Milken’s creative writing program began in 1999 with Writes of Passage, but has now expanded to include a Study of Fiction Class, Study of Poetry Class, Sunday Wordplay and most recently Scribbler’s Anonymous.
“Writes of Passage evolved into having a creative writing elective and then evolved into the classes, and then we just kept adding, adding, adding,” Ms. Melody Mansfield, Director of the Creative Writing Program, said.
Writes of Passage takes place one lunch a month and is open to all Milken Students, though it consists mainly of the students in the Study of Fiction and Poetry classes due to a class requirement that mandates each student read an original piece. Each month there is also a Spotlight Poet, who reads four pages of his or her work and participates in a question and answer session.
“Anyone can ask questions about their inspiration, or where they like to write, anything they want,” Mansfield said.
The Study of Fiction and Study of Poetry classes are open to juniors and seniors. They run for one semester each and are taken consecutively. After students have practiced writing, they draft cover letters and research markets in order to get published. This year eight students were published in eight different journals.
“It’s very exciting to keep passing this on and to see kids have that thrill. There is nothing like seeing your own words in print, and to be able to witness my own students having that experience is wonderful,” Mansfield said.
Sunday Wordplay started seven years ago and takes place once a year. A published author visits Milken and talks about his or her process creating a specific book, the book all juniors and seniors are required to read over the summer. All students are welcome to attend, and the Study of Fiction and Poetry students are invited to stay for the second hour to do some writing activities.
Scribbler’s Anonymous, the most recent addition, was created to ease freshman and sophomores into the creative writing program. Most underclassman were intimidated by the idea of reading during Writes of Passage if they weren’t part of Mansfield’s class.
“We really just want to get them eased into the creative writing program, because we’ve got lots and lots of activities once they get into 11th and 12th grade, but had kind of a dearth 9th and 10th grade,” Mansfield said.
The program takes place during oneg, and is run entirely by student leaders.
“Whoever’s interested just come,” Daniella Glouberman ’13, a student leader, said.