The WinS Blog

Welcome to the WinS (Writers in Schools) blog, where we post dispatches, updates, and reflections about our author visits with DC high school classrooms, teen parent groups, and youth facilities.

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll expand the content here to feature helpful, downloadable resources for teachers, writers and students, as well as showcase exceptional student work, so make sure to check back soon.

To learn more about PEN/Faulkner’s Writers In Schools Program or to make a request for an author to visit your classroom, click here. To contact Writers in Schools with questions or concerns, email us at wins@penfaulkner.org.

Fall 2015 Internships are now open!

PEN/Faulkner’s 2015 fall internship applications have just opened, and we’d love to have you join our team. Do you want to:

  • Help run our extensive Writers in Schools Program in DC and Baltimore?
  • Lead discussions on contemporary literature with DC area high school students?
  • Read contemporary literature and research local authors?
  • Help coordinate submissions to the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction?
  • Create high-quality lesson plans for contemporary texts?
  • Strengthen our connections to DC Area Schools?

Interested? Read below for information on our available internships.

Applicants should send a résumé́ and a brief cover letter (no more than 1 page) explaining your interest to Writers in Schools Program Coordinator Greg Langen (applications@penfaulkner.org), by Friday, August 14, 2015.

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Writers in Schools Fall Intern

We are currently seeking an intern to assist in the administration of our Writers in Schools program. This long-standing program brings local and visiting writers – and copies of their books – into DC Public and Public Charter High School classrooms for discussion about their work.

PEN/Faulkner is asking for a total time commitment of 10 hours/week, though the intern will have the flexibility to design his or her own schedule. Interns will:

  • Assist the Writers in Schools Program Coordinator in the operation of this large, expansive arts outreach program
  • Facilitate connections with local DC area teachers and authors
  • Read and research contemporary literature
  • Aid in the evaluation of our program’s reach and effectiveness
  • Design high quality curricular materials

The internship will ideally begin in September and run through December, though start and end dates are flexible. We expect a commitment of 10 hours per week, though the intern will also have the flexibility to design his or her own schedule.

Applicants should have:

  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Excellent research and writing skills
  • The ability to work independently
  • An interest in education
  • A passion for literature and a sense of humor

If you are interested, please send a résumé́ and a brief cover letter (no more than 1 page) explaining your interest to Writers in Schools Program Coordinator Greg Langen (applications@penfaulkner.org), by Friday, August 14, 2015. Please use the subject line “Writers in Schools Fall Internship.”

For more information about The PEN/Faulkner Foundation and the Writers in Schools Program, please visit wins.penfaulkner.org.

 

Teen Parent Book Club Discussion Leader
The PEN/Faulkner Foundation

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation is currently seeking discussion leaders for their Teen Parent Book Club program. Discussion leaders will lead group discussions of contemporary novels, short stories, memoirs, and poetry with groups of participating teen parents at local high schools. Discussion leaders will then host local authors of those works to meet with students and engage in discussions about literature and the writing life.

The program meets bi-weekly for hour-long sessions at lunchtime in on-site drop-in centers for teen parents and will run throughout the 2015-2016 school year. PEN/Faulkner is asking for a total time commitment of 5 hours/month. Volunteers will:

  • Lead bi-weekly book club discussions at one of five DC Public High Schools
  • Coordinate book club selections in consultation with participating students
  • Design discussion activities for each book club meeting
  • Engage contemporary authors in discussions of their work

Interested volunteers should have:

  • Classroom experience, preferably working with non-traditional students
  • Interest in contemporary fiction, poetry or literary non-fiction
  • A desire to engage diverse audiences in discussions about literature
  • Patience
  • Intellectual flexibility
  • Daytime availability during the week

*Candidates fluent in Spanish should make a note of this in their cover letter. However, Spanish fluency is not a requirement for this position.

If you are interested, please send a résumé́ and a brief cover letter (no more than 1 page) explaining your interest to Writers in Schools Program Coordinator Greg Langen (applications@penfaulkner.org), by August 14, 2015. Please use the subject line “Teen Parent Book Club Discussion Leader.”

 

PEN/Faulkner Award Fall Intern

The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is a national prize which honors the best published works of fiction by American citizens in a calendar year.

