Butler Bridge Program
*** The schedule for Spring semester Bridge programming
will be released in mid-December. Please check back for
Writing the Butler Way
We are pleased to offer the Butler Bridge Program to students in
grades 3-12. The program draws on Butler's remarkable resources to
build a bridge between Butler and its community, as well as between
students who aspire to higher education and the professors,
professional writers, teachers, and college mentors who are
eager to share what they know.
Butler Bridge programs are designed to develop the writing
skills of pre-college students. Participation in such an
individualized writing workshop program will help students prepare
for college while also nurturing their talents and
us on Facebook!
Please note that registration is limited for many Butler Bridge
programs, as specified. To register for any of the
following programs, click here.
Writing Club: Second Saturdays
Our "Second Saturday" writing club meets monthly at the
Efroymson Center for Creative Writing. Each Saturday session
includes Poetry, Fiction, and/or Creative Nonfiction lessons.
Students meet with peers and a college mentor who leads the
workshop, engaging the students in thoughtful discussion about
writing. Note: This is not class! Workshops will offer a fun,
energetic environment for growing creative writers. Second Saturday
sessions and open workshops will be split up by three different age
divisions: elementary, middle, and high school.
Saturday, September 14th
Saturday, October 12th
Saturday, November 9th
Saturday, December 14th
Cost: $15 per session. Open to all age
The Bridge program offers single-day and multiple-session
workshops for students. These workshops are led by Butler faculty
and YA authors from the central Indiana community.
"Fundamentals of Mystery" with Ben Winters
Friday, September 20th. 7-9 PM
Edgar Award winning novelist Ben H. Winters leads a
criminally fun workshop on the fine art of suspense and mystery
fiction. Topics in this fast-paced two-hour workshop will include
how to invent fascinating detectives and dastardly villains, how to
build suspense, and how to plant clues where your reader won't find
them. Plus we'll be reinforcing all the stuff that all your writing
should have, whether it's mysterious or not: great characters,
vivid locations, and a gripping pace. You can expect to go home
with the complete outline for your mystery story, plus its
fantastic first page.
"Slam Poetry" with Allyson Horton
3 consecutive Saturday Sessions 1-2PM: Oct 19th, Oct 26th, Nov
Performance poet Allyson Horton will teach you how to rock
the mic and move the crowd during this lively spoken-word workshop.
During the course of three one-hour sessions, you will learn about
the electrifying history of the Slam poetry movement and how to
apply performance techniques to unlock the raw power of your voice.
The environment will be supportive and inspiring, equipping you
with the confidence to take creative risks during a mock Slam
competition at the workshop's conclusion.
"Finish It!" with Saundra Mitchell
Saturday, September 28th. 1-3PM.
Open to all grades 3-12.
When you're writing, it's easy to start, but sometimes hard
to finish. In this class, we'll discuss writer's block, writing
strategies, writing when the muse doesn't show up and a mysterious
method called BICHOK. After the presentation, we'll have a writing
intensive to FINISH IT! Students should bring a piece that's almost
finished but not quite, or be prepared to write a new flash fiction
piece (about 1000 words) from beginning to end. Younger students
will be expected to finish a demi-flash (about 500 words.)
"Building Character" with Chris Speckman
Sunday, November 17th. 2-4 PM
At the core of most great stories, there are strong, complex
characters that are both relatable and revelatory. In this
workshop, students will invent protagonists they will come to know
inside and out. By working through a fun and quirky questionnaire,
students will unearth details that will bring their characters to
life. Students will leave with a short draft of a story or poem
centered around a character they truly care about.
Meet the Staff:
Second Saturday Mentors
This year's mentors all have previous experience working at
Butler's Creative Writing Camp. Mentors are graduate students in
Butler's Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program and also
advanced students in Butler's undergraduate English writing
Farhad Anwarzai, HS mentor: a graduate student in
Butler's Master of Fine Arts program in creative
Luke Wortley, MS mentor: a graduate student in
Butler's MFA program in creative writing.
Amy Gaughan, elementary mentor: a graduate
student in Butler's MFA program in creative writing.
Kaveh Akbar, "floating" mentor: a graduate
student in Butler's MFA program in creative writing.
