Here's to an Award-Winning 2018!

We are pleased to announce our student, instructor, and organizational accomplishments of the past year. Please let us know if you would like us to add additional news in an upcoming newsletter.

Hot Off the Press!

Ellipsis Teen Writing, Ages 12-19 Parenthetical Teen Writing, Ages 12-19
Sophie Nadel

Congratulations to Sophie Nadel (age 17), the latest Writopian to be recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation. Every year the YoungArts Foundation awards a select group of the nation's top young literary, performing, visual, and design artists. Sophie earned Merit recognition in Writing for her Creative Nonfiction.
Student Awards & Publications
Our writers!

Congratulations to all of our writers for their accomplishments! Thank you to Abby Coleman, Writopia's Submissions Coordinator, for researching opportunities for these writers and guiding them through the submissions process.
Below are just some of our students' accomplishments this past year. Please email if a piece you wrote at Writopia has been published in 2018! We will include it in our fall newsletter.

Sierra Blanco (age 15) had her poem "A Fight on the Bus" published in The New York Times Metropolitan Diary.
Jennifer Charlera (age 18) received the Meringoff Valedictory Prize.
Kaya Dierks (age 15) was named The New York Times Summer Reading Contest Winner for her Op-Ed piece "The Muggle Problem." She also received the Teen Ink Editor's Choice Award for her short story, "Yanji China," and won First Place in Columbia College Young Author's Competition for her piece, "My G-ddamn Pink House."
Jordan Ferdman (age 14) had her short story "A '90s Throwback"
published in Germinal.

Kayla Guo (age 17) had a short story published in the Claremont Review.
Ester Luna (age 14) had "Small Vignette Collection" published in Teen Ink.
Mariah Mendoza (age 13) had her poem "The Future" published in Teen Ink.
Sophie Nadel (age 17) was named the 2018 YoungArts national competition winner in Writing/Creative Non-Fiction (Merit).
Erinda Ratchford (age 11) was named Third Place Winner in Division I in the Summit Elks Essay Contest: Why Our Veterans Are America's Heroes.
Asha Roy (age 11) had her short story "Hope" published in The Writers' Slate.
Moe Sanders (age 17) received the Meringoff Valedictory Prize.
Nina Vigil (age 10) was named Second Place Winner of the Fall 2017 The Betty Award for her short story, "The Rockefeller Adventure," and had her essay "Rooftoppers" published in Stone Soup.
Sarah Waring (age 15) had her poetry performance piece "Summer Camp" published in The Asexual, and her poems "peaches," "alice," and "diana" published in Rookie.
Abraham Weitzman (age 14) had his essay "Just Keep Swimming" and his memoir "Journey from the Center of the Earth" published in Kid Spirit.
Kaia Wootton (age 11) had her poems "The Girl with the Flowers," "A Touch of Hope," "Anger," and "A Collection of Refugee Poems" published in Amazing Kids! Magazine.
Angela Wu (age 16) had her short story "A Small Juxtaposition" published in Teen Ink.

College Essay Successes
College essays

Congratulations to our college essay writers. In 2018, they earned admissions to these schools and many others:
Barnard, Boston College, Boston U, Brown, Buffalo, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Concordia, Cornell, Delaware, FIT, Georgetown, Johnson & Wales, Lasell College, MSM, UMiami, Northwestern, NYU, Oneonta, Princeton, Rhode Island, Skidmore, Stanford, Surrey-UK, UChicago, UCLA, USC, Vassar, Wesleyan, Westminster-UK

Student Spotlight: Tashane

"I never thought I would get this far,” Tashane says as she enters her midtown rehearsal studio. Abby Coleman and Elsa Bermudez, her longtime Writopia instructors, met Tashane in 2013 at Saratoga Family Inn, a Homes for the Homeless family shelter, when Writopia first started running ongoing programs there. Now, Tashane and her mentors were poised to see her hard work come to fruition on stage, produced and performed with energy, humor, and fine skill by NYC theater professionals. 

Tashane is a dedicated writer whose debut play, Assume, premiered at TheaterLab this May as part of Writopia Lab’s 2018 Worldwide Plays Festival.

