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Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A close up of a student taking an exam.

Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College

Sarah Lawrence College is a haven for the creatively inclined, a sanctuary where the muses dance in every corner, and the air is thick with the scent of ink and ambition. But what if we told you that this already vibrant campus once a year transforms into an even more extraordinary crucible of creativity?

The Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College is an event that has become almost mythical in its allure. Imagine a week where the boundaries between student and teacher blur, where Pulitzer Prize winners share the stage with undergrads, and where every conversation could be the spark that ignites your next masterpiece.

What is Writers’ Week and Why Does It Matter?

You might be wondering, “What’s the big deal? There are writing events all over the country.” Ah, but Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College is not just any writing event. It’s a carefully curated experience designed to challenge, inspire, and elevate.

It’s where you can attend workshops led by some of the most celebrated authors of our time, engage in intellectually stimulating discussions, and even get your work critiqued by experts in the field.

But more than that, it’s a celebration of the written word in all its forms—fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and even performance arts. It’s a space where you can be your most authentic self, surrounded by people who share your passion and drive.

The concept of Writers’ Week

For 24 years, Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College has offered creative minds an immersive week-long experience with creative writing. The event is structured around workshops, lectures, and readings spanning various genres and styles.

a male student sitting and thinking intently

But it’s not just about learning the mechanics of writing; it’s about diving deep into the creative process. You’ll explore the nuances of character development, the art of narrative structure, and the delicate balance of rhythm and pacing in poetry.

The best part? You’ll be doing all of this under the guidance of seasoned professionals who have mastered these elements.

History and evolution over the years

When Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College first started, it was a modest affair—a handful of workshops and a couple of guest speakers.

Over the years, the event has evolved into a sprawling festival that attracts luminaries from across the literary world. We’re talking about best-selling authors, award-winning poets, and even playwrights whose works have graced the stages of Broadway.

The event has also expanded to include interdisciplinary elements, incorporating aspects of performance art, journalism, and even digital media.

It’s a testament to the ever-changing storytelling landscape and the college’s commitment to staying at the forefront of this evolution.

The impact of Writers’ Week on the college community and beyond

The effect of Writers’ Week extends far beyond the idyllic campus of Sarah Lawrence College. For the students who participate, it’s often a life-changing experience that shapes their academic and professional trajectories.

Many alums have gone on to publish their work, win awards, and make significant contributions to the literary world. But the ripple effects go even further. The event has become a cultural touchstone that resonates with writers and artists from all walks of life.

It’s a reminder that storytelling is not just an individual endeavor but a collective one, bound by the threads of human experience and imagination. Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College is a beacon in a world that often feels fragmented, drawing us together in the shared pursuit of something greater than ourselves.

Who are the Luminaries that Grace the Event?

The event features an eclectic mix of luminaries from literature and the arts. But what truly sets it apart is the caliber of its instructors. It is led by dedicated education professionals and candidates from Sarah Lawrence College’s Master of Fine Arts Writing Program and Theatre Program.

These individuals are not just experts in their respective fields but are also deeply committed to teaching. Also, the extensive support staff is always on hand to assist with any questions or concerns you or your student may have.

It’s this unique blend of expertise and accessibility that makes Writers’ Week a transformative experience.

The Ripple Effect: How These Interactions Influence the Students’ Own Writing Journeys

The magic of Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College continues even after the workshops are over or the guest speakers have left the stage. No, its impact reverberates long after, shaping how students approach their writing journeys.

Imagine receiving constructive feedback on your manuscript from a Pulitzer Prize-winning author or discussing the nuances of character development with a seasoned playwright.

These are not just fleeting moments; they are pivotal experiences that can profoundly influence your writing style, approach to storytelling, and even your understanding of what it means to be a writer.

Students often leave the event with renewed purpose and a deeper understanding of their creative potential. It’s not just about individual growth; the connections made during Writers’ Week often lead to collaborative projects, mentorship opportunities, and lifelong friendships.

How Can You Participate and What Can You Expect?

The process is designed to be as inclusive and straightforward as possible. Typically, you’ll need to fill out an application form, which may include submitting a sample of your writing.

Multiracial university students

Once accepted, you can expect a whirlwind of creativity and intellectual stimulation. You’ll be attending workshops that delve into the intricacies of storytelling, participating in readings where you can showcase your work, and engaging in discussions that will challenge and expand your understanding of literature and the arts; and let’s not forget the guest speakers—luminaries in the field who will share their insights and experiences, providing you with a unique window into the world of professional writing.

Eligibility Criteria for Participation

Who is eligible to participate in this transformative experience? Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College welcomes students entering the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grades the following fall.

