National Writing Project

National Writing Project Launches Writers Council to Draw Attention to the Importance of Writing

Award-winning authors sign on to support writing

For Immediate Release


Berkeley, CA, October 2, 2013 — The National Writing Project (NWP), a network of educators working to improve the teaching of writing, announced today the creation of a new Writers Council that will enlist recognized authors in bringing attention to the importance of strong writing skills for all learners. The diverse cadre of 30 published authors will serve as the Council's inaugural members.

Members of the Writers Council will span a wide-range of genres—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, multi-media productions—but all share NWP's belief that writing is vital to thinking, creating, communicating, and participating in the world.

"Long before I was a novelist, I was an eighth grade English teacher," said Jodi Picoult, bestselling author and NWP Writers Council member. "I loved having the chance to open the eyes of students through books and to illustrate how their own writing could be transformative. Becoming an effective communicator and learning how to write efficiently and clearly are life skills with which each student should be armed before graduation. For all that they have done to further this goal and all they continue to do, the work of the National Writing Project is truly commendable."

"The willingness of these writers to endorse our mission through their participation is a wonderful boost for the NWP network," said Sharon J. Washington, Executive Director of NWP. "In their diversity, the members of the Writers Council also serve as terrific role models for young people of all interests, backgrounds, and skill levels across this nation."

Along with Ms. Picoult, writers on the Council include MacArthur Fellow Dinaw Mengestu, novelist and poet Sandra Cisneros, and Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco. The Council's authors reach a range of audiences from young writers to the most seasoned, and several members are also illustrators. Council writers also work in a variety of settings including business, journalism, and the entertainment industry.

NWP engages more than 100,000 teachers a year in professional development, helping them reach some 1.4 million students in grades pre-K through university and in all subjects. Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced a two-year grant of $15 million to support NWP's work within its Supporting Effective Educators Development (SEED) program.

For a list of the current NWP Writers Council members, visit:


The National Writing Project (NWP) is a nationwide network of educators working together to improve the teaching of writing in the nation's schools and in other settings. NWP provides high-quality professional development programs to teachers in a variety of disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through university. Through its nearly 200 university-based sites serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the National Writing Project develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit