Monday, March 31, 2008

Columbia Students Volunteer at Writopia Lab!

Six Columbia freshmen and sophomores arrived at 11:00am at Writopia Lab this past Saturday to spend the day helping Writopia Lab grow. By the end of the day, we were thrilled to find that each one contributed something invaluable:
Alyssa Lamontagne, 19, (right) suggested a fabulous school-outreach idea to us. In turn, she has decided to become our Spring College Intern in order to help implement that idea. Jack Yuan, 19, (middle) updated our computer networking system and gave us very insightful feedback about the website. Samantha Shaffer, 19, (left) identified schools in Manhattan that that have gifted and talented programs and found contact information for all program coordinators.

Liz Allocco, 18, (left) brainstormed ways that we could partner with libraries. She also identified libraries and library programs in NYC along with the contact information of program coordinators and librarians. Lauren Byrne, 18, (right) gave our marketing materials an overhaul. She clearly aced Marketing 101.

Nathan Dadap, 18, identified dozens of schools in the neighborhood that do not yet know about us, and created a list of current school contacts. He also gave us extremely helpful feedback on the program and website.

Thank you so much to all of them and to Emily Shaked of Columbia Community Outreach for helping organize this event!

Read more!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Peter Cohen: Featured Writer of the Week II!

Today's Profile: Peter Cohen

Ah, Peter. Peter does something that, at face value at least, is quite worrisome: he plays video games obsessively. But conventional wisdom is turned on its head as Peter's gaming inspires his own original science fiction writing and takes center stage in his 2008, award-winning memoir. Please read an excerpt from his memoir in celebration of his National Silver Key from Scholastic this year!

Halo and Goodbye Noob!: My life as a Gamer
By Peter Cohen

16, Sophomore at Stuyvesant


The Game

I look around, taking in my surroundings. Two guards are near. They’ll have a hard time finding me in the busy streets of ancient Acre. I walk around. They won’t bother me if I don’t do anything. And I haven’t. Yet. A beggar runs up to, asking for money.

“Please spare a little money. I’m so hungry,” she pleads. I try to evade her but she circles so I am always facing her. “You don’t understand, I’m poor. My family needs food.” I try to gently push her aside, but to no avail. I consider removing her with a quick thrust of my hidden blade. The knife extends out of a mechanism I wear on my wrist. It is my main weapon for assassination. I decide against killing the beggar. It would go against the Creed. The First Tenet: Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent. I run away from her. She looks at me and sighs, depressed. I do not look back. I have a job to do. I walk into a deserted alley. I run up a wall and scale the building, pulling myself up with window sills and protruding bricks. Soon I am on the roof. I need to get to the “hospital” run by Garnier, head of the Hospitaliers. The “doctor” imports his “patients” from other cities and then performs his sick experiments on them. My master Al Mu’alim has instructed me to eliminate him.

I jump from rooftop to rooftop. No one sees me. I reach the hospital quickly. I drop into an alleyway and walk around the corner. The entrance to the hospital is blocked by four guards. But no matter. I spot a group of monks nearby. I had rescued one of them earlier from bullying soldiers so they help sneak me into the hospital. My white-and-red cloak almost perfectly matches their robes. The guards have no idea of what they just witnessed. I break away from the group. I am inside a small courtyard with many people. Some are guards but the vast majority are not. They all walk around weakly, dressed in rags. They appear to be broken people. No doubt because of Garnier. I must not delay any longer. A man near me pushes me and I almost lose my balance. My hidden blade falls into position and I ready to strike, but then I realize that this man is not well in the mind. Killing him would be wrong. I retract my blade. Suddenly a man runs into the courtyard from one of the archways leading into the building.

“Help me! Help me!” he cries.

Two guards chase him and seize him. They drag him towards two large wooden doors which open. Four more guards file out and surround the man. Following them is an old gray haired man wearing a black robe and a blood-stained white apron. Despite his obvious age he does not look weak at all. In the center of his apron is a cross, as red as the blood around it. I have found my target.

“Let me go!” shouts the man.

“Be calm,” says Garnier. “You cannot expect me to help you with such fear in your heart.”

“Stay away!” cries the man. “There is no help inside these walls! Only your cruelty!” He looks around at the crowd gathered to see him. “Lies! It is all lies! He is a madman!”

