Five rusty American-style post boxes

American Studies Writing Competition Workshops and Resources

Letters to a President - A National competition

Need some inspiration for writing your Letter to a President? Want to limber up and get your creative juices flowing? Check out our writing workshops and videos on famous letters below. 

We have also put together a list of resource links which you can download here (pdf).

Writing Workshops

Feedback from students, reading: “the interactive activities”, “learning new ways to improve my writing”, “experimenting with words I wouldn't normally use”.
What students attending the workshop for Years 9-11 tell us they enjoyed most

Our creative writing workshops were organised in collaboration with the Centre for New Writing

 The sessions aim to help you access your own creativity in order to:

  • enjoy creating alternative worlds and describing them emotively
  • experience the power of empathising with others and to consider your audience
  • control language and experience writing in different tones

Your writing tutor: Charlotte Wetton is a poet whose work has been published in poetry journals, competitions and in her award-winning pamphlet 'I Refuse to Turn into a Hat-stand' . Charlotte completed her MA in Creative Writing last year and is now doing a funded PhD in Creative Writing here at the University of Manchester. She is currently writing about people's working lives in West Yorkshire.

Workshop Recordings


    Video Lectures

    In these short videos, lecturers from the University of Manchester speak about famous letters that have made history. We will be releasing them over the next few weeks in February/March, so please check back and/or follow us on Twitter where we will announce new releases.  

    Dr Andrew Fearnley: "Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, April 1963"

    The letter is available online here via the University of Pennsylvania's African Studies Centre.

    Dr Douglas Field - James Baldwin's Letters

    Links to Baldwin's letters:

    Dr. Gordon Fraser - Letter petitioning for slavery reparations from Belinda Sutton (1783)

    Dr. Fraser's talk explores the petition of "Belinda" to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1783), a letter in which she asks to be awarded a pension in acknowledgement of the wages she never earned during her enslavement.

    Dr David Brown - Manchester Cottonworkers to Lincoln (1862)

    A version of the working-men's 'letter' to Lincoln and a description of the Manchester meeting can be found on the NY Times Archive website  


    Please direct all questions about the competition to