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Youth Programs

Fall 2022 Youth Programs Recap

While it is always the season for getting young folks excited about reading and writing here at Literary Arts, this fall was a particularly great time for our Youth Programs. From high school students attending lectures by bestselling authors, to prospective college students participating in the return of the College Essay Exchange, it was a productive and exciting time. Let’s take a closer look at some of our programs from the fall, by the numbers.

Writers in the Schools

WITS reached 674 students across 5 schools in the Portland metro in the fall of 2022. A total of 23 different residencies were held throughout the schools, put on by 12 WITS writers and 1 WITS apprentice.


Students participate in a creative writing workshop with WITS writer Alex Behr

Students to the Schnitz

The first 2 authors from the 2022/23 Portland Arts & Lectures series, Abdulruzak Gurnah and Anthony Doerr, visited Portland schools in the fall and talked to students live on OPB’s radio show Think Out Loud. The high school visits were attended by 90 students, and 170 more were reached when they got free tickets to watch the authors at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. In addition, 859 books by Portland Arts & Lectures authors were donated to PPS classrooms as part of the 2022/23 Student to the Schnitz program.

Students at Ida B. Wells High School with Nobel-Prize-winning author, Abdulruzak Gurnah
Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Anthony Doerr discusses his work in front of an audience of students and attendees at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

College Essay Exchange

When the College Essay Exchange returned from hiatus, we did not know it would be in such high demand. We were delighted to have 5 schools and 157 students take part in the exchange, including 22% who would be first generation college students. We are grateful to the educators and 50 mentors who helped put on these sessions.

A Franklin High School student said of working with their mentor, “They gave me good insight on how I can write a supplemental essay and where to approach it. Now I am able to have a greater understanding of what I should write.”

Students and mentors discuss college essays at McDaniel High School
Students and mentors discuss college essays at Ida B. Wells High School

Portland Book Festival

We were overjoyed to welcome Portlanders of all ages back to the Portland Book Festival on November 5th. An audience at the Park Stage got to hear 10 students read their work from the 2021-22 WITS Anthology. Free youth workshops taught by WITS writers reached another 30 youth in addition.

Students participate in a creative writing workshop with WITS writer Damien Miles-Paulson
A student reads at the WITS Anthology Launch

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