THE YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOP of the University of Virginia, established in 1982 as the nation’s flagship program for young writers, enters its third decade of bringing together a community of writers from across the country and beyond its borders with a common purpose: to create a supportive, non-competitive environment where teenage writers can live and work together as artists. The faculty of authors and residential staff bring professional experience to the development of new talent. In partnership with nearby Sweet Briar College and its idyllic setting, the Young Writers Workshop has achieved a long-desired goal: to welcome its participants to a retreat space where writers can commune with each other, immerse themselves in creative activity, and fuel their imaginations through an innovative arts program.
The Studio Workshops evolve through the dynamic principles of play, invention, response, revision, performance, and publication. Participants learn strategies to invent, develop, and revise material using the writer’s most essential tools—language, imagination, craft, sight, and insight. They conference with instructors and peer writers. They examine contemporary artists’ work. They become more discerning readers. Five studio workshops are offered:
From the real to the surreal, fiction writers learn how evocative fiction works: the power of provocative story hooks, resonant settings, and plot lines that weave together the lives of complex characters. This workshop also focuses on developing a repertoire of voices, styles, and narrative techniques to intrigue readers and leave them wanting more.
Creative nonfiction writers deploy the devices of great fiction—riveting description, charged dialogue, strong narrative structure—for telling true stories. They take these literary skills into field assignments to practice the real moves of the nonfiction writer, through humor, memoir, editorial, review, and many others bringing truth to the page with the force of fiction.
Poets make the ordinary extraordinary. They experiment with craft and form. They embody whole worlds of experience in just one line or image, distill where they have been and what they know, and give shape to personal truth in luminous detail. This workshop helps young poets discover the ways to tempt the muse to the page and forge what follows into a full blaze.
Artists in this workshop write songs that give rise to unequivocal statement. They concentrate on lyrics, music, or both. Through improvisation, they enter the kinship of poetry through jazz-poetry fusion. They perform live, go solo, or collaborate with other singer-songwriters. Either way, they create in that unparalleled space where sound and words explode.
Screen and Playwriting
F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "Writers aren’t exactly people … they’re a whole bunch of people trying to be one person." Script writers learn the skills needed to unleash their cast of characters onto screen or stage. Dramatic writing is the perfect genre for those whose inspiration exceeds the limits of the page!
WORKSHOP LABS AND ELECTIVES
The weekday schedule includes the intensive studio workshop, a follow-up lab to extend experimentation, and an array of elective mini-courses, among them: visiting artist seminars; encounters with the related arts of drawing, photography, dance, drama, and music; explorations of popular culture forms like the graphic novel and spoken word poetry; and creative teams in playwriting marathons.
EVENINGS AND WEEKENDS
We take advantage of Sweet Briar’s extraordinary setting, its related summer arts programs, and its sister organization, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts: outdoor and proscenium plays staged by Endstation Repertory Company; visits with artists in residence at the VCCA’s Mt. San Angelo campus; treks to the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. Guest alumni artists offer readings and performances and share their post-YWW journeys. Everyone joins a publishing staff, among them, literary, news, audio, online, and video magazines; and they attend literary salons. They also perform at open mics and the Writer's Cafe, a celebrated space for showcasing original work.
CHOOSE FROM TWO WORKSHOP SESSIONS: TENTATIVE SUMMER 2014 DATES BELOW
Session I (Two Weeks: June 22-July 4, 2014) is designed for writers with a range of experience — those new to study in a specific genre as well as those seeking to build their existing craft repertoire. Eligibility: Rising 9th grade through rising 12th grade. Features: intensive workshops, labs, readings, faculty conferencing, independent writing, publication and performance.
Session II (Three Weeks: July 6-July 25, 2014) includes all Session I features plus visiting artists, in-depth genre reading and writing with emphasis on technique, revision, and the road to publication. Eligibility: Rising 10th grade through rising college freshmen. A more advanced session, it requires commitment to revision and pushing the limits of the genre.
OTHER DETAILS: Tuition, which will be posted December 1, includes instruction by published professional writers who are also master teachers, trained counselors who are both writers and teachers, room, board, recreation, supplementary accident insurance, local transportation, and a personal copy of the Workshop literary magazine in which all participants are featured. The average writer-student ratio is 1:12. Dormitory rooms are double-, triple-, and quad-occupancy; participants may request a roommate. The counselor-student ratio averages 1:8; females and males are accommodated in separate dormitory areas. Participants are supervised in all aspects of the program. A limited number of partial scholarships, based on financial need, are available; financial aid information is included with the application. The online application will be posted January 6, 2014. The deadline for completed applications is March 1, 2014. Acceptances are emailed on March 24, 2014. A nonrefundable deposit of $250 must be made by April 1, 2014 to reserve space in the program; additional payments totaling the tuition balance must be made by May 1 and June 1, 2014. Preferable mode of payment is by credit card; or, if necessary, by check/money order.
All applicants submit:
- an autobiographical sketch that details reasons for wanting to attend the Workshop and captures the applicant’s interests and influences as a writer; and
- a recommendation (excepted for program alumni). In addition:
If your first choice is SESSION I, also submit:
- One 1-page writing sample in your 1st choice of genres; and
- One 1-page writing sample in your 2nd choice of genres.
If your first choice is SESSION 2, also submit:
- A selective writing portfolio (3-5 page document) in your 1st choice of genres; and
- A 2-3 page writing sample in your 2nd choice of genres.
Identify excerpts as such. Retain copies of all submitted materials as they cannot be returned.
Those applying to the SONGWRITING WORKSHOP may send lyrics, music, or both as a portfolio.
CDs should be sent by regular mail; applications will be updated upon receipt of hard copy materials.
DEADLINE: Complete the application online or postmark it by March 1, 2014. (Late applicants are accepted on a space-available basis.)
QUESTIONS: Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Virginia does not discriminate by age, color, handicap, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, or sex in education or employment.