November 6, 1998

15th Annual New England Young Writers' Conference for High School Juniors Seeks Applicants by Nov. 20 Deadline

"The aura of Robert Frost and his love of these spectacular mountains and rolling green fields of Bread Loaf seem to capture a certain feeling among the participants."---Washington Academy teacher and New England Young Writers' Conference participant Jean Plummer of East Machias, Maine

The 15th annual New England Young Writers' Conference (NEYWC), which will take place at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, Vt. from May 13-16, 1999, is seeking applicants.

The nonprofit NEYWC brings together 200 dedicated high school writers-primarily juniors, although sophomores are sometimes accepted-from throughout the New England and New York region. Students share manuscripts, attend readings by authors, and study the craft of writing with a staff comprised of professional writers and college-level teachers of creative writing. High school writing teachers also participate as conference members and as dormitory chaperones. A number of the guest authors attended the conference themselves as students.

According to Don Mitchell, a conference organizer and lecturer in the English department at Middlebury College, "Students and teachers who come to the conference find that living and working in a mountaintop community where everyone takes creative writing seriously is an unforgettable experience."

The conference is jointly sponsored by Middlebury College, three high schools in Addison County-Middlebury, Mount Abraham, and Vergennes Union High Schools-and Otter Valley Union High School in Rutland County. The conference is organized by the members of a planning committee: two teachers from each of the four sponsoring high schools; Mitchell; Ted Perry, Middlebury College professor of theatre and art; and two other College representatives. Their goal, according to Perry, is to "give young writers an intense, creative weekend which will stimulate their energies for years to come."

Mitchell adds that, "for many high school students, this is the first time that they are part of a community of creative writers. They're finally with a group of peers that shares an interest and a skill that their own friends and classmates may or may not appreciate."

Interested high school students should speak with the head of their English departments. S/he can provide an application form and further instructions on the application process, which includes a writing sample. Each school may submit no more than two applications, with the exception of the four sponsoring schools which may each send 12 students to the conference.

The conference fee is $180 per student. Middlebury College donates the use of its Bread Loaf campus, keeping the fee at half of what it would be otherwise. Many high schools offer scholarships for students accepted to the conference.

All applications for the 1999 conference must be postmarked by Nov. 20, 1998. For further information, contact Karla Van Vliet of the NEYWC by mail at P.O. Box 309, Bristol, VT 05443; by phone at 802-443-3071; by fax at 802-453-2185; or by e-mail at Visit the conference Web site at