Youth Workshops at GBF

Writopia Lab will be offering a series of free, 50-minute workshops for kids and teens at the Gaithersburg Book Festival (GBF) on Saturday, May 18. GBF will take place on the grounds of City Hall in Olde Towne, Gaithersburg from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Workshops require sign-up at the Writopia Tent on the day of the festival and are free to all participants.

We’re thrilled to be running programming for young writers at the festival again this year. We’ve got a great day planned of writing workshops, readings by teen writers, as well as Q&A with Young Adult (YA) authors about getting your work published. This is a good chance to try out a workshop and to learn about joining our growing community of young writers here in Greater Washington,” said Kathy Crutcher, D.C. Director of Writopia Lab.

The Writopia Lab workshops for young writers include:

Kids Writing Collaboratively – Group Story (Ages 8+) – 10 a.m.- 10:50 a.m.
Presented by Elizabeth Gutting
This workshop will energize participants through a collaborative writing exercise in which they create a group story full of original characters and dramatic conflict. Writers will be challenged to engage in creative problem-solving and to create strong voices on the page.

College Admissions Essays – What’s Your Story? (Grades 9-12) – 11 a.m.-11:50 a.m.
Presented by Kathy Crutcher
This workshop will allow participants to discover their own unique stories to highlight in college admissions essays. Writers will look at samples, define criteria for successful pieces, brainstorm ideas and begin drafting their essays. Participants will share their work with each other and with the instructors for affirmation and constructive feedback.

How Do You Get Published? Tips from YA Novelists (Ages 10+) – Noon – 12:50 p.m.
Presented by Jessica Spotswood, Cristin Terrill, Jessica Dall These YA novelists and Writopia instructors will share their paths to publication and offer tips to young writers about getting their words in print.

Monologue, Dialogue – Kids’ Playwriting (Ages 10+) – 1 p.m.- 1:50 p.m.
Presented by Rachel Barclay
This workshop will give participants an opportunity to work on the foundations of playwriting. Participants will create unique, complex characters via dramatic monologues, and also explore character conflict via fun, guided dialogue exercises.

Making & Marking the World – Teen Poetry (Teens) – 2 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.
Presented by Tony Mancus
This workshop will explore one or two examples of works from contemporary poets who are engaged in looking closely at the world we live in (both near and far) to see how their work may leave its marks. Then participants will generate new pieces, either collaboratively or independently, given their interests, that are meant to engage the world.

Scholastic Writing Awards – Mock Judging (Grades 7-12) – 4 p.m.- 4:50 p.m.
Presented by Kathy Crutcher
This workshop will give participants a behind-the-scenes look at how the judging process works for competitions like the Scholastic Writing Awards, which is the country’s largest and most prestigious recognition program for teen writers. Sample submissions will be evaluated as jurors do and participants will learn what makes strong, memorable (award-winning!) writing.

Big Impact, Small Space – Flash Fiction (Age 10+) – 5 p.m.-5:50 p.m.
Presented by Elizabeth Gutting
This workshop will allow participants to compose brief powerful pieces of fiction. Through a guided exercise, they will work on showing-not-telling, as well as challenging reader expectations. Learn how to make a big impact in a small space!

In addition to the workshops, Writopia will showcase readings by award-winning teens:

“Raw Feet: DC Teen Voices” – A Reading by Scholastic Writing Award Winners – 3 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
Local teen writers published in “Raw Feet: DC Teen Voices,” the second annual anthology from the D.C. Scholastic Writing Awards, are invited to read excerpts of their award-winning stories, essays, poetry and plays. Their work was selected by jurors as being exemplary in voice, style, subject matter and power. The book was not only written by these young authors, but also designed, edited and copyedited by them as well.

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