For 35 years, the Greater New Orleans Writing Project at the University of New Orleans has been a site of the National Writing Project, an organization dedicated to improving writing and the teaching of writing throughout the Greater New Orleans area and the nation. We achieve our goals through teacher collaboration, inquiry into best practices, and support of teacher-writers and student-writers in New Orleans area classrooms.
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gnowp-web-large November 15
9:30 am- 12:30 pm
University of New Orleans, LA 334

Write @ UNO 2014

GNOWP invites New Orleans area students to join us for the 2014 Write @ UNO workshops! Open to all students from 7th-12th grade, the Write @ UNO workshops help students prepare their creative work for submission to the Scholastic Writing Awards–or just improve their writing. Students will have access to workshops led by professional writers Read More

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Our First Write@UNO Workshop!

Sarah DeBacher | October 21, 2014

Our first Write@UNO workshop of the year was a huge success! We hosted fifteen young writers from schools around New Orleans for a day of tutoring and craft classes. Andy Young hosted our poetry class, in which students were asked to write praise poems in the style of Kevin Young’s “Ode to the Hotel Near Read More


On Creativity

Sarah DeBacher | October 21, 2013

This entry comes to us from GNOWP allstar Ari Zeiger. Ari attended the Summer Institute in 2012, co-facilitated it in 2013, and teaches writing (brilliantly!) at Delgado Community College. ### In this short video, Sir Ken Robinson discourses on a range of subjects (from creativity to education to imagination). At last count, I’ve watched the Read More


May There Be Pens, May There Be Paper

Sarah DeBacher | May 21, 2013

“Writing is both a challenge and an extreme exigency—that is, it is both called forth by and constitutes the trauma. But writing both exceeds and is inadequate to the task; it is both unavoidable and impossible.”— Peter and Maureen Daly Goggin, Trauma and the Teaching of Writing (2005).

In my attic there is box containing hundreds of magnets I collected from curb-side refrigerators after Hurricane Katrina. I’d been fortunate enough to have a home to return to, but when I was allowed to return to New Orleans in October of 2005, the city was virtually unrecognizable. The visual landscape was so disrupted, so disruptive, that it made its way into horrifying underwater nightmares I couldn’t shake. Even when I dreamt lucidly, I was unable to wake myself, my subconscious seemingly aware that the waking-world would provide no comfort. What on earth was this? How on earth could this have happened? I spent my days in a kind of stupor, and yet the collection of refrigerator magnets and documentation of their sites gave me a kind of purpose. I had no idea what I would do with the magnets. I still don’t. I just needed to do something.

School began. I got busy with the work of teaching—an immense comfort and immense burden, both. My classes took place online, but internet connectivity was spotty, at best. Regular power outages plunged us into darkness and we shuffled out onto stoops to visit with others who’d returned, to share stories about how we’d “made out in the storm.”

My students had it much worse than I did. Before that semester began, I’d grown accustomed to the usual range of excuses for late work: dead grandmothers (so many dead grandmothers!), flat tires, printers without ink, etc. But this semester the excuses punched me in the gut. “I lost my job, my home, everything. Can I please have an extension on Essay 2?” Yes. Yes! I remember feeling like my every teacherly choice that semester was Really Effing Important. What would I assign? How could I respond ethically and empathetically to students whose lives had been—like mine—upended entirely? (I wrote about the experience of teaching after Hurricane Katrina in an article that appeared in Reflections in 2007.)

Today I’ve been thinking about the texts I produced in the immediate aftermath of Katrina (although I’ve learned that a more accurate way of putting it is “in the aftermath of the failure of the federal levees.) I’ve been thinking about that box of magnets and the blogging I did and the writing I assigned, and the emails I sent, and how my words helped me heal but also plunged me right back into the depths of despair, too.

The Latest

Greater New Orleans Writing Project

Greater New Orleans Writing Project shared a link.

Exquisite Corpse


Taking their cue from the Surrealist parlor game, 15 renowned authors take turns contributing to an original short story.

Oct 21st 5:52pm • No Comments

"The center spun out of an encounter between Neal Stephenson, the author of “Snow Crash” and “Cryptonomicon,” and Michael M. Crow, Arizona State’s president. Mr. Stephenson, who grew up watching the Gemini and Apollo missions, had gone public with a complaint: Society has grown risk-averse, reluctant to dream big. Mr. Crow turned the lament around: Maybe science-fiction writers were not doing enough to inspire these dreams."

Fiction Writers Help Scientists Push Known Boundaries


A group of authors and researchers met this month to support engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs in aiming higher with technology, despite elusive grants.

Oct 21st 5:30pm • No Comments

Our first Write@UNO workshop this past Saturday was a huge success! Thanks to our volunteers, teachers, and students! If you missed it, our next and final workshop of the year will be Saturday, November 15! All students grades 7-12 are encouraged to join us! RSVP here:

Oct 21st 1:52pm • No Comments

"Young people know and care deeply about many things. And the way to revitalize our democracy is to provide supports and opportunities for youth to connect to the issues they care about in informed and effective ways."

Why getting kids ‘college and career ready’ isn’t enough


Remember when we used to think it was important to educate young people to participate in the country's democratic experiment?

Oct 20th 3:42pm • No Comments