Welcome, young writers!

On March 3, 2018 Saint John's High School will host the 28th Annual Betty Curtis Worcester County Young Writers Conference.

The conference is open to all students grades 7 to 12. Preregistration is required and will begin in early Deceomber 2017. Please sign up for our mailing list to be alerted when registration begins.

The keynote address  at 4:00 is free and open to the public. Parents and teachers are welcome to join us!

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 7 items.

  • Who is eligible to attend?

    Students grades 7-12 with an interest in creative writing. Each year, 80-100 students from over 40 schools from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut participate.
  • When and where is the event?

    March 3, 2018, 9:00 – 5:00, Saint John’s High School in Shrewsbury, MA
  • What happens during the day?

    Students meet in small and large groups to work on writing skills and share their work.
  • Who runs the writing workshops?

    Local writers who many years of experience publishing and mentoring.
  • What genres can students study?

    • Poetry
    • Fiction
    • Creative Nonfiction
  • What is the cost of the event and what does it include?

    The cost includes breakfast, lunch, and writing materials.
    • The fee is $50
    • If you are interested in registering after the deadline of January 31, please contact Diane Mulligan directly at dmulligan@stjohnshigh.org. An additional late fee may apply.
  • What do I need to register?

    To register, you will need to provide
    • your name, 
    • your Email address (or a parent’s Email) and phone number
    • your school and grade, 
    • your English teacher’s name and Email address, 
    • and emergency contact information. 
    You can register by mail by downloading the registration form (above) or online.

WCYWC Mentors

List of 11 items.

  • Creative Nonfiction: Rodger Martin

    Rodger Martin’s third volume of poetry, The Battlefield Guide, (Hobblebush Books: 2010) uses the physical locations on the battlefields of the American Civil War to reflect upon America today. Small Press Review selected an earlier book, The Blue Moon Series, (Hobblebush Books:  2007) as one of its bi-monthly picks of the year.    He has been awarded an Appalachia award for poetry and a New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Fiction Fellowship.  Additionally he has received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Humanities to study T.S. Eliot and Thomas Hardy at Oxford University and John Milton at Duquesne University.   His work has been published in literary journals throughout the United States.   He and six colleagues have been translated in the book On the Monadnock: New Pastoral Poetry released in China in 2007.   He teaches journalism at Keene State College, and serves as one of the editors in The Granite State Poetry Series.
  • Creative Nonfiction: Russell McClintock

    Russell McClintock earned his Master’s degree from Providence College and his Doctorate from Clark University.  His graduate research won the prestigious Hay-Nicolay Dissertation Prize from the Abraham Lincoln Institute and the Abraham Lincoln Association, and his recent book, Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession, has not only been praised by scholars but was also a Main Selection of the History Book Club, whose readers voted it the best Civil War book of 2008.  He is currently working on a biography of Stephen Douglas, and he recently made four contributions to the Disunion series in The New York Times: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/author/russell-mcclintock.  Dr. McClintock teaches history at St. John’s High School.
  • Fiction: Laina Pruett

    Laina Pruett graduated from Boston University with her MFA in Fiction in September 2011.  Her story "The Last Con" was published in the current (Spring 2012) issue of The Gettysburg Review.  She is a 2011 Robert Pinsky Global Fellow.  She also teaches 7th grade English Language Arts.
  • Fiction: Laurel Dile King

    Laurel Dile King is a writer, teacher, editor, and the founding publisher at Garland Press. She has led writing retreats in Maine, Rocky Neck Art Colony, and Tuscany, and conducted workshops for the Worcester Art Museum and the Worcester Public Library. Her awards for fiction include a first place prize for the Worcester Magazine Short Story Contest and a Massachusetts Cultural Council artist grant. She earned a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College.
  • Fiction: Rob Huckins

    Rob Huckins teaches social studies in New Hampshire, including courses in Economics, AP Government & Politics, New Hampshire History, World History, Sociology, U.S. History, Business Law, Political Philosophy and Geography. Rob graduated from Keene State College (NH) with a degree in journalism and earned a master's degree in educational studies from Rivier College (NH) in 2006. In 2010, Rob published his first novel, American Dreamland (iUniverse Publishing), and is currently working on a second novel. Last year, he published a three-part series about four American combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for The Keene Sentinel (Keene, NH). Rob also enjoys writing short stories, poetry, critical reviews of books, films and other works, as well as some drawing and painting. Rob lives in Milford, NH with his wife Wendy and two children Chelsea and Jackson and currently teaches at Hollis-Brookline High School (Hollis, NH).
  • Fiction: Stephanie Monahan

