One of Howell’s own has branched off and is teaching students from different cultures and nationalities about the power of expressing oneself through creative writing.

2005 Howell High School graduate Katie Prout is currently the Youth Programs Coordinator at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. This week, she is back in town to hold a creative writing workshop at her local alma mater and is promoting a pair of opportunities for students to take advantage of on the Iowa campus. During each 2 week program, students from different backgrounds will come together for morning literature seminars, afternoon creative writing workshops, and special events like book bindings and open mic nights in the evenings. While staying at the dorms on the University’s campus, attendees will also experience a number of special events and field trips during their stay in Iowa City. At the end, students will get to publish an anthology of their own work.

The programs are designed for students ages 15-18. The first one, Between the Lines: Identity and Belonging, will connect 10 students who identify as being Muslim with 10 who do not, from June 22- July 6. Prout says they will use writing as a way to establish empathy and diverse perspectives, while becoming more sure of their own identities, as well. This program is fully funded, including travel, to those who are accepted.

The second session, Peace and the Writing Experience, will have a more international flavor and will accept 10 U.S. students to join with 30 from the Silk Road land route. The students will explore topics like differences, creative ways to talk about those differences, and what it means to belong. This session has need-based scholarships, up to full funding. Prout invites all students, regardless of ability, gender or background to apply.

Students interested in applying for either of these programs can do so through the link below. (MK)