On Thursday, August 6, 2015, the Center for Writing Excellence hosted an Open Mic Showcase for its Little Falls Library Young Writers Workshop. Nearly fifty friends and proud family members of the writers attended the event, which took place on the Montclair State University campus in Cohen Lounge, Dickson Hall. It was the culmination of four weeks of summer writing, made possible through the partnership of the Center for Writing Excellence and the Little Falls Public Library. This is the second summer the CWE has organized a program for young writers within the broader Montclair State community.
Nikki Bosca, CWE Program Coordinator, began the evening’s festivities by welcoming both the writers and their families, explaining more about the program to all the attendees. She then described the course of events over the four-week workshop, noting the many activities and exercises writers participated in to strengthen their creative writing projects. Linda Belen, Little Falls Library’s Children's and Programming Services Specialist, shared her enthusiasm and appreciation for the collaboration between the University and the local public library. Along with Ms. Bosca, CWE Assistant Director Alicia Remolde and consultants Laura Lubrano and Emily Lagg coordinated and planned the workshops and Open Mic Showcase. Also in attendance was CWE Program Director Dr. Melinda Knight.
After introductions, writers then came to the front of the room to read their work one by one. A dozen talented young writers, ranging in ages from 10-17, shared the original stories and poems they developed through the workshop. The pieces ranged from the spooky and mysterious, including one about a secret box hidden in a forgotten attic, to the suspenseful, detailing the fate of a police detective hunting down the man who killed his father. There were also stories about the lonely childhood of Cruella Deville, portraying her as a misunderstood villain, and the unexpected complications of moving to a new place. Poems included a comical tale of sibling rivalry, an adventure on an unending spiral staircase, and a portrait of a home full of both chaos and love.
As each writer shared his or her piece, families took pictures and applauded as a certificate of participation was awarded. After the readings concluded, CWE staff members talked with participants and their families further, extending the offer to each young writer to visit the Center for Writing Excellence in the future for any additional projects. One grandmother, an alma mater of Montclair State, spoke about how proud she is of her grandchildren to be working with the University and that she encourages them to one day attend Montclair State.