Monday, June 13, 2011

2011 Stephen Sondheim's YP Results!

Congratulations Writopia playwrights and our fabulous playwrighting teacher, Dan Kitrosser! Writopia playwrights took home top prizes in each and every category of Stephen Sondheim’s NYC “Write a Play!” Contest this year!

List of Writopia 2011 YP Winners:

Elementary school division winners:
  • Maya Horn
  • Benjamin Firester
Middle School division winners:
  • Rachel Calnek-Sugin
  • Finalist: Jennifer Richards
High School division winners:
  • May Treuhaft-Ali
  • Layla Treuhaft-Ali 
Read more!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2011 Writopia Scholastic Results!

Writopia writers, once again, won more regional keys and national medals in the Scholastic Writing Awards than any other group of kids in the entire nation! Congratulations to all who submitted to the 2011 Scholastic awards! (Photo below, right: Rebecca Shubert, 17, reading from her National-Winning work at our finale reading at the World Financial Center). We are happy for the following NYC Writopia writers for winning regional keys this year:

Writopia NYC Regional Results
Alagappan,    Serena (3)
Arnum,    Drew
Back-Gaal,    Isaiah (2)
Barnett,    Emily (2)
Berger,    Rachel (2)
Brudner,    Rebecca Anne (4)
Byrnes,    Julie
Crawford,    Lauren
Elings-Haynie,    Altana
Firester,    Kalia (2)
Gellman,    Lily (4)
Giovannini,    Isabella (2)
Goldberg,    Emma (4)
Henderson-Charnow,    Hannah (2)
Johnson,    Sofia (2)
Loucka,    Annie (4)
Markham-Cantor,    Alice (4)
Mazer,    Noah
Miller,    Nora (3)
Miller,    Anna
Miller,    Nora (7)
Modabber,    Angelica
Muldofsky,    Mack (3)
Nawal,    Arjini (2)
Pearsall,    Riley
Polsky,    Joe (3)
Ross,    Dan
Shubert,    Rebecca
Sorenson,    Carly
Stein,    Olivia
Teich,    Rebecca
Treuhaft-Ali,    Layla (2)
Treuhaft-Ali,    May (3)
Udo,    Isabel
Williams,    Kai
Wolfson,    Dalia (2)
Wong,    Matthew
Zalph,    Jessica (2)

Writopia NYC National Results
Over 100,000 pieces are submitted each year from around the country. While fewer than 1% are recognized with national honors each year, over 10% of our writers' pieces won national recognition this year! 


Modabber,    Angelica
Stein,    Olivia
Goldberg,    Emma (2)
Shubert,    Rebecca
Berger,    Rachel
Calnek-Sugin,    Rachel (2)
Firester,    Kalia
Ross,    Dan
Treuhaft-Ali,    Layla
Brudner,    Rebecca Anne
Muldofsky,    Mack
Giovannini,    Isabella
Gellman,    Lily
Miller,    Nora (2)

Writopia DC -- Regional and National Results

Brescia-Weiler,    Maria (National Medal)
Clark,    Anthony
Collins,    Sydney (2)
Connaughton ,   Grace
Cooper,    Preston
Edwards,    Belen (2)
Epstein-Boley,    Rebecca (2)
Forman,    Ellie
Gans,    Khalia
Goldstein,    Scott
Hopson ,   Chris
Laguarda,    Sofia (2) (National Medal)
Lainoff,    Lillie  (National Medal)
Lloyd,    Marwan
McLaughlin,    Alexandra
McLish,    Jennifer
McNamee,    Grace (3) (Two National Medals)
Mills,    Zoe
Mitchell,    Margaret
Mitchell,    Alexander
Olshin,    Abbie (2)
Page,    Gillian
Page,    Rachel
Profit,    Nicole (2)
Rosenthal,    Annie (National Medal)
Ross-Cabrera,    Keanu
Sbily,    George
Shapiro,    Eva
Thomas,    Ajani
Wirtz,    Megan Read more!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Help us Celebrate a Year of Fabulous Writing!

