Saint Mary’s Hosts 10th Annual “Get Inked” Teen Writing Conference
Teens Virtually Join from Across the Globe to Improve Writing Skills
This weekend, over 80 teenagers will virtually attend the 10th annual Get Inked Teen Writing Conference, hosted by Saint Mary’s. Available to students in seventh to 12th grades, the conference brings together young writers and nationally awarded authors for a day of writing and learning. The all-day event is typically in person on campus, but will be online for the second year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The online format allows more authors to be included, as well as a national audience. This year, four young adult writing awardees, and an editor will be featured, including National Book Award finalist Kekla Magoon. As for the national audience, attendees stretch as far as New Zealand, who will be logging on at midnight local time and participating throughout the early morning hours.
With the $70 registration fee, students receive signed copies of the keynote speakers’ books, a Get Inked notebook, and an experience not many young writers get. Get Inked founder and education professor Katherine Higgs-Coulthard said this is an opportunity unlike any other for young writers. “There’s lots of things out there for theater, sports, music, but not a lot for teen writers,” Higgs said.
Participants will begin the day by building a sense of community and getting to know each other’s writing styles. Then the pens hit the paper with a writer’s marathon. Students take turns prompting each other for writing exercises that last a few minutes each. Keynote speakers and workshops fill the rest of the day.
It was important to Higgs to keep the experience similar to those that she’s attended as an adult writer., “The students are in charge. They get to sign up for which keynote speaker they want to attend a breakout session with, which writing workshops are in line with the areas they see as their needs as writers. They get to decide what they want to learn about, and how they want to improve their own writing,” she said.
When Higgs first started the conference she wondered if teens would give up an entire Saturday to attend the conference to write, and the answer was a resounding yes. “Not only yes, but at the end of the day they don’t want to leave,” she said.