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English’s Conley Young Writers’ Institute February 25th a success.

The 2023 Bryan M. Conley Young Writers’ Institute gave area high school students a chance to explore and celebrate their creative gifts. The Young Writers’ Institute features free creative writing workshops for Tennessee students with an interest in developing their craft. Thanks to continued support from alum Bryan M. Conley, these workshops feature topics focusing on poetry, fantasy writing, and more.

Students contemplate the “Dreadful Writing Exercise” as part of the “Writing Horror” workshop.

This year, as last year, special invitations encouraged more of our Flagship high schoolers to attend. Students had workshops with mini lessons or introductions to their topic and then writing time to practice. Everyone participated in one workshop in the morning and one in the afternoon. After the workshops, they had the chance to share their work in an open mic. High schoolers with an interest in English, creative writing, or just the practice their craft found much to enjoy. 

Workshops included:

  • World Building in Fantasy
  • Angry Poems! (Creative Writing and Mental Health)
  • Humor Writing
  • Collage Poetry
  • Writing Horror
  • Super Short Fiction (flash and micro fiction)
  • Slam Poetry
  • Pop Culture in Poetry

Each student was able to try two different genres or ways of writing. Coordinator Bess Cooley reported that many students already want to come back next year, which bodes well for the creative life of east Tennessee and the future of great writing in our English department.

For more information, please email program director Elizabeth Cooely (