By Elyse Samuels
Chicago Public Library, along with several other sponsors, hosted Chi Teen Lit Fest in mid April. The first-ever event at the Harold Washington Library Center at Columbia College was planned by teenagers, who brainstormed and came up with a variety of workshops, panels and activities.
The halls filled with teenagers discussing poetry, written narratives, editing, journalism and more. Students could choose from various options including writing poems on typewriters or creating their own light-up greeting cards.
Briana Washington, a senior at King College Prep in Chicago, helped plan the festival after noticing a flier at her school about literary opportunities for teens. She hosted the panel “Make Your Move: Teen Panel,” in which four teens answered questions from the crowd about their writing.
Washington, along with many other teens at the event, said writing provides a necessary outlet. She explained how the form of expression has helped her find her voice, cope with life and build relationships with the people around her.
“I think I kind of accomplished why I came here today,” Washington said. “It was to really get to understand other teens and how they connect to their writing…what they write and what they look at and what they think is important, so that was awesome.”