Garnier slaps him across the face. “Quiet. Guards take him back to his quarters. And to insure this doesn’t happen again, break his legs.”
The two guards holding the man step on his knees. The man cries out in pain as his legs crack. They drag him inside. I was going to enjoy watching the life drain out of Garnier.

The crowd disperses. I walk slowly through the archway, not wanting to reveal my position. I spot Garnier tending to his patients. He walks to a bed.

“Feeling better today?” he asks.

“No! Thanks to you!” says the patient.

“Ah but the very fact that we are having this conversation shows that you are.” He
walks to another patient. I advance on him, still moving slowly.

“And how are you today?” he asks the next patient who can only groan in response. “I see.” He is only ten feet from me now. He won’t even see me coming. As he stops next to another patient, I strike. I place my right and on his shoulder and force him to his knees. My left hand goes into the air behind me as my hidden blade extends. Without hesitation I drive it into Garnier’s neck. I lay him down on the floor.

“Now justice is done,” I say to him.

“Justice?” he asks. “But now where will my children go?”

“They will return to their homes and their families.”

“They were madmen before I took them in. With my death they will be madmen again.”

“No. They will be free.”

He laughs and coughs. Then he is still. My task is complete
The door opens. My mother enters.

“AHHHHH!” I shout. “No! I’m trying to escape from Acre!”

“You’ve been playing this game all day,” she says.

“I know.” I don’t even turn my head. “So?”

“Do something else.”


She sighs and walks out the door. We do this every day. ***

The Players

The next day I’m sitting in the library, discussing my latest conquests with my friends while we play chess. Most of my friends don’t have Assassin’s Creed, so we default to Halo 3.

“You shoulda seen it man!” my friend Alif enthusiastically says. “I was playin Live last night and I had a sniper, so there was like four of em and it was like boom boom two headshots, then I stuck one of em and took out my assault rifle and just mowed down the last one. Overkill man. Right there.” Overkill is a medal players earn for killing four opponents within four seconds of eachother.

I don’t have Xbox Live (yet) so I can’t play online. “Oh yeah?” I say. “Well I was playin Creed last night—amazing game by the way—and I was runnin around on the rooftops and I see this guard. So I run over and high profile assassinate him! Altair just like jumps on him and then shiiiing! He’s gone. My brother calls it “removing” people.”

“You gotta get Mass Effect, man,” Alif says. Mass Effect was another of the massive amount of games being released between September and February this year.

“I know I know.” This isn’t the first time he’s said this.

“Mass Effect got a 9.75. Creed only got a 9.” The ratings Alif is referring to come from Game Informer, a video game magazine. They are just one in a world-wide society of gaming magazines and TV shows. Every one of them rates differently because, well, people have different tastes. Mass Effect is one of the most anticipated games of the year, and so is Assassin’s Creed. But Mass Effect appears to be just a little more anticipated. Game Informer isn’t the only magazine that likes it better than Creed.

“Yeah, but Creed is out now and Mass Effect doesn’t come out for another week,” I say. “I’ll get it another time.”

Video games are how we connect to each other. We don’t know each other well enough to talk about real things yet, so we talk about something that virtually all teenage boys (and a few girls) have in common. We bond over a mutual love for a particular weapon, argue over which game is better, discuss techniques for efficiency of slaughter, etc. I have a friend I met through a video game discussion. Me and Alif were talking and this kid who knew Alif started to join in. Now we’re friendly because he’s one of our members in the unofficial Chess Club. (There is a real Chess Club at Stuy, but none of us are actually in it. We just all have 8th period free so we play chess to pass the time.)

“You’re gonna miss out,” Alif says.

“Shut up,” I reply. “Your move.” He pauses for a moment. Then he moves his queen next to my king. It’s protected by a rook. “Mate,” he says. I curse.
Thank god it’s Friday....


Mission Accomplished

Halo, like any decent first-person shooter, brings me the glory of warfare without the danger. Real war is terrible, but no one actually dies in Halo, so it’s okay. I really hate it when people say, “Violent video games cause kids to be more violent.” It isn’t true. I don’t know anyone who has gone on a violent rampage because of video games. The ones who you hear about in the news were crazy to begin with. Video games actually decrease violence. I can channel my anger into the game instead of my peers (not that I would take it out on my peers…except maybe my brother).

And there’s the creative factor as well. I’m in the process of writing an epic science fiction novel. Can you guess where a lot of my inspiraton comes from? If you said video games, you’re half right. Of course, my writing is inspired mostly by books I read. But video games play a very important part in at least the war parts of my novel. My detailed tactical descriptions and the layout of battles is a merge of all the video games I play.

One such game actually inspired its own story outright. I was playing Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares (a game which is at least eight years old), a one player turn-based strategy game. The game beat me and I got very angry. I decided to punish it in the only way I could. By writing a story set in the game’s universe in which I win. Mwahahahahahaha!

But Halo does get me thinking sometimes. What would the military be like? I watch the Military Channel all the time and I think, “OO! I wanna drive that through something!” or “I really wanna blow something up with that!” When I think about myself in the army, I think I might be able to deal with the physical labor and pain. It’s just a matter of determination. But I don’t ever want to kill anyone, and I definitely don’t want to be killed. Worse is the dilemma: What will I eat? Army food is notoriously sucky, and I’m a picky eater as it is. Even if there was good food, I’d still probably starve.

And then I inevitably think about one of my best friends who moved to Israel after 8th grade. Every Israeli citizen serves in the I.D.F. Once he finishes high school, it’s off to the army. I wonder how he’ll do…or if he’ll be a better marksman because of the video games he plays. A few of us used to go over to house and play “The Gun Game.” This involved running around the halls in his apartment building with his civil war rifle toy replicas in a gunfight. Since we didn’t actually shoot anything at each other, keeping track of hits was very difficult. We would always get into shouting matches about whether or not we were hit.

“Got you!” one of us would shout triumphantly.

“Are you kidding me?” the other would protest. “I was in cover!”

“No, you jumped into cover as I shot you!”

The other two would walk over and join in and the four of us would shout at each other until we got bored.

Good times.

And now the answer to the burning question I know is in your mind right now: Why do kids like video games so much?

To put it simply, where else can you destroy hordes of aliens rushing towards you with a photon blaster, or single handedly defeat the entire royal guard of the Arc Tangent of Cosinia? (Math joke).

To put it not so simply (which I’m sure is the answer you really want), video games let us escape from the real world. We don’t have to worry about school or work or any of the pressures of everyday life… we don't even have to worry about the basic the laws of physics. The ability to transcend human and natural limitations is liberating.

For me, though, video games have an additional purpose. They give me a temporary goal in life: mowing down an entire line of Grunts with an assault rifle is so damn satisfying. The longer term goal of my life is of course: do-well-in-school-then-get-a-good-job-and-make-lots-of-money and somewhere in there marry a nice Jewish girl to keep me from simply sitting in front of the TV or Xbox all day. I care about that, too.

But I have another layer in life. Video games help me get from day to day, because they’re fun. As the old saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. If you make me a dull boy, I will kill you.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lily Gellman: Featured Writer of the Week!

Today's Profile: Lily Gellman

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards just informed us that Birthday Girl Lily Gellman has won three National Gold Awards this year for her Humor writing, Science Fiction, and Poetry!

Please celebrate with us today by reading Lily's poignant, original, and deeply moving prose: "The Existential Lottery."

Five other Writopia writers won national awards also including 10th grader Peter Cohen, 9th grader Milana Meytes, 8th grader Emma Goldberg, 8th grader Leanna Smith, and 7th grader Visala Alagappan. Beginning today, every few days you will find a new piece of theirs featured on the blog. Enjoy! (I will also be posting some of my favorites that did not win national awards!)

Existential Lottery
By Lily S. Gellman

8th Grade, Birthday Girl

Greetings, the likes of whom I will pretend are my dear friends. I have struggled long to say the word “I,” for, like the other Nonentities around me, I lack an identity. There is no I, and I cannot be, because frankly I don’t exist. I apologize awfully for my seemingly melodramatic air, but all of this is true…paradoxically, it is very difficult to depict nothing. I also beg forgiveness for being obscure as to what and who I am, for in weaving this pretense of something I thread a tapestry of plain illusion.

I have not yet been conceived. It is bizarre then, that I voice my own ideas when not a cell of my potential embryonic body has developed. It must be clarified that I am not completely nothing, for nothing is something in itself. (Yes, I am aware of the irony there…here…whatever.)

