Dallas sends young authors to Portland

Festival helps students improve their writing

DALLAS -- Ten future writers from Dallas will have a chance to hone their skills at the annual Oregon Writing Festival May 4.

Students from Whitworth, Oakdale Heights, LaCreole Middle School and Dallas High will attend.

"It really is an exciting time," said Carla Streng, a language arts teacher at Dallas High.

"There are so many hundreds of students there who have a passion for writing."

More than 1,000 students are expected to attend the festival, held at Portland State University.

The students at the day-long festival are divided into groups according to their grade level. Each group will attend large sessions, where an Oregon author will speak; workshops, where they can learn new writing skills; and sharing sessions, where each student will share a piece of work.

"The students all share their pieces with the others and ask for feedback," Streng said.

All the students' work is compiled into a book.

"It's really great for students who have not had this type of publishing opportunity before," Streng said.

Senior Joshua Cook is looking forward to the sharing session.

"I've never really had a good perspective on my writing from someone else," he said.

"I hope I can get that."

Junior Meghan Mcnab hasn't decided yet what piece of her work she wants to bring along.

"I think it will be a poem I wrote awhile ago, but I keep revising it and changing it," she said.

"I'm just interested in seeing what other people say and meeting other writers."

In the large group sessions, students will hear from authors who live in Oregon.

Eric Kimmel will speak to the fourth- and fifth-graders. He specializes in re-telling folk tales, such as stories from Africa about Anansi the Spider.

Middle-schoolers will hear from Virginia Euwer Wolff. Her book "True Believer" won the National Book Award.

Craig Lesley, who was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, "The Sky Fisherman," will talk to the high school students.

Students attending the festival were selected by their teachers for their writing ability.

Dallas students attending are:

Whitworth Elementary:

Samuel Derrick, Lindsey Nusser and Lindsay West.

Oakdale Heights Elementary:

Emily Davison.

LaCreole Middle School:

Alyssa Bruhn, Kodie Goodwin and Janet Roberson.

Dallas High School:

Grant Smith, Meghan Macnab and Joshua Cook.

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