The Writing Institute was created in 2004 to address the fact that many young writers and artists in New York City lack access to professional writing instruction beyond the limited resources of English departments in overtaxed public high schools.

The Writing Institute provides teens with writing instruction and activities, free of charge. The Institute produces three- to five-week series of weekly writing workshops, taught by PEN Members and Associate Members. It also hosts presentations on everything from storytelling techniques to scholarship opportunities for young writers. PEN plans to coordinate trips to readings and other cultural events of interest to young writers; an anthology of Writing Institute student works is planned for the spring.

Students are accepted into the Institute based on successful application and interview. The Institute looks at applicants’ writing skills and more, seeking out students who show curiosity and the courage to try out new ideas, as well as willingness to share their ideas and encourage others.

Recent authors/lecturers
Emmeline Chang, Rita Williams-Garcia, Kirmen Uribe, Elizabeth Macklin, Angie Cruz, Monique Truong, Michael Patrick MacDonald, Regie Cabico, Colum McCann, Marina Budhos, Faith Adiele, Patricia Spears Jones, and Martha Southgate.

Open Workshops are open to the public. RSVP is required. Workshop Series enroll a maximum of 12 participants, based on application and interview.