This internship position will assist with the coordination of the annual awards submission process. The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is the largest peer-juried award in the country, and is adjudicated free of commercial considerations. The intern will assist in logistical coordination of the submission process, as well as conduct research into American fiction published during 2015.

The internship will begin in September and run through December. However, if an intern is interested in extending his/her internship into the spring semester, this can be coordinated. We expect a commitment of 7-10 hours per week, though the intern will have the flexibility to design his or her own schedule. Interns will:

  • Conduct research on contemporary authors & texts
  • Communicate with publicists & awards coordinators at publishing houses
  • Help track submissions

Interested applicants should send a cover letter and resume to applications@penfaulkner.org by August 14th, 2015. Please use the subject line “Awards Internship.”



BALTIMORE – 2015 Summer Supper & Book Club

SummerProgramHeader

Summer is almost here, Baltimore, and while the school year is coming to a close, our Writers in Schools programming is not! Join us for the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Foundation Summer Supper & Book Club and spend your summer reading great books, eating great food and having intriguing conversations with local authors in the Baltimore area.

What is the Summer Supper & Book Club? 

The 2015 Summer Supper & Book Club, an initiative of PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Schools program, will provide students with free copies of contemporary literature and the opportunity to meet and discuss those books with the authors who wrote them. The program will also provide an informal dinner and supplementary materials to participating students. Students familiar with our Writers in Schools Program will notice many similarities (and a few pleasant surprises) between our Summer Supper & Book Club and our Writers in Schools Programming.

When:

Sessions start Tuesday, June 23, 2015 and run every Tuesday evening from 5:30 — 8:00 p.m. (6/23, 6/30, 7/7, 7/14, 7/21, 7/28, 8/4) through August 4, 2015.

Where:

The Summer Supper & Book Club will meet
at Litmore, Baltimore’s Center for Literary Arts
3326 Keswick Road  |  Baltimore, MD 21211

{Click here for Map}

Apply Here:

Interested Baltimore City Public and Public Charter School students must complete the Summer Supper & Book Club Application — deadline extended to 5 p.m. on Friday May 29, 2015.

Note: Students must be in the class of 2016, 2017, 2018, or 2019

Questions? Email Nate Brown: nbrown@penfaulkner.org

The program is entirely FREE

Not living in Baltimore? We have a DC Summer Program too! 

Find more information here.



DC – 2015 PEN/Faulkner Foundation Summer Supper & Book Club

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Summer is almost here, and while the school year is coming to a close, our Writers in Schools programming is not! Join us for the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Foundation Summer Supper & Book Club and spend your summer reading great books, eating pizza and having intriguing conversations with local DC authors.

What is the Summer Supper & Book Club? 

The 2015 Summer Supper & Book Club, an initiative of PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Schools program, will provide students with free copies of contemporary literature and the opportunity to meet and discuss those books with the authors who wrote them. The program will also provide an informal dinner and supplementary materials to participating students. Students familiar with our Writers in Schools Program will notice many similarities (and a few pleasant surprises) between our Summer Supper & Book Club and Writers in Schools Programming.

When:

Sessions start Tuesday, June 23, 2015 and run every Tuesday evening from 5:30 — 8:00 p.m. (6/23, 6/30, 7/7, 7/14, 7/21, 7/28, 8/4) through August 4, 2015.

Where:

The Summer Supper & Book Club will meet
at Hill Center at Old Naval Hospital in Eastern Market
921 Pennsylvania Ave SE  |  Washington, DC 20003
Accessible by Metro, just 1.5 blocks from the Eastern Market station and Pennsylvania Ave. Bus lines.
{Click here for Map}

Apply Here:

Interested students must complete the Summer Supper & Book Club Application — deadline extended to 5 p.m. on Friday June 12, 2015.

Note: Students must be in the class of 2016, 2017, 2018, or 2019

Questions? Email PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Schools Program Coordinator Greg Langen: glangen@penfaulkner.org

The program is entirely FREE

Don’t live in DC? We have a Baltimore City Summer Program, too!

Find more information here.



Our Summer Supper & Book Club Comes to a Close
with Comic Artist Matt Dembicki

matt_dembickiWhen D.C. Conspiracy founding member Matt Dembicki walked into the last session of this year’s PEN/Faulkner’s Summer Supper and Book Club, he was carrying a massive portfolio of current projects—including sheets detailing his creative process, a stack of Magic Bullet (the bi-annual comic tabloid published by D.C. Conspiracy) and copies of his other works.

