‘Write Like Us’ Event Encourages Young Writers Through Mentoring
The tall man in the pink hat strides to the dais, a wide smile across his face. He speaks for about a minute, then turns to the others on the stage.
“I just want to pause for a second, it’s so nice to be here reading with y’all,” he says, drawing laughter from the audience.
Best selling author Ross Gay was the headline speaker at North Hennepin Community College’s ‘Write Like Us’ event. ‘Write Like Us’ is an equity-based creative writing program at five Twin Cities metro community colleges, including NHCC.
“Students of color can be paired with local writers as mentors, then those local writers here in the Twin Cities that are mentoring our students will be mentored by national authors,” says NHCC Write Like Us Program Coordinator Kara Olson.
The mentor-mentee relationship creates a safe and empowering environment for aspiring writers. NHCC creative writing student Trei Betow is being mentored by St. Paul writer Taiwana Shambley.
“Every time he and I meet he has a new book idea and he’s just this endless source of energy,” says Shambley.
Shambley, who’s transgender and Black, says it’s still a challenge for BIPOC and LGBTQ people to get their work published. But she’s hopeful young writers and programs like ‘Write Like Us’ are starting to turn that page.
“I think our young adults, our gen(eration) Z, our millennials are really being intentional in shifting us toward (equity),” says Shambley.