Instructor: Melissa Onstad
High School, Grades 9 -12
July 20 – July 24
Do you identify as LGBTQ+? The world needs to hear from you! Queer voices are gaining greater prominence on Young Adult bookshelves — perhaps your book, story or poetry collection could be next. In this one-week camp, writers will use poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction to engage directly with their LGBTQ+ identities. Writers will ask: What part of my story feels important to tell right now? What do I wish people understood about me or my life? What genres feel best suited to writing about my experience as a queer young person? In each session, the instructor will highlight a YA novel that explores queer themes. Then we will move on to writing prompts, writing time, and opportunities for peer feedback. We will examine how writing craft can make our message more powerful. On the last day of class, campers have the option to sign up for a one-on-one video conference with the instructor to discuss the writer’s strengths and next steps in writing.
Classes will take place on Zoom. Each student will need an email account the instructor can use to share materials and give feedback.
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60 MINUTES EACH
MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY
Instructor Bio: Melissa Onstad
Melissa Onstad is a queer parent, reader, writer and longtime middle school teacher. In her role as a Gender and Sexuality Alliance advisor, she has supported adolescents and teens in transforming their school communities into more LGBTQ+ affirming spaces. Helping young people define and pursue their own goals is central to her teaching. Melissa recently left the classroom to write YA and middle grade fiction featuring queer characters. This year, her work was awarded first prize in fiction from Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing. Originally from small-town California, she now lives in Brooklyn with her wife, whom she has married three times (it’s a long story). They have two children, ages 10 and 7. Melissa gets a thrill out of matching readers with books, so you can find her middle grade and YA book recommendations on Instagram @heymsonstad.