Luljeta Zenka, 16, is a self-identified nerd. She loves comic books, fan fiction, and creative writing. At Girls Write Now, Luljeta found a mentor in Lizz Carroll, a digital media professional, who shares her interests.
“Lizz and I understand each other,” Luljeta said, a junior at a high school in Staten Island. “Lizz is interested in what I say. She gets my sense of humor, which is rare.”
Luljeta also found a sense of belonging in the larger community. When she joined Girls Write Now she had no idea the program would teach her favorite genre: fan fiction, stories about TV or film characters written by fans of the original work. “I started jumping out of my seat,” Luljeta said.
Girls Write Now also pushed Luljeta beyond her comfort zone to explore new genres like memoir and poetry and improve her editing skills. “One of Luljeta’s personal writing challenges is letting go when she is forced to edit a piece down,” said Lizz.
But Lizz kept encouraging Luljeta and showed her the value of editing–until she had a breakthrough moment. “One day, it just happened,” Lizz said. “Suddenly, when she had to cut some lines from a beloved piece, Luljeta began to shrug it off with a smile.”
- Be a part of their story: With your donation today, you can ensure that other girls in New York City can enjoy this supportive and nurturing relationship for years to come (also, you can read our full appeal letter).
- Get a peek inside Luljeta’s notebook from our Travel Writing Journalism workshop in the spring! We’ve got a preview in our Portfolios.
- Last spring, Luljeta’s memoir piece My Beginnings was published in the Girls Write Now Anthology New Worlds, and she performed on stage for the first time at our 15th anniversary CHAPTERS Reading Series. Check out Luljeta’s hilarious piece These Torturous Knitting Lessons that I Survived.