Novelist Edwidge Danticat, on writing for Youth Communication

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“Youth Communication
was my
first byline.”

Thank you to YC alumna Edwidge Danticat, a MacArthur “genius” and two-time National Book Award finalist, for leading an online workshop for our teen writers last week. 

Did you know that Edwidge Danticat’s first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, was inspired by a story she wrote for Youth Communication at the age of 14, called “A New World Full of Strangers”? She shared what it was like to publish her story as a teen in the 1980s: 

“I was so shy in school. Writing was a tool for communicating who I was without having to be extroverted. It was a way for me to say something about myself, and about my culture. ” 

Edwidge encouraged the teen writers to “Go deep in there…where it hurts.” She urged them: “There are places where you will ask ‘Ugh, should I go there?’  Those are the places you need to go. The space of discomfort where it’s messy and ugly.”  

Since 1980, we have helped more than 2,500 teen writers to go where it’s “messy and ugly.” Their stories have inspired and informed more than 2 million readers. Our writers change the world by helping their peers advocate for themselves, persist through challenges, and pursue their goals. 

We need your support to continue this powerful work. Your donation helps us amplify young people’s voices and empowers them to change the world. 

Thank you for your commitment to young people, and happy holidays!
yc_admin Youth Comm

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