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2023 Teen Writing Fellows

The 20 remarkable teen writers below have been selected as GrubStreet’s 2023 Teen Writing Fellows! With their dazzling play on language and dedication to literary citizenship, this cohort of teen writers demonstrates the power of stories to embolden us to welcome authenticity, growth, and each other.

This year’s Teen Writing Fellows were selected from an impressive pool of nearly 150 applicants in a blind judging process by 6 panelists. The 20 Fellows will be supported as working writers in a three-week intensive program where they will gain the skills, pathways, and relationships to bring their voices into the world.

From left to right: Al Thomas Pirani, Lucy Grace Rajwani, Molly Bevan, and Parker-Vincent Alva.

Al Thomas Pirani: Hi! My name is Al and I am from Cambridge, MA. I generally like to write a lot of poetry and also some news reports and short stories. I am excited to be at GrubStreet this summer to meet other people who are just as passionate about writing as I am. See you soon! :)

Lucy Grace Rajwani: Hi, I’m Lucy! I love writing poetry and short stories spanning all kinds of genres and themes, really whatever inspires me at the moment. I am so excited to meet all the other fellows so we can all connect over a shared enthusiasm for creative writing! When I’m not writing you can find me singing, baking or watching Marvel movies.

Molly Bevan: Molly Bevan likes to read and write sci-fi and fantasy short fiction. She's also an avid crocheter and cosplayer. She lives in the Metrowest area with her sister, mom, and dad.

Parker-Vincent Alva: Hi! I’m Parker, and I’m a rising sophomore in high school. Right now, my favorite genres to write are poetry, prose, and all kinds of fiction, but I love to explore and push the boundaries of what literature can accomplish. I’m looking forward to connecting with the other fellows and diving into the professional world of writing!

From left to right: Sahithi Pudota, Agustina Leon Perdomo, and Voula Flessas.

Sahithi Pudota: Sahithi Pudota is a 15 year old avid writer from Westborough, MA. She adores writing fictional novels and short stories. She also loves to write personal poetry. When she is not writing, her head is stuck in a book, drawing, or chatting with her friends. She is so excited to be a part of the YAWP Teen Writing Fellowship and be with peers and professionals who are passionate and dedicated to the craft of writing!

Agustina Leon Perdomo: I love creating stories that feel like a hug and allow for millions of interpretations. I always look forward to playing around with parts of my identity and creating the Latine characters I wish I'd had as a little girl!

Jacob Wu: My name is Jacob Wu and I enjoy using poetry to write fiction. During the program, I'm looking forward to expanding my knowledge of writing and getting to know many new people.

Mackenzie Ellis: My name is Mackenzie Ellis and I recently finished up my softmore year of high school! I live in Roslindale, MA and I’m absolutely ecstatic to be joining this amazing group of writers this summer! I enjoy spending time with my family, playing games after school with my friends, and writing of course! I mostly write poetry but I’m super excited to learn more about different writing styles through the program!

Voula Flessas: Hi, I'm Voula. I like to write poetry and short stories as well as essays. I'm looking forward to branching out in my writing career and developing in a place where I can collaborate with other writers.

From left to right: Aphrodite Anais Allen, Isabella Leith, and Milani Araceli Salazar.

Aphrodite Anais Allen: My name is Aphrodite, I use they/them pronouns and very obviously – I love to write. I’m a lover of all things romantic and fantastical with a huge soft spot for vivid imagery. My favorite book of all time currently is Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

Isabella Leith: My name is Isabella Leith, and I am a 17 year old Cape Verdean-American from Cambridge. My favorite genres to write are short stories, poetry, and creative fiction. The reasons I am most looking forward to the YAWP Summer Writing Fellowship include developing my skills as a writer, learning more about the publishing industry, and getting to know cool people with a similar passion for writing!

Marcos Cruz: I am an artist and aspiring writer born in Guadalajara, Mexico. I like to write about the human experience and tendencies that hurt us as people, ranging from national issues to internal struggles and mental health. To do this, I focus mostly on fiction with some surrealist elements, as well as deep analysis of the psyche of the characters. In the Fellowship, I am looking forward to exchanging new ideas to strengthen our work throughout the summer and hopefully have fun.

Milani Araceli Salazar: My favorite genre to write is poetry, specifically free-verse pieces laden with vivid imagery. Some of my best work is usually done at 2am, to a soundtrack of Kehlani, Bad Bunny, J. Cole, Jessie Reyez, Omar Apollo, and Kali Uchis. I look forward to not only improving my skills as a poet during my Fellowship, but also getting back into writing short fictional pieces and expanding into other genres.

From left to right: Ray Winig, Bonnie Shao, Mars Oliver-Martinez, and Ramya Ramanathan.

Ray Winig: Ray Winig is a 17 year old writer from Needham, MA. They enjoy writing surrealist or fantastical poetry and microfiction, and are looking forward to developing a creative community throughout the course of the Fellowship.

Sajda Isra Hafiani: English is actually my second language, which I began learning at the age of seven. After years of learning the basics, I fell in love with poetry and literature, and especially love writing palindrome poems and fiction. I look forward to working with all of you and hopefully providing my own unique view on the matters discussed.

Hannah LeBlanc: I like to write poetry and stories. I’m looking forward to experimenting with my writing during this fellowship.

Bonnie Shao: Hi, I’m Bonnie, I’m a rising freshman, and I write realistic fiction, fantasy, and (occasionally) poetry and plays! I am the published author of a contemporary realistic fiction series, The Xia Stories, and am passionate about accurate Asian representation in literature and theater. I am excited to connect with like-minded writers and learn about other styles of writing! Visit my website: bonnieshaobooks.com.

Mars Oliver-Martinez: Hi, I'm Mars! I write in many different styles, but my personal favorites are poetry, songwriting, and screenwriting. I'm looking forward to learning about other genres outside of my comfort zone and getting to learn from other writers. I'm also excited to meet other young people who share a passion for writing.

Ramya Ramanathan: My name is Ramya Ramanathan and I love writing poetry and short stories in my free time. I hope this fellowship can help me expand my literary horizons and begin my journey as a seasoned writer.

Suyon Lee: Hi! My name is Suyon and I am a rising freshman in the Boston area. I like to write realistic fiction and I’m excited to meet new people through this fellowship. In my free time I like to spend time with my friends, read, and listen to music.