“The most valuable part of the Workshop was that I got to live in a community of writers.”—Josh, grade 10
“I have learned that my heart is deeper and fuller and richer than I thought it to be.”—12th grader
A New Vision
Fir Acres Writing Workshop is an established summer writing program with a bold new vision.
At Fir Acres, we aim to model excellence, creative experimentation, and fun inside the classroom and on the page.
Our local and national faculty, all authors, with graduate creative writing degrees, recognize the value of mentoring young students and the importance of encouraging each student’s creative energies. The program’s Director, an author and Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, also understands how the experience of working with generous faculty mentors has the power to change young lives. We aim to do just that.
For the 2019 summer session, our faculty—poets, novelists, essayists—share a commitment to investigating and teaching the many ways the creative process can challenge us and transform us. Each faculty member is excited to instruct and explore and write alongside students this summer!
The Fir Acres Community
Fir Acres Writing Workshop is open to rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders who are eager to practice writing in its many varieties.
For two weeks, students join approximately sixty peers, accomplished faculty, resident advisors, and distinguished guest writers. What binds our community is the quest to find our voices as writers, to experiment as often as possible, and to practice and promote the habits of reading, writing, and daily artistic observation.
At the end of each week, everyone in the program gathers for a community reading, where every participant, including faculty, reads a brief writing excerpt.
Students at the Fir Acres Writing Workshop come from a range of backgrounds. In the past, Fir Acres welcomed writers from throughout the United States and international students from countries including Canada, Indonesia, Portugal, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
As a member of our community, each student writer gets a preview of college life in an on-campus residential setting and gains writing experience off-campus, in and around the city of Portland.
We understand the importance of a small, focused class setting. Workshop classes are intimate—twelve or fewer students.
Workshops are led by experienced faculty and informally assisted by resident advisors. Inside and outside the Workshop, students receive meaningful feedback on their work from their instructors and one another. Through careful reading, sustained experiments with style and form, and robust discussion, writers hone their craft and develop their own voices.
During the two weeks, participants assemble portfolios containing informal writing, works in progress, and finished pieces. After compiling each portfolio, students meet one-on-one with their Workshop faculty leaders to receive comments and suggestions. Midway through the first week, students choose an elective to explore during the second week. Participants also contribute their work in a final anthology.
These portfolios, readings, and anthology provide opportunities for students to share what they have discovered about their voice and their writing during the Workshop.