In lieu of our weekly in-person writing clubs, the IYWP is thrilled to offer an exciting set of digital writing enrichments for elementary students and teens to enjoy.

Presented as a series of themed, expert-led modules, these writing enrichments are intended to engage students with their creative process, impart the writing skills and techniques usually discussed during our in-person workshops, and provide students with an outlet for self-expression and publication during the pandemic and beyond.

Browse our list below to discover the possibilities!

High School / Teen Programs

Ages: 11-18
Place: Zoom
Date/Time: January 16, 23, and 30 — 1:30-3:00pm CST

Join the Iowa Youth Writing Project for this powerful workshop series, designed to honor a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Thanks to the work of University of Iowa German professor Kirsten Kumpf Baele, the University will receive, in spring 2022, one of a handful of saplings grown from the beloved chestnut tree described in Anne Frank's diary. The IYWP, along with the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and students from Dr. Kumpf Baele's Anne Frank class, will be hosting a three-part workshop series for junior high students in which we will welcome the sapling through reflective reading, writing, and discussion. Students of all backgrounds are encouraged to participate! Together, we will contemplate the legacy of Anne Frank, write creative work inspired by her diary, and draw parallels between her struggle and the manifold challenges we face today. Students will also be encouraged to enter an essay contest whose winners will be published in a printed anthology and may be invited to give a public reading at the planting of the sapling in April 2022.

This workshop, originally offered in Summer 2021, is back by popular demand! While the instructors and some of the content will be different, some will be the same. If you took the workshop last summer and choose to re-join, prepare for some repeated material.

Register here!

Ages: 12-17
Place: ZOOM
Date/Time: December 13th and 14th — 5:30-6:30pm CST

Calling all teen writers! Are you looking for a creative and low-key way to break up your school week? Look no further! Since August, the IYWP has been working with Honors students at the University of Iowa who have a passion for teaching writing. All semester, these students have been perfecting their activities and lesson plans, just for writers like you. Initially, they were going to bring these prompts and activities to select groups of students in person, but because the pandemic rages on, they've conveniently moved everything online. This means that YOU--no matter who you are or where you live--can enjoy these workshops with us! As with all IYWP programming, these sessions are completely free.

Workshops will take place in real time, on ZOOM, from 5:30-6:30pm CST on December 13th and 14th. Please pick only ONE session to attend, as several of the prompts will be repeated. 

Curious about what you're getting into? Here are just a few of the topics our students plan to teach: 

  • What can Over the Garden Wall teach us about storytelling? (No experience with the show necessary!)
  • How to Conquer the Writing Workshop
  • The Power of You (memoir / personal narrative)
  • Screenwriting

Intrigued? Sign up to find out more!

Register here!

Junior High Programs

Ages: Current Junior High students
Place: Iowa City Public Library
Date/Time: 2:00-4:00p

Alright, junior high friends – it’s Jam time once again! Every year, in conjunction with the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature’s One Book Two Book Festival, the Iowa Youth Writing Project hosts a special workshop and author Q&A just for junior high students. This year we will be joined by author, dancer, artist, storyteller, and teacher Chuy Renteria! Chuy is the author of We Heard It When We Were Young (University of Iowa Press, 2021). A heartfelt memoir about growing up in West Liberty, Iowa, the book tells the story of a young boy, first-generation Mexican American, who is torn between cultures: between immigrant parents trying to acclimate to midwestern life and a town that is, by turns, supportive and disturbingly antagonistic.

Renteria’s story looks past the public celebrations of diversity to dive into the private tensions of a community reflecting the changing American landscape. There are culture clashes, breakdancing battles, fistfights, quinceañeras, vandalism, adventures on bicycles, and souped-up lowriders, all set to an early 2000s soundtrack. Renteria and his friends struggle to find their identities and reckon with intergenerational trauma and racism in a town trying to do the same. A humorous and poignant reflection on coming of age, We Heard It When We Were Young puts its finger on a particular cultural moment at the turn of the millennium.

Location: Iowa City Public Library in meeting room A. While we anticipate this event will be in person, we are monitoring the COVID situation and it could be moved to online. Registrants should keep an eye on their email for any changes about the event.

This event is FREE. However, registration is required.

Register here!

Elementary Programs

Ages: 5-11
Date/Time: Available September 15 - December 31

Fall into creativity with the IYWP! Join us for a series of creative writing activities and prompts designed to stimulate your brain, tickle your funny bone, and work your creative muscles. Led by our interns, our staff, and the talented undergraduate students in our Writing and Community Outreach class, these 45-minute activity modules will challenge you, make you laugh, and offer you a TON of creative projects to keep you cozy as the leaves turn, the temperature drops, and the year draws to a close. Will this be the year you write a whole play? Draft that comic you've had kicking around in your mind since you were five? Compose a song? Join us to find out!

New activity modules are uploaded to our site 3-5 times per week. Move through them at your own pace, and in whatever order you'd like. Once they're uploaded, all activity modules will be available through December 2021.

Register here!