By Holly Breuer
If you walked by the Trustees Room on November 6, you might have seen about 30 girls sitting in rows of chairs facing the front of the room. You might have thought they were in trouble, on some kind of secret committee, or perhaps even part of a cult—at this point, all kinds of rumors have come floating down the cafeteria hallway. It seems about time to set the record straight.
These girls are the Winsor Writers, part of a program established two years ago through a gift from alumna and Winsor parent Nancy Rappaport ’78 and pioneered by English teacher Mr. Pool as “a little support group for students who are already writing on their own outside of class.” Students come to the program based on their engaging in creative writing of all kinds—novels, short stories, and poetry, among other varieties—in their free time.This group then comes together three times a year, once each in the fall, winter, and spring, to meet with visiting writers and learn about the writing and publishing process. Blair Hurley ’05, who wrote extensively as a student at Winsor, completed an MFA in creative writing from NYU, and is now writing her first novel and teaching at several Boston-area colleges, visited Winsor most recently. Leila Sales ’02 who followed her love of writing to a position as an assistant editor at Viking Children’s Books and to the publication of her first young adult novel, Mostly Good Girls, is among the other authors that have graced the Trustees Room since the program’s beginning.
The goal of the Winsor Writers program is to connect students with authors familiar with the writing and publishing processes in the hope that girls will leave with a better understanding of and renewed interest in their writing pursuits. Caroline Ognibene ’14 remarked, “Winsor Writers is the perfect forum for kids who write outside of school to learn about the independent writing process and get exposed to the writing world.” In the words of Mr. Pool, the program is “small so it can be manageable and special for serious writers who aren’t finding opportunity in their Winsor courses”, but he would certainly be willing to speak with any student interested in joining.
Despite the furtive glances of passersby and rumors about secret societies, the Winsor Writers are just a bunch of girls with a love of writing and a program to call their own.