I am one of trillions of Nonentities. For each conceivable pair of Earthlets that could produce a mutual child is a Nonentity, each with two bases. One is female and one male, and we call them a quiescent mom and a quiescent dad. My mom, who very likely shan’t be my mom, is Leah Cohen. My dad would be Barlow Moriarty. An unlikely combination from what I “know” of religion and status quo. See, while mom is a successful business executive, dad’s jobless. Even though they both reside in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, they have yet to even notice each other.

There are trillions of Nonentities because there are trillions of Earthlet quiescent pairs. With only one existential winner per pair and an exceedingly low birth success rate, I call this arbitrary process the lottery. The unlikely combo of my “mom” and “dad” is the only way for “me” to be. Each Nonentity in relatively similar “proximity” vies with all of the others for their livelihood as an Earthlet. If they are not chosen, they are only the fading bonds of subconscious musings no more likely to find reality than an angry outburst in the midst of laughter.

This is a problem.

I do not wish to be a fading bond of a subconscious musing. I do not wish to be dead to the universe, to shift no gears in the bicycle of existence. With every ounce of passion that I imagine I am capable of ever experiencing I desire to be an Earthlet, and so I emulate Earthity (a word for the Earthlet planet and species). Hugs and colors and music and the smell of frigid pine trees I want desperately to experience, but can no more do so than a corpse. I need my mom and dad to unite, and I must compass these sensations I hear but only Earthlets have the power to listen to. I can hear anything—this is no issue—but none of it is met with profound understanding.

This is actually the irony of the Earthlet what-is-the-meaning-of-life question: Nonentities have the answer in front of them but cannot comprehend, while Earthlets can exist but cannot find the answer.

On occasion, a “window” overlooking the universe of Earthity opens, and Nonentities are able to see short “vignettes” of one of their quiescent parents—treasured glimpses of the wider world from a vacuum of nothingness. The “window” opens now, and as an invisible mist clears, a “vignette” showing my quiescent mom spreads before me.


“What is the meaning of life?” Leah Cohen directed her question at the idle man in front of her on the Starbucks queue.

“Huh?” The man wheeled around from awaiting his order, attentive.

“You know: Why we’re here, what our purpose is.”

“Why’re you so philosophical? If you think about anything too much, and have time to contemplate your utter insignificance, you’re gonna get really depressed.”

“Thanks,” she replied wryly. She watched as, upon receiving his Grande Gingerbread Latte, he peeled off the lid and tapped some nutmeg in with the foam. Steamy tendrils from the drink interspersed with the tabletops, weaving under orange-specked florescent lights.

He didn’t know that she really was on anti-depressants, and that her more-mild-end-of-the-spectrum case of bipolar disorder forced her to ponder that question—that conclusion—a lot. But far from being insulted by his frank mien, Leah was charmed. Living with her condition was inevitable, and besides, she could drown her depression in plastic bottles of Prozac from the Duane Reade adjacent. What she needed was someone to cast away her chronic austerity that she so despised, someone to make her happy without the aid of little tablets.

I too have wishes, Leah, though you cannot hear me. I am only the shadow of an unborn child who can obsess over nothing but who she aspires to be. I’m depressed occasionally too, mom, maybe it’s hereditary.

“Well, then what’s your solution?” Leah asked.

“Simple.” The man replied. “Live in the moment.”

“Easier said than done,” she retorted, and waited as the man took a generous swig of his scalding holiday special. Somehow, she was drawn to him without even knowing his name; she wanted to hear what he had to say.

“Are you doing anything Thursday evening?” The man inquired.

“Nothing, really,” Leah answered glumly.

Bother! This is quite the Earthlet misconception; they are always doing something, whether it is a dramatic sprint towards the M15 bus or just sleeping. And there is no “just” because one something is just as existent as another.

“Want to go to that Italian place—Aqua is it—down the street for dinner with me?” he asked; the epitome of blasé. Leah, whose unordered coffee left her with nothing to choke on, staged a coughing fit into her checkered scarf.

“Is that the line you always use with the dates you pick up at Starbucks?” she gasped finally.

“You have a knack for answering a question with a question. (Aha! I am not the only one who seems only able to utter aphorism after aphorism.) But my answer’s definitely no. You see, I pride myself in originality, and that would be wrong if I couldn’t think up anything unique for you.”

