Here's to an Award-Winning Year!

We are pleased to announce our student, instructor, and organizational accomplishments of the past year!

Senior Spotlight!

Writopia's graduating seniors

Student Awards & Publications

Congratulations to our writers for these accomplishments. Thank you to Abby Coleman, Writopia Lab's Submissions Coordinator, for researching opportunities for these writers and guiding them through the submissions process.

Estelle Anderson (age 11) was awarded Honorable Mention by Stone Soup for her piece "Marker."
Sadie Antrim (age 13) had her poems "Faded," "New Life," and "Family" published in Teen Ink, and was awarded Teen Ink Editor’s Choice Award for her poem "Faded."
Malahni Banta (age 18) contributed to Quiet Diaries, as part of Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution.
Madeleine Berkowitz (age 10) had her short story "The Natives" published in Amazing Kids! Magazine.
Annie Braun (age 12) had her piece "Frogs" published in Magic Dragon.
Jack Braun (age 14) had his poem "tongue-tied" published in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards 2015 National Catalog.
Susanna Brustin (age 15) had her piece "Finitzo Scores with Documentary 'In the Game'" published in Teen Voices at Women's ENews.
Rachel Calnek-Sugin (age 19) had her poem "Letter to My Boy-Man" published in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards' The Best Teen Writing of 2015.
Emma Clayton (age 14) was awarded by The Library of Congress 2016 Letters About Literature Contest.
Isabel Considine Hogben (age 8) was awarded as a Top 10 Runner-Up in the The Legacy Project's Listen to a Life Contest.
Alex D. (age 18) had his poem “Explanation” published in Teen Ink.
Elena DeBre (age 16) had her short story "Night Lies" published in The Claremont Review.
Diego Delmont (age 11) was featured by DNAinfo for his protest speech at the DOE Hundreds Rally.
Diego Delmont delivers his speech

Madeleine Dreiband (age 15) was a state finalist in the Maryland Letters from Literature competition for her letter to Harper Lee.
Bret Glasser (age 7) had her piece “The Wind” published in Amazing Kids! Magazine.
Cali Greenbaum (age 14) had her piece "Reflection" published in Parallel Ink.
Daisy Gumin (age 18) contributed to Quiet Diaries, as part of Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution.
Annelie Hyatt (age 12) contributed to Quiet Diaries, as part of Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution.
Raya Kenney (age 14) was awarded by The Library of Congress 2016 Letters About Literature Contest.
Juliette Krevat (age 11) was awarded by The Library of Congress 2016 Letters About Literature Contest.
Lily Krug (age 14) had her poem “Stereotypes” published in The American Library of Poetry's 2016 Eloquence Poetry Collection.
Sylvie Liss (age 11) was selected for the Skipping Stones Magazine: 2015 Youth Honor Awards.
Ava Lucarelli (age 10) had her poem "If I Could Fly" published in H.O.W. Jr.
Kaley Mamo (age 16) contributed to Quiet Diaries, as part of Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution.
Bryan Martinez (age 19) was awarded First Prize by the Shine the Light in Harlem Poetry Contest for his piece "The Enchantment of the Night's Light."
Hannah Mayerfield (age 10) had her piece "Rainbow in the Sun" published in Stone Soup.
Arjun Mazumdar (age 13) was published in Skipping Stones, and his poetry collection Before I Allowed Myself; Sometimes; Small Functions Imagined Too Late was published in H.O.W. Jr.
Malina Nelson (age 14) had her short story "Paper Cranes" published in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards 2015 National Catalog, and in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards' The Best Teen Writing of 2015.
Natalie Panitkin (age 11) had her poetry published by The American Library of Poetry.
Noah Phillips (age 13) had his poem “A Void in My Life” published in Creative Communication: What Is Important To Me Summer 2015.
Isabelle Pierce (age 16) was awarded 2nd place in The Palace Theatre’s 2016 Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist Scholarship Awards for playwrights, for her play The Bedroom.
Anna Polin (age 11) was selected for the BHUSD Winners of Reflection Contest 2015-16.
Joe Polsky (age 18) had his poem "The Peach Pit" published in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards' The Best Teen Writing of 2015.
Nicole Porat (age 8) had her piece "The Sea" published in Magic Dragon Magazine.
Ellie Prusko (age 16) had her fiction piece "Yet Another One" selected for publication in Hypernova Lit.
Chloe Rees (age 17) had her piece "Teen Plays with Identity Brand by Brand" published in Teen Voices at Women's ENews.
Lydia Schultz (age 13) had her piece "Evan" published in Teen Ink.
Marriya Schwarz (age 18) had her essay "From Your Friendly Neighborhood Feminist" published in Teen Voices, and had her essay "Girl Fan to Comic Book Industry: 'Do More' for Women" published in Teen Voices at Women's ENews.
Manavi Sinha (age 13) had her piece "Landline" published in Teen Ink.
Awa Soumahoro (age 18) had her thought piece "Too Young To Wed" published in Women's Enews.
Johnathan Stimpson (age 16) had his essay "Criminally Unjust: A Tale of Two Justice Systems" published in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards 2015 National Catalog.
Anna Strosser (age 17) had her poem "Mother" published in Teen Ink online, and it is forthcoming in the print edition of Teen Ink, and was awarded First Place by the Danbury Cultural Commission Poetry Contest for her poem "My Days with You and Crystal Voodoo."
Stina Trollback (age 15) was awarded the Ned Vizzini Teen Writing Prize - First Place Winner for Prose Brooklyn Public Library’s 2016 Teen Writing Contest, for her piece "Zeroed Out."
Stina Trollback receives the Ned Vizzini Teen Writing Prize
Jackie Weymouth (age 15) won the Parkmont Poetry Competition for her poem "The Fallen Man."
Emma Yang (age 12) contributed to Quiet Diaries, as part of Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution.
Charley Zinn (age 11) had her poem “What Am I?” published in Creative Kids, and had an excerpt from her fiction piece "Blazing Stones" published in Amazing Kids! Magazine.
Gertie-Pearl Zwick-Schachter (age 11) had her poem “A Moment” published in Stone Soup, and was awarded in The Best of KidSpirit Online, Vol. IV. for her poem “Pure Love.”