The focus of this session was his 2012 anthology District Comics: An Unconventional History of Washington, DC, which highlights “some of DC’s lesser known moments, with stops along the way for a duel, a drink in the Senate speakeasy, a shoe-shine, and much more.”

Before the writer’s arrival, the Supper and Book Club members, had taken turns reading “Banned in DC” from the anthology, a story about DC punk band Bad Brains that Dembicki wrote and Tom Williams illustrated.

The Summer Supper and Book club members wanted to know how and when Dembicki developed his style; which was his favorite story in the anthology; how long  DC Comics: An Unconventional History of Washington DC took to produce; and which were his favorite cartoons?

District_coverAfter telling them about his background, creative process, and influences, Dembicki stressed that, “whether you are a musician, writer or artist, you listen to these people and have these influences but you eventually develop your own style,” which is what he said he did.

Growing up in a Polish immigrant home in a predominantly Polish speaking community, Dembicki pointed out that English was not his first language, and Marvel Comic books (gifts from his mother) became his portal into the English speaking world. Not only were the comics teaching him English, but with every lesson and revelation, his self-confidence also grew.

An award-winning graphic novelist, Dembicki has created a niche for himself in the graphic world by telling stories that reflect his ideals. The writer said he owed his affinity for nature to having grown up on the New England coast in an era when Jaws was released and a fascination with sharks was part of the collective culture.

In a review of the widely read and acclaimed Mr. Big: A Tale of Pond Life (co-written with his wife Carol Dembicki), Publishers Weekly wrote, “Filled with naturalistic detail, Matt Dembicki’s artwork switches perspective fluidly, moving above and below the water to stay close to the action,” which seems to hold true in much of his work.

Dembicki ended the evening by reminding book club members that the line between literary fiction and comic art and graphic novels is often very thin: “Comics are really just another way to tell stories.”

This is the last dispatch for this year’s PEN/Faulkner Summer Supper and Book Club. Thanks for following along with us this summer, and look for the Summer Supper & Book Club Podcast, which we’ll publish in a few weeks!

Kangsen Feka Wakai
Writers in School Intern



Derrick Weston Brown visits the Summer Supper & Book Club!

Derrick Weston Brown

Derrick Weston Brown writes the kind of poetry that generates conversations that are at once discomfiting, engaging, and necessary. So when PEN/Faulkner’s Summer Supper and Book club gathered on an unusually mild Tuesday evening to discuss Wisdom Teeth, the poet’s 2011 collection of poems, the voices rose, perspectives varied, and confessionals were the backdrop of a candid conversation about family, the Metro, hip-hop, cartoons, race, class, and colorism.

Brown was the Supper and Book club’s lone poet guest this summer. Brown is a keen observer of the city, whose collection was described by poet Tony Medina as, “Full of wit and whimsy. Wisdom Teeth postulates a poetics of heart-whole appreciation and honesty—for love and life, for family and friends, for literature and history, for pop culture and the poet’s ever-cognizant powers of observation.”

Brown’s DC is one animated by the sights of U Street, the sounds of Adams Morgan, and the Metro’s discordant smells; but Wisdom Teeth is also about a son’s attempt to understand a seemingly distant father and the foibles of childhood. It is an homage to the city in which the poet found his voice, a place he has called home for the last thirteen years.

Wisdom Teeth by Derrick Weston BrownThe evening began with the poet requesting the Supper and Book club members to indicate their love of poetry with a show of hands, and the results were mixed. He recounted how as a child he not particularly inclined to poetry until his social worker mother handed him a copy of Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic.

Addressing Brown’s line in Hourglass Flow, in which the poet writes; Blame the voice that wants to sound like a poet, but not sound like a poet wanting to sound like a poet. Blame distractions…, the Supper and Book club members wondered if the poet ever caught himself trying too hard to sound like a poet; they wondered what parts of DC inspired him to write the most about and why; and they also wondered if a figure in Forgiveness Poem was real or a creation.

Like an open book, and at times as animated as the graphic characters that have inspired some of his poems, Brown told the group his passion for poetry was rooted in the poet’s ability to take on multiple personas and voices.

Stay tuned for more updates on PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in School Program and Summer Supper and Book Club.

 

— Kangsen Feka Wakai
Writers in Schools Intern