Pellissippi State hosts free workshop for young writers

Young writers who want to hone their craft and learn how to get their works published have the opportunity this November at the fifth annual Young Creative Writer’s Workshop at Pellissippi State Community College.

The day-long event for area high school students and Pellissippi State students is scheduled for 9 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, on the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus, 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike.

Students may attend all or part of the event. All workshops and lunch are free, but space is limited. Students can register at

“We feel it is vital to encourage young authors since they are the dreamers, the poets and the true visionaries who will lead us into the future,” said Pellissippi State Assistant Professor Patty Ireland, who organizes the workshop. “There is no power greater than that of words, and we want to provide an opportunity to encourage and inspire young writers in our area so that they may use their words to reach others.”

The Young Creative Writer’s Workshop has grown each year, from fewer than 20 participants its inaugural year to 120 students in 2017.

This year’s Young Creative Writer’s Workshop will feature sessions on fiction, poetry, songwriting, screenplay writing and publishing led by both Pellissippi State instructors who are published writers and by award-winning professional writers.

Students who attend the entire event will have the opportunity to choose three 45-minute workshops over the course of the day in addition to a featured workshop with nationally recognized poet Lisa Coffman, who also will be providing a keynote address during lunch.

The Young Creative Writer’s Workshop will include a “Writer’s Room” session as well, during which professional writers will answer students’ questions one-on-one.

“Students will have the opportunity throughout the day to meet and interact with Pellissippi State professors, professional writers, students and staff,” Ireland said. “At the end of the day, attendees may perform their original works at a ‘showcase’ event, to which family members and high school instructors are invited.”

New to the Young Creative Writer’s Workshop this year is the “Lenox Avenue Jazz Café,” a creative space that will allow attendees to share their original work with one another and with workshop leaders who gather between sessions to chat with them. The café will feature specialty coffees and pastries, along with decor and live music focused on a Harlem Renaissance theme, and those who do not wish to share their work in real time will have the option of uploading their work to a social media site created for the workshop.

“Also new this year are our publication workshops, sessions specially designed to orient young writers to the basics of how to get their works published,” Ireland added.

The Young Creative Writer’s Workshop is sponsored by the Pellissippi State Foundation, Pellissippi State’s Common Academic Experience and In/Out Pizza. For the complete workshop schedule and registration form, visit

To request accommodations for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email