Scholastic Awards

Congratulations to all of Writopia Lab’s writers from across the country who submitted work to the 2016 Scholastic Writing Awards. Altogether, 188 Writopians received 504 regional awards, including four American Voices Nominations.

In addition, we congratulate the following Writopians who received National Awards recognition for their writing in 2016:
Hannah Ahn (Gold Medal for Personal Essay/Memoir)
Claire Annino (Gold Medal for Flash Fiction)
Jack Braun (Silver Medal for Dramatic Script)
Daniel Bring (Silver Medal for Short Story)
Emma Choi (Silver Medal for Short Story)
Emma Choi (American Voices Medal for Poetry)
William Choi (Silver Medal for Flash Fiction)
Amanda Cronin (Silver Medal for Short Story)
Laura Glesby (Gold Medal for Poetry)
Ashton (Unity) Haq (Silver Medal for Poetry)
Noah Hoyle (National Gold Key & Silver Medal for Novel Writing)
Colette Juran (Gold Medal for Critical Essay)
Kaley Mamo (Gold Medal for Flash Fiction)
Addie Model (Silver Medal for Flash Fiction)
Sophie Nadel (Silver Medal for Flash Fiction)
Malina Nelson (Silver Medal for Short Story)
Clara Nevins (Silver Medal for Dramatic Script)
Miyu Nishio (Silver Medal for Digital Art)
Ellie Prusko (National Gold Key for Novel Writing)
Hannah Reale (Silver Medal for Poetry)
Erin Sakar (Gold Medal for Personal Essay/Memoir)
Aaron Saliman (Gold Medal for Short Story)
Aaron Saliman (Gold Medal for Flash Fiction)
Maddie Smyth (Silver Medal for Poetry)
Abigail Sylvor Greenberg (Gold Medal for Poetry)
Abigail Sylvor Greenberg (Gold Medal for Poetry)
Abigail Sylvor Greenberg (Silver Medal for Short Story)
Annalee Tai (Gold Medal for Poetry)
Anna Thompson (Silver Medal for Short Story)
Christina Wang (Silver Medal for Short Story)
Juliana Yu (Gold Medal and Best In Grade for Short Story)
Callie Zola (Gold Medal for Critical Essay)


Awa Soumahoro, 18, moved to New York City from Ivory Coast in September 2013. She arrived at Dan Kitrosser's Writopia workshop some months later as a French speaker still in the process of learning English. Awa learned to write and speak among her prolific peers and was soon writing stunning poetry and thought pieces. Last year, Awa was invited to join our Write to Recognition scholarship program, funded by the Pinkerton Foundation, which allows Writopia's 50 most dedicated scholarship writers to attend workshops and receive private sessions throughout the entire school year at no cost. Awa's hard work has paid off: she performed her poetry at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, at Barnes & Noble, and at Theaterlab, and had the honor of having her powerful first thought piece, "Too Young To Wed," published in our partner publication, Women's Enews. This fall, Awa will be a freshman at Brandeis University's Myra Kraft Program.

