Strengthening Your Authorship Through International Writing Programs

If writing is a fun hobby for you, you may benefit from attending writing programs. In a recent webinar hosted by BeyondDreams and AsterLit, esteemed writers told their experiences and gave tips on how to get into honored writing programs. The complete webinar is on the BeyondDreams YouTube channel, but here are some of the mentioned tips and tricks!

Iowa Young Writers’ Studio

This program is normally a two-week residential summer program, but due to COVID-19, it will be online for the summer of 2021. They offer three types of studies: poetry/creative nonfiction/fiction, TV writing, and playwriting. The application opens January 25, ends February 7, and decisions are emailed April 9.

The first requirement to apply is a writing sample, which depends on the study. If you are applying to poetry/creative nonfiction/fiction, you need up to ten pages of any of the three. For TV writing, you need up to five pages of dramatic script, up to two pages answering what your favorite TV series is and why, and up to three pages answering what your favorite episode of that series is and why. Finally, playwriting requires up to five pages of dramatic script, up to two pages answering what your favorite play is and why, and up to three pages answering what your favorite scene or act of that play is and why.

The additional application material includes a statement of purpose, which is up to 2 pages explaining why you want to participate and what you want to accomplish. Additionally, you will need a letter of recommendation from an English teacher or a teacher who is familiar with your writing. Finally, you will need your high school transcript.

Make sure you have a strong recommendation from an English teacher who has a good relationship with you. They should have read your creative writing outside of school so they can write a complete recommendation letter. Also, remember to revise your writing samples to make sure you are submitting your best work. Sometimes, it can be helpful to get someone else to take a look at the sample so that you can make sure you are putting your best foot forward.

Kenyon Young Writers

This program is usually a two-week summer program, but due to COVID-19, it has become five-day online sessions. The requirements to apply are to submit an online application form for demographics, a 300-word essay based on a given prompt, transcript, and a letter of recommendation.

Since Kenyon is unique from other summer programs in that it has no portfolio requirement, make sure that your essay and teacher recommendation forms are strong. You must show off all of your writing skills in the 300-word essay since those are the only aspects that can set you apart from any other person applying. Proofread your essay and make sure to make your passion for writing is evident.

Juniper Young Writers from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst

Usually, this program has two in-person sessions, but now the program is online from July 26th to July 30th. This opportunity is less selective and requires a writing sample, a writer’s statement, teacher recommendation, and an optional scholarship essay if you want a scholarship to the program. Make sure to apply early since the applications are on a rolling basis, which is similar to applying to a rolling college. If you apply early, there are more seats available, so they will be less selective and you will hear back sooner. Check out their website for more specific guidelines for each of the prompts.

Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience

BTL: Peace and the Writing Experience joins 30 international students with 10-14 U.S.-based peers for two weeks in July of rigorous BTL summer programming at the University of Iowa. A large aspect of the program is connecting writers from across the globe, so the international students are from 20 select countries that change year to year. You must be 15-18 years old to apply.

Due to COVID-19, the program is now a free online session for students that are accepted. This opportunity is more unique as compared to others since it is not purely a writing program. It is sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

Between the Lines: Identity and Belonging

Between the Lines brings together U.S.-based Muslim and non-Muslim teens to the University of Iowa for a rigorous BTL curriculum of seminars, workshops, and special events for two weeks in the summer and is for students from the U.S. only. The application process includes 6-8 pages of original creative prose and/or poetry (book reports and other academy writing will not be accepted), two essays, statement of purpose. Tuition for all students accepted is waived and participation is free of charge.

Writing programs give you the chance to meet like-minded people, improve your writing, and find a fast track towards winning writing scholarships. Although applying might be intensive or intimidating, just trying can open up countless opportunities!