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

Interviewing Your Characters

Hi YWW’ers!

I had such a wonderful time interacting with you all when I visited this summer. You’re such a talented group, and ask such probing and insightful questions.

So that’s exactly what I’d like you to do with your characters: ask them some great questions. Pretend you’re an objective interviewer, and just let them speak spontaneously without thinking beforehand about what they might say, without any planning or judging or analyzing. You’ll often be amazed and surprised at what they have to say when you’re not concentrating on putting words in their mouths!


A good poet—or any kind of writer, for that matter—is a truth-sayer. In fact, the world needs you to be a truth-sayer. I think that we could do with a lot less faking-it-for-appearances and a lot more raw honesty of what it means to be a human being. And by telling the truth, I’m not talking about simply recounting the facts, or stating what happened and when.


I've taught fiction writing at Young Writers for nine years now, and every single summer I've felt that same beautiful energy there--a combination of real imagination, love and friendship, self exploration, and a thrilling flat-out just going for it. All year, summer to summer, I carry this in my memory, and I talk about it with anyone who will listen. I feel so lucky to be part of this program.

Suzy Chamandy

YWW Teaching Fiction Writer