This July, we were happy to hold our 4th Annual Writers' Block: a summer camp for young writers in the Kansas City area. This year's camp consisted of two 5-day sessions centered around two different genres of creative writing. The first week (July 11-15) focused on playwriting and was taught by nationally-known playwright and UMKC professor Frank Higgins.
Higgins led a group of nine students whose ages ranged from 13 to 16 in creating characters of depth, powerful monologues, intriguing conflict, and more. The group gathered each morning in the main foyer of The Writers Place and typically ended their day scattered throughout the building writing on their own. On the final day of the playwriting session, Higgins invited two former students/local playwrights to come and visit with the youth. They encouraged the young writers to be bold in their pursuit of creative writing and shared about their experiences with theater and playwriting.
During the second week (July 18-22) local poet and educator Natasha Ria El-Scari led ten students aged 12 to 17 in improving their poetry skills. El-Scari led powerful conversations that encouraged the young writers to think deeply about the subject of their work and the ways in which they describe it. The students also practiced reading their poetry out loud as El-Scari helped prepare them for the Reading & Open Mic that would celebrate the end of the two sessions.
On the evening of Friday, July 22nd, camp participants, friends, family, and writers gathered to celebrate the hard work of the young writers who joined us for Writers' Block 2016 by sharing their work and enjoying the new connections and friendships that were made.
Thank you to all who supported, participated, and promoted this year's Writers' Block! We look forward to making the camp bigger and better in the future!