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).
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.
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:
- The original version of Baldwin's letter (The Progressive website)
- Baldwin's open letter to Angela Davis (The New York Review website)
- A draft of that letter in Baldwin's papers (Yale's Beinecke Library)
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.
- For the full text of Belinda Sutton's letter, see the Royall House and Slave Quarters website
- To see the original petition, as well as the order from the government of Massachusetts awarding her a pension, see the archives of Harvard University
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 ASfirstname.lastname@example.org