Why one week? Why not two or more?
While students often say they wish the program were longer, we have found that a week is just the right amount of time to sustain a fun but intense pace. We are committed to keeping the program small and the quality of our faculty and staff high. Participants leave Reynolds inspired to continue writing on their own and are encouraged to maintain contact with their instructors and staff. The Reynolds week is often the beginning of a continuing writing relationship.
How is Reynolds different from other summer writing programs?
Founded in 1994, Reynolds Young Writers Workshop is one of the oldest summer writing programs for high school students in the country. We limit our program to 48 or fewer students in order to maintain a low student-faculty ratio (workshop groups are never larger than 12) and to preserve an intimate, relaxed atmosphere. Our faculty and staff are all highly experienced teachers and practicing writers with strong, longstanding ties to Denison. Our beautiful rural campus offers a summer haven for young writers, while the cultural resources of Columbus are a short half-hour away.
Is financial aid available? How do I qualify?
We offer financial assistance on an as-needed basis. We are very fortunate to have a generous endowment that makes it possible for us to accommodate most families’ needs. The financial aid application is included in the online application materials. We ask that you explain your family’s financial situation and how much you can afford to pay; in most cases, we do not require copies of tax returns or other forms. Please note that financial aid does not cover transportation costs.
Do you accept students who will be sophomores in high school in the fall?
No. The Reynolds Workshop is only open to rising high school juniors and seniors. We cannot make exceptions to this rule.
Where do Reynolds participants come from?
All over! About two-thirds typically come from the Ohio and surrounding states; in recent years, we’ve also have participants from Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. In recent years, we’ve had students from Canada, Pakistan, the Ukraine, and Zimbabwe as well!
How is the workshop structured?
Students participate in two small-group workshop sessions each day—one in the morning and one after lunch. The morning workshop groups cover the basics of writing in any form; the afternoon sessions focus in greater depth on two genres of your choice (e.g., poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction). Visiting writers also lead special workshops on several afternoons. The format of the sessions varies. On any given day, we may do writing exercises, discuss assigned readings, and/or workshop (critique) students’ working drafts. There is also time for individual writing and one-on-one conferences with our accomplished faculty members and teaching associate staff. The atmosphere is informal and relaxed.
I love writing poetry (or fiction, or nonfiction). Why should I spend time on the other genres?
We believe that all writers, and especially young writers, benefit from playing with various writing techniques alongside their preferred form. It’s important for prose writers to attend to the sound and rhythm of language, as poets do; conversely, poets learn a lot by experimenting with narrative structures, or different points of view.
Are there workshop groups that focus on fantasy or science fiction?
We believe that the basics of good writing apply to any form. Although our primary focus is on literary writing, we often read and discuss techniques for writing genre fiction too. Many of our participants and staff are avid fantasy and sci fi fans!
Will Reynolds help students write their college essays?
Not directly. The Reynolds Young Writers Workshop focuses on creative writing—poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. While we believe that most of the techniques that writers use are relevant to most forms of writing, we do not concentrate on academic or expository writing per se.
My high school doesn’t offer creative writing. Can I still apply? What should I send in for my writing sample?
Of course! We accept a range of students with different levels of experience, including many who have not had the opportunity to take formal creative writing classes in high school. While it is always best if you can send us some of your creative writing (even if you just wrote it on your own), you can also send an essay or paper you wrote for school.
Should participants bring work-in-progress, or do they create new work while at Reynolds?
Both. There is time to revise and improve work that’s already underway. We also expect students to do plenty of new writing over the course of the week.
How many students are assigned to a dorm room? Who supervises students in the dorms?
Dorm rooms are typically doubles. Our staff of teaching associates (all Denison graduates or current students) live in the dorms on the same floors as participants. Floors are segregated by gender. We never share dorms with participants in other programs on campus. All dorms are locked at all times and accessible only with a key card. We have a dedicated, secure common room with computers and printer on the ground floor of our dorm.
Are the dorms air conditioned?
Most dorms are not air conditioned, although all classrooms and other campus buildings are. Window fans are available upon request.
What happens after class and in the evenings? Is there free time?
Evenings are devoted to author readings by faculty, staff, and participants, leaving time for recreational activities such as swimming, volleyball, basketball, board games, ice cream, etc. Students normally have some writing and reading to do each night as well. We go on one excursion to Columbus (past venues have included Columbus Museum of Art and Ohio State University’s Wexner Center for the Arts). Transportation is provided by certified safe drivers in Denison vans.
How closely supervised will students be?
The Reynolds Workshop days are highly structured. There is little “down time” where students are not in class or at a program event. While Granville is extremely safe, we ask that students notify one of our TA staff or faculty if they go into the village. Students who drive their own cars to campus are not permitted to use them during the program week.
I had a fantastic time at Reynolds last summer. Can I come back a second time?
We’re sorry, but in an effort to give the maximum number of students the opportunity to experience the workshop, we no do not accept repeat participants.
I am planning to fly to Ohio from out of town. How will I get to Denison from the airport?
John Glenn Columbus International Airport is located about 20 miles east of Granville. Reynolds staff (all certified safe drivers) meet students at the airport and provide transportation to campus in Denison vans. The trip takes about 35 minutes. There is no charge for this service. We also provide return transportation at the week’s end. (Please note that early/late arrivals or departures may incur a charge.)
When do I need to arrive on campus for the workshop? When should I plan to leave?
Participants should plan to arrive between 1 pm and 5 pm on the first Sunday of the workshop week. Campus tours will be available for all family members/friends. If you are flying to Columbus, you should try to book a flight that arrives between 10 am and 2 pm. We cannot accommodate students arriving before the first Sunday.
The final event of the program is a celebratory banquet luncheon for participants and their families from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm on the Sunday at the end of the workshop week. Departing flights should be booked to leave between 3 and 5 pm that day. We do not recommend early departures, as the last Saturday night and the banquet are always highlights of the week.
When will we be notified of acceptance decisions?
We aim to send out notifications by email by the first week of April. Notification of financial aid awards is sent at the same time. In some cases, students may be placed on a waiting list. We typically clear the waiting list by the end of April.
When is payment due?
Once you have been accepted into the program, we ask that you secure your place with a non-refundable $100 deposit. The balance of the tuition (less the $100 deposit) must be paid by early May and is not refundable after that date except under extraordinary circumstances.
“The Reynolds workshop was one of the most helpful things I could have ever done as a young writer.”
“I never knew this many passionate writers my age existed. Reynolds showed me there are – and I can now call them friends.” – Liz Winhover
“Writing may be a solitary pursuit, but there is no more effective method of bettering oneself than working with others who share a passion for words. I have seen more improvement in my writing this last week than in the entire past year.” – Tommy Adamiak
“Reynolds isn’t like school. You learn through writing what you want, not what others want, and that’s priceless.”