Leah laughed for the first time in weeks, full and throaty, her smile unfurling tentatively like an antique fan. “OK. What time should we meet?”
The man’s responding grin blurred as the “window” slammed shut—a slap to my nonexistent face that left me with a nonexistent headache.


If I were able to shudder, or even sob, that is what I would do. How I wish I could perceive emotion! Alas, just as one cannot know the color green without seeing it, this too is impossible. I have not seen green, and I probably won’t ever, because my “view” just clouded. This happens to a Nonentity when her parents grow further and steadily further from union. As my mom purchased a novelty called coffee, an expensive, sugary beverage that Earthlets enjoy sipping, she was flirting with a strange man.

I am outraged and suffocated. If I had physical features, I could show you how desperate I am in reddening cheeks, and fists balled so tightly the knuckles turn white. But to no avail. At least my “window” has again opened, this time upon my quiescent dad…a tragic answer to my inconspicuous prayer.


“Help the homeless! Help the homeless, sir? Ma’am? Won’t you show some of your God-given kindness this morning?” Barlow Moriarty pleaded from his hunched post atop a dirty splintered crate, his murky eyes wide, etched deep in his haggard face. He didn’t remember what he’d had for dinner the day before yesterday, probably because he hadn’t had a proper meal since then; the rest of the money he drank, just more crumpled singles to fuel his alcoholism.

How long the days must seem to him; wiling the hours away on lusty addiction. I’m addicted to the idea of living, dad, like you’re addicted to your vodka. But I am also sickened to see you like this, and where I live, time does not pass. Time, to Earthlets, is but a single estimation of the length of things done. Most Earthlets do not realize that there are myriad ways to measure “time” and that they are all painfully imprecise.

“One dollar is all I ask, less than a minute of your time. A penny even, I will be grateful for. Would you leave me to starve?” Barlow was now specifically addressing two adults around his age in their thirties. He wasn’t going to be happy with a cent, anyone who gave him that small an amount was worse then the pretentious that “didn’t notice” him as they passed. And Barlow wasn’t about to get himself any nutrition, either, not when a perfectly decent bar was beckoning with its neon “Happy Hour” right down the street. It was always happy hour there.

I hate that my dad is a guttersnipe and drunkard—but who am I to be judgmental? (No, don’t answer that.) Despite myself, I’m excited by the many places here; I mourn the loss of prepositions that I often can’t use as I’m not situated anywhere.
The woman wearing the checkered scarf that he had called to stopped, and the man also halted to wait for her. She dug around in a lime-colored, leather purse bedecked with rhinestones that spelled “Leah” and to Barlow’s dismay, surfaced with a turkey sandwich from Starbucks. He had been so close to downing a screwdriver, maybe changing things up with electric lemonade, and this woman pulls out a sandwich. All of a sudden the plastic-wrapped morsel was in his hands, and his face contorted with rage.

“I don’t want your damn bread! Get away and don’t come back, I asked for money!” He hurled the turkey on rye into the street, and spat venomously upon the nearby ground. Muttered another array of profane remarks, only feeling remorse once Leah and the man had left. Shock was creased in the corners of their eyes. And only then did Barlow cry, his gaunt frame wracked with silent sobs.
This time the “window” closed slowly, gloating; but I was too upset to comment. Not that the comment would matter.


The winner of the lotto hasn’t been “announced,” but my ticket’s as good as invalidated. No, not my ticket; me. But there never was a me. Earthlet social classifications, with their darkened abyss betwixt the homeless and the rich Upper West Sider preordained as much; how stupid I was to hope in vain; how I cannot register an inkling of reaction to the event that’s eradicated “anything”. I am so painfully like an Earthlet, right down to my naivety prevailing over common sense, and ever so more painfully alien. Far more than my eternal nothingness, I pine losing the sight of my mom—even if fraternizing with the enemy—and the sight of my dad—even if tipsy and enraged—forevermore.

If I ask an Earthlet who she is, she could say this: A sister, a daughter, a wife, an aunt, a Catholic, a New Yorker, and a Mets fan. These are all parts of her identity. Funny though, how all of who she is, is a reflection of all of the important stuff around her. If the mirror broke, so would she who gazed into it. Earthlets hoist each other up and create themselves by incorporating bits of others, simultaneously becoming a part of another’s self. I have never had that option; it is what I will most miss. My mom was never anything more to my dad than a would-be benefactor of his substance abuse. My dad was never anything more to my mom than an object of disgust and of pity.

