Monday, April 11, 2016

Decatur Writers Studio, Decatur Education Foundation announce creation of DEF Young Writers Workshop

Decatur Writers Studio, Decatur Education Foundation announce creation of DEF Young Writers Workshop
Celebrated Young Adult novelist Terra Elan McVoy will conduct workshop for selected Decatur High students as part of partnership

April 4, 2016 (Atlanta) — The Decatur Writers Studio (DWS), a project of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival (AJC DBF) whose goal is to serve both established and aspiring writers, has announced a partnership with the Decatur Education Foundation (DEF) to create the DEF Young Writers Workshop for Decatur High School students.

Celebrated Young Adult author Terra Elan McVoy, whose books include Pure, After the Kiss, The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, Being Friends with Boys and In Deep, will conduct the workshop, which will take place at Decatur CoWorks, home of DWS. With the involvement of Decatur High English Department Chair Cara Cassell, 11 students were selected to participate in the workshop, which will be fully funded by DEF.

The students were selected based on their aptitude, their passion for writing and also based on certain diversity criteria such as socioeconomics. AJC DBF Founding Executive Director Daren Wang said that when he came up with the concept for DWS, the AJC DBF board asked him as part of the new endeavor to create a scholarship program for students.
The workshop is set to begin on April 13.

“The AJC Decatur Book Festival has partnered with the Decatur Education Foundation for years,” Wang said. “This idea came out of a desire to do something unique for the students. The goal is for this to become an integral part of the Decatur Writers Studio going forward.”

DEF Executive Director Gail Rothman said the eight-session workshop adds to the rich learning environment already available to Decatur High students, which includes the AJC DBF.

“We want people to know that when they donate to DEF, we invest in organizations and activities like this that help to enrich the education of City Schools of Decatur students who come from all backgrounds,” Rothman said. “Most high school kids don’t get to work with a nationally renowned author.”

McVoy said what she hopes to bring to the students is some of the wisdom and experience she has gained over the years as a professional writer. She said that she benefitted from having supportive creative writing teachers in middle school and high school and wants to pass that on.

“I’m really keen on sharing that with young people,” said McVoy, whose Being Friends with Boys was named among “10 Books All Young Georgians Should Read” in 2015 by the Georgia Center for the Book. “It’s my, ‘Pay it forward.’ There are fewer and fewer creative writing opportunities for young people. I want to do whatever I can do to provide encouragement and skillful instruction to young people who are passionate about writing.”

Decatur Writers Studio (DWS) is a project of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the country. DWS is a dynamic new player in Decatur’s thriving literary community whose goal is to serve both established and aspiring writers. DWS offers workshop-style creative writing classes led by instructors, including some of the area’s most accomplished authors. It also offers a limited number of memberships that provide a private writing space for members. For information about schedules, a calendar of courses, pricing and other benefits of membership, visit,“like” Decatur Writers Studio on Facebook or follow @DWritersStudio on Twitter.

Decatur Education Foundation (DEF) supports the youth of Decatur in a variety of ways. DEF partners with community organizations to offer youth-focused programs and provides grants to teachers for innovative classroom learning. It also awards student grants that help remove obstacles or that fuel an individual’s passions and aspirations. For more information go to