Writer's Workshop Teachers
Workshop teachers are all professional writers: either Butler
writing professors, Graduate Students in Butler's MFA program in
creative writing, or publishing authors from the Indianapolis
Ben H. Winters is the author of six novels,
including most recently The Last Policeman (Quirk), one
of Slate's best books of 2012 and an Edgar Award nominee for
Best Paperback Original. Ben's other books include the New York
Times bestselling parody novel Sense and Sensibility and Sea
Monsters (Quirk) and a novel for young readers, The Secret
Life of Ms. Finkleman (HarperCollins), which was a Bank Street
Best Children's Book of 2011 as well as an Edgar Nominee in the
juvenile category. Ben has also written extensively for the
theater, and his journalism has appeared in The Chicago Reader,
The Nation, In These Times, and elsewhere.
Allyson Horton, poet, has appeared on Showtime
at the Apollo (formerly It's Showtime at the Apollo!) in
Harlem, New York where her spoken-word performance at the historic
theater received a thunderous standing ovation. Horton was later
chosen by the tough Apollo crowd as the "winner" of the overall
competition. Horton is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana and
a graduate of Indiana University. Horton has performed her work
both locally and throughout the Midwest. Allyson Horton has poetry
published in the anthology Turn the Page and You Don't Stop!
Sharing Successful Chapters In Our Lives With Youth (2006) Say It
Loud Readers and Writers Series (2006). The poet also recites her
work around the city alongside some of Indianapolis' finest jazz
musicians in conjunction with the Indy Jazz Fest Band in a
collective effort to promote jazz music education throughout
Indianapolis schools. Allyson Horton resides in Indianapolis
and currently working on her MFA in Creative Writing at Butler
Saundra Mitchell is a YA author whose novels
include SHADOWED SUMMER, THE VESPERTINE, THE SPRINGSWEET and the
forthcoming THE ELEMENTALS and MISTWALKER. She's also the editor of
the forthcoming YA anthology, DEFY THE DARK. For almost fifteen
years, she was the sole screenwriter for the Book of Stories, On
the Road, Fresh Films and
Girls in the
Director's Chair short film series. In 2008, she headed and
instructed the first Fresh Films Emerging Screenwriters program,
and she was the Head Writer and an Executive Producer for Fresh
Films and Sprite Refreshing Films. Her debut novel, SHADOWED
SUMMER, was the 2010 winner of The Society of Midland Authors Book
Award for Children's Fiction and a 2010 Edgar® Award Nominee. It
was chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection and an ALAN Pick in
2009. Her short story "Ready to Wear" was nominated for a 2007
Pushcart Prize after appearing in Vestal Review Issue 27. Her short
fiction and non-fiction has appeared in anthologies TRUTH &
DARE, FORETOLD, DEAR TEEN ME and DEAR BULLY.
Coordinator, Mindy Dunn has a B.A. in
English from Butler University and an M.F.A in Creative Writing
from Purdue University, with a specialty in poetry. Mindy is the
Administrative Specialist for the Efroymson Center for Creative
Writing and has taught at Butler in the English, First Year
Seminar, and Honors departments for five years. She has also worked
as a teacher and mentor at Butler's creative writing camp for 8
Assistant Coordinator, Chris Speckman has
a B.A. and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Butler University. He is
the director of the university's Writing in the School
program, which has been honored with a Jefferson Award for Public
Service and a grant from the Jerry L. and Barbara J. Burris
Foundation. He will be a first-year teacher at Butler in the
English and First Year Seminar departments in the fall. He has also
worked as a mentor at Butler's creative writing camp for two
If you have any additional questions about the Butler Bridge
Program or its programs, please email Chris at
Second Annual Writing Contest:
2013 Booth Tarkington Prize for Young Writers
This year's contest is closed. We thank all of the students who
submitted their work, as well as all the parents and teachers that
encouraged them to do so. This year we had over 60 submissions-
triple that of last year! We encourage all of our participants to
continue in your writing efforts. Your continued participation is
the lifeblood of the contest, so please submit again next year!
We are pleased to announce this year's winners:
High School Poetry: Sarah Panfil "In the Kitchen"
High School Fiction: Carley Drake "Practice and Apologies"
Middle School Poetry: Samantha Downton "Façade"
Middle School Fiction: Hannah Plunkett "Just Run"
Middle School "Other Genre": Valerie Kraft "Sunset and Stars
Over the Ocean"
Elementary Poetry: Samantha Lewis "The Eagle"
Elementary Fiction: Siriphin Vonphrachanh "Black Rabbit's
Elementary "Other Genre" : Kyriana Bures "Walking in a Winter
We look forward to reading your creative work!