Before the founding in 1982 of the Young Writers Workshop at the University of Virginia, residential programs for young creative writers didn’t exist.

From the Blog

The Theater of YWW

For years, alumnus Bryan Doerries (‘92) has been producing performances of ancient tragedies and contemporary plays with well-known actors for at-risk audiences—in prisons, addiction clinics, hospitals, military bases, and communities that have been visited by disaster. His work demonstrates the untapped power of drama to open up powerful dialogue and bring diverse audiences together, helping them to communicate and heal.

In his masterclass, students will develop pieces of socially conscious theater to spur crucial discussions within the YWW community about the issues that matter most to young writers today. Teams of writers, directors, and actors will conduct field research within the YWW community, develop short plays, and generate thought-provoking questions aimed at eliciting crucial dialogue about challenging subjects. The class will culminate in an evening performance featuring dramatic readings that will serve as a catalyst for wide-ranging and important discussions about challenging topics, framed and facilitated by young writers for young writers.

Special Session 2 Visiting Writer: Matthew Crawford

This summer, Young Writers is pleased to welcome Visiting Writer Matthew Crawford, the author of the new nonfiction work The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction and of the bestselling Shop Class as Soul Craft.


It was as a student at YWW that I first felt taken seriously as a writer, which shaped my future as a serious poet and MFA graduate; it was as a counselor at YWW that I first felt taken seriously as a teacher, which shaped my future as a workshop instructor at both the high school and college levels. There's no doubt in my mind that nearly all of the skills I use in my poetry and teaching careers today I learned first at YWW. To say nothing of the fact that I have never had as much fun, or laughed as hard in my whole life, as I do every summer at YWW.

Laura-Eve Engel

YWW Alumna