Fiction and Fun at New Summer Writers Club!
Students ages 6-18 in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have been hard at work writing whatever wonderful stories their hearts desire with support from peers and 826michigan volunteers. In the past three weeks, we’ve seen hands fly up at any chance to share what these writers have imagined, and students formerly hesitant to write now conjure whole worlds with excitement. It’s really remarkable how a little freedom and a little fun (even a few costumes and invention schematics) get students spilling words.
Summer Writers Club is a community inspired by our school-year tutoring program, where students can interact and build a relationship with the same volunteers over multiple sessions. Since students don’t have schoolwork to bring in over the summer, it puts creative writing at center stage, and we spend six sessions in July and August learning about six habits writers use to produce brave fiction. Centered around a love of writing and learning, students and volunteers work together to write, perfect, and publish energetic original fiction about whatever strikes them, whatever comes to mind, whatever is important to them. Students compose stories about everything from the discovery of a magical sword to two tigers named after popular hot sauce brands, and have fun doing it! Sessions culminate in the publication and celebration of a book — Ann Arbor’s publication is called My Imagination is Large, and It Is Still Expanding, borrowed from one writer’s piece. Ann Arbor Summer Writers’ Club participant Marcus Goldblatt loves Summer Writers Club because “you learn to write a story you can really like!”
We’re also extra-grateful to the Stamps Gallery at the University of Michigan for hosting us for the Ann Arbor Writers Club book release celebration. This summer the Stamps Gallery hosted the Blue Bird Inn Stage–the world’s only historic mobile stage. In the stage’s first life at the Blue Bird Inn in Detroit, musicians including Miles Davis and John Coltrane performed. It was a space dedicated to social change through music during the Civil Rights Movement in Detroit. During out book release, the stage was a perfect example of the power that voices can have, and we’re excited that the Stamps Gallery gave us the opportunity to host our reading here on this stage. Our work at 826michigan aims for the same goal–to create a space for school-aged students to use their voices for creativity, connection, and change, and to celebrate those voices.