Support Young Tennessee Writers & Readers

This spring and early summer, Humanities Tennessee is connecting young writers and readers with the written word through author visits at schools, free books, and a residential writing workshop for 48 students that builds skills and confidence. This work matters more than ever and you can help make it happen!

Let’s first take a look at both programs: the Young Writers’ Workshop and Student Reader Day.

For more than 25 years, Humanities Tennessee has gathered young writers to learn from professional writers and facilitators for a week-long residential writing workshop.

Known as YWW (the Young Writers’ Workshop), this program has evolved with the times – going virtual in 2020 and 2021 – to meet the ever-changing needs of young aspiring writers yearning to hone their craft and connect with other students their age.

Here’s a snapshot of some recent faculty and guests students have learned with:

  • poets Jesse Graves, Ciona Rouse and Taria Person
  • fiction writers Sarah Pinsker, Bradley Sides and Hilary Leichter
  • special guests including Kanene Pipkin (from the band The Lone Bellow), Wynna Liu (who writes New York Times crossword puzzles), Mike Gillis (head writer at The Onion), Daniel Kibblesmith (writer of Marvel comics and past writer for Late Show with Colbert), Kim Bellware (journalist at The Washington Post) and many more

2023 is shaping up to be equally exciting!

Why it matters: words from the students…

“Not only have I been able to learn much more about world building, poetry, character development, and spoken word poetry, but I have made many special friends in a setting filled with diverse individuals.”

“Everyone here was so down to earth and positive. It helped give me the chance to be vulnerable in and with my writing, and it didn’t make me feel stupid or melodramatic.”

“I was doubtful about this workshop when it was first presented to me. I was scared about being away from home, scared I couldn’t make friends, scared I wasn’t good enough. But I took a chance and I’m so glad I did … it was better than you could have ever imagined.”

Thank you so much for allowing young writers a space to be themselves and form their craft.”



This winter, author Jessica Young visited elementary school students in Readyville, TN with her books Haggis and Tank: All Paws on Deck and Fairlight Friends: Time to Shine.

We’re also working with Carnegie medal winning author Ruta Sepetys in May to visit six schools across the state celebrating her book I Must Betray You. Nearly 1,500 free books will be provided to students in advance of their school visit from Ms. Sepetys.

“Sepetys is a formidable writer, and her stories declare the need to write about global issues of social injustice. For that reason and her attention to detail, this is a must-read.” – Review by School Library Journal


How you can help…

Make a tax-deductible gift today. Your gift may provide scholarships for students to participate in YWW or help us charter a bus to ensure students from across the state may attend. Your gift may help purchase books for students or ensure full program support is available for teachers and schools.

Would you like to make a one-time gift or become a partner in our literary programs by giving monthly?

Just click the link to designate your gift as you wish and select its frequency. Every gift makes a difference for Tennessee students. Thank you!

Make A Gift Today


Stay Tuned…

In April, we plan to make several announcements about the 2023 Southern Festival of Books, which will celebrate its 35th year in October. You can stay up-to-date on the literary news of Tennessee and our region at Chapter 16, HT’s online literary publication.

Finally, in addition to the literary programs we present, we partner with literary organizations and programs across Tennessee to enhance their ability to serve local communities. Together, we create connections to the literary history of the state, support community bookstores and local learning labs, illuminate untold stories, inspire new voices, and drive a love of the written word. Learn more…