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Diverse Young Writers Converge in Iowa for Famous Summer Workshops

Talented young writers from across the globe converge this weekend for the Iowa Young Writers' Workshop. (
Talented young writers from across the globe converge this weekend for the Iowa Young Writers' Workshop. (
June 10, 2016

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Writers from all over the U.S. and the world converge at the University of Iowa this weekend for the annual Iowa Young Writers' Studio.

The program has developed an international reputation over more than a decade. Studio director Stephen Lovely says it draws dozens of talented young authors from diverse backgrounds and even helps pay their way in some cases.

"Really exceptional writers who are maybe from economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods or populations who would just otherwise not be able to afford the program," says Lovely. "And we try to make it possible for them to attend, too."

The first session of the two-week program begins this Sunday with seminars and workshops, with another starting up in the second week of July.

Lovely says it not only brings together young writers to work with top teachers and mentors to help hone their craft, but also draws creative high schoolers who might otherwise feel isolated back home.

"Maybe they're one of the only kids who writes or they have their little group of friends," he says. "But when they come here, they meet all these other students who are like them. They're kind of the cool person. It's almost as though they come here, they find their people; they make a lot of connections with other kids their age who love the same things they love - writing and reading and books."

With the annual summer program beginning in the early 2000s, Lovely says now they're seeing past participants becoming successful authors as adults.

"There's a poet who came through the Young Writers' Studio, who's publishing her first book," says Lovely. "There's a fiction writer who has come through the workshop and will be publishing her first novel in the next couple of years. And there's a woman named Moira Weigel who just published a book about online dating that's been getting a lot of press."

He adds most of the students have gone on to pursue writing careers in creative, corporate and academic settings.

Bob Kessler, Public News Service - IA