Additionally, students must be 14 or older at the program’s start. As for the financial aspect, the on-campus session is priced at $1,225, which includes lunch.

While the cost may seem steep, consider it an investment in your creative future—a chance to learn from the best in the field and to engage with a community that shares your passion for the written word.

A Day in the Life During Writers’ Week: Workshops, Readings, and More

So, what does a typical day look like during Writers’ Week? Classes meet daily from Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Don’t worry about packing lunch; it’s provided for students, allowing you more time to focus on what matters—the writing.

The day is structured to include various activities, from hands-on workshops to readings to interactive discussions. It’s a full day that flies by as you get lost in the world of words and ideas.

While Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College is not a residential program, the campus becomes a second home. In this place, you can fully immerse yourself in the creative process, free from the distractions of everyday life.

What Makes Writers’ Week Unique Compared to Other Writing Events?

While most writing events focus on the technical aspects of the craft, Writers’ Week delves more profoundly, exploring the essence of storytelling and artistic expression.

It’s a week that challenges you to be a better writer, thinker, listener, and, ultimately, a better human being.

Comparative Analysis with Other Similar Events at Different Colleges

Many colleges offer writing workshops, but how many can boast a program like the Writer’s Theatre workshops? These unique sessions explore the creative process intuitively and spontaneously, using improvisation, group projects, and games as tools for discovery.

Faculty and students participate together, blurring the lines between teacher and learner to form and shape individual and collective expression. The best part? No prior theatre experience is necessary.

This innovative approach sets Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College apart, offering a multi-dimensional experience beyond the written word.

The Sarah Lawrence Difference: A Focus on Interdisciplinary Learning

What truly distinguishes Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College is its commitment to interdisciplinary learning. Rooted in the college’s tradition of one-on-one interaction, the program allows students to meet in small groups with workshop leaders, fostering an intimate learning environment that encourages deep intellectual engagement.

The program also includes faculty and student readings and culminates by celebrating student work on the final day. With classes limited to just 18 students and two faculty members per workshop, you’re guaranteed a personalized, immersive experience.

This focus on individualized learning makes Writers’ Week not just another writing event but a transformative educational journey.

The Community Aspect: How Writers’ Week Fosters a Sense of Belonging Among Participants

But Writers’ Week is not just about honing your craft or expanding your intellectual horizons; it’s about becoming part of a community of thinkers and creators who share your passion for storytelling.

From the moment you step onto the campus, you’ll feel a sense of belonging—a sense that here, in this space, your voice matters. Whether the friendships forged over late-night writing sessions or the bonds created through collaborative projects, the connections you make during Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College will last a lifetime.

In a world where the solitary act of writing can often feel isolated, this sense of community is, perhaps, the most precious gift of all.

How Does Writers’ Week Influence Your Academic and Professional Journey?

The impact of Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College extends far beyond the immediate thrill of a week spent immersed in creativity. It’s an experience that can potentially profoundly shape your academic and professional journey.

Sorority members studying together

For many students, the event serves as a catalyst, inspiring them to pursue writing or related fields as a significant course of study in college. The skills and insights gained during the week can also be invaluable in academic settings, helping you excel in writing-intensive courses and making you a more compelling candidate for scholarships or internships.

The experience can serve as a stepping stone on the professional front, providing you with the tools, confidence, and connections to embark on a successful career in writing, journalism, publishing, or even fields like marketing and communications that value strong writing skills.

Real-world Benefits: Networking Opportunities and Portfolio Building

One of the most significant advantages is the networking opportunities it provides. Imagine interacting with established authors, publishers, and other industry professionals.

These connections can open doors for you, whether an internship, a publishing deal, or even a mentorship opportunity. Additionally, the week offers numerous chances for portfolio building.

The work you produce during the workshops and any readings or performances you participate in can be valuable additions to your writing portfolio.

This portfolio can be a powerful asset when applying for academic programs or job opportunities in writing-related fields.

Formal Recognition

While Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College does not offer college credit, your efforts still need to be recognized. If requested, the program can send a formal letter to your student’s school confirming their participation in this prestigious summer program.

This letter can serve multiple purposes: it can be a testament to your commitment to academic and creative excellence, a unique point of interest on your college applications, or even a conversation starter in job interviews.

Even though it’s not a college credit, this formal acknowledgment carries its weight, serving as a seal of quality that testifies to your skills, dedication, and passion for writing.

What Are the Must-See, Must-Do Aspects of Writers’ Week?

