Writers in the Schools
The Hudson Review’s long-established Writers in the Schools program at high schools in Harlem, the Bronx and Newark brings to students the excitement of meeting and relating to professional writers, so that they will discover within themselves the incentive to develop their reading and writing skills and an appreciation of good literature. Each semester, we select writers of poetry, fiction, or memoirs from a recent issue of The Hudson Review to read and discuss their work with junior and senior classes at the schools. In preparation, the students are given copies of the relevant issue, and the teacher incorporates the selection into the class curriculum to familiarize them with the material. In order to engage them further and give them experience in public speaking, the students are also required to compose questions in advance for the discussion period. Once the reading is concluded, the discussion often turns to the craft of writing. After the event, the writers autograph the copies of the magazine, and students are encouraged to keep them and begin building their own personal libraries. Our goal is to foster a love of good literature and to develop avid readers among students of diverse communities.
Under a federal grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Writers in the Schools has now been expanded to partner with the City University of New York’s College Now program, making The Hudson Review’s program available on CUNY’s 17 campuses. Sponsored by CUNY and the New York City Department of Education, College Now offers a program of free college-credit courses for at-risk high school students, giving them the opportunity to get a head start on a college education. The Hudson Review’s editors, working with College Now English teachers, bring the magazine’s writers into their classrooms for readings and discussion of their works once students have studied the work in advance.
Writes of Passage: Coming-of-Age Stories and Memoirs from The Hudson Review
Collected from twenty-five years of The Hudson Review, these pieces by both emerging writers and established storytellers—including Elizabeth Spencer, William Trevor, and Tennessee Williams—were first published in the magazine based on their own merits, without regard to a developing genre. But the editors became aware of a unifying theme through the magazine’s Writers in the Schools program, which brought many of these works to students in Harlem high schools. It became clear during lively and revealing classroom discussions how many of these stories and memoirs addressed the students’ own experiences and conflicts about coming of age as they learned the true value of integrating the lessons of literature into their own lives. Their enthusiasm, and that of their teachers, became the impetus for this collection.
Writes of Passage has now become a textbook in colleges and in similar Writers in the Schools programs in other cities.