​"Through her writing, Tashane explores the human condition, making us laugh, cry, wonder, and hope along with her characters,” Abby explains. “She often writes from the perspective of underrepresented voices and challenges her audience to assess their impact on the world.”

Tashane has been a leader among her peers, participating enthusiastically in group activities, offering poignant feedback, and encouraging her fellow writers to set, achieve, and exceed their goals. We at Writopia are so proud of her hard work and accomplishments.

Our Staff

Writopia continues to grow in amazing and wonderful ways and it wouldn't be possible without our nationwide team of full-time staff:

Michael Alessi, Elsa Bermudez, Hannah Boysko, Abby Coleman, Jocquelyn Downs, Mikaela Dunitz, Michaela Florio, Tom Flynn, Nancy Gauhan, Lyndsay Hall, Kyle Henry, David Kim, Malcolm Knowles, Scott Krier, Milana Meytes, Laura Owsiany, Sarah Park, Léna Roy, Rob Roy, Yael Schick, Ethan Shafran Moltz, Sarah Shatan-Pardo, Danielle Sheeler, Abby Sher, Madeline Taylor, Bianca Turetsky, Kimberly Faith Waid, Jeremy Wallace-Segall, Rebecca Wallace-Segall, and Janelle Williams.
Instructor Awards & Publications

Gabrielle J Bachoo's piece "My Inadvertent Death" was published in the Long River Review.
Melissa Baumgart's piece "You Have to Fail a Little" was published in Bright Wall/Dark Room, she is the winner of Hunger Mountain Journal for the Arts' 2018 Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult & Children's Writing. Melissa also completed her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts in July 2017.
Elsa Bermudez wrote and performed in Magnet Theater's house sketch comedy team, Mama's Boy.
Sarah Bernstein's piece "Letters from a Gold Rush Mother" was published in The New Yorker's Shouts & Murmurs.
Alexandra Cohl's two nonfiction pieces, "Why Do I #LoveTeaching? It's Complicated!" and "Encouraging the Absurd or Uncomfortable: The Power of Validating Student Ideas" were published in New York School Talk.
Michaela Florio's piece "The Swans" was published in Madcap Review.

David Neilsen's middle-grade fantasy novel Beyond the Doors was published by Crown Books for Young Readers, and his middle-grade novel Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom won the Silver Falchion award for Best Tween/YA Horror or Fantasy novel of 2017.
Léna Roy had her and Charlotte Jones Voiklis' middle-grade biography, Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by her Granddaughters, published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
Samantha Stone's play Tommy's Girls was performed at Walkerspace (Soho Rep) Theater. She also received an award for "Excellence in and Dedication to The Beacon Program" and completed her MFA in playwriting at Fordham/Primary Stages.
Brigit Young's poetry was published in The Ocotillo Review, Snapdragon Literary Journal, and heART Journal. Her middle-grade novel WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS/LOST & FOUND, is due to be released on August 14th, and is a finalist for the 2018 Italian Andersen Award.
2018 Scholastic Writing Awards
Congratulations to all of Writopia Lab’s writers from across the country who submitted work to the 2018 Scholastic Writing Awards. Altogether, Writopians received nearly 400 regional awards.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

In addition, we congratulate the following Writopians who received National Awards recognition in 2018:

