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2022 Teen Writing Fellows

The 20 remarkable teen writers below have been selected as GrubStreet’s 2022 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: Aashna Miharia, Analise Noelle Kretsedemas, Angélica Mendoza-Garcia, and Annika Priya Brown Amrhein.

Aashna Miharia: My greatest achievement in creative writing is publishing a middle grade fiction novel titled In Their Heads in 2021, of which over 200 copies have been sold. I’m super excited to attend the YAWP Teen Writing Fellowship this summer and meet other teens who love creative writing as much as I do!

Analise Noelle Kretsedemas: My favorite genre to write is fiction, specifically horror, and my favorite to read is magical realism and horror. This summer I am excited to learn about different writing styles from experienced writers and my peers!

Angélica Mendoza-Garcia: I am a 16-year-old self-proclaimed artist from Cambridge, MA, who loves to read and thoroughly enjoys listening to music. Coming from a multicultural background, I am trilingual and have a strong passion for DEI, the arts, and self-expression. While I love writing in styles like short fiction, poetry, and vignettes, I hope to expand my horizons while in the YAWP Teen Writing Fellowship!

Annika Priya Brown Amrhein: I am a 16-year-old writer who loves to explore poetry, YA fiction, adventure, and fantasy. I’m excited to meet the other 2022 fellows and connect over a shared passion for creative writing. In the future, I aspire to publish a novel.

From left to right: Anoushka Sudesh Nair, Arianna Sun, Arjun Rajeev Shah, and Dante Rosa de Jong.

Anoushka Sudesh Nair: Though I love writing many different types of literature, I write mostly creative nonfiction, such as personal essays/memoirs, as well as short stories. This summer I’m looking forward to meeting a community of motivated and talented student-writers who have strengths in all different genres and to share ideas and stories with one another! I also am excited to explore the publishing world and meet professional authors and editors. A fun fact about me: My family and I love to travel!

Arianna Sun: I first started writing at a considerably young age, but only for myself. However, as I grew older, I started writing for activities such as Speech & Debate and, most recently, Mock Trial. I enjoy writing about my own identity as it not only helps connect and empathize with others, but it also helps me better understand myself as an individual. I look forward to all aspects of the fellowship, but in particular to "learning about the writing world," as it will submerge me into the writing world, understanding more about both the publishing and writing aspects of it.

Arjun Rajeev Shah: I enjoy writing realistic fiction short stories about immigration, the diaspora, and elements of being a South-Asian individual both in India and/or in the United States. I also write poetry and am a journalist, where I comment on the political climate in the United States as well as other relevant current events. I am looking forward to generating more work during the course of the fellowship, expanding my creative pallet, and engaging with other teen writers.

Dante Rosa de Jong: I love writing poetry and flash fiction, as well as exploring other literary genres. I am very excited to be a part of the YAWP Teen Summer Fellowship this year because I love meeting kindred spirits and expanding my horizons. One day I hope to be a published author and write for a living.

From left to right: Luisa Griffith Gorgati, Nida Tahreem Syed, and Olivia Sarkis.

Luisa Griffith Gorgati: I have enjoyed creative writing since the first grade. In my spare time, I love drawing, exploring nature, and performing in school and local theater productions. I live in the South End with my parents and guinea pig Maple.

Nida Tahreem Syed: I fell in love with poetry at the end of 8th grade, and poetry is what I mostly enjoy writing. I found that writing poetry or writing in general is a way of expressing myself. I am really looking forward to joining the YAWP Fellowship Program this summer because it is a new experience, and I am so excited to meet all the new writers and poets.

Olivia Sarkis: I enjoy writing short stories and poetry that contain elements of magical realism and/or fantasy. I’m looking forward to meeting other passionate teen writers and learning more about the literary world!

From left to right: Rafaela Sol Datel, Ruben-Ramón Rivera Fireside, and W Todd.

Rafaela Sol Datel: I write fiction and poetry. I’m interested in exploring character-driven narratives, as well as themes of identity, mental health, and horror. I look forward to workshopping with other fellows, learning about the publishing and editing world, and taking part in a creative environment.

Ruben-Ramón Rivera Fireside: I enjoy writing from the perspectives of unreliable narrators, self-pitying antagonists, and unstable people in love. I’m partial to prose and poetry, with a preference for realistic fiction. I look forward to becoming a better writer by meeting better writers, creating things outside of my comfort zone, and winning the lottery – whichever comes first.

W Todd: I enjoy reading, spending time with my dog, and storytelling. I particularly love writing fantasy and science fiction short stories that highlight black and brown protagonists. I’ve received two Association of Christian Schools International Awards for Creative Writing. In addition, I am passionate about diverse voices and representation in children’s and young adult books, having organized and run the Diverse Voices Book Drive in Summer 2021.

Daniela Martinez: I like to write all kinds of fictional short stories! I’m looking forward to enriching my vocabulary and literary techniques through this fellowship.

Henry La-Hyunju Dallman: I mostly like to write poetry and flash fiction but have been exploring short stories. I am looking forward to cultivating my interest in writing and pursuing more creative work. Besides writing, I love listening to music and browsing Grailed.

Jessica Weinfeld: I am co-president of my school's Creative Writing Club, and I love writing fiction and poetry. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy playing the violin and the French horn.

Margot Colvard: I have been writing fiction stories that branch from historical fiction to fantasy since before I could remember. I am most looking forward to gaining exposure from other writers who share and have separate styles of writing that I can learn and grow from. Most of all, I am excited to be around students of literature who enjoy writing just as much as I do.

Rafay Ahmad Ali: I love writing fantasy and sci-fi stories, taking a lot of inspiration from video games and comics. I'm excited to be able to improve on my writing and expand into new genres and forms of writing. I also look forward to meeting new people with the same interests.

Zaila De Pina Alves: When I'm not hopping from hobby to hobby, I like to write romance one-shots or pieces based on my latest obsession. With YAWP, I'm hoping to become a more consistent writer and rely less on short bursts of inspiration or creativity to motivate me.