The Lloyd-Jones Residency for Versatile Writing visits West High School

Tatiana Stepanek, Photo Editor & Photographer

On Wednesday, May 24, the Lloyd-Jones Residency for Versatile Writing: Master Classes for Iowa’s Young Writers paid a visit to the News Lab and Introduction to Newspaper classes at West. Graduates of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa taught the young writers how to use their minds in writing.

“[I want to spark] self discovery. I want to be surprised by what they make,” Teaching Fellow Dina Peone said.

Peone’s master class, titled “Fun House Mirroring: Finding the Self in Unexpecting Places”, took Beak ‘n’ Eye adviser and English teacher Alissa Hansen’s students to a reinvigorating place with nonfiction writing.

“In [the blind drawing activity] I’m hoping that they will gain some uncertainty about their relationship between their vision and their ability to render a person truthfully. By being drawn by someone else and then interpreting the character, it’s a shortcut to being surprised about how you appear,” Peone said.

In another master class titled “Devising Descriptions”, Teaching Fellow Ethan Madore taught students that writing is not something to be afraid of and how to step out from behind cliches and turn writing nonfiction into adjectives that engage readers and allow them to feel a connection on a deeper level.

“I want them to think that writing is something approachable and something that they can get good at,” Madore said.

In his class, the students would view a rose in multiple different ways; by being someone else interpreting a rose and by taking the rose apart. The rose got smaller and smaller as it went around the circle and soon enough the rose was just a stem. Each student had a chance to help deconstruct the rose.

“They don’t have to wait for inspiration and they can do things they find interesting [to help inspire],” Madore added.

The Lloyd-Jones Residency for Versatile Writing plan to come back again for next year’s young, burgeoning writers.

Senior Benjamin Heirigs visualizes himself in another dimension.
Participants blindly drew each other’s faces.
The rose without anything left.

Junior Austin Richards reaches into a hat to pick out a card with a personality on it.