Wednesday, July 16, 2014

 LogoPink (1)
Congratulations on an Award-Winning Year!

Scholastic Writing AwardsYoungArts ScholarPublications and AwardsCollege Essay SuccessesYoung PlaywrightsOur InstructorsFundraising • Worldwide Plays Festival Writopia AwardsNew Grants, Programs, and OutreachNew Initiatives• Summer Thank You! 


Nationals2014 Of the 25,000 submissions from across the country, our Writopia writers won top national medals for their senior portfolios. Congratulations...
  • For her portfolio, Clara Olshansky was the recepient of a Silver Medal with Distinction, and a $1,000 scholarship. 
  • Andres Vaamonde, Val Bodurtha, Michal Liebowitz, and Diana Mellow, all won Silver Medals for their portfolios.
  • Instructors: Rebecca Wallace-Segall, Yael Schick, and Lena Roy were recognized as outstanding instructors for their support of these portfolio medalists. 
Congratulations to all of Writopia's 2014 National Medalists, grades 7-12:  Kai Williams, Ali Levinson, Lily Goldberg, Laura Glesby, Lily Davis, Cali Greenbaum, Julia Smith, Callie Zola, Elizabeth Engel, Emily Birnbaum, and Alex Mountfield. (Nationally Recognized Writopia Instructors: Courtney Sheinmel, Amy Dupcak, Genna Kohlhardt, Alex Henderson, Rachel Snyder, Yael Schick, Rebecca Wallace-Segall.) And congratulations to the 215 Writopia writers who won recognition on the regional level, and to all the writers at Writopia who inspire and entertain us each day--we love you for it!
CollegeEssayLetter2 2In a recent survey of our alumni (to be published soon), 100% of our college essay students said that writing college essays at Writopia was "an authentic investigation into self-expression" and that the experience made me feel better about the college application process. And in 2014, our college essay students won admissions to top schools along with top scholarships again!
Congratulations to our college essay writers: Teddy Becker-Jacob and Tori Testa, Stanford; Rebecca Teich, Columbia; Lily Calcagnini, Harvard; Diana Mellow, winner of the Thomas Wolfe Scholarship at UNC Chapel Hill; Clara Olshansky, Yale; Ian Sherman, Northwestern; Olivia Stein, NYU, Tisch School of Dramatic Writing; Sasha Bronfman, Duke; and Jenan Jacobson, Carleton. Also, a special shoutout to additional graduating seniors: Andres Vaamonde, Cornell; Lennarsha Prescod, Hunter College; Michal Liebowitz, Stanford; Sarah Fisher, Georgetown and to so many more of you!
  • Rebecca Teich, Honorable Mention, Memoir
  • Diana Mellow, Artist Recongnition, Fiction and Drama
  • Sabrina Castillo, Honorable Mention, Fiction and Drama 


Congratulations to the Writopian winners of the 2014 Write a Play! Competition: 
  • Sierra BlancoThe Drill, Elementary School Winner
  • Leo LionThe Internet Island Project, Middle School Finalist
  • Hannah RealeFight Dragons with Hot Chocolate, High School Winner
  • Charlotte RaunerBasketball, High School Finalist


Thank you, David Letterman and Worldwide Pants, Inc.! Thanks to our funders, over the 2013-2014 school year, more than 80 Writopia playwrights were produced as part of our festival, inluding 48 Off-Broadway productions. Watch out, this video will make you cry. It was an amazing year. (See our list of competition winners.)


Thank you to our 2014 Benefit Committee and to you, our incredible community for an impactful year of fundraising: 
  • Thank you to Adam Gopnik, A.J. Jacobs, Gretchen Rubin, Ophira Eisenberg, Jonathan Gottschall, and Taylor Mali who each spoke or performed at a Writopia fundraiser throughout the year helping us raise over $65,000 toward our outreach and scholarship programs! Thank you Candice Braun, Kim Hartman, and  Lanie McNulty for hosting a series of intimate fundraisers at their homes!
  • Thank you, Heather Demetrios, Brooklyn-based author, who spearheaded a campaign that raised the funds to support scholarships for six teen writers from the Cristo Rey Brooklyn School. Thank you to all who donated!
  • MayaV's Letter
    Thank you to the hundreds of families who joined us in our fundraising efforts. Many of our young writers contributed as well... thank you Maya Vydareny!
  • Thank you, Joel and Lauren Rutkowski, the directors and owners of Indian Head Camp, who have generously sponsored ten of our young writers for a full sleepaway camp experience. We are thrilled to be bringing Writopia's 2014 Sleepaway Camp to their beautiful site in Honesdale Pennsylvania. We are looking forward to this exciting new partnership! 


At Writopia's Annual Benefit, we honored Julie-Jamora-Photography_049_Writopia_HR_136_DSC_1207 2several of our young writers for their incredible writing and for their work with the Writopia community.  
Susan Cain Award for Humility, Commitment, and Outstanding Work
Teddy Becker-Jacob
Ian Sherman
Rebecca Teich
Community and Mentorship Award
Charlotte Rauner
Jane Herz
Fard Shabazz
Changing Our World with Personal, Powerful Work Award
Annelie Hyatt
Simone Rubin-Underdown
Changing Our World with Exemplary Dramatic Scripts Award
Sarah Fisher
Amelia Sylvor Greenberg
Changing Our World with Poetry Award
Rachel Calnek-Sugin
Eleanor Mammen
Jack Braun
The Social Impact through Fiction Award
Waseem Khundkar
The Writopia Citizenship Award
Clea Woodbury
The Award for Outstanding Poetry
Clara Olshansky
The Emerging Playwright Award
Jaela Ali

