This conference is for you. 

If you’re a high school student who loves writing poetry, arguing politics, or composing epic threads on Twitter, this annual conference is for you. If you’ve dreamed about journalism, law, nursing, or working for your city, and want to know how people in those professions use writing every day, this conference is also for you. 

In the morning, choose from sessions on poetry and performance, legal argument, writing for the web, news reporting, and more, all in the historic Writers House on the Rutgers-Camden campus. Take a break for lunch, then show us your chops: by yourself or with a friend, present a poem, story, rap, essay, or other piece of writing at our afternoon slam. 

The first Rutgers-Camden High School Writers Conference was held April 13, 2018. Presented by the Writers House and the Office of Civic Engagement, Rutgers University-Camden. 


SAMPLE SCHEDULE: 

8:40 am – Arrival and Check-in

9:00 am – Poetry and Performance 

10:00 am – Writing Legal Arguments

11:00 am – 

12:00 – Lunch 

1:00 pm – Afternoon Slam 

2:00 pm – Buses home


Sample Sessions (2018)

Writing for the Web: Make It Snappy

9 am 
Tamar Fox, Web Content Writer, City of PHiladelphia
 
How do you take important and sometimes complicated information that people need to know, and make it into clear and easy-to-read? That’s the challenge of writing for a government website, and that’s what we’ll practice in this session. Can you make a page of dense, complex text into something that’s easy to scan? 
Tamar Fox is a writer and editor for the City of Philadelphia. She has also published a children’s book, and articles in the Washington Post, the Jerusalem Post, and Lilith Magazine, among others. 
 
Poetry Machines 
9 am 
Jim Brown, Professor of English and Digital Studies, Rutgers University-Camden 
 
While humans can write poetry, it might surprise you to find out the machines can write poems as well. During this session, we’ll develop software that generates poems. No computer programming expertise is required.
Jim Brown is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Digital Studies Center at Rutgers-Camden. His teaching and research focus on digital rhetoric and electronic literature.
 
Writing in 4D: The Art of Playwriting
10 am
Jesse Bernstein, Resident Producer, Philadelphia Young Playwrights 
 
The play’s the thing in this class, where we’ll write scripts actors will be excited to perform. We’ll learn what makes writing for the theatre fun and unique while using prompts to craft our own short plays. Whether you’ve seen or worked on a dozen shows or none, after this workshop you’ll have the basic skills and confidence to create a dramatic scene that will leap from the page to the stage.
Jesse Bernstein is a Philadelphia-based theatre artist and educator. He teaches for Philadelphia Young Playwrights, where he is also Resident Producer. He has written several outreach plays and short films and is currently writing the book for a new musical commissioned by 11th Hour Theatre Company. He has performed and directed at theatres all around the Philadelphia area, including at the Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theatre Company and Rutgers-Camden. 
 
Legal Argument 
11 am 
Krysten Connon, attorney and author
 
In this session, we’ll introduce the idea of writing a persuasive opening argument. Then, you’ll learn about legal problems relevant to your lives (for example, free speech in school). You’ll then get to develop arguments supporting both sides of the issue. 
Krysten Connon is an attorney in Philadelphia.  Following law school, Krysten worked as a federal judicial law clerk.  Krysten co-authored the 2015 Oxford University Press book Living in the Crosshairs:  The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism, as well as several articles that have appeared in publications such as Slate and Rolling Stone.  Krysten is a graduate of the University of Maryland and Drexel Law School. 
 
Writing for Worship 
11 am 
Rev. Ashley DeTar Birt
 
When we think about writing and faith, what comes to mind? Working on sermons? Writing prayers? Speaking your heart? In this workshop, we will explore what goes into various forms of religious writing and work on crafting prayers and statements that ring true to us.  
Rev. Ashley DeTar Birt is the Pastoral Fellow for Youth and Families at Rutgers Presbyterian Church in New York City. She holds degrees in Creative Writing, Theatre Arts, and Divinity, and has over a decade of experience working with children and youth in a church setting. She has also written for the Progressive Youth Ministry blog and Believe Out Loud.
 
Inspired by Real Life
10 am and 11 am 
Diana Rodriguez Wallach, YA author 
 
Learn to how to pull inspiration from your life to craft a young adult short story. In this workshop, we’ll learn how to outline a plot in a contemporary teen setting. Using all five senses we’ll create a vivid scene, then imagine that world through the eyes of our character by learning how to craft internal monologue. Workshops end with each of us writing the first and last sentence of our unique short story. You’ll be amazed at how you can turn an everyday moment into a engaging short story by focusing on the right details! Event includes a Q&A with the author.
Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix Series, young adult spy thrillers that include Proof of LiesLies that Bind, and End of the Lie (Entangled Publishing, 2017, ’18, ‘19). The first book in the trilogy, Proof of Lies, was named by Paste Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Best Young Adult Books for March 2017.” Bustle also listed her as one of the “Top Nine Latinx Authors to Read for Women’s History Month 2017.” Additionally, she is the author of three award-winning young adult novels: Amor and Summer SecretsAmigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books); as well as a YA short-story collection entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books, 2013).
 
 

How to participate

Participation information for 2019 forthcoming. 

For teachers 

Want to bring an entire class? Want more information about this year’s program? Contact us at 856-668-4980 or leah.falk@camden.rutgers.edu. 

Admission Information

Free

Contact
Leah Falk 
856-668-4980
leah.falk@camden.rutgers.edu