Sarah Baldino (Silver Medal for Critical Essay)
Sarah Baldino (Silver Medal for Personal Essay & Memoir)
Zoe Ehrenkranz (Gold Medal for Poetry)
Jordan Ferdman (Gold Medal for Personal Essay & Memoir)
Sabbia Gale-Donnelly (Gold Medal for Poetry)
Ella Goldblum (Gold Medal for Poetry)
Michaela Habibulla (Gold Medal for Science Fiction & Fantasy)
Joanna Howson (Gold Medal for Poetry)
Joanna Howson (Silver Medal for Poetry)
Annelie Hyatt (Silver Medal for Poetry)
Leya Ivanov (Silver Medal for Short Story)
Leya Ivanov (Silver Medal for Flash Fiction)
Kaley Mamo (Silver Medal for Flash Fiction)
Kaley Mamo (Silver Medal for Flash Fiction)
Kaley Mamo (Silver Medal for Writing Portfolio)
Anna McNulty (Silver Medal for Journalism)
Marissa Michel (Silver Medal for Humor)
Fiona Moore (Silver Medal for Poetry)
Lily O'Donnell (Gold Medal for Science Fiction & Fantasy)
Christina Poulin (Silver Medal for Short Story)
Leelu Ravi (Silver Medal for Poetry)
William Schenck (Gold Medal for Personal Essay & Memoir)
Sarah Senese (Silver Medal for Poetry)
Gabrielle Sussman (Silver Medal for Humor)
Abigail Sylvor Greenberg (Gold Medal for Personal Essay & Memoir)
Abigail Sylvor Greenberg (Silver Medal for Poetry)
Abigail Sylvor Greenberg (Silver Medal for Poetry)
Abigail Sylvor Greenberg (Silver Medal for Poetry)
Jessica Thompson (Silver Medal for Personal Essay & Memoir)
Ben Togut (Gold Medal for Poetry)
Sydney Topiel (Silver Medal for Poetry)
Isha Vasudev (Gold Medal for Poetry)
Ava Vernor (Silver Medal for Poetry)
Christina Wang (Gold Medal for Short Story)
Flora White (Silver Medal for Novel Writing)
Karen Wu (Gold Medal for Personal Essay & Memoir)

New Programs

Youth Essay
Writing Conference
Rebecca Wallace-Segall, Danielle Sheeler, Milana Meytes, Elsa Bermudez, and Hannah Boysko.
Shoutout to Danielle Sheeler and Milana Meytes for designing and producing Writopia's first Youth Essay Conference: A Celebration of Ideas Across Disciplines! The event was hosted by the Center for Experimental Humanities at New York University on February 4th.

At this conference, the next generation of thinkers, writers, and leaders shared the ideas and research that they are most passionate about with a panel of their peers and the community at large. The panels formed organically from a pool of critical essays we received from writers ages 12-18 from all over the New York Tri-State area, which highlighted the concerns and commentary of the next generation.

Politics & Pens
Peter Cohen and Hannah Boysko and the first Politics & Pens camp with New York City Council member Helen Rosenthal and State Senator Liz Kruger (not shown).
Shoutout to Peter Cohen and Hannah Boysko for spearheading Writopia's first Politics & Pens full-day camp!

Writers start the day with a three-hour workshop in which they each play a member of Congress of “Minimerica,” a made-up country not unlike on our own. In the afternoons, writers have the opportunity to participate in a variety of multi-genre writing electives with a political spin. The week culminates in a mock session of Congress in which they vote on the policy created throughout the week, which is then signed or vetoed by an actual elective official. In last week's summer camp, NY State Senator Liz Kruger considered and ultimately vetoed a bill to enact limited hunting of unicorns.

Scholastic Writing Awards
Regional Affiliates

Bay Area Scholastic Awards recipients showcase their work.
Beginning with the 2018-2019 Awards season, Writopia will be producing the Schoalstic Art & Writing Awards' California Bay Area Writing Region and co-running the Chicago Writing Region with the Chicago Area Writing Project.

Writopia has adminstered the D.C. Writing Region since 2011, and the Hudson-to-Housatonic Writing Region since 2013. Each year, we convene jurors for blind adjudication and invite recognized writers to a celebratory regional ceremony.
Upper West Music Fest

Songwriting Program Developer Malcolm Knowles.
Shoutout to Malcolm Knowles for curating Writopia's first Upper West Music Fest on May 19th!

An opportunity for teen musicians to showcase their best, original songs, the Fest welcomed rock bands, rappers, and solo acts alike.
SummerLinks and Pipeline Spoken Word Workshops

Our New York Metro North Regional Manager Léna Roy garnered donations in honor of her 50th birthday totaling $3000 to bring Writopia programs to Neighbors Link, serving immigrant communities in Westchester County, NY. 

The SummerLinks creative writing workshop begins in July. The pipeline Spoken Word workshop will run throughout the fall and culminate in participation at Writopia's Spoken Word Night at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City.

Writopia in Schools
Writopia worked with more than 1000 low income students this year in public schools, community based organizations, shelters and treatment centers.

Writopia's Janelle Williams with students in Writopia’s in-school writing workshop at P.S. 89 in the Bronx.

