National Writing Project

The National Conversation on Writing Asks, “Who Is a Writer?”

Date: April 17, 2008

Summary: What do people write and read every day? What makes people feel they are writers (or not)? Through online video, audio, and print texts The National Conversation on Writing hopes to encourage a discussion on these questions.


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The Conversation

The National Conversation on Writing (NCoW) , a project sponsored by the WPA Network for Media Action , seeks to focus national conversations about writing and literacy on what writers can do, rather than what they are perceived to not do. Through its website, NCoW hopes to show the vibrancy of writing and writing instruction through video, audio, visuals, and print texts.

NWP is collaborating with the WPA Network for Media Action to help expand the reach of this project and invite members of the NWP community to join the conversation.

The Purpose

The National Conversation On Writing grew from the belief that the focus of news media on writing and literacy has been a negative one—focusing on what students can't do. As a result, many stories don't get told. By collecting reflections on writing and writing instruction from teachers, students, and the public, NCoW hopes to promote a positive activism on literacy issues. 

NCoW maintains an evolving website that compiles audio, video, and text resources built from contributions from people across the country as well as a set of resources and teaching tools related to the collection. 

Writing is a crucial human activity. Whether it's grocery lists, e-mails, IMs, academic essays, poems, raps, or business memos, everyone writes.

The National Conversation on Writing addresses these questions:

  • How, where, and why do people write?
  • What do people write?
  • What do people like and not like to write?
  • Who considers themselves a writer, who not, and why?

NWP teacher-consultants, students, and other members of the community are encouraged to contribute to Who Is a Writer? and to work the NCoW into their own projects.


All questions can be sent to the NCoW staff .

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