Since 1995, PEN In The Classroom (PITC) has proudly published the written work of thousands of talented youth and adults. PITC sends professional writers into classrooms to teach creative writing residencies, in which students learn about contemporary authors and different literary genres and develop a body of creative writing work. The resulting PITC anthologies are windows into students’ lives—their struggles, hopes, and the collective experiences of their generation. PITC is part of PEN Center USA’s mission to stimulate and maintain interest in the written word, to foster a vital literary culture, and to defend freedom of expression.
For more info, please contact Director of Programs and Events Michelle Meyering.
PEN In The Classroom anthologies are now online! We're excited to introduce a new digital archive of past academic and community anthologies. We will continue to add to the archive as we digitize books from previous years and those that will come in the future. Click on the covers of the anthologies to download PDF files of each book. Visit the archive here.
The application period for PITC 2012 - 2013 is now open. The application is available for download:
If you are a writer who would like to apply to teach a PITC academic or community residency, please download the application and contact Michelle Meyering. Please carefully read all sections of the program page before applying.
After receiving a request for a PITC academic writing residency, the PITC program manager begins the process of coordinating a residency for the fall or spring semester of the upcoming academic year. PITC academic writing residency instructors are selected from PEN’s diverse membership to best match the needs of the school where they will teach. (Or, alternatively, an interested writer applies to become a PITC academic instructor and subsequently becomes a PEN member. All PITC instructors must also be PEN members.)
In preparation for a planned PITC academic writing residency, PITC instructors and host teachers attend a mandatory orientation session at the PEN office. Then, working with the host teacher, the PITC instructor develops a tailored curriculum of weekly workshops focused on a particular genre. A PITC academic writing residency is comprised of twelve in-class writing workshops, the publication of a student anthology, and a final public reading. Throughout the semester, the PITC program manager makes three visits to each classroom and communicates with all PITC instructors and host teachers on a weekly basis.
If you would like to apply to become a PITC host teacher, or if you would like a PITC residency to take place at your school, please contact Director of Programs and Events Michelle Meyering.
A PITC community writing residency is a generative writing workshop that takes place in a community center such as a nonprofit organization, shelter, or reservation. PITC community instructors are selected from PEN’s diverse membership to best match the needs of the community where they will teach. (Or, alternatively, an interested writer applies to become a PITC community instructor and subsequently becomes a PEN member. All PITC instructors must also be PEN members.)
In preparation for a PITC community writing residency, PITC instructors and community leaders attend a mandatory orientation session at the PEN office. Then, working with the community leader, the PITC instructor develops a curriculum with the goal of helping the students complete a solid body of creative writing work. A PITC community writing residency is comprised of twelve in-class writing workshops, the publication of a student anthology, and a final public reading. Throughout the semester, the PITC program manager makes three visits to each community center and communicates with all PITC instructors and community leaders on a weekly basis.
If you would like to host a PITC community writing residency in your community, please contact Director of Programs and Events Michelle Meyering for more information.
The PITC Literary Journal Program aims to introduce students to a range of genres over the course of one year by providing a series of in-class genre clinics at a host school. These clinics happen monthly and allow host teachers and a variety of PITC instructors to assess where student interest lies and to encourage all students to discover the literary genre that resonates with their own unique voice.
The program also allows the host teacher to accept school-wide submissions from student writers, which may be published in the final PITC Literary Journal. Accepting open submissions provides host teachers with an opportunity for students outside of the creative writing class to become involved with writing. Faculty members, school staff, and parents of students are also invited to submit work to the Literary Journal.
The first PITC Literary Journal Program was launched at Animo Pat Brown L.A. in October 2009.
This is a rigorous workshop program that requires an existing creative writing class. Please contact Director of Programs and Events Michelle Meyering.
PITC instructors are required to develop a tailored curriculum before the start of the residency. The curricula are often genre-specific, meaning students will focus on writing poetry, fiction, plays, or creative nonfiction. A typical PITC writing residency combines selected readings with classroom discussions and thematically linked writing exercises.
Students will be expected to participate in discussions and complete in-class writing assignments. Homework and creative projects may also be assigned. Though the PITC instructor will run the workshops and provide written feedback to the students, it is the responsibility of the host teacher or community leader to ensure credit is given for completion of assignments and to maintain control of the classroom (though this is seldom an issue).
Student work is collected by the PITC instructor at the end of the residency and published by PEN Center USA in an anthology. At the public reading of the student work, copies of the published anthology are distributed to the students and their friends and family.
PITC instructors typically conduct workshops once a week for a period of twelve weeks. Classes last for one to two hours and vary depending on the schedule of the school or community schedule. In the case of block scheduling, workshops are adjusted accordingly.
PITC instructors are paid a stipend for each writing workshop. For more information on stipends, please contact Director of Programs and Events Michelle Meyering.
At this time, all PEN in the classroom academic and community writing residencies are paid for by PEN Center USA. Schools and community centers that host PITC writing residencies are responsible for securing a venue and providing refreshments for the final student reading.
PEN Center USA is generously supported by the Herb Alpert Foundation, California Community Foundation, City of Los Angeles – Department of Cultural Affairs, The James Irvine Foundation, Kayne Foundation, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Rosenthal Family Foundation, Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, UCLA Extension Writers Program, and Jamie Rosenthal Wolf & David Wolf.
PEN Center USA serves all states west of the Mississippi River. PEN In The Classroom’s ability to serve all western states is dependent on the program’s budget. At the moment, most PITC residencies occur in or around Southern California. To donate to PEN In The Classroom, please visit PEN’s donation page.
Participating PEN In The Classroom host schools have included: