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Oregon Writing Festival 

Join us on Saturday, May 6, 2023, for the 38th Annual OWF held in person at Portland State University!


The Oregon Writing Festival takes place annually each spring, co-sponsored by Portland State University College of Education and OCTE.  Writers in grades 4-12  from across the state of Oregon gather in small groups, listen to published authors talk about their craft, share their work with peers from other schools, and compose new pieces in workshops run by local authors and teachers. Parents can also attend a workshop aimed at support budding writers at home.

The goals of the Writing Festival are

  • Cultivating a love of writing in students and teachers
  • Honoring the work outstanding student writers
  • Connecting student writers with Oregon authors and other student writers
  • Helping to hone students' writing skills

Get Involved

You can be involved in this energizing event by serving as a Day Group Leader, which involves escorting a group of 10 students at the 4 - 5, 6 - 8, or 9 - 12 level throughout the day and facilitating the session where students read the writing sample they brought for critique by the group. Interested?  Contact Janice Bahns at

Or, you can also engage as a Workshop Leader. As a Workshop Leader, you prepare a writing activity for a group of 15 - 20 students that takes about 2 - 3 minutes to introduce; the students write for 30 - 35 minutes and then they share their work for 15 - 20 minutes (total session time: 1 hour). Workshop Leaders teach two one-hour workshops (sometimes spaced between morning and afternoon) to two different groups of students at one of these grade levels: 4 - 5, 6 - 8, or 9 - 12. As a Workshop Leader, you can join us for breakfast and lunch, receive the much-coveted Holy Grail of writing: the Oregon Writing Festival coffee mug, and the chance to hear wonderful keynote authors. You can access the Workshop Leader proposal form HERE  or contact Maika Yeigh at .

‚ÄčWorkshop Proposal Guidelines

Workshops are designed for students to write under the guidance of experienced teachers. Please prepare a writing activity, introduce it briefly (no more than 2 - 3 minutes), and allow maximum time for students to write; then share their work in a read-around, with brief comments by the Workshop Leader. The purpose of the workshop is to assist and encourage the students' writing. They benefit from active involvement in writing.

Workshop Proposals are due by mid-April.  Contact coordinator Maika Yeigh at if you have questions.

Adult Workshop

An adult workshop will be offered for parents and teachers, conducted by Laurie Dougherty (Seaside School District) and Karen Johnson (Tigard-Tualatin School District), both past presidents of OCTE.

Student Writing Sample Guidelines

The general guideline for students' work is that it be a quality, finished product of their finest writing. They should bring writing that has been revised (based on some response from teachers, or parents, or other students), proofread, and put together in a polished final form The Festival is a celebration of the best work of our participants, and we expect them to bring work of the highest standards.

Students may write in any form or genre they choose, because the Festival is a celebration of all forms of quality writing--e.g., poetry, short stories, personal narratives, science reports. Writing should be school-appropriate to grade level--no gratuitous violence, language, or explicit sexual content.

Final drafts may be handwritten, typewritten, drawn, calligraphed, or word processed by their authors. The writing may be illustrated. Again, the main standard is quality.

Length: Up to 5 pages, but the reading aloud of it cannot exceed 4 minutes; longer pieces should summarize the rest.

Students should practice reading their pieces aloud with feedback from teachers or parents--so they will be prepared to give a stimulated, clear reading in their sharing groups.

Writing samples (bring 12 copies) should include the author's name, school and address, and grade.

Rick Hardt, Festival Chair

Student Registration Form available through School District contact only.

For additional information please contact:

Barbara Wiegele, OCTE

 Rick Hardt, Festival Chair

2023 Author Participants

Mike Lawrence, grades 4-5

Mike Lawrence is the award-winning illustrator of Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek (with Elizabeth Rusch) and the novel The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl (by Melissa Keil). The Star Scouts series  is his debut as a solo graphic novelist. In addition to making comics, Mike has created several pieces of public art for his hometown of Portland.

Mike Lawrence’s topic will be, “Write Any Way You Can.”


William Ritter, grades 6 - 8

William Ritter is the author of YA and middle grade fantasy who made his debut in 2014 with the NYT bestselling Jackaby series.  A graduate of the University of Oregon English department, he teaches high school language arts, including reading, writing, and mythology. His other books are the Oddmire series.  Will Ritter teaches in Springfield.

Will Ritter’s topic will be, “Reading for Escape, Empathy, and Empowerment.”


Kylie Schachte, grades 9 - 12

Kylie Schachte has been a storyteller all her life, winning an award from her girl scout troop for telling the best ghost stories. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she studied theatre, even traveling to Russia to study at the Moscow Art Theatre, but she returned to her hobby of writing and is the author of exciting YA books. She lives in Portland and mentors students.

Kylie Schachte’s topic will be, “Forget about Being Good.”

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