work on the nuts and bolts of craft. As the week progresses each student will choose one story to work on more deeply, revising and polishing and getting feedback so that it feels complete (or nearly so) by the end of our time together.


Information about other faculty and their workshops will be posted in the near future.

Goals for Young Writers

Marcia Bradley: In our first workshop, I ask each writer to think about their goals (not mine). If they want to write a story, a series of poems, a social justice essay, or a book, or something else. I offer structures for the time we will be together so that the students can achieve what they want. Students have left my classes with pieces to submit to contests and magazines. Others have taken home the outline of a book, the chapters titled, and the first pages ready to go. Some stay in touch with me.


Colleen Ennen: My aim is to spend a week challenging and stretching the young artists working with me to try out genres, play with new styles, and explore their own writer’s voice. By the end of the week each student should have both a collection of new material they can continue to grow, and at least one completed piece (whether story, essay, or poem) which they’ve worked, reworked, and would feel good about (hopefully) sharing with their peers and the world!


Information about other faculty and their workshops will be posted in the near future.

Student Testimonials

I loved the Sarah Lawrence Summer High School Writer's Week! The creative energy around me was truly inspiring and helped me to write new pieces. The students and instructors empowered one another to step out of their comfort zones, by sharing work and feedback. It was great to meet so many kind and supportive writers. This program gave me the insight on how to create an idea and follow through with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my student receive school credit?

We do not offer college credit for this program, though, if requested, we can send a letter to your student’s school confirming their participation in our summer program.

Will my student have homework?

Students typically do not receive homework, but may be asked to come prepared for the next class with fresh ideas. It is important to note that each workshop is run independently and the work they will be asked to do is dependent on the faculty members.

Does my student need to be an advanced writer?

This program is for anyone who has a desire to become a writer—to discover or fine tune the skills they already have. Whether the student is a beginner or an advanced writer, the faculty works with each student to create and move toward individual goals in a supportive, noncompetitive environment.

What is the theatre component of the program?

In The Writer’s Theatre workshops, the creative process is explored in an intuitive and spontaneous fashion through improvisation, group projects, and games. Faculty and students participate together to give form and shape to both individual and collective expression. No prior theatre experience is necessary.

Who are the instructors for the program?

Our courses are taught by dedicated education professionals and Master of Fine Arts Writing Program candidates from Sarah Lawrence College. We also have a large support staff available to you and your student to assist with any questions that may arise.

When will i hear back about scholarship acceptance?

Scholarships are offered on a first come, first serve need basis until all scholarships have been allocated.

Program Costs

Application fee $50
Deposit $250
Remaining tuition $590

A limited number of partial scholarships are available.