If you plan to attend Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College, there are specific experiences you can’t afford to miss. The guest speaker sessions, for instance, are a treasure trove of insights and wisdom from some of the most accomplished figures in the literary world.

Diverse group of happy students

Then there are the Writer’s Theatre workshops offer a unique blend of writing and performance, pushing you to explore your creative boundaries. Pay attention to the faculty and student readings, too; these events provide a platform for emerging voices and serve as a source of inspiration, showcasing the incredible range and depth of talent within the community.

Of course, the final day celebration is the cherry on top, offering a joyous and fulfilling conclusion to a week of intense creative exploration.

Tips and Tricks for Making the Most Out of the Week

A little preparation goes a long way to make the most of Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College. First, familiarize yourself with the schedule and plan your days to ensure you can attend the workshops and events that interest you the most.

Bring a notebook and pen to jot down insights, ideas, and contact information for the people you meet. Don’t shy away from asking questions during workshops or discussions; this is a rare opportunity to seek advice from experts in the field.

Also, consider setting specific goals for the week, whether completing a short story, mastering the art of dialogue, or simply expanding your literary horizons.

Clear objectives will give you a sense of direction and make your experience all the more rewarding.

The Social Side: Exploring the Campus and Mingling with Like-Minded Individuals

Beyond the workshops and readings, Writers’ Week offers many opportunities for social interaction and exploration. The Sarah Lawrence campus is a beautiful setting worth exploring, with its lush green spaces serving as perfect spots for impromptu writing sessions or thoughtful conversations.

Take the time to mingle with your fellow participants; these are your future colleagues, collaborators, and possibly lifelong friends. Attend the social events organized as part of Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College, as they provide a relaxed setting to discuss your projects, share your aspirations, and even find your next writing partner.

Remember, the connections you make here could have a lasting impact on your creative journey, so don’t miss the chance to be part of this vibrant, like-minded community.

How Can You Stay Involved Post Writers’ Week?

The end of Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College doesn’t have to signify the end of your involvement with this vibrant community.

There are numerous ways to stay engaged long after the workshops have concluded and the guest speakers have departed. One effective way is to join online forums or social media groups dedicated to past and present participants.

These platforms offer a space to share your work, seek feedback, and collaborate on new projects. Additionally, you can subscribe to newsletters or publications associated with the program, ensuring you remain updated on upcoming events, success stories, and opportunities for further involvement.

Opportunities for Publishing or Showcasing the Work Created During the Week

The work you create during Writers’ Week doesn’t have to gather dust on your hard drive or in your notebook. Many participants find avenues to publish or showcase their work on various platforms, from literary journals to blogs and social media.

Some even submit their pieces to writing contests, leveraging the skills and insights gained during the week to earn recognition and prizes. Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College often highlights participants’ standout works, offering yet another platform for your creative expressions.

Feel free to put your work out there; you never know where it might lead.

Alumni Networks and How to Stay Connected

One of the most valuable aspects of participating in Writers’ Week is the access it provides to an extensive network of alums. These individuals have walked your path, and many are willing to offer guidance, mentorship, or even professional opportunities.

Staying connected is often as simple as joining alum mailing lists or attending reunions and other events organized by Sarah Lawrence College. These networks can be invaluable as you navigate your academic and professional journey, offering a wealth of resources and connections to help you achieve your creative and career goals.

Future Events and How to Stay in the Loop

If you’ve caught the Writers’ Week bug and are eager for more, Sarah Lawrence College offers many events and programs throughout the year that may pique your interest.

To stay in the loop, consider subscribing to the college’s newsletter or following their social media channels for updates on upcoming workshops, guest lectures, and other literary events.

Additionally, Writers’ Week alums often receive early notifications or exclusive invitations to these events, offering another reason to stay engaged with the community.

By keeping your finger on the pulse, you can continue to benefit from the enriching experiences that Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College offers long after the week has concluded.

Conclusion

As we draw this comprehensive exploration of Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College to a close, it’s evident that this program is much more than a mere writing workshop.

Dreamy attractive female student thinking about coursework strategy

It’s a transformative experience that offers a holistic approach to creativity, encompassing the technical aspects of writing and the emotional, intellectual, and social facets.

From the star-studded lineup of guest speakers to the innovative Writer’s Theatre workshops, from the intimate, personalized learning environment to the sense of community it fosters, Writers’ Week celebrates storytelling in all its forms.

It’s a space where you can grow as a writer, a thinker, a listener, and a human being.

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If you’ve been captivated by the transformative experience of Writers’ Week at Sarah Lawrence College, you’re likely someone who understands the value of exceptional education and mentorship.

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