D.C. Creative Writing Workshop
D.C. Creative Writing Workshop
D.C. Creative Writing Workshop
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The D.C. Creative Writing Workshop

The D.C. Creative Writing Workshop, based in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Southeast D.C., unites parents, teachers and students to create a literary renaissance in this often ignored part of the city.

Since 1995, when Charles Hart Junior High became the first school in Washington to have an extra-curricular creative writing program, the Workshop's writers-in-residence have introduced thousands of students to the joys of self-expression and the written word, opening for them a world of opportunity that exists outside of the historically neglected area in which they live.

While continuing to serve Hart, now a middle school, the Workshop expanded its programs in 2004 to neighboring Ballou High School and Simon Elementary. Students from the three schools have attended readings, plays and other literary events, won dozens of writing awards, and enjoyed a wealth of new experiences not otherwise available to young people in Ward 8.

In November 2011, DCCWW Executive Director Nancy Schwalb was presented with a Local Hero Award by the Bank of America Foundation as part of its Neighborhood Excellence Initiative.

The Workshop's accomplishments include:

In 2014, we had twenty-five finalists and five winners in the Parkmont Poetry Contest. One of our students was a finalist in Youth Poetry at the Larry Neal Awards, sponsored by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. And remarkably, in the Junior League Youth Poetry Contest our children swept first place for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and also won five of the six honorable mentions in the middle school grades.

This year our youth created a documentary about Writing Club, their fourteenth original play or film. In prior years, students have produced their own original versions of George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion," Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," Christopher Marlowe's “Doctor Faustus,” and Greek classics “Antigone,” “Medea,” “Oedipus Rex,” “The Frogs,” “Lysistrata,” “The Persians,” “Alcestis,” and "The Clouds."

Watch the D.C. Creative Writing Workshop films here.

We also published the 37th issue of hArtworks, the nation’s first inner-city public middle school literary magazine. hArtworks is again featured in the 2014 Poet’s Market as “an outstanding example of what a literary journal can be (for anyone of any age).”

In 2013, fifteen DCCWW students won awards in city-wide writing competitions. Eight of the winners in the Parkmont Poetry Contest were our students. Remarkably, Hart Middle School had more winners than any other public, charter, or middle school in the city. Three of our students were finalists in Youth Poetry at the Larry Neal Awards, sponsored by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Four of our students were winners in the “Finding Gabriela Mistral” Poetry Contest.

In 2012, nineteen DCCWW students won awards in city-wide writing competitions. Thirteen winners in the Parkmont Poetry Contest were ours. Remarkably, twelve of the twenty winners in the Middle School category were our students from Hart Middle School. Our students swept first, second, and third place in Youth Poetry at the Larry Neal Awards, sponsored by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Two of our students were first place winners in the “Finding Gabriela” D.C. Poetry Contest. And one of our 6th graders won the Kids Post Poetry Contest, which is sponsored by the Washington Post.

In 2011, fifteen DCCWW students won awards in city-wide writing competitions. Of forty winners in the Parkmont Poetry Contest, ten were ours. In fact, because of our work, Ballou had more winners than any other high school and Hart had more winners than any other middle school. Two of our students won Larry Neal Awards and three of our students were finalists in the Junior League of Washington Teen Poetry Competition.

In 2010, eighteen of our students won prizes in three city-wide writing competitions. Twelve won the Parkmont Poetry Contest. Three won Larry Neal awards for second place, third place, and honorable mention. And in the Junior League of Washington Teen Poetry Competition, our students won first place for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.

Seventeen DCCWW students won the Parkmont Poetry Contest in 2009. Hart English teacher Christy Gill (second row, right) poses with some of the winners: left to right: Marcus Barnes, Lamara Brooks, Kiana Murphy, Marcus Johnson, Bernice Caldwell, Steven Reed, Renita Williams, Monae Smith, DarVel Suggs, Devon Hudson, and Kirk Murphy

During each school year, Workshop students take field trips to see plays at the Arena Stage and one at the Shakespeare Theatre.

Since the Workshop’s inception, over four hundred Hart and Ballou students have visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as part of the our “Teaching Tolerance Through Literature” curriculum.

Over 250 of our writers have performed their work in public at such venues as the PEN/Faulkner Award celebration at the Folger Theater, the historic Lincoln Theater, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Busboys and Poets, American University and George Mason University.



Our seven 2008 winners of the Parkmont Poetry Contest include, left to right: Rian Hayes, Cherish Carroll, Yasmin Jones, Maryum Abdullah, Anthony Torrence, and Tracey Harris.

 


Contact us at info@dccww.org or call Executive Director Nancy Schwalb at
202-445-4280.