Where would you find over 20 well-known and New York Times best-selling authors and illustrators trying to get young adults interested in the field of writing?
A book convention? Barnes and Noble?
Actually it was a high school in the heart of Philadelphia — Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls – that pulled off not only the very first Young Adult Writer’s Festival in the city but a very successful one at that on Saturday, April 26.
About 150 young women from grades seven through 12 eagerly awaited the chance to work side-by-side with published and successful people.
The event was not created over night. It took several years to plan and create, and finally it all came about through the unique and amazing friendship of Sister Kimberly Miller, theology teacher at Little Flower, and best-selling author K.M. Walton. These two brilliant women worked together, and with others, and plotted an intricate and enthralling event that pulled in many girls.
They spent hours contacting and reaching out to authors and illustrators, and it was not hard for them to get authors to agree to attend. All the women had to do was tell about Little Flower’s avid readers who spend most of their time reading.
Word of this event spread as far as Children’s Book World, who offered to sell books at the festival.
The day consisted of workshops that allowed the authors to connect with the young women, sharing tips and experiences on writing essays and forming well-told stories.
The authors created stimulating workshops that involved girls in writing their own stories based on prompts or pictures, had them create characters and problems and even gave them tips on writing the perfect college essay.
While the majority of the young women said they truly enjoyed reading they openly admitted to not quite enjoying writing until coming to this festival. “I always hate writing and never want to do (it) but now I know easier ways to go about it,” said a student who was in attendance.
That was the goal of the entire writer’s festival.
Walton emphasized the need to write; not only to write a book but also to make it through life.
“Write your ideas down, whether they’re for an essay or ideas about your life, write them down,” she said. “Writing them down anchors them and will be able to lead you down a great path. All you have to do is write it down.”
Few imagined something like this festival happening in an inner-city high school in Philadelphia but the obvious passion Little Flower has for reading will let nothing get in the way of them creating their own story. They will always “write on.”
Briana Elisa Torres is a junior at Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls.
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