Help us celebrate a year of creativity and accomplishment by joining us on June 3rd. Our writers (ages 8-18)  will read excerpts from their polished pieces at the Courtyard Gallery at the World Financial Center! All are welcome, and we do not require that you RSVP. But RSVP's to are appreciated, and preferred by May 31st. See you there!

Read more!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Creative writing is for everybody

As Writopia Lab continues to grow in Westchester, our partnerships with local libraries, schools, and bookshops remain crucial to how our writing community fits within the broader network of institutions that advance literacy. Because of this, I'm afforded frequent opportunity to interact with many like-minded kids, educators and authors. They, along with the many enthusiastic librarians and booksellers I meet, sometimes make it easy for me to forget that not everyone sees value in learning the art of written expression.

Yet I am sometimes asked why creative writing should matter at all for kids who are not considered predisposed in some way as writers.

Former Senator Bob Kerrey, as 2006 Chair for the National Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges, can begin to answer that question:

"In the face of mounting external pressure, more and more schools are pulling resources from programs that would otherwise electrify students, focusing intstead on preparing students to meet requirements on high-stakes tests. As a result, few resources are allotted to growing the intense individuality that so many students crave, leaving students feeling creatively (and sometimes intellectually) understimulated in school.

But this isn't just about our children feeling creatively unfulfilled. This is also about whether or not the current education culture -- in both public and private schools -- is preparing students for professional life.

Two thirds of workers in large companies are required to write. Writing is both a marker of high-skill, high-wage, professional work and a gatekeeper with clear equity implications."

To this I would add that, just as not every child who takes music lessons will become a professional musician, and not every child who joins a sport will become a professional athlete, not every child who practices at creative writing must become a novelist. Nonetheless, the dedicated pursuit of written expression is as essential to the foundation of a successful professional and civic life as is time spent in the music room or on the field of play.

Good writing in any line of work requires a voice and a point of view, especially in our highly competitive information age. It is not enough to simply spit out facts culled from encyclopedias and the internet. Effective use of the individual voice and point of view are cultivated through diligent practice (and having some fun during that process also helps).

As a parent myself, I personally experience how communities and families struggle to ration precious educational resources. I believe, however, that writing in general - and creative writing specifically - have been unduly neglected during the current focus on standardized testing. To meet those standards, families increasingly feel pressed to place their kids on dangerously exhaustive academic treadmills, seldom allowing outlets for personal expression, and often to the detriment of long-term learning and mental health. And as more and more families become pressed financially, parents find a widening gap between the tests their children must take and the dwindling opportunities on which their professional futures truly depend.

Writopia Lab is a not-for profit dedicated to teaching written expression not only to those who can easily afford it, or to those presumed predisposed to creative writing, but to all kids and teens. And I'm so excited to work as part of Writopia Lab's effort to achieve that goal in Westchester county.

For questions or details about our program, please call me at (914) 401-4159, or email


Léna Roy
Writing Instructor

Westchester Program Manager

Writopia Lab, Inc.
Read more!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

CBS Called Writopia in Search of Articulate Teens

Yesterday, CBS's "Early Show" was looking for articulate teens to interview about bullying... and they called Writopia to find them! Writopia kids, apparently, have created a fabulous reputation for themselves! (See Writopia writer, Joe Polsky, age 13 [top row, 2nd to the left].) CBS says they'll call when in need of insights from youths.
CBS News video: Teens speak out on bullying video - CBS "Early Show" contributor Dr. Jennifer Hartstein talks to a panel of teenagers about a YouTube bullying video that is getting a lot of attention.
And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

FREE Poetry Workshop in April in Honor of National Poetry Month!

CALLING ALL POETS (ages 8-18) in NYC! Come Write Poetry with Published Poets and/or Read Your Works at our Open Mic!
Writopia Lab logo
Hello young writers,

poetry event flierWritopia Lab is hosting an open mic for New York City's young poets (ages 8-18), along with a free poetry workshop at Charles P. Rogers, located at 55 West 17th Street (between 5th and 6th avenues), on April 10th, from noon-4m.

