High School / Teen Programs
Junior High Programs
Ages: Current Junior High students
Place: Iowa City Public Library
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.
Held May 1st, 2023. Stay tuned for next year's conference!
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.