When Richmond Secondary student Eddie Huang wanted to pen his first book, he felt there was one thing missing: a community of support.
Then in grade nine, and now in grade 12, Huang was looking for mentors and peers to support him through the writing process and wondered if there were other aspiring authors who felt the same.
“What I found out in the process of trying to write my book is that, first of all, it’s really hard. So at the time I wish that there was a community that could potentially help me with this endeavour,” he told the Richmond News.
With that, Huang and a few of his close friends launched TeensWrite Vancouver, a collective of youth who span across the Lower Mainland sharing their love of writing. Now, TeensWrite is launching its fourth season with nearly 100 members – 30 of which will meet in Richmond – next week.
“It’s a reading, debate and literature enthusiast gathering,” Huang said. “The goal of this program in general is to have each of our students hopefully publish their own books in the end. So we really try to get people who are interested in actual writing.”
Huang accomplished this goal himself and self-published the book he had been working on since grade nine last year.
The book, Different Cultures, Same People shares Huang’s perspective of his experiences living in New York, China and Richmond.
“Being in these different places and experiences and the culture that each one has I think it’s really valuable to me,” he said. “Now I think that no matter where you go, people all have some similarities that they value.”
With TeensWrite launching again on Monday, Feb. 11, the group will now have some participants tuning in by video chat. For those able to attend, the Richmond chapter of TeensWrite meets at the Richmond Public Library every Monday evening from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Huang said he’s excited for what lies ahead and that his team is seeking a student graphic designer to help market their program. Not only has TeensWrite attracted some professional writers who volunteer as mentors, but the group has grown in its diversity.
“I’m just really thankful for being among students and different youth that are so passionate about literature,” he said. “Everyone in TeensWrite Vancouver, we all come from different backgrounds, different cultures, different schools and it’s a pretty diverse community.”