Housed in the Master of Fine Arts program at Eastern Washington University, Writers in the Community (WITC) has worked with Spokane writers of all ages and backgrounds since 1994. Since its inception, WITC has offered free workshops to audiences as varied as inmates, veterans, men and women in recovery, pediatric oncology patients, and elementary, middle, and high school students.
From January to March, 2020, WITC will welcome all high school students from Spokane School District (SSD) to participate in a creative writing prose contest. The district’s English teachers and department leads are supporting WITC in developing the proposed contest and have agreed to integrate it into their English or creative writing curricula. MFA graduate students interning for WITC will also visit individual classrooms and conduct pro-bono craft lessons and workshops where students can share their work and receive encouraging guidance and feedback in real-time. An estimated 450 students enrolled in these English classes, creative writing electives, and after-school writing clubs from the seven SSD high schools will thus receive an opportunity to create and submit a 2000-word piece of fiction or nonfiction to the competition.
SAGA funding will help the program increase its reach, improve its materials, and publish and distribute the contest participants’ work in their regular journal, InRoads.