D.C. Creative Writing Workshop
D.C. Creative Writing Workshop
D.C. Creative Writing Workshop
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Programs

Working in a public-private partnership with Simon Elementary, Hart Middle and Ballou Senior High Schools, the D.C. Creative Writing Workshop offers over 600 hours of programming annually, both in class and after school, to more than 600 students. With the schools providing office space, utilities, and management support, administrative costs are kept unusually low, allowing a high percentage of the budget to be spent on the Workshop’s mission of transforming the lives of at-risk youth.

Select a link below to read more about one of our programs. You can scroll down to view all of them.

In-Class Instruction
After-School Clubs
Teaching Tolerance Through Literature
Reading Resource Center

In-Class Instruction

The D.C. Creative Writing Workshop’s writers-in-residence work with teachers in grades 4-12 to provide intensive literary instruction to students throughout their school careers. Each student keeps a personal creative writing portfolio to document his or her progress during the year.

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After-School Clubs

After-school clubs are based at Hart and are open to all students, ages 5-19, in the surrounding neighborhood. Participants in the Workshop’s extra-curricular activities have the option of attending up to three days a week of literary clubs.

The Writing Club
Writing Club members work on a variety of projects throughout the year, writing about art and photography, keeping journals, and penning original stories and essays.

Since the Writing Club’s inception, Hart Middle School has developed a city-wide reputation for artistic excellence, consistently fielding winners in the Parkmont Poetry Contest, the Larry Neal Awards, the District Lines Poetry on Metro Competition, and the Junior League Teen Poetry Contest.

Many Writing Club graduates have continued on to the prestigious Literary Media program at Duke Ellington High School for the Arts.

The Drama Club
Each year, Drama Club members read and discuss a work of classic drama, selecting from among such exemplars as Euripides’ “Medea” and Sophocles’ “Antigone.” The students then interpret the play in their own words, updating it to create an original adaptation. The D.C. Creative Writing Workshop hires a professional director to assist the students in their production, and after months of writing, memorizing lines, and rehearsals, the students perform their work for their friends, their parents, and the surrounding community. The Drama Club's 2010 and 2011 productions, "R Town" and "The Notorious P.Y.G.," were made into motion pictures.

Students see up to eight plays each year at the Arena Stage and as many as three productions by the Shakespeare Theatre. Participants have also seen plays at the Studio Theater, the Source Theater, Woolly Mammoth, the Atlas Theater, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and they receive regular visits from theater professionals and educators.

The Literary Magazine Club
The Literary Magazine Club publishes hArtworks, the nation’s only inner-city public middle school literary magazine. hArtworks is featured in the 2011 Poet’s Market as “an outstanding example of what a literary journal can be (for anyone of any age).” Each year, club members produce three issues of hArtworks, distributing over three hundred copies of each to classmates, teachers, parents, and other members of the community. To celebrate the publication of each issue, club members give a reading at a local bookstore, offering signed copies of their work for sale to audience members. Literary Magazine Club members often interview a published author for the magazine. Featured writers have included Cornelius Eady, Alan Cheuse, Arnost Lustig, Toi Derricotte, and Nikki Giovanni.

Since 2005, the Literary Magazine Club has produced two annual publications, Simon Says, featuring the works of students at Simon Elementary, and Voice of the Knight, devoted to writings from Ballou High School.

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Teaching Tolerance Through Literature

Taking advantage of a range of opportunities offered by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the D.C. Creative Writing Workshop has developed a six-week unit of Holocaust studies that involves 100 students from Hart and Ballou each year. Throughout this period of study, the students work on their own creative responses to the moral and ethical issues raised, which they then compile into a special issue of hArtworks, “Reflections on the Holocaust.”

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Reading Resource Center

With thousands of books to choose, students are learning that reading doesn’t have to be a chore. D.C. Creative Writing Workshop members have found that reading can actually be fun! Students can choose any selection from the Workshop’s library, including a variety of popular children’s books, as well as biographies, sports books, and young adult novels. There is no time limit for borrowed books. Each child keeps a book for as long as necessary to enjoy it fully. Then, after finishing a book, the student can return it in trade for a new one. At the end of the school year, each participant in the after-school clubs may choose one book to keep permanently.

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