A Day of Writing with the Dickens Project

The Dickens Project is the premier center in the United States for the study of Charles Dickens and nineteenth-century studies. Founded in 1981 and based at UC Santa Cruz, the Project is an international consortium made up of over 45 universities and colleges, including universities in Britain, Canada, Australia, and Israel.

Through our regular sponsorship of National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) summer seminars for school teachers and our production and dissemination of curricular materials on Victorian literature and culture, the Project supports the teaching of novels by Dickens and other nineteenth-century writers in the secondary schools. Our continuing collaboration with the Neighborhood Academic Initiative in South Los Angeles is a notable example of success in this area.

As part of our mission to promote the study of Victorian texts, we strive to assist young scholars in examining the cultural relevance of nineteenth-century literature to the twenty-first-century world. A Day of Writing will focus on “Night Walks,” a Dickens essay that examines the homeless endemic in Victorian England, to cultivate greater awareness about social justice issues like homelessness and housing instability in Santa Cruz County.

A Day of Writing is both a writing retreat and a writing competition designed to support junior and senior high school students in their futures as college students and professionals. Through reflecting on a short essay by Charles Dickens, the students will reinforce skills learned in the classroom, such as critical reading, analytical reasoning, argumentative writing, creative production, and cultural history to prepare them for life beyond high school.

 

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Download the Flyer [PDF] [JPG]

Learning Objectives:

  • to strengthen literary analysis skills
  • to develop strong critical thinking skills
  • to prepare students for timed writing tests
  • to foster social engagement between students and the Santa Cruz community

 

Benefits and support for teachers and schools:

  • honoraria of $50 to participating teachers
  • funding for substitute teachers and travel assistance the day of the event
  • an annotated edition of "Night Walks" by Charles Dickens and lesson plans
  • a visiting guest lecture by a Dickens Project scholar
  • writing support for students
  • free registration to attend the Dickens Universe

 

Benefits and support for students:

  • exposure to the campus and culture of a major research university to support college preparation work
  • the publication of their Day of Writing Essay in a printed volume
  • individual mentorships with faculty and students at the university level
  • the chance for extra timed-writing test preparation
  • writing support to develop strong writing skills
  • the chance to win a cash prize
  • the chance to receive a fellowship to attend the Dickens Universe and a corresponding Department of
    Literature course for 5 UC credits
  • free registration to attend the Dickens Universe

The top three essayists will receive cash prizes. [1st Place: $500, 2nd Place: $300, 3rd Place: $150] Additionally, the first place essayist will be invited to attend the Dickens Universe conference (July 26-31), and will be eligible to receive 5 UC quarter units of undergraduate credit through UCSC Summer Session (upon completion of course assignments).

 

Registration Deadlines:
Teachers: February 21, 2020  |  Mentors: March 15, 2020

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Collaborators & Co-sponsors: Julie Minnis, The Friends of the Dickens Project, The Jordan-Stern Presidential Chair for Dickens and Nineteenth-Century Studies, Santa Cruz County Office of Education, UCSC’s Department of Literature, Education Department, The Humanities Institute, and David A. Perdue and The Charles Dickens Page