While much of the writing world was on strike last year, the writers at the Telling Room were taking time out to help young people find their muses, making the rest of us feel like money-grubbing erudites. “We believe the power of stories can literally change the lives of young people and change the fabric of the community at large,” says their pleasantly non-corpspeak mission statement.
And change the community they have. The Telling Room’s collection of 15 immigrant and refugee teenagers’ coming-to-America stories, I Remember Warm Rain, was the number two best-seller at Longfellow Books last year, just after the final Harry Potter book. (And excerpts from that project, published in the Portland Phoenix, took second place for racial and ethnic coverage in the New England Press Association’s 2007 Better Newspaper Contest.)
Founded in 2004 by three local writers, the Telling Room has presented famous authors in a Living Writers Series, arranged in-school workshops, opened a location on Commercial Street for drop-in tutoring, and begun an annual Maine Writers On Maine forum for high school students and teachers.
Standing firm behind their belief that writing should be fun, the Telling Room encourages young people to tell their stories with games and field trips designed to awaken the writers within each of the kids lucky enough to participate. Since all of the Telling Room’s programs are free, students of all backgrounds are able to take advantage of the opportunity to create with guidance from a group of writers who inspire with their passion and creativity.
Telling Room | 225 Commercial St, Portland | 207.774.6064 | tellingroom.org