Writopia's Jocquelyn Downs with students in the VSA Playwright Discovery Program workshop at H.D. Woodson High School in northeast Washington, D.C.

Students at P.S. 149 Sojourner Truth school after reading their work aloud on the last day of creative writing workshops with Writopia.

Recent immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Brazil at Kingsbridge High School work hard on their pieces in Writopia’s writing club.

Here's to an Award-Winning 2017!

We are pleased to announce our student, instructor, and organizational accomplishments of the past year. Please let us know if you would like us to add additional news in an upcoming newsletter.
Student Awards &
Our writers!

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

Below are just some of our students' accomplishments this past year. Please email if a piece you wrote at Writopia has been published in 2017! We will include it in our fall newsletter.

Elena Debre (age 17) was named a 2017 National YoungArts Foundation merit winner for her short story "Night Lies"
Stephanie Okun (age 16) had her essay "My Unsolicited Theories of Abuse" published in Teen Ink
Abraham Weitzman (age 13) had his essay "Simply Speaking" published in Kid Spirit
Abraham Weitzman (age 13) had his poem "Robinson Meets Vika" published in Teen Ink
Abraham Weitzman (age 13) had his short story "Cocoa" published in Teen Ink
Anastatia Bratescu (age 19) had her book of poems "Shattered Residue published" by hPublish
Charlie Manzano age 11) had her short story "The Land of Ulaqebu" published in
H.O.W. Jr.
Alexandra Berman (age 12) had her short story "Prayers of a Lost Boy" published in H.O.W. Jr.
GiGi Chen (age 11) had her short story "Grandmother's Woes and War" published in Kids4Kids Most Promising Writer
Yainie Gallego (age 14) had her poem published in Teen Ink
Kaia Wootton (age 10) had her poem "Anger" published in Smokelong Quarterly and in
Alphabet Soup
Stina Trollbäck (age 14) had her poem "Elasticity" published in Teen Ink
Jeeya Ballaney (age 7) had her short story "Mr. MacaroonVoh" published in
H.O.W. Jr.
Isabelle Reinecke (age 10) had her essay published in

Writopia Publications
Ellipsis and Parenthetical
Writopia's Litmags
Writopia added a third publication this year! Our 10th Anniversary Anthology is stunning thanks to all of our Writopia contributors and staff members Abby Coleman, Sarah Park, and Lyndsay Hall. We also published our third issue of SURGE: The Zone's Teen Art & Literary Magazine, in partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital.

To request copies
for your home or school library, please email To read student work now, check out the latest issue of our litmags!

Our Staff

Writopia's staff

The past year included big leaps forward for Writopia. We began workshops in Chicago and San Francisco, our outreach into underserved communities widened, and we continued to refine our tools for professional development, both internal and external. None of this would be possible without our nationwide team of full-time staff:

Travon Anderson, Elsa Bermudez, Hannah Boysko, Peter Cohen, Alexandra Cohl, Abby Coleman, Jocquelyn Downs, Jan Edwards Hemming, Michaela Florio, Tom Flynn, Lyndsay Hall, Mason Henderson, Mikala Jamison, Scott Krier, Milana Meytes, Sarah Park, Rob Roy, Léna Roy, Yael Schick, Ethan Shafran Moltz, Sarah Shatan-Pardo, Danielle Sheeler, Madeline Taylor, Bianca Turetsky, Rebecca Wallace-Segall, Jeremy Wallace-Segall, and Janelle Williams
Janelle Williams

Janelle WilliamsWe welcomed instructor extraordinaire Janelle Williams to our full-time staff this year. Janelle started teaching with us a year ago and stood out immediately as a gifted, deeply caring instructor. She completed her MFA in January from Manhattanville College, and has since been running workshops on-site at our labs and throughout the city for underserved youth as part of our Joy and Literacy in After School funded by The Pinkerton Foundation.
Bianca Turetsky
Bianca TuretskyWe are so proud to announce the emergence of our Park Slope lab this year, and the highly skilled manager of that lab: author Bianca Turetsky! Bianca starting teaching with us a year ago and joined us full-time in the spring as the Brooklyn Regional Coordinator. We are so grateful to have her on board. Check out her book.

