"A New Era in Art & Literature"
The Young Writers’ Endeavor workshops and all associated events aim to assist young Baha’i writers in developing their writing skills as a tool for service that can respond to the unique challenges of this age.
We see writing — in any context where it takes place — as a tool that can bring about the betterment of society, not simply a solitary hobby. We hope to encourage young authors to pursue writing seriously in any genre they enjoy and feel comfortable bringing their unique backgrounds and skills to the writing industry, all while using language to inspire, motivate, and bring knowledge to others — whether through poems on social justice, short stories about fantasy or horror, or a comic about aliens!
Our goal is for this space to be one of the many “creative means to strengthen bonds of friendship, and to foster among themselves and those known to them spiritual consciousness and qualities of tranquillity, confidence, and reliance on God.” (The Universal House of Justice, Naw-Rúz 177).
Over the three weeks of the workshop, with daily activities and opportunities to work individually and in teams, we foster a friendly, collaborative, and hardworking environment where participants can dive into various genres, develop new writing skills, and see how their writing craft can contribute to the Divine Plan through reflection and action. The program helps them develop professional skills such as reading their work to a group, providing and accepting feedback from fellow writers, writing in teams, and delivering projects on short deadlines.
As facilitators, we approach workshop participants as our colleagues, regardless of their age. We serve as guides and advocates for them both during the workshop and outside of it, but they are also our teammates and collaborators — people whose writing moves and inspires us, and from whom we draw inspiration from when writing and serving.
The Young Writers’ Endeavor is open to any young writer between the ages of 12 and 18 who has access to the internet, no matter where they are in the world. Some of them are only beginning to discover their interest in writing; others have been developing their craft over many years. Some live far from any Baha’i community; others are at the forefront of Baha’i community efforts in their country. Some are learning how to combine their writing with other forms of art, such as illustrations, spoken-word poetry, music, and dance; others will use this opportunity to meet friends who can inspire them to start new projects. All of them have something to share with the world — and the workshop gives them a chance to explore that.
Over the last few years, the Young Writers’ Endeavor has shown the great potential young writers have to build new communities and support existing ones. Outside of the workshop, participants have begun to explore collaborative projects of their own, sometimes alone and sometimes in groups: from online poetry clubs, to Baha’i-inspired pieces, to potential workshops for other art forms. Their parents have also grown closer, supporting each other in their quest to provide their creative children with the resources to grow both spiritually and in their writing skills.
In 1932, Shoghi Effendi wrote: "It is certain that with the spread of the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh a new era will dawn in art and literature. Whereas before the form was perfect but the spirit was lacking, now there will be a glorious spirit embodied in a form immeasurably improved by the quickened genius of the world."
We are beginning to see the glimmerings of that new era.