A packed house for literature!!
Our Teen Story Slam was a massive successful! It was a fabulous evening of story-telling from students in grades 7-12. Twenty-three brilliant young writers (and poised orators, no less!) read their original poems, short stories, and excerpts from their novels to a rapt, stand-room-only audience. Tables crammed with families, teachers, friends of readers, and lovers of literature offered huge rounds of applause and plenty of cheering. As co-organizer Margaret Nevinski pointed out, “When you’re pulling in more people for a reading than the World Series, you know you’ve got something special.”
The Teen Story Slam was a long time coming. We didn’t pursue the idea actively at first because, well, we writers tend to prefer working quietly by ourselves, sharing our work with only a select few. But it didn’t hurt to ask the students at our Teen Writers Workshop what they felt about the idea. Margaret and I were pleasantly surprised to hear several were game. A small Teen Story Slam organizing team took formation, consisting of Margaret and me, Jenny Bloom (teen librarian), and Jennifer Hager (editor and BARN Writers Steering Committee). With the support of Bainbridge Public Library, the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN), and Kitsap-area middle and high school creative writing teachers, we hosted our very first Teen Story Slam at Westside Pizza. We’d expected an intimate circle in a small corner of the venue. What we ended up with was a miracle.
One middle grade teacher, Brandi Bispham, created a special assignment just for the event, and was so pleased to watch five of her students take the mic with their prose. We were incredibly touched by both the students, and the community’s support. Westside Pizza generously agreed to donate a portion of the entire day’s receipts to our after school Teen Writing Workshop and our Teen Creative Writing Summer Camp! I’m so thankful for our community, and our teens! Here’s some feedback from our team:
Margaret Nevinski: “Some of the 7th graders were in my workshops for younger writers in the past. So cool that they are now in middle-school and going out into the world to read their stories! I was blown away by their stories and their bravery. WOW!!! So inspiring to see them standing up there and hearing their stories. And what a great crowd.”
Jenny Bloom: “I think it was a great success, an amazing turnout, and the writing was really very impressive.”
Rebecca Judd, Kitsap Regional Library Branch Manager: “Congratulations on a truly successful night; I’m thrilled at the turnout and that so many teens felt empowered to read. I believe it is a testament to the encouragement they have received from each of you. Thank you for putting together an evening that encouraged teen voice in such an impactful way.”
Thinking about a meaningful fundraiser for your school or nonprofit org? Consider hosting a story slam!