Here at Behind the Book, we’re gladdened to announce the brilliant launch of a new partnership with the VCFA Young Writers Network. This group, formed by alumni of the prestigious Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program, are working with us to bring more authors to our partner schools in NYC.
Members of the VCFA Young Writers Network joined us in DeWitt Clinton High School and the Bronx Academy of Letters this fall – sending both alumni and faculty to work with our students.
We’ve long enjoyed working with Coe Booth (former VCFA faculty member), and we were delighted to meet current VCFA faculty member Daniel Jose Older. Based on his recent novel Shadowshaper, our students are writing and illustrating fantasy fiction set in their real-life neighborhood. Here’s Daniel in class, signing copies of his book to give out:
The students, particularly the soon-to-graduate students at DeWitt Clinton, benefitted from having published and pre-published authors both lead and supplement the class as writing coaches. Our Program Coordinator Chris Fleming, who has been working with high school students for 11 years, could not have been more pleased with the kids’ response. They left the workshop with a true understanding of the way professionals think through the writing process.
Of course, volunteers are there to encourage students as much as lead them. Per Chris, “The students took their own writing more seriously because a professional writer took them seriously.”
We especially love when the learning goes both ways. Lyn Miller-Lachmann, YA and middle grade author, worked with Spanish-speaking students at DeWitt Clinton on their writing, an experience that empowered her to accept a bi-lingual professional offer, saying:
The highlight for me was being able to give students writing instruction and feedback in Spanish. It was a huge confidence booster for me because I would like one day to teach writing or lead a writing workshop in Spanish or Portuguese, in which I’m equally fluent… This afternoon, a professor at the University of Porto asked about my availability in future years to teach a writing workshop. Thanks to my experience with BtB, I could give her a yes.
Thank you, VCFA Young Writers Network! We’re looking forward to continuing this partnership, and to seeing the student anthology that these students produce.
We hope you’ll visit their website for more info on their work, which extends to Boston and Philadelphia too! http://vcfa.edu/youngwriters