Hurston/Wright Foundation's 2023 Youth DC Writer Oral History Program at Howard University

July 17-July 21

About Us

The Hurston/Wright Foundation’s mission is to honor, discover and mentor Black writers. We do that by providing services, supports and opportunities that provide community and recognize accomplishments. Our community resources include in-person workshops and classes that have been our signature offering for almost 30 years. Workshops and courses are taught by award-winning authors and serve emerging and midcareer adult writers. More than a thousand Black writers have taken our classes since the first one in 1996, increasing diversity in the cultural community as they have gone on to create books and careers as professors, local cultural workers, and national thought leaders. 

For inquiries regarding the application, email us at  Only accepted participants will be notified. 

Who Should Apply?

This program is for youth ages 15-18 years-old who live in the Washington DC metropolitan area (which includes Maryland and Virginia). Participants must be current high school students enrolled in public, private, charter or homeschool. Applicants should have an interest in writing and using technology. 

Program Description: 

Participants will receive hands-on instruction on capturing compelling historical narratives and presenting them publicly through written and digital platforms.  

Participants will research the impact of Washington, D.C.’s culture, community, and transient population on DC’s Black literary arts community. Youth participants will interview 5-10 Black writers based in the Washington DC metropolitan area to create written and multi-media projects documenting their findings. 

Participants will learn:

  • how to develop interview techniques and meaningful queries to pose to interviewees. 
  • how to evoke relevance and highlight the importance of writers through the use of writing and media technology
  • how to optimize storytelling strategies by creating a multimedia presentation of their findings. 

A public digital exhibit of their findings will be showcased on the Hurston/Wright Foundation’s website at the culmination of the summer program.  

Class Meeting Times

Classes will meet Monday-Friday on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC. Each day's session will meet from 9am-2pm.

Additional Information

Lunch will be provided to participants each day of the program.  


DeAndréa L. Johnson is a veteran Maryland-certified educator, editor, and technologist who believes that whoever holds the pen, holds the power; it is the key to proliferating knowledge, skill, and transformation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago where she studied various genres of writing–from poetry to creative nonfiction. Following her writing program, DeAndréa spent over 13 years in the publishing industry overseeing engineering publications as an editorial assistant, production editor, and editor for the International Code Council, American Nuclear Society, and the American Society of Civil Engineers.   In 2018, she received her Master of Science degree in Instructional Design and Development, which she received from Towson University.  While a student at Towson, DeAndréa was nominated for the 2018 TEEA Award recognizing students who were exhibiting the principles of the education department in the real world. 

As DeAndréa’s enthusiasm for instruction and curriculum grew, she followed a path into the traditional classroom as a high school English teacher for the Prince George’s County Public Schools. In her first year as teacher, her administrators recognized her as Rookie of the Year, Most Inspiring Teacher, and Leader in Instructional Technologies. In 2020, PGCPS featured a recording of her instruction for the Office of Professional Learning and Development’s publication OTD Mentoring Moment. She is the Hurston/Wright Foundation's Writing Programs Manager.

Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is a cultural curator, community organizer, nationally recognized speaker, and writer. She is author of the children’s book Mariah’s Maracas and co-editor of the book Homeschooling Black Children in the US: Theory, Practice and Popular Culture. Her work is featured in the anthology The Fire Inside: Collected Stories and Poems from Zora’s Den (ZD, 2020) and the book Afro-Futurism in Black Panther: Gender, Identity and the Remaking of Blackness (Rowan & Littlefield, 2021). Dr. Ali-Coleman served from 2019-2020 as the Scholar-in-Residence at Prince George’s County African American Museum and Cultural Center (PGAAMCC) where she also served as a teaching artist. She curated and presented her family history and that of four other families through the exhibit Flying Towards Freedom during her time at PGAAMCC. As an educator, she has created and led educational programs for over 20 years at numerous organizations, currently serving as the Executive Director of The Hurston/Wright Foundation

Application requirements:

  • Write 1-2 pages maximum describing what you love about living in and/or near Washington, DC and why you love writing. 
  • Format your document using Times New Roman, 12-point type, double-spaced with 1-inch margins.

Deadline and Fees:

  • Deadline to Apply: June 30
  • Application fee: Free
  • Tuition: $200 (Some partial scholarships are available)
  • Apply early. Hurston/Wright uses rolling admissions for a maximum of 15 slots open. 
  • A nonrefundable deposit of $75 is due within 1 weeks of notification of acceptance into the workshop. The remaining balance is due by July 7.
  • Cancellation Policy: If you must cancel after paying the full tuition, $100 will be returned to you if you notify the foundation at least 1 week before the program starts. After that date, the full tuition is forfeited. In addition, Hurston/Wright reserves the right to close the submission period or cancel a session based on the number of applications. Applicants will be notified immediately if the course is canceled and any payments will be returned.
  • A detailed schedule will be provided upon acceptance.

Hurston/Wright Foundation