What Can We Do for Our Country?
In light of our recent political turmoil and deep historical burdens, Write for Mississippi is planning a series of creative writing workshops this spring that puts guest writers into public high school classrooms in all 82 counties of Mississippi to generate poems, stories, and essays around the prompt "What's a problem in your community? How could you try to fix it?" and then to publish the best of the resulting pieces in a book that could be redistributed across the state. Our belief is that this work would illuminate the wide spectrum of issues that confront our young people; provoke students into thinking of themselves as agents; bring our diverse communities together in productive dialogue; use creative writing as a springboard for positive action; and position Mississippi as a leader in what could become a broader national movement. The project is titled What Can We Do for Our Country? and over forty esteemed writers have already expressed interest in leading workshops.
Because this is a new initiative, we’re hoping to raise startup funds to cover the costs of: printing and mailing informational letters and lesson plans to all 1500 public school English teachers in Mississippi; constructing and hosting a website; publishing the final product; and distributing copies of the book to the students and schools involved.
We deeply appreciate any amount you can contribute, and we’re excited to see what bold ideas our young people have for all of us.
-- Katy Simpson Smith
Novelist, MS Native, Product of Jackson Public Schools