Furling fog closes quickly and thickly about my “view”. There are no tears to be had. No evidence of any shattered dreams upon the ground. Not a sound of grief can escape the conundrum that perpetuates my nonexistence. I “have said” that I do not wish to be a fading bond of a subconscious musing. An Earthlet would say to me that you can’t always get what you want. But I can’t get anything I want simply because I’m not. Nobody will ever know “my” sorrow, mirrored in the tear-streaked concaves of Barlow’s cheeks, or the barely perceptible but rankling hurt of Leah in her rejection. I take after what has been. No one will take after that which isn’t.
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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Magical Realism Workshop News

Writopia Lab Welcomes Award-Winning Author and Teacher Sheree Renée Thomas!

Sheree will be teaching Five-Day Science Fiction/Fantasy/Magical Realism Workshops at Writopia Lab in August. She was awarded the 2003 Ledig House/LEF Foundation Prize for Fiction for her novel, Bonecarver.

Her anthology, Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction, from the African Diaspora won the 2001 World Fantasy Award for Year's Best Anthology and the Gold Pen Award. The volume was also honored as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, received a Washington Post Editor's "Rave," and was named an "Essential Book." The list of her accomplishments and awards go on and on.

Sheree has also taught creative writing classes at universities and at High Schools and youth programs throughout New York City. We are so excited to have her on board for two weeks in August! See the schedule for more information!

~~Rebecca~~ Read more!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


First, congratulations to the 26 Writopia Lab writers who submitted 51 pieces to the 2008 Scholastic Art and Writing Competition! I am so proud to say that each and every short story, science fiction piece, memoir, screenplay, stage play, humor piece and poem entered was beautifully composed— representing the culmination of a good deal of hard work. While not every piece won recognition from Scholastic, each ranked somewhere between impressive and astounding. As all writers know, each reader, judge, or editor has a unique sensibility and may not embrace each of our particular styles. But we have to get our work out there as often as possible until it lands on the right judge’s or editor’s lap! So whether you won a key this time around or not, congratulations for being part of the real-life world of writing.

Second, congratulations to the many students whose work won regional recognition this year by the Scholastic judges:

1. Eighth grader Leanna Smith won a Regional American Voices Award for her memoir, "Receding Tides." Only five of the 2000 pieces submitted in NYC won this award! Congratulations Leanna!

2. Sixteen of our writers (grades 7-12) received a total of 18 Gold Keys! That’s over 1/3 of our pieces! Congratulations to all!

3. Seven of our writers won nine Silver Keys! That’s 20% of our submissions! Congratulations!


The Scholastic awards ceremony for key-winners is in early May at Columbia University.

We will be celebrating all of our writers accomplishments at our own event a few weeks later! Writopia Lab will be hosting a grand, celebratory reading in late May at a theatre in Manhattan. Each of our writers—whether they have won an award or not—will be invited to read their work on stage. Details will be sent out in an official invitation soon.

It is time to say a big thank you to:
1. Jennifer Stark at Barnes & Noble for having welcomed us to read our work twice at the bookstore at Lincoln Center over the last year.

2. Lisa Ornest, our devoted legal counsel, who has walked us through the process of obtaining our federal non-profit status. (We’re almost there!)

3. The families and friends who have generously donated money, time, computers, and other assistance to help us provide full or partial scholarships to half of the Writopia Lab community, and a welcoming, productive environment for all! If you would like to make a donation, you can now do so right on our website!

4. Most importantly, to all the families of our writers for supporting your children’s creative endeavors with resources, time, and with the emotional space sometimes needed to write honest, heart-felt short stories and memoirs. This year’s submissions were particularly stunning in their emotional range, and depth of insight.

For more information, to sign your children up for more workshops, to make a donation, or anything else, please feel free to email me at or call us at or (212) 706-1239. We are so excited about the fabulous work that has emerged from our program in its first year of existence and we are looking forward to further workshops, competitions, events, and readings. Thank you so much for all your support, and we’d love to hear from you!

Yours truly,
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