Scholastic Writing Awards of Southeast Louisiana Offer Free Writing Workshops for Tweens and Teens at UNO

The Scholastic Writing Awards of Southeast Louisiana, in cooperation with the Greater New Orleans Writing Project and Ready, Set, College at the University of New Orleans, will host two writing workshops for local teens for middle and high schoolers in coming weeks. Students in grades 7-12 are invited to participate and vie for a share of $1 million in writing prizes available through the 2013 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards or simply learn to be better writers.

The upcoming Write at UNO Workshops run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 17 and Dec. 8 at the Writing Center on UNO's Lakefront campus. Professional writers in the genres of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction will help students to will submit work to the 2013 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and improve their craft. Published writers will lead small craft classes and small group or individual coaching. Students are invited to bring works in progress -- a story, a poem or an essay. If not, the UNO writers will help students to get started.

The Write at UNO Workshops allow the University "an opportunity to do the right thing to reach out and provide some educational support to students in our area who will be college students themselves very shortly," said Ali Arnold, a UNO writing instructor.

Research from the Gates Foundation has shown that writing is the best indicator for college readiness, said Arnold, who is hoping to expand the upcoming workshops into a weeklong camp this summer.

The act of writing is often a critical step in formulating visionary ideas and developing deep understanding of other subject matter, said Arnold, who spoke of translating thoughts into words or graphic images on paper in order to resolve problems and answer questions.

"The students who are most comfortable with writing are the ones who are most likely to succeed," she said. "We know writing as a learning tool to delineate the boundaries and perimeters of our knowledge...[through writing] we can figure out exactly what we need to know."

Parents may drop young writers off at the Liberal Arts Building and take a tour of the campus or have a cup of coffee in the University Center while they wait. Free parking is available in the Liberal Arts parking lot.

"The Write at UNO Workshops offer local teens the rare and hugely valuable opportunity to get feedback from working writers," says Sarah DeBacher, director of GNOWP at UNO. "What's more, the workshops are free, and at stake is $1 million in prize money, publication in UNO's community literary magazine, Ellipsis, and publication in The Best Teen Writing of 2013, a book put out annually by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Students who wish to attend the workshops need to register online through the event's site, www.WriteatUNO.org. For more information on the Scholastic Art and Writing awards, visit www.artandwriting.org.