    Stephanie Monahan, a native of upstate New York, earned her degree in English Literature from Binghamton University. She contributes book reviews for The Pulse Magazine and Serendipity Greenwich. Her first book, 33 Valentines, a contemporary romantic comedy set in Boston, was released by Entangled Publishing in January, 2013. Her second novel, The Mean Girl Apologies, was published in June, 2014. Although she is a hardcore New York Giants fan, she loves living in Central Massachusetts.
  • Fiction: Tim Mudie

    Tim Mudie was born and raised in Worcester and attended St. John's, where he also participated in the Worcester County Young Writers’ Conference. After that, he got his Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing from Hamilton College and eventually his Masters in Writing and Publishing from Emerson College. He currently lives outside of Boston, where he works as an editorial assistant at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. His fiction has been published in This Mutant Life, Labyrinth Inhabitant, Wanderings Magazine, Everyday Weirdness, The Fifth Di..., and other magazines.
  • Playwriting: Ben Gitkind

    Ben Gitkind is a writer, teacher, and musician based out of Worcester, MA.  He has directed twelve plays since graduating from Connecticut College in 2010, including adaptations of Peter Pan, Harry Potter, and the Outsiders. He also wrote and directed an original production entitled "Gifts for a Quiet King", staged in  2013 at the Nativity School of Worcester.  Musically, Ben writes and records songs with a number of Massachusetts-based bands, including the folk group, Robert Leather.  He holds a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, a Master's in Business Administration, and is currently trying to place his first novel with a publisher.
  • Poetry: Heather Macpherson

    Heather J. Macpherson writes from Central Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in many fine publications including Blueline, Rougarou, The Heron Tree, Niche, Pearl, Spillway, OVS, Wicked Alice and RadiusLit. Her poem, "Sestina Lot # 41994" was nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize. Heather is executive director at Damfino Press. Heather is currently at work in her third stint as features editor for The Worcester Review. She has taught workshops at the Mass Poetry Festival, Suffolk County Community College Creative Writing Festival, Damfino Press, and the Southborough Public Library. 
  • Poetry: Jim Beschta

    Jim Beschta, born and raised in Wisconsin, moved to Massachusetts in 1970 to complete his M.A. in English at Assumption College.  He subsequently taught English and Creative Writing at Quabbin Regional High School where he directed student writing conferences for 20 years, published a state wide student poetry magazine and coached wrestling.  His poetry has won awards, been published in over 20 literary magazines, and been translated into Chinese.  He has published three poetry collections, the latest being North from Yaounde, published by the award winning Adastra Press in 2010. He currently teaches writing at the Worcester Art Museum.
  • Poetry: Susan Elizabeth Sweeney

    Susan Elizabeth Sweeney (who goes by Beth) earned an MFA in Poetry from Brown University and now teaches at the College of the Holy Cross.  She has won several awards, including the American Academy of Poets Prize; has published poems in Diner, The Worcester Review, the Journal of Irish Literature, and elsewhere; and has served as the president of the Worcester County Poetry Association, an editor of The Worcester Review, and a board member of Poetry Oasis.  Beth likes semicolons and composed her very first poem underneath a forsythia bush.  She is haunted by Mad Sweeney, a medieval Irish poet and madman who appears in many of her poems. Her collection of poems,  Hand Me Down, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2013.

Pictures from the 25th Annual WCYWC (2015)

25th Annual Worcester County Young Writers Conference
    • Photo Credit Eagle Tribune by Tim Jean
      Terry Farish, Keynote Speaker

      Photo Credit Eagle Tribune by Tim Jean

To Register

The registration deadline for the 2018 Young Writers Conference has passed. There may still be space available. To inquire, please email Diane Mulligan at dmulligan@stjohnshigh.org and include WCYWC in the subject line.

Email List

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
You are a...

Conference Schedule

  • 8:30 – 9:00 Registration, Coffee, Donuts 
  • 9:00 – 9:05 Welcome 
  • 9:05 – 9:30 Mentor Readings 
  • 9:30 – 11:00 Small Group Session 1 
  • 11:00 – 11:15 Mentor Readings 
  • 11:15 – 12:00 Large Group Session
  • 12:00 – 12:45 Lunch 
  • 12:45 – 1:15 Mentor Readings 
  • 1:15 – 3:15 Small Group Session 2 
  • 3:15 – 4:00 Student Readings 
  • 4:00 – 5:00 Keynote speaker, Terry Farish, Q & A session
 

WCYWC Keynote Speakers

List of 6 items.

