Teen Writers Institute 2022 (In-Person)


The Teen Writers Institute is back in-person for 2022! This summer writing program for teens offers a curriculum designed to develop and support students’ imaginative and academic writing across literary genres. The Teen Writers Institute features guest presenters, authors and various workshop choices for 7th to 12th graders.


This year, we'll be offering two sessions:


Session 1 runs from June 27 - July 1, 2022. It will be in-person at San José State University.

Session 2 runs from July 5 - July 22, 2022. It is completely online and asynchronous.

2022 Classes

SESSION 1 COURSES | June 27 - July 1, 2022
$425 Early Bird Special until April 3rd
In-person on the
San José State University campus.

COURSE 1: Novel Writing

This course will cover everything you ever wanted to know about writing a book—and culminate with you writing one! We’ll tackle concepts, first lines, chapter structure, those sagging middles, and punch-powerful endings. While writing, we’ll work on ways to keep up motivation, tackle writer’s block, and avoid creating another unfinished work. Students should have a working knowledge of genre and basic story structure prior to taking this class and will be expected to write. Laptops equipped with WORD preferred.

Please note that many of the students admitted into our Teen Novel Writing Program begin with this class as well as Once Upon A Novel (taught online in Session 2 of the Teen Writers Institute). Students will walk away from these courses with more than enough pages to get them through the application process for the Novel Writing Program!


Author in Residence Hannah Jayne decided to become an author in the second grade and since then has published over 15 books. In addition, she has taught Novel Writing for SJAWP since 2015. Learn more about her at https://www.hannah-jayne.com/.

COURSE 2: The Creative College Essay

Now more than ever, it seems that the writing students do in college essays matters in shaping their fate for university admittance. Students must be able to write creatively and academically in order to capture the hearts and minds of the admissions team. As such we will take creative approaches to writing in order to center each student's story in a meaningful way while at the same time dawning our academic caps in order to critically examine structure and the craft moves that writers employ in order to narrate their experiences with sophistication. In this course students will dig into the rich tapestry of their experience to pull out the bright shining moments that have shaped them as human beings. Then, we will take these defining moments and narrate them with power and authenticity that will move readers and compel them to deep thought and positive action. This course will make use of the UC and Common Application questions as a base from which to write about our powerful journeys so that students can get a head start on college essays. Students will author their pasts to become agents of their future destiny in this interactive and hands on writing course.

Writing workshop will play a central role in this course. Each student should be prepared to workshop their writing with peers several times over the course of the week. In addition, each student will have a one-on-one conference with the instructor to support them through developmental edits and the revision process. Students will not receive line edits on their final essay but can purchase line edits as an add on for an additional fee.

Jane Gilmore is a teacher at Lynbrook High School, Associate Director of the San Jose Area Writing Project, and Director of our Teen Novel Writing Program.

Mrs. Gilmore was crucial in elevating my UC essays into unique and engrossing stories. Beyond this, she taught me invaluable writing lessons I was able to carry over to my Common Application. Without her help, constant support, and lessons, I would not be attending Caltech today.

~ Nathan Ng, Caltech for Mechanical Engineering Class of 2024
- Also Admitted To: Cornell University (as a John McMullen Dean's Scholar), Santa Clara University (with SCU Dean's Scholarship), UC Davis, UC San Diego (with Regents Scholarship), UCLA, Cal Poly SLO, and SJSU

I am so appreciative of Ms. Gilmore’s help. Her guidance on my essays’ clarity and grammar was instrumental. She was approachable, caring, and knowledgeable. I committed to UC Berkeley, my top choice!

~ Hawk Azordegan, UC Berkeley Class of 2024
- Also Admitted To: UC Berkeley, Boston University, Santa Clara University, University of Oregon

I can say with full confidence that I would not have been accepted into one of the top universities in the world without Ms. Gilmore's guidance and hands on support with writing my college essays. She took my essays from basic and boring to touching and compelling. She helped me see not only all that I have accomplished but also who I want to become. Thank you Ms. Gilmore!

~Jackson Evans, McGill University Class of 2023
- Also Admitted To: UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, University of Oregon


Writers Playground was cancelled as of 4/5/22. We will be offering refunds if your student was interested in taking that class, or we can switch your student into the 2 remaining courses listed above.

SESSION 2 COURSE | July 5 - July 22, 2022

Completely online and asynchronous.

Once Upon a Novel

Any novelist knows the hardest part of writing is sitting down in the chair and working out your creative muscle by practicing your craft every day. It is not the most brilliant-minded people who become published, but rather those who tone their writing through regular word workouts. This class will support students in creating a writing routine by providing prompts and inspiration on a daily basis, Monday-Friday, for three weeks - the same amount of time it takes to form a habit - in an online setting. From “Once upon a time,” through the major plot line of a story, this is the perfect course for those students looking to enroll in our Novel Writing Program, or simply for those looking for a creative way to spend their slower summer months. Students will gain access to the online classroom on July 5th and will be able to submit pages through July 22nd.

Please note that this course is entirely online and asynchronous, meaning that students will NOT be meeting with the instructor at a set time everyday. Students will be working online entirely at their own pace. Each morning a new writing prompt will be posted for students in the online classroom. Students will work in their own time to write pieces inspired by the daily prompt and will post in the online classroom by the end of each day. Students are welcome to post the pages they wrote or they may choose to simply update the class on their writing for the day. The intention of this course is to foster a love of writing and to take the beginning steps of drafting a novel. As such this will be a low-stress, high-inspiration environment and while students will be encouraged to share their work they should feel no pressure to do so. This course is priced lower than our other Teen Writers Institute classes as there will be no formal lectures and it will be run with a simplified format of daily writing exercises for students to engage in and share with a community of peers. Please note that while the instructor will regularly write quick notes of encouragement to students, there will be no formal extensive feedback in the basic package for this course. Students may purchase an add on to submit up to 2500 words for detailed instructor feedback after the first week of the course.

Please note that many of the students admitted into our Teen Novel Writing Program begin with this class as well as Novel Writing (taught in person in Session 1 of the Teen Writers Institute). Students will walk away from these courses with more than enough pages to get them through the application process for the Novel Writing Program!

A minimum of 9 students must be enrolled for this course to be held online.