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Oregon Writing Festival 


The Oregon Writing Festival takes place annually each spring, sponsored by OCTE.  Writers in grades 4-12  from across the state of Oregon gather in small groups, listen to published authors talk about their craft, share their work with peers from other schools, and compose new pieces in workshops run by local authors and teachers. Parents can also attend a workshop aimed at support budding writers at home.

The goals of the Writing Festival are:

  • Cultivating a love of writing in students and teachers
  • Honoring the work of outstanding student writers
  • Connecting student writers with Oregon authors and other student writers
  • Helping to hone students' writing skills

Three Ways to Get Involved:

  1.  School/District Participation
    • Districts are responsible for getting students to and from the Festival site, for obtaining and forwarding parental permission forms and student registration forms, for paying the $40 registration fee, and for furnishing the Festival with one teacher for every 10 students, or portions thereof, to serve as a day group leader.  Intent to Participate Form
  2. Day Group Leader
    • You can be involved in this energizing event by serving as a Day Group Leader, which involves escorting a group of 10 students at the 4 - 5, 6 - 8, or 9 - 12 level throughout the day and facilitating the session where students read the writing sample they brought for critique by the group. Interested?  Please complete this form.
    • Workshop Leader
    • You can also engage as a Workshop Leader. As a Workshop Leader, you prepare a writing activity for a group of 15 - 20 students that takes about 2 - 3 minutes to introduce; the students write for 30 - 35 minutes and then they share their work for 15 - 20 minutes (total session time: 1 hour). Workshop Leaders teach two one-hour workshops (sometimes spaced between morning and afternoon) to two different groups of students at one of these grade levels: 4 - 5, 6 - 8, or 9 - 12. As a Workshop Leader, you can join us for breakfast and lunch, receive the much-coveted Holy Grail of writing: the Oregon Writing Festival coffee mug, and the chance to hear wonderful keynote speakers. 
    • Workshop Proposal Guidelines:  Workshops are designed for students to write under the guidance of experienced teachers. Please prepare a writing prompt, introduce it briefly (in no more than 2 - 3 minutes), and allow maximum time for students to write; then share their work in a read-around, with brief comments by the Workshop Leader. The purpose of the workshop is to assist and encourage the students' writing. They benefit from active involvement in writing. Workshop Leader Proposal Form due April 1.  

    Adult Workshop

    An adult workshop will be offered for parents and teachers, conducted by Laurie Dougherty (Seaside School District), a past president of OCTE.

    Student Writing Sample Guidelines

    The general guideline for students' work is that it be a quality, finished product of their finest writing. They should bring writing that has been revised (based on some response from teachers, or parents, or other students), proofread, and put together in a polished final form. The Festival is a celebration of the best work of our participants, and we expect them to bring work of the highest standards.

    Students may write in any form or genre they choose, because the Festival is a celebration of all forms of quality writing--e.g., poetry, short stories, personal narratives, science reports. Writing should be school-appropriate to grade level--no gratuitous violence, language, or explicit sexual content.

    Final drafts may be handwritten, typewritten, drawn, calligraphed, or word processed by their authors. The writing may be illustrated. Again, the main standard is quality.

    Length: Up to 5 pages, but the reading aloud of it cannot exceed 4 minutes; longer pieces should summarize the rest.

    Students should practice reading their pieces aloud with feedback from teachers or parents--so they will be prepared to give a stimulated, clear reading in their sharing groups.

    Writing samples (bring 12 copies) should include the author's name, school and address, and grade.

    Rick Hardt, Festival Chair

    Student Registration Form available through School District contact only.

    For additional information please contact:

    Heidi Hanson, Registrar

    Rick Hardt, Festival Chair

    2024 Author Participants

    Waka T. Brown, grades 4-5

    Waka T. Brown was born in Topeka, Kansas, of Japanese immigrants who made sure that she grew up bi-lingually, including living with her grandmother in Japan.  A graduate of Stanford, Brown has published short stories, a memoir, several books and screenplays, and she has directed several films.  She won the 2024 Oregon Literary Arts award for her newest book, The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura.


    Tina Connolly, grades 6 - 8

    Tina Connolly writes fantastical stories and books for kids and teens, some of them are serious and some involve flying bananas.  She has received numerous awards.  Books include the Ironskin trilogy, the Seriously Wicked series, and Glitterpony Farm.


    Chelsea Pitcher, grades 9 - 12

    Chelsea Pitcher writes twisty mysteries, complete with faeries, Dark and Bright Queens, and a human boy, Taylor.  Pitcher explores the consequences of bullying and social stigmatizing.  Books include The Last Faerie Queen, and The Last Changeling.

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