Your Cart

Unterberg Poetry Center

Young Writers' Workshop

"The program exceeded my expectations. I saw myself taking more risks in form and content... I loved the instruction and the group dynamic was one of the best I’ve witnessed in writing workshops.”

A three-week summer workshop for young writers (15-18)

A rigorous workshop for driven, intellectually curious young people who want to explore and develop their writing in a supportive, focused environment in the middle of New York City.

New York City’s 92Y has a long, storied history of hosting the world’s most celebrated teachers and writers: students attending the Young Writers Workshop join a family of writers whose careers began here, including Claudia Rankine (Citizen), Sapphire (Push), Gary Shteyngart (Super Sad True Love Story) and Rebecca Stead (When You Reach Me), among others.

92Y gives high school students access to opportunities only New York City and the Poetry Center can offer. Participants in the Young Writers Workshop meet with members of the Poetry Center’s extended family: once a week, an award-winning author meets with students to discuss both the craft and trade of writing over lunch.

In addition, students take part of exclusive events in NYC’s thriving literary community. In 2017, our young writers will take a workshop on slam and spoken-word from the award-winning poets at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and will visit the Center for Book Arts.

A Typical Day

Your days are split between morning seminar and afternoon workshop. In the morning, that week’s faculty member (see bios below) will lead you and your small class to explore form and craft through analysis and creative prompts.

In the afternoon workshop, you’ll talk deeply and critically about your own work and learn to give smart and useful feedback to your peers on exercises and assignments.

You’re welcome to bring your own lunch or pick one up at one of the many delicious eateries in our neighborhood.

The Three Weeks

In the first week, Poetry, you’ll consider questions like, What makes a poem memorable? What makes us want to read it out loud? How do we write an arresting image? You’ll look at a variety of voices, forms, and styles across the poetic canon and contemplate the unique relationship between each poem's form and its content. Most importantly, you’ll write your own poems using a variety of prompts to inspire your work, sharing and revising new poems with each other daily.

In week two, Fiction, you’ll continue your investigation into form, structure and image and look at how language is used, and how character and voice are developed and sustained in fiction. You’ll ask yourself, constantly, why something speaks to you and how to recreate that effect in your own writing. By the end of the week, you’ll have an entirely new body of work built from in-class writing assignments. This week asks you to be curious and playful in your examination of the art of fiction, and to, in turn, embark on your own journey into the world of stories.

In the final week, you’ll study Creative Nonfiction. So many kinds of writing fall into this category — journalism, biography, true crime, narrative history, science writing, cultural criticism, memoir and personal essay to name just a few (not even including radio, podcasts and documentary films!) — it can be easy to forget what they all have in common: the writer has promised the reader that, to the best of their ability, everything contained in their work is fact. In the third week, you’ll work on crafting compelling, thoughtful stories in which the only rule is that you're sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

A summer at the 92Y Young Writers Workshop is an intense one: you’ll leave with a better understanding of your interests and goals as a writer, an understanding of what it takes to make a career in the literary community, as well as a highly-developed body of new work.

To Apply

Send us one document with up to five pages of your original work: your poems, a short story, a scene, even your novel!

Enter your contact information (name, telephone number and email) in the Cover Letter field, as well as a short paragraph on why you’d like to spend three weeks writing with us.

Note: you'll have to open a free Submittable account if you don't have one already.

submit

Young Writers’ Workshop /
Ages 15-18
Price: $2,400

Schedule

Morning session: 10 am–12 pm
Roundtable workshops: 1–3 pm

Students register for the whole program.

Each week will also feature lunch with a visiting author.

For questions, call 212.415.5760 or email us.

Scholarships

Scholarship assistance is available. For more information, visit 92y.org/Scholarships.

2017 Faculty

Maya Catherine Popa

Maya Catherine Popa is a 2015 Ruth Lilly finalist and the recipient of the Poetry Foundation Editor's Prize.

Kay Iguh

Kay Iguh is a fiction writer and graduate of the Creative Writing Program at New York University.

Kate Daloz

Kate Daloz is the author of We Are As Gods: Back to the Land in the 1970s on the Quest for a New America.

2017 Visiting Writers

Joshua Bennett

Joshua Bennett is the author of The Sobbing School, a 2015 National Poetry Series selection.

Siri Hustvedt

Siri Hustvedt is the author of six novels, including the international bestsellers What I Loved and The Summer Without Men.

Rachel Aviv

Rachel Aviv joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2013. She has written about criminal justice, psychiatry, education, foster care and homelessness, among other subjects.

Poetry Center Staff

Ricardo Maldonado

Ricardo Maldonado (Managing Director) is the recipient of a Poetry Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Sophie Herron

Sophie Herron (Program Coordinator) obtained her MFA in poetry from New York University.