Kai Williams, 18, joined Writopia in 2009 when she was 11, and has worked with YA author Courtney Sheinmel every Tuesday afternoon since. Kai is a ten-time Scholastic award winner. In 2014, she won Best Dramatic Play at Writopia’s Worldwide Plays Festival. Her work was selected for publication in Pushing Past Limits, a young writers anthology. She is a 2015 National Young Arts Foundation finalist, and was published in the National Arts Foundation’s 2015 anthology. In 2015, a senior editor at Penguin Random House chose Kai as a Writopia “Fiction Fellow,” a program that recognizes our most dedicated, prolific, and talented junior and senior writers. In addition to writing, Kai is passionate about theater. She is the co-founder of th the Eat At The Table Theatre Company (E.A.T.T.), a New York City-based non-profit theater company featuring a cast of all person of color youth. This fall, Kai will be a freshman at Weslayan University.

Joe Polsky, 18, arrived at Writopia in its founding year, 2007, in search of a writing community. He landed in Rebecca Wallace-Segall’s first workshop for nine-year-olds in the original Writopia space--her studio apartment. Nine years later, Joe is now a leader in the community, having supported young writers as an intern at Writopia throughout high school. Joe’s dedication to his craft has earned him numerous awards, including the prestigious 2015 American Voices National Medal for his prodigious poetry. His poem “The Peach Pit” was in The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards’ The Best Teen Writing of 2015 national anthology. This fall, Joe will be a freshman at Pomona College.

Congratulations to all of our graduating seniors for dedicating your high school years to thinking and writing and innovating. We wish you all many more satisfying years ahead!

College Essay Successes

College essays

In 2016, our college essay writers again earned admissions to top schools. Congratulations to our college essay writers listed here, and to our many others:

Katie Abbott, TCU
Charles Allen, Wesleyan
Cameron Bailey Young, Hampton U
Ben Browning, Wesleyan
Ivory Butler, Sarah Lawrence
Miles Cohen, Oberlin
John Craig, Marist
Michael DeFelice, UVA
Julia DiLauro, Chapman
Antonio Frato, NYU
Charis Gee, Azusa Pacific
David Gee, Cornell
Hayley Gruenspan, U Chicago
Jane Herz, Wake Forest U
Natalie Hwang, Tufts, UMD, Carnegie Mellon, Oberlin
Aldo Kaczmarkiewicz, Ithaca
Emilia Kaczmarkiewicz, Boston U
Roma Kaczmarkiewicz, American U
Theo Levine, Tufts, Wesleyan, UCLA, Michigan
David Liston, Berkeley
Cameron Loadwick, DePaul
Sophie McNulty, Stanford, Harvard, Yale
Nico Miller, Northwestern
Naomi Nesher, SUNY Purchase
Bella Orbaton, Cornish
Joe Polsky, Pomona
Julia Reczek, George Washington
Jillian Rogers, Stanford (early)
Ben Rosof, Michigan
Rachel Saunders, Brandeis
Awa Soumahoro, Brandeis (full scholarship)
Amelia Sylvor Greenberg, Maryland Institute College of Art, Bennington, Hampshire, SUNY Purchase, School at the Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Art Institute
Annalee Tai, Williams, Brown, Columbia, Vassar
Christian Taylor, Full Sail
Mani Tolkow, Savannah College of Art & Design (early)
Quintessa Valez, Hampshire College
Luke Wallis, Haverford College
Jenna Weingarten, UPenn (early)
Kai Williams, Wesleyan
Halle Young, Tulane (early)

Writopia Lab Training Institute

Writopia Lab Training Institute

Thanks to the Pinkerton Foundation, Writopia launched the Writopia Lab Training Institute in 2016. We have since partnered with many public and private schools and community-based organizations in New York City and Washington D.C. to share our most effective methods with hundreds of classroom teachers and after school education directors.

Our mission is to give classroom teachers and after-school educators instructional tools to help their students. Because of the Writopia Lab Training Institute, Writopia's 3rd and 4th grade curricula, Creative Writing Instruction Handbook for grades 2 to 12, and other free Writopia resources, are available to educators by application.

