Last Tuesday, November 18, sixth through eighth grade students who wished to go traveled to Graceland Unviersity in Lamoni for the annual Writers in the Middle conference. This meeting is designed to help young writers better improve their skills with a variety of workshops, including a session with a guest author or illustrator; the only requirement is a story or poem composed by the student. This year’s guest author was Avi, who has written over seventy books for young people and has recieved a Newberry Medal. In his presentations, the audience was allowed to ask him any questions they had. We were able to purchase some of his books, including Crispin: The Cross of Lead, Poppy, The Book without Words, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, and others, and most of us chose to get our books signed by him.
All students were required to attend an Author’s Chair session at one of three class “blocks,” where they would share their stories with ten or more attendees from towns and cities across the state. Other workshops were Stormy Writing, Hieroglyphics in 2008, Concrete Poetry, Dramatic Plays, Craftng Characters, Sing Fantastic Fantasies, R.A.F.T., Radio Broadcasting, Guest Author/Illustrator, and a Harry Potter session. After the third and final session, everyone gathered together once more for the Keynote Presentation with Avi, where he answered more questions and read passages from two of his books, The End of the Beginning and Iron Thunder. All students who attended enjoyed the experience and hope to go again.