LEI invites young writers to explore what's 'On the Other Side'
What's on the other side? Lake Erie Ink (LEI) is posing this question to student writers throughout Northeastern Ohio—asking them to cross over and find out.
On the Other Side is a collection of work from students in grades 6–12. It is the fifth anthology of teen writing published by LEI, a Cleveland Heights based-creative writing nonprofit for youth. LEI will use this anthology to amplify youth voices through poetry, short stories, personal stories, and art.
Cordelia Eddy, program coordinator at LEI, has been organizing this program since its inception. She serves as the editor-in-chief for the student editors, and describes the importance of a project like this: “Teens control so much of the process. Not only do they come up with the theme, but they also brainstorm unique ways to connect with the public, read and edit submissions, and artfully compile them into a unique work of their own.”
Amber Gray, LEI volunteer and member of Americorps, said, “This project has given me the opportunity to work with youth in all things writing. I have been a writer since I was 12 years old. Getting to see teenagers develop their own voice in writing is super exciting for me. It reminds me of why I started writing in the first place, and why I love it so much.”
Sanjana Vedavyas, a returning teen editor, noted that “My absolute favorite part of this experience is going over submissions and hearing individual voices shine. What sets Lake Erie Ink’s annual anthology apart . . . it’s a celebration of teen voices.” Henry Campbell, another teen editor, agreed, “I know we’re going to get some great [submissions] this year.”
Teen editor Anthony Koonce encourages young writers to take advantage of this opportunity, as it is rare to be published as a middle or high school student. He added that it is a “chance to start building a portfolio and release work at a higher level.”
Zoe Zappas recalled that she and the editorial team enjoyed collaborating to come up with the theme, and said that she is “curious to see how people of different age groups and backgrounds will interpret On the Other Side.” The editors hope it will be interpreted widely.
LEI is accepting submissions for On the Other Side through Dec. 14. For more information about this project, go to https://lakeerieink.org/teen-book-project/.
Eli Millette is communications and outreach director at Lake Erie Ink. He lives and works in Cleveland Heights. Members of the LEI teen editorial board contributed to this article.