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KNOXVILLE – High school students and teachers from around Tennessee will gather at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Saturday, March 28, to learn how to be better writers.

The Brian N. Conley Young Writers’ Institute is sponsored by UT’s Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund and the Brian Conley Creative Writing Endowment.

“YWI offers a day of free writing workshops for area high school students and their teachers,” said co-director Casie Fedukovich, a graduate student in English. “Students take classes based on their creative interests, from writing and acting monologues to free-verse poetry to fantasy writing. Teachers enroll in peer-centered classes with focuses on writing and teaching writing.”

This is the 16th year for the event, and 115 students and 20 teachers have signed up for Saturday’s workshops. Registration for the event is closed.

“This YWI is the most successful since I began co-directing in 2005,” Fedukovich said. “This year, we have students coming in from as far away as Memphis. Knoxville-area high schools are also well represented.”

Each workshop will last about an hour and cover a multitude of topics. The genres range from “Writing Believable Characters” and “Fantasy Fiction” to “Creative Nonfiction” and “Performance Poetry” to “Publishing” and “Writing Personal Myths.” UT graduate students and local practitioners will lead the sessions.

“The workshops allow students to interact with peers with similar interests, share work, and also gain small-group instruction from a professional writer,” Fedukovich said.

Co-director of the event is Tim Sisk, a graduate student. English Professor Marilyn Kallet, a nationally recognized poet, is director of YWI and is overseeing Saturday’s event.

Teachers’ classes, also on the UT campus, will be led by Upper Cumberland Writing Project of Tennessee Technical University, which is a branch of the National Writing Project (NWP) located in Cookeville. This organization provides educators with leadership and professional development opportunities. NWP is a network of 200 sites, each of which is co-directed by faculty from a university and works with local schools to offer programs for professional development. The YWI contacted this organization to help with Saturday’s event.

“Teachers will work closely with the NWP teacher counselors on fun and effective strategies for implementing writing in the high school classroom,” Fedukovich said.

All classes will be held in UT’s Humanities and Social Sciences Building.

For more information about the Young Writer’s Institute, contact Casie Fedukovich at

Students and teachers from the following schools have signed up to attend:

Knox County:
Austin East High/Magnet
Bearden High School
Central High School
Christian Academy of Knoxville
Fulton High School
Knox Catholic High School
The Episcopal School of Knoxville
Farragut High School
Karns High School

Anderson County High School
Community House Cooperative (Newport)
Oak Ridge High School
St. George’s Independent School (Memphis)


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

Bridget Hardy (865-974-2225,