Where am I?
Scholars Sharpen Writing at Kenyon
by Jack Kiehl, reporter
This past summer, four students—senior Kieran Connolly, and juniors Gabe Newsham, Adam Thorp, and Jacob Hilmes—spent two weeks writing at the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop.
The session took place in Gambier, Ohio at Kenyon College from June 24 through July 7. It drew over 200 writers from all over the country in addition to Puerto Rico and China.
During the two weeks, the writers were divided into eight small groups of around 13. Each day during the two weeks, the groups attended five hours of workshops, where they write fiction and poetry. They worked on pieces, eventually choosing one to read in front of the camp.
Standing in front of the 100 rising juniors and seniors didn’t end up being intimidating.
“By the second week you kind of knew everybody,” said Newsham. “A lot of time spent in the auditorium was your friends cheering for you.”
In addition to writing, many times during the two weeks writers read published pieces, sometimes from the Kenyon Review, the well-known literary magazine from Kenyon College. Much of what the writers read was contemporary poetry and short stories.
“(Kenyon) exposed me to a lot of different pieces of writing,” said Thorp.
The remaining hours of the day were spent meeting the wide range of people.
“Eighty percent of our time was talking to people,” said Connolly.
Though SLUH sent the most students to the workshop, the Jr. Bills branched out to make new friends.
“Just last week I had a two hour phone call with one of my friends (from the program),” said Newsham.
The session was not without its minor setbacks, however. About a week in, a storm left all of Gambier without power.
“All the lights were out in the dorm, all showers had to be taken in the dark, and the hallways were pitch black,” said Thorp.
To go to the Kenyon Workshop, applicants had to submit a 300-word essay in addition to a transcript, a counselor letter, and a teacher recommendation.
Students first heard about the camp when two representatives came to SLUH.
“One thing led to another and I was signing up (and) sending an application,” said Hilmes.
The four SLUH students left Kenyon with better writing skills and, more importantly, a greater desire to write.
“Before there was very few times that I would write. I would assure myself that I was a writer, but I would rarely ever write,” said Connolly.
The four bring their experience back to their SLUH co-curricualars. Thorp and Connolly both have roles on the Prep News, Newsham and Connolly are both editors of the Sisyphus and Hilmes has shifted his focus from cross country, writing more for the Prep News.
With better writing skills, the four all left glad that they had experienced Kenyon.
“It’s a great experience, one of the best things I’ve done,” said Hilmes.
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