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IYWS Annual Advance a Young Writer Campaign 2019

Raised toward our $6,000 Goal
85 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on March 31, at 11:55 PM CDT
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IYWS Annual Advance a Young Writer Campaign 2019

STRETCH GOAL - $9,000! Help us reach our our new goal!


Thanks to the remarkable generosity of our early donors, we reached our initial fundraising goal of $6,000 on the very first day of the campaign! We can’t thank those donors enough! They got us off the ground, WAY off the ground, and now we’re going to try to fly a little higher.


Do you believe more young writers from low-income and underserved communities should have the opportunity to attend the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, the University of Iowa’s creative writing program for high school students? Do you believe these students should have access to the full experience of our courses and community without the prohibitive factor of cost? 


We do, but we need your help. This March, with our second annual Advance a Young Writer GOLDrush Campaign, we hope to raise $9,000 for tuition and travel expenses, which will allow three students to attend the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio residential program in the summer of 2019. We believe this is an attainable goal, and one we can meet with small donations from writers and supporters of writing like you. If you donate, you’ll advance an ambitious and deserving student on a path toward becoming a better writer and prepared adult. You’ll also be making an important investment in our literary future. 


"I've been interested in writing--in creating characters and stories, in creating art--since I was kid living in the South Bronx. But even if a program like the Iowa Young Writers' Studio had been available and known to me as a high school student, I wouldn't have been able to attend. When I think of all the wonderful students I've taught at IYWS over the last few years, and the wonderful opportunity they are fortunate enough to participate in, I also think about the creative, talented, and visionary high school writers who don't have the resources to develop their gifts and expand their creative community in the particular way they can here. The support we give to further the art and deepen the convictions of young writers from low-income communities will benefit more than just those individuals. It is crucial, especially in current times, that we multiply the perspectives and amplify the voices of our young artists. They see and know so much. We need them." — Jamel Brinkley, author of A Lucky Man.


“My time at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio was one to remember for sure. It was truly an eye opening experience to me as a person and writer. I would say my favorite part of my time there was getting to workshop my pieces and being able to give feedback to the other poets in my group. Doing that allowed me to gain more perspective on what poetry could look like visually, along with learning variations of rhythm and flow that poems can have. I also enjoyed listening to the poets who would share their work with the program at night. I would never have thought that poetry could be made up of screenshots of someone’s computer wallpaper. All in all, as person I’ve grown to not judge or compare my work to those around me because everyone has a different experience in life leading to a variety of perspectives on poetry and that’s what makes poetry and the program so unique. The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio was definitely an experience I’ll never forget.” —Keiara Stallworth, 2018 GOLDrush scholarship recipient​


The Iowa Young Writers' Studio is a creative writing program for high school students at The University of Iowa, housed in The Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing. The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio offers a summer residential program as well as online classes. The Studio was formed in 1999 to give promising high school-age creative writers the opportunity to spend two weeks studying writing at The University of Iowa, in the thriving literary community of Iowa City, a UNESCO City of Literature, with teachers and counselors from the renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Students at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio share their writing with teachers and peers, receive constructive critique, participate in writing exercises and activities, and attend readings and literary events. The Studio operates under the philosophy that the study of creative writing is essential not only to students who want to pursue writing as a career but to any student hoping to function effectively in a writing-centric world, and to any adolescent who seeks to understand his or her identity and experience.


We're grateful to Jill Tobin for producing our video, and to the former students and staff of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio who contributed testimonials.


NOTICE: The University of Iowa Center for Advancement is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization soliciting tax-deductible private contributions for the benefit of the University of Iowa. Please visit the UI Center for Advancement disclosures site for additional information.

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“The thing is not to write what no one else could have written, but to write what only you could have written.” —Nam Le, Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and author of the story collection “The Boat.”



"Writers are readers first; indeed our love of reading is what unites us above all else.” —Eleanor Catton, Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and author of the novel “The Luminaries.”



“Writing became a safe haven for me, a place where I wasn’t accented, or my face didn’t determine how someone thought of me.” —Jenny Zhang, Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and author of the story collection “Sour Heart.”



“I think that a good deal of poetry and art gives us some sense of access to another’s voice, perception, texture of thought, imagination. Sometimes it gives us better access to the strangeness in ourselves.” —Mary Szybist, Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and National Book Award winner in poetry.



“…Most days of my own transient childhood, I felt unknowable and unseeable, and the only solace I could find from that feeling was within the pages of books.” —Yaa Gyasi, Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and author of the novel “Homegoing.”



“Poetry offers itself to us as a way of talking about the things we can’t talk about. No one invented it. It was given…Great poems are smarter than great poets. The language is smarter than anyone who uses it.” —James Galvin, Professor of Poetry, Iowa Writer’s Workshop.



“Certainly literature is not solving things, but the stories we tell are how we come to understand what this planet is to us. For the people who read poetry, I think it’s profound. Paying attention teaches us how to be…I think I’ll just end the sentence there; how to be.” —Robyn Schiff, Director, Undergraduate Program in Creative Writing, University of Iowa



“Given the opportunity to offer one piece of advice to an emerging writer, I would highlight the urgency of holding onto an inner life… Hold onto that part of you that first compelled you to start writing…The single essential survival skill for anybody interested in creating art is to learn to defend this inner life from the world.” —Lan Samantha Chang, Director, Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

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