The Bridge


PEN In The Community

PITC teaching artists collaborate closely with partner schools and community sites to develop a tailored curriculum that meets the needs of the participants. For schools, the program begins with a 1-2 day summer professional development session focused on integrating creative writing into core curriculum.

At schools, the program consists of 12 workshops taught over 12 weeks by the PITC teaching artist. 6-9 of the workshops will be taught in the host teacher’s classroom, with the remaining 3-6 workshops by the teaching artist held in other teachers’ classrooms at the school.

At community sites, the program consists of 6-12 workshops designed to meet the needs of community members. Often, these residencies can be an opportunity for participants to rediscover writing as a tool for growth, healing, self-expression and communication.

Participant work at schools and community sites is collected by the PITC teaching artist throughout the residency and published by PEN Center USA in an anthology that combines work from all sites, one in fall and one in spring. The anthology is presented at a final public reading for all participating schools and communities. The fall reading will be in December; the spring reading will be in May.

Both our PITC Writer in Residence program and our Guest Speaker program are offered free of charge.

How to Request a PITC Residency or Request to Teach

If you are a teacher and would like to request a PITC Writer in Residence for 2016-17, please fill out a SCHOOL RESIDENCY REQUEST FORM.

If you work at a non-profit or community center and would like to request a PITC Writer in Residence for 2016-17, please fill out a COMMUNITY SITE RESIDENCY REQUEST FORM.

If you are a writer and would like to apply to become a PITC writing residency teaching artist for spring of 2016, please fill out a TEACHING ARTIST APPLICATION.

PITC Guest Speaker Program

For schools or sites that don’t have the capacity to host a 12-week residency but would like to have a professional writer talk to students and community members, PITC’s volunteer Guest Speakers will arrange a one-time visit. The chance to meet a writer in person can be thrilling, and also life-changing for students and other people who have never had the opportunity to think of writing as a possible path in life.

Though most of our participating writers live in Los Angeles, schools and community sites outside of L.A. can still participate via Skype. If you are a teacher or community site leader and would like to request a PITC guest speaker, please email Executive Director Michelle Franke at

If you are a writer and would like to volunteer to become a PITC guest speaker, please fill out a GUEST SPEAKER APPLICATION.

PITC Program Funding

At this time, all PITC writing residencies are paid for by PEN Center USA.

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.

The Bridge
pen in the community

PEN In The Classroom Community Interview with Natashia Deón

This summer, PEN Center USA, in collaboration with 826LA and WriteGirl, will host an intensive creative writing workshop for high school students called The Bridge. The Bridge workshop will focus on short fiction and will be taught by the inimitable Natashia Deón.

The Bridge: An Intensive Creative Writing Workshop for High School Students

The Bridge, which is made possible through a collaboration between PEN Center USA, WriteGirl, and 826LA, is an intensive creative writing workshop program for high school students in the Los Angeles area. The Bridge aims to provide students who have a particular aptitude for creative writing with the opportunity to take part in a craft workshop. Workshops in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenwriting will be presented in cycles. In the first cycle of The Bridge, which will begin in early July 2012, students will focus on short fiction.