Our Instructors

Michael Alessi had his short story "Goshen Pass" selected as the winner of the The Pinch's 2016 Literary Award for Fiction, and had his poetry and fiction published in Rust + Moth, Gigantic Sequins, decomP, and The Journal for Compressed Creative Arts.
Anu Amaran received a 2015 Pushcart Prize nomination in poetry, and has had her poetry and translations published or forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, The Front Porch Revie, Waxwing, Drunken Boat, and Numero Cinq Magazine.
Kira Beilis had her third suspense novel, Die Again Tomorrow, published by Kensington Books, and she had three feature articles published by the New York Times and Newsweek.
Jessica Dall had her YA fantasy novel Raining Embers published by Red Adept Publishing.
Lyndsay Hall has two poems forthcoming in The Avalon Literary Review, and will be attending the Bread Loaf conference in Sicily this coming September.
Molly Haas-Hooven wrote the text for Theatre Uzume's dance-play production of Lamia, which ran this spring and will be part of the 2016 International Fringe Festival, and she wrote a play for Tristmas!, a night of plays, songs, funny Christmas-themed things.
Jerron Herman performed for Heidi Latsky Dance's presentation of ON DISPLAY & Somewhere, showcasing disability in dance.
Veera Hiranandani sold her new middle-grade novel, The Night Diary, to Penguin's Dial imprint.
Melanie Howard received a full tuition scholarship to the 44th Santa Barbara Writer's Conference for her winning fiction piece, "Welcome to the Seventies."
Natalie Lima became a 2016 PEN Emerging Voices fellow.
Sarah Darer Littman has two new books coming out in 2016: Charmed, I'm Sure (Simon & Schuster), and In Case You Missed It (Scholastic Press), and her novel Backlash was nominated for a
Children’s Choice Book Award and was included on the International Literacy Association Young Adult Choices 2016 Reading List.
Kathleen McCleary wrote multiple feature stories for PARADE magazine, including cover stories on Presidential Libraries, the Electoral College, and the upcoming Olympic games; and she was chosen as one of Arlington Magazine's notable authors in their annual "Best of Arlington" issue.
Jessica McHugh had her novel Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven picked up by horror publisher Raw Dog Screaming Press for publication in 2017, she had the 4th book in her YA series, the Darla Decker Diaries, released in April by Evolved Publishing, and the 5th book will be out in late 2016.
Kyle Metzger directed Twelfth Night with The Glass Eye Theater Company as part of the Access Theater Association Series.
Donna Miele and Anu Amaran, through their literary journal River River, hosted a series of Pop-Up Poetry Cafes featuring poets Richard Jackson, Robert Vivian, and Mary Kim Arnold.
Alexa Salvato had her article "Raising Feminists, One Writing Workshop at a Time" published in Ms. Magazine Blog, had her short fiction "Leaving Eden" published in River River, and had poems published in Chronogram and Stillwater Magazine.
Michelle Schusterman had her middle-grade series picked up for two books by Disney-Hyperion, the first slated for a fall 2017 release.
Brian Sonia-Wallace performed in Ad Lit Lab, an experiment in improv and poetry.
Taylor Sykes had her fiction piece "Nightingale and Swallow" published in Luna Luna Magazine, she has a poem forthcoming in Unrequited: An Anthology of Love Poems About Inanimate Objects, and she was accepted to the MFA program at North Caroline State University.
Cory Tamler had her essay "Break the Loop" and her fiction "Stillborn" published in The Offing, translated a monologue by Bosnian playwright Tanja Sljivar for The Offing, had a memoir piece published in Extended Play, contributed work to The Civilians theater company's "The Way They Live", and took part in a month-long writing residency aboard an oceanography research vessel circling Palau.
Jon Zimmerman had articles published in Thrillist and Bevvy, created a three-episode game for Pocket Gems Episode platform, saw his feature script Lean Back voted onto Tracking Board's annual list of best unproduced screenplays, and had his sitcom pilot Passing Through enter development with Level One Entertainment.

2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Ceremony

For their support of the Scholastic Writing Awards' national medalists in 2016, Anu Amaran, Jessica Cluess, Mason Henderson, Dan Kitrosser, Kathleen McCleary, Jessica McHugh, Léna Roy, Alexa Salvato, Yael Schick, Danielle Sheeler, and Rebecca Wallace-Segall were recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers as outstanding instructors.

Worldwide Plays Festival

Writopia's 2016 Worldwide Plays Festival

Following the retirement of David Letterman, Writopia Lab’s Off-Broadway Worldwide Plays Festival secured new funding from three individual donors—Kim Hartman, David Sherman, and Steve Greenberg—for its week of plays, films, musicals, and spoken word written by playwrights and poets ages 6 to 18. Due to their generosity, 2016 the Festival prevailed, including plays written in workshops at Writopia’s labs across the country and plays submitted to our competition from playwrights around the world!

This year, we challenged our playwrights to push the limits of their plays, both thematically and theatrically. The result has been a diverse roster of comedies, tragedies, and everything in between, dealing with issues of race, class, sexuality, gender identity, the education system, and more.

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