Before the founding in 1982 of the Young Writers Workshop at the University of Virginia, residential programs for young creative writers didn’t exist.

From the Blog

Dangers for the Teenage Novelist

Writing a lot—and presumably a novel is a lot, since even a short one is around 50-60,000 words—doesn’t mean of course that the writing is any good. And yet it’s becoming clear to me that writing a novel may be something young fiction writers think is expected of them, especially in an age when they can self-publish.


For much of my life, I’ve wanted to be a writer, and I don’t think it’s any different for the students who come to Young Writers. These students experience creative freedom, and a community dedicated to that freedom, for the first time. Students get the bug. They begin to imagine what their life would look like as a songwriter, a novelist, or screenwriter. The point of this workshop, however, isn’t to churn out professional writers. This isn’t an Iowa-style workshop, and writing isn’t necessarily a career path for everyone. For the vast majority of these students writing instead becomes – as it did for me – an undeniable richness: a way to make meaning out of their lives, and to share that utterly unique meaning with others.  

Joe Chapman

YWW Teaching Poet