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Butler Bridge Program

Butler Bridge Program

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 college mentors who are eager to share what they know.

Our Vision: Butler Bridge programs combine learning, laughter, and compassion to inspire young writers and readers. The programs connect bright, young people with talented mentors and like-minded peers to nurture intellectual and artistic discovery. 

This learning-rich community rejects a narrow version of education, in which, too often, assessment structures learning. We reach for a goal that is harder to define: enhancing creativity, developing the imagination, finding our own voices. We help our students and campers be so engaged with the joys of the literary arts that they don’t even notice how much they are learning.

If you have any additional questions about the Butler Bridge Program or its programs, please email the Bridge Program Director, Elisabeth Speckman, at

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For accessibility information or to request disability-related accommodations, please visit

Writing Club

Meeting on once a month on Saturdays, our writing club is housed at the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing. Each Saturday session includes Poetry, Fiction, and/or Creative Nonfiction lessons. Students meet with peers and a graduate student 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. Writing Club sessions will be split into three age divisions: elementary, middle, and high school.

All sessions run from 1:00-3:00 PM and meet at the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing (530 W Hampton Dr):

Cost: $15 per session. Open grades 3–12. 


We are pleased to offer our Saturday Writing Club on the following dates during the Fall 2018 semester:

Saturday, August 25
Saturday, October 20
Saturday, November 10
Saturday, December 1
Pre-registration is required. To register, visit our Eventbrite profile page here and click on the individual dates for which you would like to register. 

Writer's Workshops

The Bridge program offers single-session workshops that engage students on a specific writing skill, genre, or topic.

For Fall 2018, we are offering the following specialty workshops:

Divedapper Poetry Carnival 

We are pleased to offer three 45 minute poetry workshops for students grades 3-12 during the Divedapper Poetry Carnival. Workshops begin at 3:00pm at the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing. 

Cost: Free. No registration required. 

For more information about the Divedapper Poetry Carnival and its adult workshop offerings, click here. This year's featured poets are Nicole Sealey, Ross Gay, and Tarfia Faizullah. 

Publishing Talk with Annie Sullivan

Come celebrate Butler MFA alumnus Annie Sullivan's debut novel, A Touch of Gold, with us! Hear an excerpt from the novel and have the chance to ask Annie questions about writing and the publishing process.

Cost: Free. Open to grades 3–12. Parents and guardians are welcome to attend this special event.

Seating is limited. Reserve your space by clicking here today!

Goblins, Ghouls, & Goosebumps! Writing Spooky Fiction

Love scary stories? Want to try your hand at writing one? Join us for this fun workshop on all things spooky in fiction. Students will examine successful scary stories and be led through prompts and activities to help them discover and unleash their best (worst) on the page. Workshop led by beloved Bridge mentor Camara Wallace. 

Students are encouraged to come in costume if they would like. A prize will be given for the most spirited attendee. 

Cost: $25. Open to grades 3-12. 

Click here to register. 

In-School Workshops

Interested in having Bridge come to your school? Contact us today about bringing our program to you! Email 

Booth Tarkington Prize for Young Writers



The winners and runners-up may be found on our blog site, with links to the published winning works:


Submission Deadline August 31

Open to grades 3-12

Prizes offered in Fiction, Poetry, and Other Forms for each division

2018 Special Guest Judge: Annie Sullivan, Butler MFA graduate, author of A Touch of Gold

Students may submit in the following categories:

Poetry (up to 3 poems)

Fiction (up to 5 pages, double-spaced)

Other Forms (up to 5 pages, double-spaced)

Students should submit via email to

Please use the email subject line "Tarkington Prize" and be sure to include your name, grade level, and contact information on your submission. Submissions should be attached in .doc, .docx, or .pdf form. 

Winners will be announced in September. 

1st prize winners will receive a $25 Amazon gift card, a certificate, and their work published on our blogsite. Runners-up will receive a certificate. 

Meet the Staff:

Writing Club Mentors

All mentors are outstanding graduate students in Butler's Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.

Malachi Carter, Lead High School mentor. 
Camara Wallace, Lead Middle School mentor.  
Kaleigh Respecki, Lead Elementary mentor. 
Andy Lesh, Floating mentor. 

Bridge Director

Elisabeth Speckman proudly received her MFA in Fiction from Butler in 2016, and has a BA in Theatre and English-Creative Writing from Denison University. A current Butler adjunct instructor, she served as a Visiting Instructor from 2016-2017. While a graduate student at Butler, Elisabeth was involved in the Butler Bridge Program as an elementary mentor, graduate marketing assistant, and Assistant Coordinator. She also served as both a poetry and fiction reader for Butler MFA's literary magazine, Booth, and as an FYS teaching fellow for two years. She has been the lead elementary teacher for the Butler University Creative Writing Camp since 2015, having been an elementary mentor before that. Elisabeth enjoys acting and directing, and has taught and directed children’s theatre for CYT Indy, The Artists’ Studio, Fishers UMC, and Carmel Theatre Company. She mainly writes young adult fiction, plays, and screenplays, but enjoys all forms and genres of writing. Her plays have been workshopped and produced in Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Connecticut, and British Columbia. Her plays have been published in Stage It 2: Thirty Ten Minute Plays and she has nonfiction forthcoming in Midwestern Gothic

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 community.

Reminder: All Bridge events are held at the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing, located at 530 W. Hampton Drive, unless otherwise noted.