Boosting literacy, self-confidence, and creativity through the written word. 



The Porch Writers’ Collective is Nashville’s first and only dedicated writing center. Serving both adults and youth, The Porch hopes to foster a vibrant and diverse literary culture through creative writing workshops, writing events, and community outreach.


Thanks to the generous support of National Humanities Alliance, The Porch is thrilled to announce:


This class is for anyone who was born outside of the U.S. and wants to write about their life experiences and journey. Everyone has stories to tell, but often the hardest part is getting the idea down on paper, especially if you’re not writing in your first language. This class will provide in-class writing exercises to spark new ideas and help students compose the stories they want to tell. There will also be opportunities to share your writing with the group and get feedback. As a class, we’ll read writing by other immigrants and writers from diverse backgrounds and discuss how they approached their stories. The class will be a supportive and encouraging environment, welcoming of students regardless of nationality, race, religion, documentation, educational background, or other identity. You should feel comfortable reading, writing, and speaking in English, but you do not need to be fluent or have perfect grammar. This class will be focused on the stories that you want to tell, not your English-language abilities.


-       This class is free to participants.

-       You do not need legal documentation to take this class.

-       You need to be able to read, write, and converse in English, but you do not need fluency.


Anna Silverstein has a master’s degree in creative writing from Vanderbilt University. She writes fiction and nonfictional stories from her life experiences. She has taught creative writing to Vanderbilt college students and has led expressive writing workshops for cancer patients and family members. Her grandparents were immigrants to the U.S. and she grew up with a deep respect for the stories and experiences they had to share.

Scott has taught creative writing in a range of settings, including the university classroom and the death row unit of the state prison. In 2015 he co-founded 1st Person Nashville, a collaborative multi-media project that features the stories of Nashville's New Americans. Scott holds an MFA from Vanderbilt and lives in Pegram, TN, where he blogs about wine and is currently polishing a collection of short stories.


Please Join us for a Celebration and Reading of Participant work on Saturday, October 29th at Nashville Public Libary, Special Collections Center (2nd Floor) from 3-5.

Porch Outreach Statement:

• The Porch believes in the power of the written word as a means to empathy, connectivity, creativity, knowledge, and advancement.

• We believe those who experience writing as a joyful and creative act will ultimately improve in their ability to articulate and communicate their ideas. With joy comes a desire to practice; with practice comes growth.

• We believe competence in writing is an essential skill for success within both academic and professional lives. Incorporating creative writing as a supplement to traditional academic curriculums revitalizes writing instruction and student progress.

• We believe creative writing inspires character development through deepened self reflection, self expression, and creativity.

• We believe the world needs writers. There are so many voices, so many stories, so many perspectives, and literature in all its varied forms is one of the oldest, most powerful channels of building empathy into experiences outside of our own. In a world in which reading is at risk and the literary arts are in battle with twenty-first century distractions, fostering the art of writing is vital. 

What we do:

The Porch will tailor creative writing workshops and events to best meet the needs and time allowances of the specific group. Typically, workshops include a combination of writing warm-ups, story/poem starters, interactive group writing, creative writing games and activities, and an opportunity to share work. We offer one-time workshops, series of workshops, or long-term creative writing opportunities.


Our Outreach Programs and Partners:

Expressive Writing Workshops for New Americans: The Porch has received a grant from the National Humanities Alliance to teach two six-week workshops in the fall of 2016 for immigrants and refugees. Project partners include Tennessee Foreign Language Institute, NPL Adult Education, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and Nashville Center for International Empowerment.

Oasis Center: The Porch has an ongoing relationship with the College Connect program at the Oasis Center and has facilitated workshops on writing the college admissions essay as well as on college-level writing.

Nashville Scholars: The Porch has facilitated college-admissions essay writing workshops at each of the campuses as part of the 2015 Mayor's Scholars Academy and 2016 Nashville Scholars program.

Martha O'Bryan Center: The Porch participated as guest instructors with the pilot program Cayce Unbound by offering after-school writing workshops to middle-school girls.

Nashville Adult Literacy Council: The Porch has facilitated a writing workshop to NALC tutors and students. The stories collected contributed to their annual In Our Words publication of student work issued in November

Nashville Public Library: The Porch partnered with the Nashville Public Library in the fall to offer a free four-week college essay writing course, which will be open to Nashville’s high school seniors as well as to non-traditional college applicants.

Time to Rise:  The Porch has partnered with the Nashville educational nonprofit Time to Rise, offering a program designed to introduce the urban youth served by Time to Rise to the fundamentals and pleasures of creative writing.

We are actively seeking additional partnerships. Please contact Katie McDougall at to inquire further about our program.