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

Featured Artist

  • Jenny Gillespie Mason

    Jenny Gillespie Mason

    Jenny Gillespie Mason attended the Workshop in songwriting in 1995, then joined the residential staff as a teacher and counselor in 1999, 2001 and 2002.

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I particularly enjoyed my workshop sessions, and breaking down each member of our class’s work while offering both positive comments and suggestions to help improve his or her writing. It was tough at first to put my writing and myself in a position of vulnerability by sharing, but my classmates and teachers were so warm and caring. I discovered much about my writing from these workshop sessions, such as my weak points and how to improve on them.

“Ohana” means “family” and it can accurately describe these beautiful two weeks in YWW. I consider all my friends at this summer camp my second family, and I haven’t felt such community and love amongst a group of people ever in my life. There are few other places where young, aspiring writers can gather in a tolerant, accepting setting and pour their hearts out, whether it is on the Open Mic night, in workshops, or on the Writers Cafe. This has been two of the most incredible weeks of my life, and I am proud to call myself a YWW alumni. I highly recommend this program to all young writers, they will find only love and acceptance, a paradise where they can find solace from the rest of the world and let their writing sprout wings into the sunset.

Paul Xu

YWW Alumnus