Writers in the Community

(WITC)

Writers in the Community (WITC) is a not-for-profit internship project that sends MFA students to volunteer as creative writing teachers in placements as varied as hospitals, correctional facilities, halfway houses, community non-profits, as well as public, private, or alternative schools, and other locations throughout the Spokane area.

WITC offers MFA candidates an invaluable opportunity to gain non-profit, community service, and instruction experience outside of the university environment. The internship prides itself on bringing art and creative writing to underserved or underrepresented communities. It thus allows MFA candidates to exercise that desire to act as global citizens and influencers of society which often goes hand-in-hand with being a writer.

WITC also publishes InRoads, an annual anthology of work collected throughout the year from all its placements, celebrating its students’ writing and creativity. WITC employs one Student Director (a second year MFA candidate who receives a Graduate Service Appointment including tuition remission and a stipend) along with an InRoads Managing Editor (a first year candidate working for internship credit) who often moves into the Student Director position the following year.

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The 2019 WITC anthology showcased the writing of forty-five students from WITC placements, and also featured cover and interior art from interns and students in the WITC program. Current and past issues of InRoads can be purchased for $8, to help fund new placement development for the program. Please contact WITC at witc@ewu.edu to inquire.

A Message from 2018-19 Student Director, Clare Wilson

“Writers in the Community has many lessons for its participants—perhaps not surprising, given that its goal is to offer creative writing instruction throughout the Spokane area. During my tenure as WITC student director, I have learned, however, that the greatest lesson is not for the students, but rather for the intern instructors, and perhaps most of all, for the student director. My communication with organizations and students throughout the community taught me that the desire and talent for creative writing are latent everywhere. No matter what the organization, school, age, or demographic, future creative writers are there, ready and waiting to awaken the skill they need to enter the spotlight and express themselves.

As someone who was also once a would-be writer, practicing with bad fantasy scribbled secretly during French class, I feel a strong connection to the hidden artists and writers of Spokane, whether they be inmates, hospital patients, high school students, veterans, immigrants, etc. It has been my great honor to have taken part in WITC’s mission of helping them find a voice or amplifying the one they already have. This is the sort of quiet empowerment that benefits people throughout their whole lives: a confidence that they possess the necessary knowledge and skill to write and create and tell stories which improve their lives and the community around them.”

Community Voices

Spokane School District Creative Writing Contest

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From January to March, 2020, WITC will welcome all high school students from Spokane School District (SSD) to participate in a creative writing prose contest. The district’s English teachers and department leads are supporting WITC in developing the proposed contest and have agreed to integrate it into their English or creative writing curricula. MFA graduate students interning for WITC will also visit individual classrooms and conduct pro-bono craft lessons and workshops where students can share their work and receive encouraging guidance and feedback in real-time. An estimated 450 students enrolled in these English classes, creative writing electives, and after-school writing clubs from the seven SSD high schools will thus receive an opportunity to create and submit a 2000-word piece of fiction or nonfiction to the competition.

Community Voices has been made possible in part by a SAGA grant from the Spokane Arts Fund. This SAGA funding will help the program increase its reach, improve its materials, and publish and distribute the contest participants’ work in their regular journal, InRoads.

Please visit www.spokanearts.org for more information on the SAGA program.