Writers in Residence

Bringing Literary Expression to Life

PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Residence program serves the dual purpose of supporting DC-based writers and providing a rich, creative experience for DC students. Our resident writers develop a meaningful relationship with a DC classroom, building their capacity as teaching artists and earning support for their work as artists. Educators who participate in the program also develop professionally from their collaborations with resident writers. Students, meanwhile, get access to an intensive literary experience, including collaboration and writing workshops with the resident writer, visits from additional guest authors, and donated books.

How It Works

As part of a classroom residency, our writing instructors collaborate closely with educators to guide students through the creative writing process: understanding elements of craft, sentence-level development, revision and editing, and developing resiliency to writing’s challenges. Residencies often integrate themes of social justice into the curriculum, so students not only improve as writers but create pieces that are personally meaningful to their lives and interests. Educators and students will build a genuine relationship with an expert writer over the course of the project. Each residency culminates in a final student project of their own design.

Who Can Participate?

During the 2021-2022 school year, we have partnered with two schools – Two Rivers Public Charter School and EL Haynes Public Charter School – to establish residencies for two writers: Hugh “H.D.” Hunter and Cristi Donoso Best.


For Educators

If you’re a DC educator interested in working with Writers in Residence, or have questions about our programming please contact us at [email protected].

Circular image that includes headshots of two resident writers. From left to right: Cristi Donoso Best and Hugh Hunter

Our Writers in Residence

Cristi Donoso Best is the Writer in Residence with EL Haynes Public Charter School, where she will collaborate with Topher Kandik on narratives of immigration, borders, and concepts of “home.”

Hugh “H.D.” Hunter is the Writer in Residence with Two Rivers Public Charter School, where he will collaborate with Nicole Clark on using fiction narrative techniques to explore the contemporary legacies of enslavement in the United States.

“Ms. Lopez revealed a difficult time in her life that prevented her from being able to write, and almost all of the students were stunned that something like that could happen to an accomplished author. One student even shouted “You had literal writer’s block!” It was awesome for students to hear an adult speak honestly about the obstacles that they encountered on their road to becoming an author.”
Elizabeth M.

High School Librarian

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PEN/Faulkner Foundation
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Unit #1062
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