Special Programs

Writing the Tough Stuff for Teens Archive

Graduation reading for Writing the Tough Stuff

Friday, Dec. 13th 6:30-8:30pm​

White Whale Bookstore

4754 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA, 15224

All are welcome!

A Free 8-Week Writing Workshop for Teens

Apply here »
Applications are due by September 29, 2019.

The teenage years are a volatile stage, full of psychological and emotional change, when young adults often become aware of significant challenges and are expected to make important decisions for the first time. 

This intensive free on-site writing workshop is an opportunity for students in grades 9-12 to write about subjects and challenges such as sexuality, gender identity, peer and family relationships, bullying, mental illness, racism, etc.

During this multi-week workshop at Creative Nonfiction, participants will become part of a special cohort of young adults working together. You will be given the opportunity to share and reflect on the writing process; specifically, how writing about difficult topics gives the writer the opportunity to investigate their life and take ownership of their experiences. In addition to learning the basics of creative nonfiction, such as crafting scenes and characters, finding your audience, and revising your work, you’ll also receive training on how to prepare a portion of your work to be performed aloud at a final “graduation” event.

Workshops will be led by author Julie Albright, owner of The Writing Studio. She has 27 years of experience providing writing workshops, tutoring, and editing services for kids and adults.

Teaching assistant Bekezela Mguni holds a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh and directs the Black Unicorn Library and Archives Project. Her work celebrates memory, storytelling, and the relationship between literacy and liberation. A creative, queer Black Femme, she is also currently a member of BOOM Concepts Studios and serves as the Education Program Director for Dreams of Hope

What is creative nonfiction?

Simply put, creative nonfiction is true stories, well told—factually accurate, artful prose about real people and events. "Creative nonfiction can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir, or a poem; it can be personal or not, or it can be all of these." — Lee Gutkind. Learn more about the genre here.

Who should apply?

Any resident of Allegheny County in grades 9–12 who has a story to share. You must also be prepared to travel to the Creative Nonfiction Foundation’s workshop space (5119 Coral Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15224) for weekly meetings. All applicants must be available to attend workshops in Pittsburgh on the following dates*. 


The eight workshops will take place on Wednesdays, Oct 16, 23, 30, Nov 6, 13, 20 (not the 27th), and Dec 4, 11. The weekly workshops are tentatively scheduled to run from 6 PM until 8:30 PM each Wednesday. Dinner and snacks will be provided.

All accepted participants should expect to attend and participate in a “graduation” reading scheduled for the evening of Friday, Dec 13th, 2019.

Applications are due by September 29th, 2019. Submit your application here.