Mark Twain Young Authors Workshop


The Mark Twain Young Authors Workshop

The year 2007 marked the inauguration of this program.  
Unfortunately, we were unable to fund the MTYA Workshop for the 2011-2012 school year. Please check back for more information. 

View pictures from the first summer's workshop:


Who? Young authors in grades 5-8, from anywhere in the United States, are invited to apply for the Annual Mark Twain Young Authors Workshop each year. The workshop is sponsored by the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in partnership with HATS. Support is provided by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Riedel Foundation. The programis directed by Cindy Lovell, Ph.D. (HATS founder and executive director of the Mark Twain BoyhoodHome & Museum) and Henry Sweets,museum curator. Writing workshops are co-taught by Melissa Scholes Young.

What? The Mark Twain Young Authors Workshop is open to talented young writers. Students are invited to spend one week in Hannibal, Missouri, Mark Twain's hometown, to study the author's life and his use of real life to create fiction. Students are selected based on their writing ability and will be awarded scholarships to participate. They will collaborate with other young authors and instructors to develop their writing voice. Students will be expected to have recently read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer prior to arriving for the workshop. A copy will be provided to each participant.

When?  The workshop will include five full days of reading, writing, talking, laughing, exploring, and imagining! The days and evenings will be fully planned to include instruction in writing, examining Twain's life and writing, and exploring the hometown haunts of young Samuel Clemens.

Where?The workshop will be held in Hannibal, Missouri so participants can experience the town where Mark Twain grew up.Participants will be housed in dorms at the Hannibal-LaGrange College and meet daily with instructors and fellow participants at the Mark Twain Museum and other settings to delve into Twain's experiences.Participants will visit the boyhood home and museum, the cemetery, Cardiff Hill, the cave, and even ride a riverboat on the Mississippi River.

Why?The HATS Program is committed to recognizing and nurturing talent in young people.In 1996 Cindy Lovell, the program's director, began collaborating with Henry Sweets, the curator of the Mark Twain Museum.Together they have worked to serve gifted and high achieving students to foster an appreciation of America's greatest author, Mark Twain.By studying Twain's experiences in the setting for some of his greatest work, participants can hone their own writing skills toward the long-term goal of becoming the next generation of great American writers. articipants will have the opportunity to have their work published during the workshop. To learn more about the origins of this program, read an interview with Cindy Lovell. Dr. Lovell first brought writing students to Hannibal while teaching a summer programat The University of Iowa.


So what? Anyone who has ever curled up with Huckleberry Finn or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court knows that not only is Mark Twain's writing engaging, it is relevant. Mark Twain lived during an exciting time in America's history, and he captured events and preserved history in his fiction and other writing. With 20/20 hindsight, who wouldn't applaud Huck's noble efforts to free Jim, the runaway slave? But it wasn't so simple, and Twain's words capture the agony of the conflict that taunted Huck. Twain was an insightful observer and recorder of events in a fast-changing America. And America is still changing. Who will capture today's events and preserve them in the timeless and relevant fashion of America 's greatest author? Maybe you will! If you love to write and want to work with other writers to develop your skills, apply to this exciting program next year.

How? Students can apply by submitting a completed application packet that includes a teacher recommendation and a writing sample.


Application Packet must include:

  • Completed application form - (will be posted in fall 2012)

  • An original sample of applicant's writing that was written within the past year (not to exceed three typed pages). The writing sample you send can be in any genre.Itcan be a short story, essay,or poem, or even a selected passage from a book you're working on.(Note: The writing sample does not have to be in the style of Mark Twain, nor must it beabout Mark Twain.)

  • A letter of recommendation from the student's teacher (Note: If home-schooled, the parent must provide.)
  • Mail to: MTYA/HATS, Stetson University, 421 N. Woodland Blvd., Unit 8390, DeLand FL 32723


    2010 Mark Twain Young Author Workshop Scholarship Winners 

  • Girls:

    ·Destiny Reed, 8th grade, Palmyra Middle School, Hannibal, MO

    ·Rebekah Lippens, 8th grade, Creekside Middle School, Port Orange, FL

    ·Shelby Jaco, 7th grade, Mountain Gap Middle School, Huntsville, AL

    ·Richy Rodgers, 6th grade, Holy Family School, Hannibal, MO

    ·Lydia Hursh, 5th grade, Lyall J. Fink Elementary School, Middletown, PA

    ·Abby Burgess, 5th grade, Home Schooled, Commerce, MI




    ·Anthony Derschon, 6th grade, Hannibal Middle School, Hannibal, MO

    ·David Webb, 6th grade, Holy Family School, Hannibal, MO

    ·Javan Latson, 6th grade, Howard Middle School, Ocala, FL

    ·Ben Weeks, 6th grade, Home School, Wixom, MI

    ·John Hursh, 5th grade, Lyall J. Fink Elementary School, Middletown, PA

    ·Jack Norton, 5th grade, Glen Urquhart School, Beverly Farms, MA

2008 Scholarship Recipients:
Cassidy Alexander, 7th grade, Orange City, Florida
Cullen Burling, 8th grade, Monroe, Connecticut
Haley Johnson, 7th grade, Platte City, Missouri
Jordyn Pair, 5th grade, Milford, Michigan
Richard Plunkett, 7th grade, Thornwood, New York
Emily Schwenneker, 7th grade, Princeton, Missouri
Claire Sincox, 8th grade, Barrington, Illinois
Max Sopher, 7th grade, North Hampton, New Hampshire
Rachel Thornton, 6th grade, Portage, Indiana
Dave Wang, 7th grade, Hinsdale, Illinois
Samuel Weitzman, 5th grade, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Adam Williams, 5th grade, Jonesboro, Arkansas

2007 Scholarship Recipients:
5th Grade: Jonathan Agvent - Mertztown, PA; Brooke Davis - Williamstown, WV; Jack Harvey-Camillone - Chicago, IL
6th Grade: Madeleine Britton - Perrysburg, OH; Aliza Razell Hoover - Natick, MA; Alexander Parodi-Light - Deltona, FL
7th Grade: Joseph Genovese - Valhalla, NY; Emily Huniter - Oviedo, FL
8th Grade: Kelsey Connor - Altamonte Springs, FL; Breanna Hembree - Glen St. Mary, FL; Ky Viet Dong Quach - Garland, TX; Alic Szecsei - Port Orange, FL


Visit the museum's website to view the Virtual Tours created by the young authors.

Thank you to our partners and sponsors:

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum
Hannibal Courier-Post
Hannibal LaGrange College
Lula Belle's Restaurant
Mark Twain Cave
Mark Twain Riverboat
Star Theater
Rockcliffe Mansion
Herb Hutchison, Private Donor

  • If you would like to make a donation to support our program, please contact us at