Southwest High students’ work to be published in new anthology

The book launch party for a new anthology featuring the work of 15 local teenagers is set for June 29, 6 p.m., at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 1011 Washington Ave. S. 

“Why We Ink: Stories, Poems and Essays from the Pens of Young Writers” came about as a result of Wise Ink Creative Publishing’s community initiative program, Project InkPossible. It is a dream come true for company founders Dara Beevas of Minneapolis and Amy Quale of St. Peter.

“It’s important to Wise Ink to inspire the future authors and writers, storytellers and publishers of tomorrow. We believe authors can change the world and there is power in having your idea become a book,” said Beevas.

“Part of our mission is to go out and find future change makers, introduce them to publishing and have them hopefully use their art to make a difference in the world,” added Quale.

When Bella Evans, a 14-year-old who attends Breck School, learned about the InkPossible contest, where she had a chance to become a published author, she jumped at the chance. So did Anjali Revanur of Rosemount High School.

“To become published, to me, signifies a depth of passion and hard work. My writing has proved to be valuable: not only to me but also my society. It is an honor that cannot be measured or even compared to anything else. This experience has made me realize the talent I have to write, and it has immeasurably enhanced my love to write,” said Revanur.

Some of the other teens whose work was selected for the anthology include Kathryn LeMon of Champlin Park High School, Francheska Crawford Hanke of White Bear Lake High School, and Southwest High School language arts students Billie Forester and Keegan Robinson. They are among ten students from their school whose work was selected to appear in the anthology.

“I love writing so being able to share my work at such a large scale is incredibly exciting. I submitted my piece very unsure of what the process would be like but it turned out to be a ton of fun and super simple. Wise Ink had everything figured out and made it a really enjoyable experience. I think it’s the coolest thing in the world that I can walk into a book store and find a piece of my own work,” said Robinson.

“As educators, we are continually aiming to provide students with authentic modes for sharing their learning. Wise Ink gave my students just such a chance… As soon as possible publication was part of the picture, student efforts and the quality of their work understandably increased. I absolutely loved to see that the grade was not the final end for student work, but that they were completing it to be audience ready, both to perform for the class and to send out for publication,” said Elise Toedt, a 9th grade English teacher at Southwest High School.

Beevas hopes “Why We Ink: Stories, Poems and Essays from the Pens of Young Writers” will be the first of many community-inspired books her company will publish through Project InkPossible. “When we started Wise Ink three years ago, I knew my ultimate dream beyond helping authors change the world was to work with passionate teens who love writing. Words, pages, and books saved my life. That story is typical for the entire Wise Ink family, including our authors, so we thought it would be inspiring to offer teens a chance to become published. We were right.”

When the call for entries went out, more than 150 teens responded by submitting stories, poems, and essays that explore the premise of “Why we write.” In addition to having their stories published, each of the fifteen winners of the contest also receive a $100 prize, and a scholarship to a publishing session with Wise Ink to learn about the editing, book design, book printing, eBook, and writing process.

In addition to the teenagers’ stories, Why We Ink: Stories, Poems and Essays from the Pens of Young Writers, also features a foreword by award-winning Wise Ink author and high school teacher Roseanne Cheng, and a cover designed by nationally-known artist Kevin Cannon. The book is available for preorder now at https://pubslush.com/project/6722. All sales go towards future publications for passionate young writers in Minnesota.