Roundup: Writing Centers

As we launch a new blog format for the new year, we’re also looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. Our roundups explore the archives and gather past posts around a certain theme to help you jump-start your week. This week we have posts on writing centers.

Chances are, there is a writing center in your city. 826 National alone has locations in Ann Arbor, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC. Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you haven’t.

Most writing centers offer a variety of programs – creative writing classes, 1-on-1 tutoring, field trips, scholarships, and more. Often geared toward the under-resourced, these places allow many children and young adults the opportunity to tap into their creative potential.

Here at Ploughshares, we’ve highlighted in past blog posts some of the best articles about writing centers, writers’ conferences, and writers’ colonies.

  • Take a closer look at the Chicago division of 826, where students line up to have their author photo taken (with fake mustaches) and brainstorm character ideas for their stories. Also, learn about 826′s The Boring Store, which addresses “all of your hollow needs.” Continue Reading

A Day in the Life at 826CHI

This post was contributed by Julia Ventola.

Tucked away in the heart of Chicago’s Wicker Park, 826CHI is a thriving non-profit writing and tutoring center, dedicated to Chicago’s six- to eighteen-year-old students.  It is a member of Dave Eggers’ national organization, at which, throughout the country, volunteers and staff alike tutor over 30,000 students a year. That’s a lot of pens and pencils.

826CHI reaches about 4,000 of those students, thanks to the help of an inspiring staff and over 300 volunteers. These kind folks not only help students with their homework and writing skills, but they also run the super secret spy store that serves as a “cover” for the center. When students first enter the building, they walk through a small storefront that sells everything a sleuthful spy might need on any of his most daunting missions. Fake mustaches? Check. Binoculars? Check. Legends and keys to the most mischievous of maps? Check.

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Literary Boroughs #28: San Francisco and North Bay (Part Two)

[Read part one of this post here.]

Where to get published:

Photo credit: Ian Tuttle

Though the writer-to-everyday citizen ratio is kind of out of control in the Bay Area (meaning: heaps of competition for space in local publications), there are still plenty of opportunities for publication in local journals and magazines. McSweeney’s has opportunities to publish both fiction and nonfiction in their quarterly, as well as online at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.  They also publish The Believer, which features nonfiction, while their new magazine Lucky Peach runs stories about all things edible. Narrative Magazine and Memoir Journal publish both online and print and The Rumpus,  though strictly online, is based in San Francisco as well. Zoetrope’s All Story features fiction while Sparkle & Blink, a monthly publication, features collections of fiction, nonfiction and poetry read at the Quiet Lightning Reading Series in San Francisco. Zyzzyva features work strictly from West Coast writers and is also based in the bay. The West Marin ReviewKnow Journal‘s online publication, SFSU‘s lit journals and even Rad Dad Zine and  Make Magazine are all other potential venues for local writers.

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Literary Boroughs #27: Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Literary Boroughs series will explore little-known and well-known literary communities across the country and world and show that while literary culture can exist online without regard to geographic location, it also continues to thrive locally. Posts are by no means exhaustive and we encourage our readers to contribute in the comment section. The series will run on our blog from May 2012 until AWP13 in Boston. Please enjoy the twenty-seventh post on Ann Arbor, Michigan, by Megan Levad. —Andrea Martucci, Ploughshares Managing Editor

Image credit: Andrew Horne/Wikipedia

What the City is known for/what makes it unique:

The poetry collection or literary journal that you’re carrying around in your bag right now was probably printed here. But Ann Arbor is better known for football, Zingerman’s Deli (where Michael Dickman worked when he lived here), breweries, Iggy Pop, and lefty politics—Students for a Democratic Society was founded here in 1960.

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Rent a (Ploughshares) Author with 826 Boston

jim-shepard-for-rent.pngDonald Hall (a two-time Ploughshares guest-editor) and Jim Shepard (who is in the process of guest-editing the upcoming Fall 2010 issue) are up for rent!

826 Boston, a non-profit tutoring and writing center for students ages 6-18, is renting nationally-acclaimed authors for a private evening with book clubs or small groups, by raising $1,000 to benefit their free writing programs. Tom Perrotta and Julia Glass are also putting themselves on the market to benefit 826.

826 is a national literacy program, with chapters in San Francisco, New York City, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. Its mission is based on the understanding that great leaps
in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong
writing skills are fundamental to future success. Each 826 chapter
provides drop-in tutoring, class field trips, writing workshops, and
in-schools programs–all free of charge. 826 Valencia (San Francisco) was founded in 2002 by Dave Eggers, Vendela Vida, and educator Nínive Clements Calegari.

For more information about the Rent An Author Program, visit 826 Boston’s website. Or, visit the website of the chapter nearest you to see how you can get involved!