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Since our first session in 1994, about 1,000 students have attended the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference, some of them several times. Who are they? They’ve come from almost every part of the U.S. and a few foreign countries, from both public and private high schools. Some have had extensive training in creative writing and some have not. What they had in common was a passion for writing and a willingness to work hard at it for two weeks, refining their craft and helping others do the same. And where do they go from here? Back to their high schools, where they almost always find themselves more confident and committed writers and students. And then on to colleges like MIT, Dartmouth, Columbia, Sarah Lawrence, Middlebury, the University of Virginia, and Sewanee. Some have gone on to publish their work in regional and national magazines, to work as Hollywood screenwriters, magazine editors, and Ph.D. students in literature—and some are doing other things entirely, but nearly all seem to look back at their experience in Sewanee as valuable and transforming.

This is what some of them had to say:

"At the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference you’ll get a great mix of relaxing fun and access to talented instructors and visitors who can help you reach the next level in your writing through their years of experience. The counselors will make sure you feel at home and answer your knock on their door at three AM. You’ll never go hot or hungry; the dorms have powerful air-conditioning and McClurg is always filled with healthy and… not-so- healthy food. Workshops will be filled with diverse people and writing styles. You’ll never have to worry about finding a computer to type your work and check your mail, or about having to pay ten cents for every paper you print. The campus feels safe at all hours. Anywhere you go outdoors you’ll find nature that’s even beautiful in the rain. You won’t want to miss Stirlings coffee house with its deck of rocking chairs or rooms of games and books. You won’t be homesick for a minute at Sewanee." (Lauren Polm, age 16)

"I have not only learned how to write in a new genre, creative nonfiction, but I have also met a diverse group of creative individuals, some of whom I will keep in touch with away from Sewanee. Sewanee was a great learning environment, a friendly get away from the stress and distractions of city life." (Emily Hassell, age 17)

"Among helpful peers and fun instructors, one really discovers how sacred Sewanee really is. It becomes a community, and in this community confidence is gained, ideas are shared, and skills are improved." (Lillie Williams, age 15)

"When you’re here at the conference, you can leave all of your troubles, worries, and duties at home. For two weeks, you can concentrate fully on writing and developing your creative voice. You’ll meet great people and have fun in the process." (Daniel Leblanc, age 17)

"I had such a good time at this conference! I would recommend this to anybody interested in writing. I have become such a better writer and I made so many friends." (Martin Mintz, age 16)

"The Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference is an amazing opportunity for teenagers who share the same goals and ambitions to get together and grow as writers. A perfect chance to study under some of America’s most distinguished writers and professors. The lessons you learn while attending the conference are more than different writing styles and main points of books, but the knowledge to further your career as a writer and accept criticism, a valuable lesson important to the continuation of your writing." (Andrew Cotton, age 17)

"I left here with the knowledge how to employ every tool in writing and how to employ them in such a way that the story they created was more than you had hoped it would be. It was also amazing to meet so many different people who all cared about the same thing and didn’t think you were strange for liking to read and write. Even when I was doing the homework, I was having fun. These were easily the best two weeks of my life." (Lindsay Kirton, age 15)

"I came to Sewanee this summer as an English student who enjoyed her classes, and I left as a writer. I learned so much and found a support system that I can turn to for input about anything I write either in school or independently." (Caroline Pierson, age 15)

I came to the Young Writers’ Conference with grand ideas of how to write poetry and left with the shattered remnants of those ideas. I am a better poet because of it. (Benjamin Z. Huelskamp, age 17)

 
The cost for the program is $2,000. Transportation to and from the Nashville or Chattanooga airport is available at an additional fee of $125. Offers of admission will be made on a rolling basis; the review of applications will begin March 3 and continue until all workshops are full.
 
 
Elizabeth Grammer, Director
Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference • 735 University Avenue • The University of the South • Sewanee, Tennessee 37383-1000
(931) 598-1541sywc@sewanee.edu