Ethan Shafran Moltz
Ethan Shafran MoltzWe are proud of Writopia media associate Ethan Shafran Moltz! This year, Ethan has especially moved us by his vision and dedication to the production of our stunning 2017 Benefit Video that he co-produced with Writopia's Scott Krier and Chelsea Grasso. Ethan also co-produced a Writopia film festival for preschoolers this year with program director Yael Schick and he produced the 2017 Writopia Film Festival for our young and teen filmmakers. Ethan's students have been featured as part of the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016 and 2017. Ethan has inspired us for four years with his energy and know-how, and especially with his passionate investment in the well-being of all of his students. Look out for his upcoming Writopia films: How to Support Your Writer and Welcome to Writopia!
Instructor Awards & Publications

Michael Alessi's work was published or is forthcoming in Passages North, The Minnesota Review, The Pinch, and Paper Darts, and he staged readings at Uncharted Books in Chicago and a release event for The Pinch in Memphis
Chad Anderson's short story, "Maidencane", was awarded the Nimrod International Journal's Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction (1st Place)
Tricia Aurand's play, NICAEA, was produced as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival
Cathleen Bell's collaborative novel, Weregirl, was published by Chooseco

Hannah Boysko's poetry and visuals were published in Femme Mâché
Jessica Cluess' novel, A Shadow Bright and Burning, was published by Random House
Alexandra Cohl's short piece, "From Where She Watches", was published in Luna Luna
Jessica Dall's novel, Book 2 of the Order and Chaos Series: Graven Idols, was published by Red Adept Publishing

Jocquelyn Downs and Danielle Sheeler had a staged reading of their one-act play, Pay, at Theater Lab
Amy Dupcak's collection of short stories, Dust, was published by Lucid River Press, and she signed with Janklow & Nesbit for her debut novel
Janet Edwards Hemming's essay, "Proof," was published in the Los Angeles Review of Books Blog, and she has poems forthcoming in Fail Better and Scalawag
Lyndsay Hall's essay, "A Saline Solution," was published in Little Fiction | Big Truths, and her essay, "Finding Adam," was published in b(OINK)
Corey Haydu's fourth YA novel, The Careful Undressing of Love, was published by Penguin, and her second middle grade novel, The Someday Suitcase, comes out from HarperCollins on June 27th
Gregory Luce's poetry was published in Deaf Poets Society and Pre-Existing Poems, his poetry won the Arlington Moving Words competition for display on ART buses, and he was a featured poet for the DC Poet Project
Sagit Maier-Schwartz's short piece, "Ingenue", was published in Hollywood Dementia
Kathleen McCleary wrote a series of cover stories for Parade magazine, and contributed non-fiction work to
Catya McMullen's play, AGNES, was produced by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, her musical L.U.B. had an extended run at the People's Improv Theater, and several of her short works were produced at Ensemble Studio Theater
Sheila McMullin's book of poetry, daughterrarium, was published as the winner of the 2016 CSU Poetry Center First Book Award
Anna Potter's essay, "The Body in Motion," was published in Phoebe and received a Pushcart Prize nomination
Dania Ramos' play was performed by Speranza Theatre Company's production of Women Rising: Stories of Hope
Léna Roy co-authored Becoming Madeleine L'Engle - a Biography, due out in February, 2018 by by FSG
Alexa Salvato's poem "eulogy for my stomach at its flattest" was published in States of Mind

Courtney Sheinmel had five books published for emerging and young readers, including Agnes & Clarabelle, The Kindness Club: Chloe on the Bright Side, and the 10th book in her Stella Batts series: Broken Birthday
Anisha Sridhar won the Tribeca Film Institute's Prototype Fund Award for her interactive webseries, Rearview Mirror, to begin production this fall
Gina Stevensen placed in the 2017 international Jewish Playwriting Contest for her play Book of Esther

Brigit Young's essay, "The Empty Vessel: A Dissection of the Worth of Madness and Its Cure in Shirley Jackson's The Bird's Nest," was published in Modern Language Studies, and her middle grade novel, A Thousand Words, will be published by Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan in 2018
Rebecca Wallace-Segall, Yael Schick, and Danielle Sheeler had a staged reading of their play, Sadie Fishbein the Musical, at Theater Lab

For their support of the Scholastic Writing Awards

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