Congratulations to Writopia Los Angeles' Isabel DeBre, the first Writopian ever to be named a YoungArts Scholar! In January, Isabel joined 170 of the nation's top young literary, performing, visual, and design artists for a week of showcases and readings in Miami. 
Congratulations to our writers on these accomplishments! Thank youm Abby Coleman, Writopia's Submissions Coordinator, for reasearching opportunities for young writers and guiding our young writers through the submissions process. 
  • Kai Williams' (age 16) short story, "Nat and Sophia," will be featured in the Scholastic Awards' 2014 Best Teen Writing anthology. 
  • Annalee Tai's (age 16) poem, "Detox," was selected for publication in The Apprentice Writer and it is due out in August 2014.
  • Rachel Calnek-Sugin (age 17) won the second place Knopf Poetry Prize at the CCNY Poetry Festival for her poem "My Mother Makes an Apple Cake.
  • Raya Kenney (age 12) was a finalist in the 31st Larry Neal Writers Award Competition for her piece Missing Smile.
  • Mrinalini Wadhwa (age 12) was a winner of the Creative Communication Poetry Contest for her poem "Time."
  • Michal Liebowitz (age 17) won the grand prize in the Fresh Ink for Teens Writing Contest for her piece This Strange in Between: We are not broken, we are something new and different and beautifulMichal Liebowitz was also the winner of the Columbia College Chicago Young Authors Competition. 
  • Juliana Yu (age 11) was the elementary school winner in NASA’s Spring 2014 Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Contest. Juliana Yu was also the 5th and 6th Grade Prose Winner in the New York Society Young Writers Award for her story Salmini's Story
  • Sophie Nadel (age 13) was the winner of the 34th Annual Friends of the Chappaqua Library Young Writers Contest for her story Mittens
  • Christina Poulin was a winner of The Washington Posts' Kid's Post Competition for her poem "Internal Zoo."
  • Jessica Rosenblatt's (age 12) piece, "The Search for Excitement," was published in Creative Kids Magazine
  • Clea Woodbury (age 17) won Honorable Mention in the Leonard Milberg '53 Secondary School Poetry Contest for her poem "Confirmation."
  • Lea Pichardo (age 11) was the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Student Author Award (Celebrate New Jersey) for her piece, "Mighty Mike is Back!" Also, Lea Pichardo's story, "The Hero," was published in The Oakland Journal
  • Natalie Panitkin's (age 9) story Storm of the Seas was published on
  • Charlotte Rauner (age 17) was the National Winner/Best of Issue Nominee for the American High School Poets “Just Poetry” at The National Poetry Quarterly.
  • Yuna Shprecher (age 11) won the Award of Excellence for her story The Voice of North in the National PTA Reflections Art Program.
  • Matthew Li (age 8) won 1st Place in the WETA KIDS Writers Contest.


We are delighted to announce that the Pinkerton Foundation has granted Writopia Lab $100,000 for our new program called "Write to Recognition." 
Write to Recognition will allow for our PoetryFestivalscholarship writers from low literacy backgrounds in need of extra writing support to benefit from extra private sessions throughout the year. At the end of each semester, Abby Coleman will help each and every one of these writers to submit to publications and competitons. All Writopia writers have the Write to Recognition!
In addition to our sliding scale fees, 18% of writers who participated in Writopia workshops attended using full scholarships. 
Support from our wonderful community allows all of these programs to develop. If you would like to get involved, please contact us! 


  • Sarah Bernstein has an upcoming production of The Narrow Gate, at the Source Festival in DC this month.
  • Abby Coleman, Molly Haas-Hooven, Alex Henderson, Khadijah Johnson, and Dan Kitrosser all completed their MFAs this semester! 
  • Jessica Dall's new novel The Copper Witch was released in March.
  • Michelle Meyers' play, The Last Temptation of Paula Deen, will be featured in the Hollywood Fringe Festival this June.
  • Kara Ayn Napolitano's play, Leah in Vegas, will be featured in the 2014 NYC Fringe Festival. 
  • Kira Piekoff's second novel No Time to Die will be relased on September 2nd.
  • Adrienne Scherger's short story is going to be featured in the Fall '14 issue of Brain, Child magazine.
  • Michelle Schusterman's new novel Sleepovers, Solos, and Sheetmusic was released on May 15. 
  • Courtney Sheinmel's new book, Stella Batts, Something Bluewas released in April. The next book in the series None of Your Beeswax will be released next April. 
  • Taylor Sykes was a Finalist for the Brooklyn Film and Arts Non-Fiction Contest.
  • Brigit Young has an upcoming piece in The Uncommon
  • New Program: Writopia's essay writing program, developed by Danielle Sheeler, has flourished into a robust, impactful program. In a recent survey (to be published shortly), parents of Writopia's essay writers overwhelmingly reported that the program positively impacted their children's academic success.
  • New Program: Writopia's Language Play program, developed by Writopia's core staff, has taken off! Our very own Yael Schick and Eunju Namkung ran Montclare's Children's School first filmmaking class five year olds. Writopia instructors lead over a dozen workshops for children ages 2-5 throughout the year across the country.
  • New Management Initiative: This May, Rebecca Wallace-Segall attended Harvard Business School's week-long seminar for Nonprofit Executives called "Performance Measurement of Nonprofit Organizations." Writopia has begun the process of measuring the impact of our programs on our youths and on our schools. We will begin publishing our findings soon. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions.   


We have loved every moment of this past school year (check out the pictures!), and we are looking forward to a fantstic summer of teen writing workshops and workshops for kids, full day camps for all ages, and sleepaway camp for all ages. Join us! 

SummerCamp 3


Thank you to all Writopians for inspiring us with your writing every day. And thank you parents, guardians, and community supporters for reading and celebrating our news with us, and for helping us blossom into the most prolific and socioeconomically diverse creative writing youth community in our citiesand the most exciting writing program in the country! 


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