Writers in Schools

Administered by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, Writers in Schools is a literary arts program dedicated to developing the next generation of readers.

Since 1989, Writers in Schools has been bringing authors into public and public charter high schools to meet with students. PEN/Faulkner provides free copies of authors’ books to students and free curricular materials to instructors. By providing resources to students and instructors and by meeting students where they already are—their own classrooms—Writers in Schools aims to create a lifelong love of literature among today’s young readers.

Our Mission

At PEN/Faulkner, we believe that personal engagement with literature has the capacity to enhance the lives of every individual. We work to build a reading audience that will foster a literate and creative society next year, next decade, and for generations to come.

Writers in Schools, our 25 year-old literary enrichment program, is at the very heart of this work. The program provides free copies of contemporary texts to students, provides teachers with high-quality teaching materials, and brings authors face-to-face with students in order to generate genuine excitement about literature. The program enriches the experience of reading by providing students and instructors with a singular educational opportunity: to meet with and learn from an author whose work they’ve studied.

PEN/Faulkner aims to serve a broad population of readers – Writers in Schools works with middle and high school students of all ages and abilities. Programs have been adapted for use in libraries, jails, teen parent centers, and homeless shelters.

After a quarter century spent connecting authors with DC schools, PEN/Faulkner is poised and ready to bring our programming to new cities, schools, teachers, writers, and, most importantly, new students.

Our Services

Free Books

The principle aim of Writers in Schools is to put high-quality contemporary literature into the hands of the next generation of readers. Every time you schedule a Writers in Schools visit, we will send you a class set of a book by the visiting author. That way, each student has his or her own copy to work with as you read and discuss the book, and to have signed and take home after the visit. Participating students will have the opportunity to own the book that they’ve worked with, and will begin to build their personal libraries.

Curriculum Assistance

PEN/Faulkner staff has prepared extensive curricular resources for each available text. The packets are accessible and free both for teachers participating in the Writers in Schools program, and also for teachers in other regions who are interested in incorporating work by contemporary authors into their curriculum. Each packet includes three lesson plans, and links to resources on a variety of topics related to the book. Use of curricular materials is not mandated for participation in Writers in Schools, but classroom preparation should equal the materials in scope and thoroughness.

Author Visits

Since 1989, The PEN/Faulkner Foundation has arranged for contemporary authors to visit high school classrooms, sharing their work and the experience of writing it with the next generation of readers. The program facilitates these small, rigorous discussions centered on a given work to deepen student understanding of and investment in the text. These high-quality literary experiences demonstrate the fact that literacy is a social activity, building the foundation for a lifetime of engagement with literature.