CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education, in partnership with the Central West Virginia Writing Project, Marshall University, the EdVenture Group and the University of Charleston will host West Virginia Young Writers Day on Friday, May 5, 2023, at the University of Charleston’s Riggleman Auditorium beginning at 9 a.m. Best-selling author and native West Virginian Homer Hickam will address the state’s young writers as the keynote speaker.

Young Writers Day celebrates student writing (grades k-12) in the Mountain State as a hallmark of a comprehensive and robust education. Teachers and administrators in each county encourage students to submit entries on any topic and in any prose genre. Winners from every county are determined and will be recognized and honored at the event.

“I am pleased and thoroughly impressed by the talent and creativity of our young writers,” said State Superintendent of Schools David L. Roach. “Young Writers Day supports the critical literacy skills that our children will need to find success in the future. This is an amazing opportunity for educators to nurture and expand our students’ capabilities through an experience that none of them will forget.”

Participating students will also engage in grade-appropriate writing workshops led by education leaders and award-winning local writers. Afterward, several state winners will read their submitted pieces.

Homer Hickam is a decorated Vietnam veteran and retired NASA engineer and astronaut trainer. He is most famous for his literary work as the author of 20 books, including his memoir Rocket Boys, which became the basis for the film October Sky. Hickam rose from humble beginnings in Coalwood, West Virginia to become one of the most-read authors in public schools across the country.

To learn more about Young Writers Day and to see photos from previous years, visit the WVDE website.

For media inquiries, contact Christy Day, West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications, at 304-558-2699 or

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