Advanced High School Writers’ Studio

July 13-20, 2014
Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA

The Advanced High School Writers’ Studio is designed for both AP-level writing students, and those interested in a serious exploration of the literary arts.  Begin each day with a master class led by acclaimed author Jennine Capó Crucet for a guided practice of a variety of prose techniques and the opportunity to create new work in a supportive environment. Then fill your afternoons with a choice of seminars in the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference , including poetry, short fiction, humor writing, creative nonfiction, journalism and much more. Evenings include readings and events featuring nationally acclaimed writers from the Conference.

Since 1974, the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference has been at the heart of the Northwest’s thriving literary scene.  Such writers as Alice Walker, Richard Hugo, Carolyn Forché, Raymond Carver, Ken Kesey and many others, have developed their craft in this supporting and inspiring atmosphere.

Together with other high-school writers from around the state, you’ll have core classes and workshops each day. Attend readings, lectures, and afternoon workshops led by such writers as Sam Ligon, Erin Belieu, Cate Marvin, Dan Chaon, and Gary Copeland Lilley, who engage the contemporary world through written and spoken-word poetry, fiction, and essays.

Centrum high school workshops provide an in-depth opportunity to work with professional artists in the extraordinary setting of Fort Worden State Park, a 440 acre campus of forest and waterfront trails anchored by a collection of historic buildings that serve as housing for participants, and provide studio space.


This workshop/seminar/literary escapade is designed to push your writing to the next level by challenging you to think about writing in ways you never have before.

Daily prompts and exercises—including some that take advantage of our spectacular surroundings at Fort Worden and others inspired by improv and sketch comedy techniques—will launch us into in-depth discussions about plot, character development, setting, and the other elements of strong narrative prose. Special guests will fill you in on what it means (and what it takes) to be a working writer, and you’ll get detailed feedback that will help you recognize and intensify your strengths on the page.

The writing you’ll produce will be grounded in the stuff of real life; you’ll carve stories from your personal experiences, your own history, and your imagination. We’ll approach writing with a generous and dynamic spirit in the hopes that what you produce will lead to anything and everything: from an early draft of a seriously-memorable personal statement for those college applications, to the first pages of the novel you were born to write.

Equal parts literary boot camp and bounce house for the imagination, this class will sharpen your critiquing skills, help make you a better reader and editor, and push you to produce your best creative writing yet. Put on your boots and come run; take off your shoes and start jumping.


Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of two books, most recently the story collection How to Leave Hialeah, which won the Iowa Short Fiction Award, the John Gardner Book Prize, the Devil’s Kitchen Award for Prose, and was named a Best Book of the Year by The Miami Herald, the New Times, and the Latinidad List. She is the fiction editor for the most recent edition of PEN Center USA’s Handbook for Writers, a comprehensive writing manual used in high schools nationally as part of PEN’s Writers in the Schools programs as well as in their Los Angeles-based Emerging Writers program.

A former sketch comedienne and NPR scriptwriter, she’s also worked extensively as a writing coach and college advisor for high school students living in South Los Angeles. She was raised in Miami—and has called Illinois, New York, Minnesota, and California home—but she now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she’s an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Florida State University.

This program is generously funded by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Additional sponsors include the Washington State Arts Commission, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, The Baker Foundation, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, The Forest Foundation, Rayonier Foundation, the Congdon Hanson Family, and nearly a thousand individual donors whose generosity celebrates the power of creativity to change lives.