Beach days and bunk beds aside, summer wasn’t just an excuse to get some rest. Mentors and mentees got published, won awards, and more. Time to say congratulations to just a few of our amazing community members!
A New Mystery from Old New York
Karilis calls her mentor Lyndsay Faye her “writing partner-in-crime”, a description that’s perhaps all-too accurate. Lyndsay’s latest book, Seven for a Secret (September 17th), follows the reluctant but talented police officer Timothy Wilde in the early days of the NYPD as he tries to unravel the disappearance of a free black family and protect his brother at the same time. Seven is Lyndsay’s third novel and follows Wilde from the critically-acclaimed The Gods of Gotham. Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects) calls it “a series for the ages, it’s so spectacular. Amazing.” Lyndsay’s visiting Houston, Portland, and beyond to talk about Seven for a Secret — don’t miss out!
An Artful Award
Third-year mentee Najaya Royal is a passionate poet and writer who’s even taken on narrative gaming and music journalism — and we’re not the only ones who think she’s a big deal. This year Najaya has been awarded the Peter Jay Sharp Youth Arts Fellowship, an honor administered through the Brooklyn Community Foundation‘s Arts for All Fund. Fellows have the opportunity to meet with arts executives in Brooklyn, attend professional performances and trainings, and receive expert advice and support on pursuing careers in the arts. Congratulations Najaya!
From Legal Drama to Fan Fic
Allison Yarrow joined Girls Write Now as a mentor in 2011, before graduating to join our Program Advisory Committee where she helped to grow and shape a year’s worth of workshops as Curriculum Co-Chair. This year, Ali is returning as a mentor — but she didn’t take the summer off either. Her Kindle ebook The Devil of Williamsburg, telling the dramatic story of the abuses of a counselor in an isolated Brooklyn community of orthodox Hasidim, was published in August. More recently, Ali wrote for Time Magazine about the online phenomenon of fan fiction — written about real people. Inspired by our own explorations of Hogwarts and the TARDIS, Ali wrote about the latest in fan fads: teens are writing real person fiction, where Selena Gomez is their BFF or Justin Bieber is their boyfriend. We’re glad to welcome Ali back to the world of mentoring and can’t wait to see what she’ll write next!
And the Most Entertaining Award Goes To…
This summer, Tema and Priscilla, two mentees who took part in our Creative Publishing Digital Workshops, participated in Emoti-Con!, a conference for teens in New York City to showcase their projects in digital media and technology, meet experts, enter their work into competition — and win! That’s right — fourth-year mentee Priscilla won Emoti-Con!’s Most Entertaining award for “Identity in Voice”, a piece she developed by using InDesign to remaster three poems she originally presented at the Lincoln Center Poetry Slam. The judges were blown away by how she used typography and design to amplify her voice, and with her performance on stage. Congrats Priscilla! Check out the award-winning piece or read our first-ever e-zine, showcasing the best in creative publishing from our girls and mentors, including Tema’s original work “So I Keep On Running.”
A Historical Page-Turner
When Jennifer Cody Epstein met Emily Ramirez at last year’s Orientation, they made sure to request each other as partners. After a year spent crafting stories, memoir, and more together, Emily’s moved on to SUNY Geneseo, and Jennifer is taking a break from mentoring — but neither is done with writing! Jennifer’s first novel, The Painter From Shanghai, was published in 2008 to critical acclaim — and this year she followed it up with The Gods of Heavenly Punishment. Gods tells the story of fifteen-year-old Yoshi Kobayashi, who survives a devastating napalm attack on her native Tokyo and then must contend with the realities and atrocities of life during wartime. The novel follows multiple characters from both sides of the conflict, delivering a powerful story that O Magazine calls “miraculously constructed” and Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad) praises as “triumphant.” Jenn will be embarking on a blog tour in September — find out more on her Facebook page!