Please arrive at noon to write poetry or to receive feedback from published poets. Whether or not you have attended this workshop (or any Writopia Lab workshop), poets, ages 8 -18, are invited to read their poetry at 2 PM.

RSVP via email by April 5th. You can reply to this email or call Kathleen at (212) 222-4088. Walk-Ins will be also included on a first come, first served basis.

This event is free.
Meet the Workshop Leaders!
Paul Legault's poems have been published or are forthcoming inThe Awl, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, and others. He is the author of two books of poetry, The Madeleine Poems (Omnidawn, 2010) and The Other Poems, which is forthcoming this fall from Fence Books. He co-edits the translation press Telephone Books and works at the Academy of American Poets.
Christie Ann Reynolds  was the 2003 recipient of an Academy of American Poetry Award, chosen by Stephen Dunn and the winner of the 2008 New School Chapbook Competition, chosen by Brenda Shaughnessy. She is the author of three chapbooks: Revenge Poems (Supermachine 2010), Girl Boy Girl Boy (The Corresponding Society at Pratt 2010) and idiot heart (The New School 2008.) Christie Ann teaches at Hofstra University and her poems and essays can be read or are forthcoming in Barrelhouse, The Houston Literary Review, BlazeVox, EOAGH, Sink Review, Coldfront Review, La Petite Zine and others.

Stalley is a hip-hop artist who has played alongside heavyweights KRS-One, Ghostface Killah, Styles P., Method Man & Redman, Freeway, Camp Lo, Jay Electronica, and Mos Def. After an injury cut short his college basketball scholarship days, Stalley gave in to his longtime passion for writing. "I guess it started off as poetry at first because it was just me writing lyrics and letting all my feelings and thoughts onto a piece of paper." His music is on MTV2, MTV Jams, VH1 Soul, mtvU, and HavocTV. He has become a mentor to poets and aspiring rappers at Writopia Lab.

And more...


Christie Ann Reynolds  was the 2003 recipient of an Academy of American Poetry Award, chosen by Stephen Dunn and the winner of the 2008 New School Chapbook Competition, chosen by Brenda Shaughnessy. She is the author of three chapbooks: Revenge Poems (Supermachine 2010), Girl Boy Girl Boy (The Corresponding Society at Pratt 2010) and idiot heart (The New School 2008.) Christie Ann teaches at Hofstra University and her poems and essays can be read or are forthcoming in Barrelhouse, The Houston Literary Review, BlazeVox, EOAGH, SInk Review, Coldfront Review, La Petite Zine and others. 
Steven Karl is the author of the chapbooks, emissions/ of (H_NGM_N, 2011), (Ir)Rational Animals (Flying Guillotine Press, 2010) and with the artist, Joseph Lappie, State(s) of Flux (Peptic Robot Press, 2009).  He also teaches writing and literature at LaGuardia Community College/CUNY. 
. Read more!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

March, April, and May Events in Short!

We have three exciting events coming up in the next few months!

First, come hear our young writers read excerpts from their original fiction and memoir on Tuesday, March 15, from 5pm-6:15pm at the St. Agnes Library at 444 Amsterdam Avenue (between 81st and 82nd Street).  All workshoppers who complete (or who have completed) an original piece of creative writing this winter during a holiday intensive or during a weekly winter workshop are invited to read a two-minute excerpt at this exciting event.

Second: a poetry reading! This event will be on Sunday, April 10th, from 2pm-3:30pm at the Charles P. Rogers show room located at 55 West 17th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenue).  This reading is open to young poets beyond Writopia. Come celebrate National Poetry Month with us!

Finally, we are pleased to announce our second annual Best Playwrights' Festival! This year, the festival, sponsored by David Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, is also open to young playwrights beyond the Writopia community. New York City playwrights in grades 1-12 are invited to submit their plays, monologues, musicals, and screenplays to Writopia for consideration. Six plays (three from young writers, three from teen writers) will be selected to be performed by professionals at the Abingdon Theater, May 17th-21st. More information is available on our website.

Read more!