Since founding the National Writers Series in 2010, we’ve spread our wings to support young readers and writers in all kinds of ways. We hope that someday one of our young storytellers will return to the Opera House to talk about their newest bestselling book and how their love of writing began right here in Traverse City.
We have awarded $56,000 in college scholarships—now up to four each year—to 38 seniors and juniors who are passionate about writing. Scholarship applications are available through the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation.
Front Street Writers
In 2012, we developed a high school creative writing program in partnership with the public school district to provide a home for passionate writers. Front Street Writers draws students from a five-county area—passionate writers who, in many cases, have no creative writing class in their rural home district. The students are treated to visits and master classes by bestselling authors who appear on the NWS stage. Students also publish their work in the NWS Literary Journal and recite their work at author events.
Battle of the Books
We host a Battle of the Books competition, which involves some 300 fourth and fifth graders in the Grand Traverse County area. Students have fun, learn teamwork, and closely read books in a wide range of genres. A bestselling author arrives on the day of the “battle” finale to serve as a master of ceremonies and to describe their path and process of writing books for youth.
Creative Writing Classes
We also put together creative writing workshops for students, often in partnership with Northwestern Michigan College. The workshops are as fanciful as writing fan fiction and as serious as college essay writing.
Finally, and importantly, we put together poetry workshops at Traverse Heights and Blair Elementary schools. We believe it’s important these children learn how to creatively use their voices to express their feelings.