Young Willamette Writers – For Writers Ages 13-18

Why join YWW?

  • Monthly workshops with published authors!
  • Submissions to the Young Willamette Writers yearly journal!
  • Opportunity to attend the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland in August!

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."  - Groucho Marx


Young Willamette Writers are young people who love to write.

Young Willamette Writers welcomes any students from 13 to 18 years old. Some of our YWW  have entered and won contests such as the Kay Snow Writing Award and a National Scholastic Writing Award. Some have been published in magazines such as American Girl and Stone Soup. Some are taking their first steps in writing. 

Young Willamette Writers currently offers programming online, via Zoom.

Young Willamette Writers monthly meetings are free of charge.

Young Willamette Writers Meetings

The Portland and Southern Oregon Young Willamette Writers meetings will be combined and held via Zoom through the end of 2020. Except for September, they will be on the first Saturday of each month from 10:00-11:30 am. 

The great news is that we now have a way for visitors to join our virtual writers’ meetings. Any student age 13-18 may join us by having a parent request the Zoom link via email. Send a message to and let us know the name to be watching for in our “waiting room.”

We’ll let you in if we have your name on our list. There’s no cost, and no registration aside from letting us know to expect you.

The Deets:

  • First Saturday of each month, 10:00-11:30 am (starting in October)
  • For students age 13-18

How to attend:

  • Have a parent request the Zoom link and let us know the student's name via email:
  • If your name is on the list, we'll let you in!

See you there!

Upcoming events:

YWW Southern/Portland: Punk Rock Writing: How to Become a DIY Author

November 7 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Punk Rock Writing: How to Become a DIY Author with Brian Tashima

Back with another incredible author in a virtual meeting! See you online at our next YWW Zoom meeting on 11/7 at 10am to hear from the author of the award-winning Joel Suzuki series, Brian Tashima! With a background in business and finance, Brian employs an entrepreneurial, do-it-yourself approach to publishing that allows him to build a readership and promote his work while still retaining full creative control. So, whether you write as a hobby or want to become the next J.K. Rowling, this workshop will show you how to take charge of your writing destiny and get your stories out into the world! Topics covered include: - There’s no shame in self-publishing! (advantages of going indie) - How do I turn my manuscript into an actual book? - Once I do that, how do I get people to read—and buy—it? - And much more

How to join the meeting.

If you are age 13-18 and plan to attend the meeting, please have a parent email and ask for the Zoom link.

About Author

Brian Tashima was born and raised in Hawaii, where he started out as a musician playing guitar in local rock, punk, and metal bands. After winning a Hoku award—Hawaii’s version of the Grammys—and running his own independent record label, he moved to the Portland, Oregon area to become a world-famous rock star. Well, that didn’t happen (yet). Instead, he decided to become an author, and in 2012 he independently published the first volume of the Joel Suzuki series, titled Secret of the Songshell. About a teenage boy who travels to a world where music is magic and autism is a superpower, the novel received extensive local and national press coverage and was a finalist for the 2012 USA Best Book Award for Fantasy Fiction. Since then, Brian has published three more volumes of the series (eleven are planned in all) and has also begun publishing a manga-style comic book series called Glorified, a dystopian action-adventure described as a cross between Mad Max: Fury Road and The Mandalorian. He continues to sing and play guitar in a pop-punk band (with whom he has released three full-length albums and performed at the Crystal Ballroom) while also serving on the Board of Directors for Autism Empowerment, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people and families in the autism community.

Find out more »

The People Who Make Young Willamette Writers Happen

Young Willamette Writers Program Leaders

Each group of Young Willamette Writers is lead by a program leader who is in charge of building the program, publicizing events, communicating with the program members to help them make the most of their program membership.

Teresa Klepinger - Portland Young Willamette Writers Program Leader

Teresa KlepingerTeresa Klepinger believes a dose of imagination can improve just about anything. Her love of storytelling began with “Genie” bedtime stories told by her father, continued through years of teaching elementary school, and stays close to her heart today. She has published Cliffhanger Writing Prompts, and Story-Writing Sandwich Prompts with Scholastic Teaching Resources, and writes picture books, all with the imagination at the heart of the story.

Teresa first connected with the Portland Young Willamette writers when she brought her daughter and a car-load of friends to meetings. Eventually she took over the program and has served as its leader for over five years. She never gets tired of witnessing the students’ imaginations soar, whether they’re writing a scene, a story, or a script.

Teresa lives in Sherwood where she enjoys the company of a creative husband, two imaginative daughters, and one, um, dog.

You can find out more about Teresa Klepinger on Facebook here.

Heather Ransom - Southern Oregon Young Willamette Writers Program Leader

A science teacher for twenty-five years, Heather has worked with thousands of young adults. In class, studying current innovations, they imagine together what their futures might hold, telling stories about world-changing advances in science and technology. This has been the birthplace for Heather’s YA science fiction novels, Going Green (3/2017), Greener (7/2018), and Back to Green (2019).

But Heather’s love of storytelling began much earlier with her mother describing incredible, fanciful adventures. Here, Heather became the character. She fell in love with being immersed in a world feeling so real she never wanted to leave. This is what Heather hopes to bring to her readers.

Besides teaching and writing, Heather enjoys spending time with her dream man, Marv, and their two amazing kids, Danielle and Marvin. Living in Grants Pass, Oregon, she loves playing in the beautiful outdoors and helping at their local businesses, a pizza pub and cigar shop.

Find out more: on her website; on Facebook @heathersransom; on Twitter: @heathersransom.