Keren Taylor Inspiring Inclusion

Keren Taylor is the Executive Director and Founder of WriteGirl, a nonprofit creative writing and mentoring organization for teen girls and gender-expansive youth.

What inspired you to start WriteGirl?

I’ve always identified as a writer, and have had a passion for writing, but teens, especially teen girls and gender-expansive youth, don’t necessarily realize the power and creativity that they can experience, through developing their individual voice. It was just a few months after 9/11, and I wanted to make a difference – put my energy towards a project that would help others, especially those who felt unheard or unsure of themselves. Teen girls are often invisible and marginalized. But those teen years for a girl are incredibly important in shaping their future selves. They need opportunities to express their emotions and ideas, they need to be heard, and they need to know that their voice is important. Confidence comes from all the times when you had positive experiences and conversations and gained a sense of your own views and passions. It’s not something you can really get from being alone in your room. So I wanted to build a community that could help teen girls. I gathered a group of my writer friends, and launched WriteGirl in December of 2001. We’ve been presenting workshops and matching teens with their own writing mentor ever since.


Why is it important to inspire inclusion in education and creative writing?

We all benefit when we listen to diverse voices and perspectives. If we can inspire teens to write, and become confident in their own career pursuits, we can give them the opportunity to become catalysts for change in many different fields where we are still lacking gender equity – from screenwriting to government. We know that schools are not able to fully support all students on their educational journey. There are many young people who feel like they are at the edges, who are facing immense challenges at home, in their communities, and within themselves. The power of a mentor, as well as a supportive community to supplement their education, is undeniable for these teens.

What type of programs/events does WriteGirl offer to involve young women in creative writing?

We present dozens of writing workshops annually, both online and in person, where teens can learn poetry, songwriting, screenwriting, fiction, journalism and more, directly from professional writers. Our events are vibrant and interactive, with opportunities for teens to share their work and express themselves. We publish teen writing in books as well as online in our new literary journal - Lines & Breaks. We match many teens with their very own mentor to help give them that critical one-on-one support so vital to cultivating confidence in their writing. We also help our teens as well as our college-age alums to perform their work at events, giving them valuable public speaking experience. We have a “Bold Leaders” program where teens gain essential skills in leadership. We also help teens get to college through our college access program, “Bold Futures,” and have maintained a 100% success rate in helping teens in our Core Mentoring Program go onto college.

What advice would you give to young women who aren’t confident in their writing?

Keep a journal. Write a little bit every day. Read as much as you can, especially books and authors that ignite your imagination and curiosity. Try different genres - play with writing poetry, or songs, or a graphic novel. Write in nature, write at a coffee shop, write on a train and see if you can see where you feel most creatively inspired. And if you are stuck, we just published a very fun creative writing journal called, “What’s Behind The Blue Door,” and it is filled with writing activities and tips from the WriteGirl community!

How can people support WriteGirl and its mission?

Make a financial donation to WriteGirl if you can, and help support the work we are doing to lift up the voices of underrepresented and underserved teen girls and gender-expansive youth. Your contribution is essential to help us continue our important work. We also welcome women writers to apply to become a mentor.