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Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop: Countdown to Summer

Kenyon College

Welcome back to our new series Countdown to Summer, in which we investigate the precollegiate summer programs that serve America's best and brightest! Last time we covered the Telluride Association Summer Program, which many of you applied to with our help - we're keeping our fingers crossed for acceptance! Today, we'll be going into detail on another particularly prestigious summer camp, this one specifically for aspiring young writers: the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop. Here's a quick run-down.

• Deadline: March 1

• 2 weeks long

• June 23-July 6 OR July 14-27, 2019

• Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry

• Personal essay, transcript, and letter of recommendation necessary to apply

• Open to ages 16-18

• Total cost $2,375

• Financial aid available

So what sets Kenyon apart from other high school writing camps? Well, for one thing, it's the lovechild of the Kenyon Review, a literary journal that's been around since 1939. And it's still going strong today if its Wikipedia article is anything to go by, as the nonprofit journal to win the most O. Henry Awards for short stories ever. Not bad!

Thankfully, the Workshop avoids the crash-and-burn stereotype that comes with children of celebrities. For one, its campus is ridiculously beautiful (Kenyon College, alma mater of popular young adult novelist John Green). But more than that, the program delivers on its promise of a transformative literary experience. In accordance with the workshop's emphasis on community, students have the opportunity to attend guest lectures by established authors, as well as to read their own work aloud nightly. Daily timed writing exercises are designed to get the blood flowing (and the words too). Though the program is highly selective, 40 states and several foreign countries represented the year I was admitted, and one of the most amazing parts of the workshop is simply being able to experience the diversity of perspectives.

This wider community is then split into several smaller classes, in order to keep student-faculty ratios low and allow more time for personalized instruction. Reading as well as writing is prioritized, in order to offer a wider literary perspective. After work is done for the day, there are optional social and literary activities, and weekends are devoted to the same. Overall, though, the aspect of Kenyon that its alums most consistently reminisce about is the friendships made there - there is something to be said for being surrounded by a community of like-minded peers, especially when you can alternate passionate study with light-hearted goofing off. All in all, if you're a high school student who wants to better your craft while feeling like you're living at Hogwarts, you might as well shoot your shot and apply - after all, you can only attend once.

Applications for the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop are due March 1. Email us at for a personalized critique!


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