Teen Ink London Writing Program MAG

By Christine I., Poolesville, MD

     Last year, I was searching for writing contests to enter as part of a creative-writing class assignment. I happened upon a nonprofit organization called The Young Authors Foundation that publishes a magazine written by and for teens. I had not been browsing their website for long before I happened upon their elite London Writing Program. I filled out an application and asked two teachers for the required recommendations. Telling myself I had no hope of getting in, I promptly forgot about it.

Some time later, I got a phone call from the publisher of the magazine. He talked for a full ten minutes about the great opportunities the program had to offer before I realized I had been accepted. I held the phone at arm’s length to protect him from my squeals. I hadn’t even told my parents I was applying to the program!

Those two weeks were an opportunity to study and learn in London. It was less expensive than doing all the same activities on my own because of traveling in a group, but I still had to pay my way. Imagine my mother’s surprise when I trundled downstairs with the news. She was in shock for some time (“Writing? Calm down, Christine. What does this have to do with London?”), but eventually agreed that I could attend.

I would give anything to do the writing program again. I spent two wonderful weeks in the heart of London with 27 other teen girls and six adult chaperones. We stayed in a University College London residence hall, had classes every morning plus hours of writing time every day, and explored and enjoyed London every afternoon and night. We saw plays, went sightseeing, met authors and royal ushers, and went on private tours of palaces and Parliament. I befriended a group of Scottish students who were also staying in the dorm, and I still get the odd email from two of them. I have, of course, kept in very close touch with the American ladies I traveled with on the program.

I have so many amazing and strange stories that I would not have if not for the program I had the good fortune to discover. Everything seemed to be happening in the United Kingdom while we were there: The G8 Summit was in full swing up in Scotland, Bono was rocking out at the Live8 concert just down the street, London won the 2012 Olympic bid while we walked the city, and the terrorist attacks curtailed our morning classes. We cheered with the Brits when they won the bid and we cried the next day as the city was drowning in a chaos of sirens. And yet, I have never seen a city pull itself together so well as I saw London under apparent siege. It truly was something to be proud of.

As our Scottish chef in the cafeteria said, “Don’t worry, me lassies. London will still be a beautiful city when this mess blows over.” He was right; it still is a beautiful city and I sincerely hope I will be able to return soon.



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This article has 6 comments.


Maddie B said...
on Oct. 16 2013 at 5:26 pm
It would be lovley if you could post this link to the program :) 

on Aug. 15 2011 at 10:52 am
AllCaughtUp BRONZE, Shelton, Connecticut
2 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."
-JK Rowling (as Albus Dumbledore, of course)

That sounds absolutely fabulous. What an experience!

on Apr. 30 2011 at 9:48 pm
WindDancer GOLD, Lexington, Kentucky
10 articles 3 photos 77 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's time to start living the life you've imagined"
- Henry James

"I read to escape, I write to confront."

Lovely! You are lucky to have such an experience. I'm jealous!

on Jun. 16 2010 at 8:07 pm
soletmar BRONZE, Dobbs Ferry, New York
3 articles 24 photos 65 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you wanna be a dancer dance/ In you wanna be a miner mine/ If you wanna dress like somebody else/ Fine fine fine/ Cause what the hell is wrong with expressing yourself/ And trying to be free?"
Draco: "You know they don't have dances at pigfarts."

i would love to go. it sounds absolutely amazing!! you dont by any chance have the link do you?

on Jun. 15 2009 at 3:14 am
GreenDayFan SILVER, Phoenix, Arizona
7 articles 3 photos 134 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Every story has an end, but in life, every ending is just a new beginning."
-Uptown Girls

sounds amazing and what a experience you know

jdenise4life said...
on Oct. 14 2008 at 4:57 am
Amazing to get such a wonderful experience, once in a lifetime. I happen to be in school, living in London still when this happened. London is one unique place, and be happy that you had the opportunity to experience it one-on-one. Until now, they never fail to remember those days, having a 3 minute silence on the London bombing anniversaries.




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