  • 2018: Terry Farish

    Terry Farish is a writer with a passion for following the stories of people from many cultures who come as immigrants or refugees to the U.S. The Good Braider is her free verse novel for young adults and adults about 17-year old Viola and her family’s journey from war-torn Sudan, to Cairo, and finally to Portland, Maine.  She wrote The Good Braider after travel to Kakuma Refugee Camp on the border of Kenya and South Sudan and years of collecting oral histories among southern Sudanese families in Portland. The novel was selected as a Best Book of the Year by the American Library Association, Bank Street College of Education, and School Library Journal.  Her picture books include The Cat Who Liked Potato Soup, illus. by Barry Root and The Alleyway set in Lawrence, MA.  The Alleyway, about a small boy whose brother has been deployed in the US Army, is in production and will be illustrated by Oliver Dominquez. In 2015 her novel, Either the Beginning or the End of the World, will be published by Carolrhoda Books. Through the New Hampshire Humanities Council, Terry leads literacy programs with refugee and immigrant parents, and she also teaches writing at Manchester (NH) Community College. You can visit her site at http://terryfarish.com.
  • 2017: Regie Gibson

    Literary Performer and educator, Regie Gibson, received his MFA from New England College. He’s lectured and performed in the U.S., Cuba and Europe. Representing the U.S., Regie competed for and received the Absolute Poetry Award in Monfalcone, Italy. Himself and his work appear in “love jones”: a feature-film based on events in his life. He is a former National Poetry Slam Champion, has featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, WBUR’s On Point, Radio Boston, and various other NPR programs. Regie has performed at TED X Boston, Ted X Bedford and TED X Natick, and has been nominated for a Boston Emmy. He’s received the Walker Scholarship for Poetry from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and a YMCA Writer’s Fellowship. He’s been published in Poetry Magazine, Harvard’s Divinity Magazine, and The Iowa Review, among others. His volume of poems, “Storms Beneath the Skin”, has received the Golden Pen Award. He has received both an MCC Poetry Award and a Lexington Education Foundation Grant. Regie has performed with and composed texts for The Boston City Singers, The Mystic Chorale and Boston’s Handel+Haydn Society. He performs regularly with Atlas Soul: a world-music ensemble, his own word-music ensemble, The Regie Gibson Project, and is He one half of the duo, Shakespeare to Hip-Hop: An education and performance vehicle integrating the performance and study of classical and modern texts into English curriculums.
  • 2016: Jasmine Mans

    An author, performer, poet, teacher...yes to all of those titles, but more importantly Jasmine Mans is an artist...an artist who enjoys having various forums to express her thoughts, moods, opinions and a voice to speak out on behalf of others and the community around her. A recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison (2014), Jasmine received her BA in African-American Studies (Black Theory & Literature) and is the recipient of the Star Ledger – NJPAC; Arts Millennia; and (New York) Knicks Poetry Slam Scholarships and awards. However, Mans began stringing rhymes together as a middle-school student in her hometown of Newark, New Jersey. Those artistic skills were honed while attending the first performing arts high school in the nation, Newark Arts High School.

    http://www.jasminemans.com/

  • 2015: Adam Gottlieb

    Adam Gottlieb is a Poet, Singer/Songwriter, Teaching-Artist who advocates for the power of the spoken word. He was featured in the film Louder than a Bomb, a documentary described as a "celebration of American youth at their creative best." 

    "None of this prepares the viewer for the bomb that is Adam Gottlieb (from tony Northside College Prep), whose first reading at the 20-minute mark, of a poem celebrating poetry, announces a promising new American talent. It’s difficult to resist the comparison to Allen Ginsberg in Gottlieb’s nearly breathless recitation, his use of incantation and rhythmic attack, and the sense of an epic unfolding before our ears. His subsequent reading, on his Jewish roots in Chicago, is pitched in an entirely different register and suggests a novelistic sensibility." - Variety

  • 2014: Juliette Fay

    Author Juliette Fay was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Worcester County Young Writers Conference. Students from around the area gathered to work with writing professionals and share their own work in front of their peers. Student slam poets who competed at the Louder Than a Bomb poetry slam in Boston performed, and writing mentors spoke at a panel on publishing.

    Shelter Me, Juliette’s first published novel, was designated as one of the ten best works of fiction in 2009 by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress. It was also named to the Indie Next List of the American Booksellers Association, was chosen as one of six novels for Target’s 2009 Bookmarked Club, and was a Good Housekeeping featured Book Pick. Her second novel, Deep Down True, was published in January 2011 by Viking Penguin, and was short-listed for the Women’s Fiction Award of the American Library Association. The Shortest Way Home, her third novel, was chosen as one of Library Journal‘s Top 5 BEST BOOKS of 2012: Women’s Fiction.

    JulietteFay.Com
  • 2013: Matthew Quick

    Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, which was made into an Academy Award-nominated film. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention, among other accolades. Q lives in Massachusetts with his wife, novelist/pianist Alicia Bessette.

Follow @WCYWC