by Nina Chabanon, Age 15, USA
Miami, Florida is recognized as a worldwide hub for people from all walks of life. We entertain over 14 million overnight tourists each year, luring them in with our zeal for all things artistic. Several art-based phenomenons such as Art Basel, which houses over 75,000 visitors within three days annually, have deemed Miami a force to be reckoned with when it comes to art.
As a community of creative individuals, woven together through cultures and passion, our reputation for creative innovation precedes us, which is why Miami makes every effort to give succeeding generations the tools needed to keep the arts alive. Miami may not be world-renowned for its teenage writing scene, but literary Miami is making a name for itself, as are the writers within it. This coming summer, cosmopolitan Miami will convert into young writers’ hot spot, one that will not only educate these budding wordsmiths but will also set the stage for their long awaited debut.
One great resource that the young writers of Miami have at their beck and call are institutions that are simply waiting for the chance to mould these bright young minds. For example, at Miami Dade College, the jewel in the crown of South Florida’s summer programs, young adults can sign up for workshops, lectures, readings, pitch sessions, and agent manuscript consultations. Open to anyone living in the Miami-Dade district, this incredibly useful program focuses mainly on a series of genres including autobiographies/memoirs, non-fiction, fiction, poetry, play writing, and young adult.
Another fantastic yet untapped resource for young writers this summer is the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. They offer several teen summer intensives including the program Mocazine, a literary publication created each summer written by Miami’s youth for Miami’s youth. During the course of this workshop, students will write articles for the magazine, simultaneously developing journalistic skills such as investigating, fact checking, interviewing, and editing.
After a thorough introduction into the literary world, there are several places a young writer could take and apply these new skills. For example, the popular writers’ hangout, located on the tourist-attracting Lincoln Road, Books and Books. Many might argue that Books and Books is less of a bookstore and more of an asylum, especially the young writers who seek refuge in its sidewalk café where readings are regularly held. Coursing through the walls of this prized literary establishment is a vivid sense of accomplishment as even the owner, Mitchell Kaplan, was honoured recently with a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Foundation, after his groundbreaking work as founder of the Miami Book Fair, another local scholarly phenomenon.
Everything in literary Miami is interconnected, be it a school-wide poetry contest, an up-and-coming gallery opening, or a festival in which Miami’s writers and artists come together to celebrate great works of their peers. In any case, as a young writer in Miami, I am blessed with several resources that can hopefully transform me into the capable author I hope to be. This goal could not be realized without the help of the close-knit community of writers, artists, teachers, editors, agents, program founders, workshop leaders, and even readers. It is safe to say that the young writing scene of Miami, Florida, in the basement of the United States, is on a roller coaster that only goes up.
Nina is a 14 year old aspiring writer from Miami, Florida. She has been writing for over six years and is currently searching for an agent to help her with her ultimate goal of getting published before her high school graduation.