More than 300 guests—Badgerdog campers, their supportive families, and proud teaching artists—attended this year’s Young Authors Reading & Anthology Launch at the Central Library on October 5.
“The Young Authors Reading and Anthology Launch is hands-down my favorite event of the year!” said Programs Coordinator Katelin Kelly. “When I see a camper pick up their anthology for the first time and flip through the pages to find their name and their writing inside, it’s a moment of pure magic. To find yourself in the pages of a book is deeply empowering.”
Nancy Hoover, art director at the Girls’ School of Austin, revealed the two pieces selected for the 2019 Rise and Emerge anthologies: fourth-grader Luella Fincher-McConnell’s pastel, Summer Peaches, and recent GSA grad and current New School artist Anabelle Abel, with her piece, I Never Learned to Fly.
Nearly 40 campers from the summer program were honored with the Literary Citizenship Award for their commitment to supporting fellow writers in the classroom and beyond, and 13 selected campers shared their work onstage. Austin native, writing advocate, and friend of The Library Foundation Forrest Preece awarded prizes to eight winning writers from the 2018 and 2019 Rise and Emerge anthologies.
Badgerdog alumna and novelist Lorena Lore attended the reading and met both former teaching artists and fellow writers. “Badgerdog was such an affirmative experience in my passion for writing,” said Lore in her recap of the event, “and I’m always happy to see other students benefit from it.”
Teaching artist and Typewriter Rodeo cowboy Sean Petrie typed an on-the-spot poem inspired by an audience suggestion—summer—and captured the longing for that time when imaginations run wild at Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp. As the program concluded, children and families visited creativity stations that inspired storytelling with typewriters, Scrabble tiles, magic cards, and even Nancy Drew mystery novels.
The event was not only a chance for families to create with their children, but also to see these young writers receive their copies of Rise and Emerge. Students autographed the pages, proud to see their work in print.
“I often hear educators talk about the importance of children seeing themselves in the characters they read in books,” said Kelly. “How rare and amazing is it for a child to see themselves (literally!) in a book that they helped write? I want Badgerdog to give all children the gift of being seen, feeling affirmed, and knowing that their story is worth sharing with the world. This is why Badgerdog exists. This is why I do this work.”
The Library Foundation’s Badgerdog Creative Writing program allows writers of all ages and skill levels to examine the techniques of literary artists and experiment with language to communicate experience and meaning. Our goal is to empower Austinites to develop the skills necessary to communicate effectively and beautifully, to amplify individual voices, and to share in a love of reading and writing. Learn more about the Badgerdog program!