To read or to write?

Young Authors to change to Author in Residence event


Photo by Photo By Adam Monnette

On February 26, students and parents will come to the PAC to listen to special presentation.

Adam Monnette and Melela Khek

After sponsoring Young Authors for over 25 years, the Young Authors Committee is switching to an Author in Residence Event to make the event more inclusive and to help inspire writing in teenagers.

“The [main] reason we changed Young Authors to Author In Residence is that we were trying to make it more inclusive. We wanted to make it less competitive since not everyone is a strong writer but being able to listen [to a person talking] is a lot easier and it lets there be that flexible kind of fun that goes along with [the Author in Residence],” Alba Pollak, 8th-grade Literature and Language Arts teacher at Middle School North, and a member of the Young Author Committee, said.

The first ever Author in Residence is Gordon Korman. He will be presenting about writing and inspiration at the elementary and middle schools starting tomorrow, February 26.

By changing the program, Pollak hopes students realize how important reading and writing is and how it can be exciting and inspiring to watch someone do something they love as a middle schooler. In the future, Pollak is hoping to “make it so we can have both [Young Authors and Author in Residence]” to help appeal to more students.

Young Authors is a competition between students to see who has the best writing skills. In February, students write a 500-word story, and that is submitted to Scholastic Book. Then, a panel of judges reads the submissions and sends awards to the students. Even though elementary students cannot compete in Young Authors, in the 5th grade they are introduced to Young Authors and how it works.

However, despite this, many students are looking forward to the change this year.

“I love the way that [the schools] are changing Young Authors to the Author in Residence because I personally love to read and write, but I know that not everyone loves to do that. With them trying to make sure everyone is happy, everyone who likes reading or writing gets a lot of fun out of the event,” Aris, a 5th grader from Lisa Rausch’s class at Seth Paine Elementary School, said.

 Korman will be talking about how writing is something anyone can do at any age. He wrote his first book, This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall when he was in 7th grade. Since then, he has published over 80 books, several topping the New York Times Bestseller list.

“[The committee at MSN and at MSS] chose him because he was a teen writer and got published when he was in the 10th grade. We hope to show that if you set your mind to do something, you can achieve whatever you want to do,” Pollak said.

Korman will be visiting the elementary and middle schools February 26 – 28. There will be a special presentation at the high school for parents and students on February 26 at the PAC at 6pm. There is no cost but pre-registration is recommended. You can pre-register here.