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 Rebecca@WritopiaLab.org 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,

1 comment:

Lily said...

Congrats Leanna! Not that it hasn't gone unheralded (lol) but that memoir definitely deserved what it got. Everyone else, though not mentioned by name, did an amazing job as well! Everyone in my workshop got at least 1 gold key which I think is really cool.