New Working Writers Speaker Series at Willow

by | Jan 9, 2018 | Homepage News, News | 0 comments

Writing Professionals Share Their Craft with Willow Middle School Students


Willow is excited to introduce a new speaker series for Middle School students. The series, which began on January 8, features five enriching lectures and workshops presented by six talented literary professionals. Each speaker relies upon creativity and mastery of the English language to excel in his or her field, from publishing and editing to poetry, comedy, and music.

Each session is designed to educate students about professional literary opportunities and to expose students to different writing methodologies. Students will learn useful tips and strategies to improve their own reading and writing. These working writers will inspire our students to expand their own literary acumen and appreciate the transformative role that writing and communication play in our society.


“We want to bring literacy to life for our students and to provide them with as many authentic reading and writing experiences as possible,” 6th grade English teacher Meagan Coy said. “The speaker series is just one more way to achieve this goal.”

On January 8, the series began with Steve Kandell, writer and editor at BuzzFeed. Kandell founded the features department at BuzzFeed and has worked at a number of media outlets, including Maxim, SPIN, and Esquire. On Monday, he spoke to students about the importance of pursuing their passions to stay inspired as a writer.

“It’s about finding out what you’re interested in and exploring why you’re interested in it,” Kandell told students. “It may sound cheesy, but in that way, writing helps you figure out who you are. If you have something to write about that you are really excited or curious about, you’re going to keep pen to paper.”

He explained that this passion is what drives most writers. Kandell described the working world of writers as a field of people driven to communicate. “Most writers who do this as a job, they don’t have a choice,” he said. “They’re trapped, in the best way. They feel like they need to write.”


The next speaker in the Working Writers series will be poet Jacob Winterstein. He will host three sessions for 6th grade students, starting on January 24.

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Director of Enrollment Management Lisa VanderVeen is here to help! Contact her at (908) 470-9500, ext. 1100 or via email.

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