The Carnegie Center invites young women and nonbinary writers in grades 9–12 to apply to the Young Writers Project, a FREE series of intensive workshops focused on creative self-expression through writing. The selected group of participants will attend seven sessions (see below). In these workshops, experienced writers in their 20s and 30s will mentor on a variety of genres, encouraging participants to look within themselves for issues that are important in their lives. Participants will also learn techniques to deliver an effective literary reading and other business-of-writing tips. The program will culminate in a public reading and a Writing Mentor Day. Previously called the Young Women Writers Project, the Young Writers Project welcomes writers of all historically underrepresented genders who celebrate varied expressions of feminism.

WHERE & WHEN: All sessions take place from 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. either virtually via Zoom or at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning (251 West Second Street, in downtown Lexington, KY). Participants must commit to attending all seven sessions. Tentatively, workshops will be February 11 through March 25.

February 11: Cohort Success Workshop – Elizabeth Kilcoyne

February 18: Setting as Character – Olivia Cole

February 25: Developing Authentic Characters – Ashley Blooms


March 11: Novel Forms – Mariama Lockington

March 18: Poetry Boot Camp – NitaJade Jackson

March 25: Graphic Memoir – Danni Quintos

April 8: Poetry and Pop Culture – Savannah Sipple

WRITING MENTOR DAY: Participants will be required to attend a Writing Mentor Day at a local elementary school (typically one weekday in April from 3-5 PM; exact date/time TBD). The Carnegie Center can provide a letter to schools requesting early dismissal if needed. Participants will work in pairs, small groups, or individually on creative writing exercises with 4th and 5th grade girls. Cash stipends are provided for Mentoring Day participation. 

PUBLIC READING: High school participants will be invited to showcase their writing talents in a public reading on Wednesday, June 7, 5:30pm. Light refreshments will be served. Participation in the public reading is not mandatory, but strongly encouraged. Cash stipends are provided for participation in the public reading. 

COST: There is NO application fee or participation fee. Students admitted to the program will receive full scholarships covering all instruction and materials. Participants are asked to bring their own bag lunches, as lunch will not be provided. The Young Writers Project is funded in part by the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

APPLICATION MATERIALS: To be considered for the program, please submit the following:
a completed cover sheet 
a one-page letter stating your interest and motivations for participation
a writing sample (5 pages maximum)
a photo/video release form (if you do not give us permission to use your photo, please make a note on the form)

The cover sheet and the photo/video release form are included in the downloadable application (see below). 

This program welcomes participants with diverse expressions of cultural identity; from varying communities of place; and with a range of worldviews, races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and levels of ability. 

Please email Z Jackson at with any questions.

The 2023 cohort will be limited to 15 Young Writers.

Applicants will be notified no later than February 1.

We hope to see you soon at the Carnegie Center, home to writers, lifelong learners, & the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame.

Join Us

251 West Second Street
Lexington, KY 40507

(859) 254-4175

Monday – Thursday: 10:00AM – 7:30PM
Friday: 10:00AM – 5:00PM
Saturday: 10:00AM – 2:00PM
Sunday: CLOSED

Monday – Friday: 10:00AM – 7:30PM

Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED