Zadie Smith On Writing

September 3rd, 2016

1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.

3. Don’t romanticize your “vocation.” You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle.” All that matters is what you leave on the page.

4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.

5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.

6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.

7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the Internet.

8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.

9. Don’t confuse honors with achievement.

10. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand, but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.


A Mighty, Mighty Day

July 27th, 2016


July 26, 2016. 10am.

3000 Philly kids, ages seven to 17, writing.
Philadelphia Museum of Art.
photo: DJ Dilemma

“When they go low, we go high”

Mighty Volunteers

July 25th, 2016

Shanise Redmon 2016

Shanise Redmon

Hometown: Philadelphia

Profession: Graduate Student

Been a volunteer at MW since: 2013

What I do at MW: Workshop Instructor

Favorite authors: Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin and Amiri Baraka

Last book I read: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Book I liked as a kid: As a little kid, anything by Shel Silverstein. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. As a teen, Native Son by Richard Wright, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey.

Quote I like: “Writing for me is control. Nobody tells me what to do. It’s mine. It’s free. It’s a way of thinking. It’s pure knowledge.” – Toni Morrison

Gosh, speaking of volunteering, check this.


Michael Schaffer

Hometown: Havertown

Profession: Retired journalist. I was a writer and editor at The Inquirer for more than 30 years before retiring at the end of 2014.

Been a volunteer at MW since: July 2016

What I do at MW: I help the younger children with their homework and the older ones with their writing. I also have helped an eighth grader write an application essay for Central High School.

Favorite author: P.G. Wodehouse

Last book I read: “Cry, the Beloved Country,” by Alan Paton

Book I liked as a kid: The Hardy Boys series

Quote I like: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin

December 11th, 2015

Hey, that’s us.

Our Mighty Directors

December 7th, 2015

program directors

Counter-clockwise from right hand corner: Khalia Robinson (West Philly), Madeline Karp (El Futuro), Tanesha Ford (South Philly) and Shamira O’Neal (North Philly). ‪#‎Mighty‬

Mighty Writers Wins Edward R. Murrow Award

December 7th, 2015

murrow awards

Mighty Writers has won a prestigious 2015 Edward R, Murrow Award for an audio documentary titled GOING BLACK: THE LEGACY OF PHILLY SOUL RADIO.

GOING BLACK: THE LEGACY OF PHILLY SOUL RADIO, a two-hour audio documentary that aired on public radio stations around the country in 2014 and again in 2015, recaptured the glory days (1950—1979) of Black radio in Philadelphia.

> Read more here >>

smiley girlChildren make you want to start life over.” 

—Muhammad Ali

One Book, One Philadelphia at MW

November 20th, 2015

Thanks to this year’s “One Book, One Philadelphia” selection, kids at each of our MW sites will be reading and talking about curiosity, mysteries and autism.

Will you read with us?

El Futuro – Can You Solve It? (ages 7-17)
Thursday, Feb. 2, 6-8pm
MW El Futuro 1025. S. 9th Street.
Christopher, who has Aspergers, sees the world through a series of puzzles. We’ll investigate mysteries, solve puzzles and create our own riddles. All participants receive a copy of the novel.

Sign up here.

MW West – The Curious Incident (ages 10-17)
Friday, Feb. 10, 6-8pm
MW West, 3861 Lancaster Ave
Calling all Sherlock Holmes and mystery novel lovers. We’ll read passages and create our own short stories inspired by the “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” All participants receive a copy of the novel.

Sign up here.

MW North – The Investigation (ages 11-15)
Thursday, Feb. 16, 6-7:30pm
MW North, 2123 N. Gratz Street.
We learn from Christopher, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, that there are many ways to interpret the world. Join us as we read a few chapters & talk observation skills, logic, and life! Maybe we’ll even solve the murder mystery! All participants receive a copy of the novel.

Sign up here.

MW South – Who Stole the Cookie? (ages 7-9)
Sunday, Feb. 19, 2:00-3:30pm
MW South, 1501 Christian Street
We’ll follow the steps of 15-year-old Christopher to create and solve a mystery! Scavenger-hunt style, we’ll discover who stole the cookie from the cookie jar. The first six people to sign up will get a copy of “Temple Grandin” a girl with autism who different outlook helps her to do great things!

Sign up here.

Mighty Volunteers

November 16th, 2015

Micah Markray
Hometown: Nolensville, TN
Profession: Author/Illustrator
Been A Volunteer at MW since: June 2015
What I Do at MW: Mentor
Favorite Author: Avi
Last Book I Read: Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill
Book I Liked as A Kid: Hidden Talents by David Lubar
Quote I Like: “Anything the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” -Napoleon Hill

Lila Gordon
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Profession: student at Temple University
Been a volunteer at MW since: 2015
What I do at MW: I come once a week and help the participants with their writing. I am also newly a mentor to the wonderful Guyana.
Favorite author: I have many favorites, but I particularly like Stephen King and Ann Patchett.
Last book I read: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (totally recommend)
Book I liked as a kid: Where the Red Fern Grows
Quote I like: “And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.” – John Steinbeck “East of Eden”

Vivian Lubin
Hometown:  New York City
Profession:  Retired university administrator
Been a volunteer at MW since:  September 2014
What I do at MW:  I volunteer as an Academy Assistant for the 3-5 grade group every Tuesday
Favorite author:  I don’t have a favorite author, but of all the books I have read in the last few years, my favorite was All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Last book I read:  Peacekeeping by Mischa Berlinski
Book I liked as a kid: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Quote I like:  “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” – Anne Frank

Patricia Madej
Hometown: Reading, Pennsylvania
Profession: Writer/Web Producer for PhillyVoice
Been a volunteer at MW since: September 2016
What I do at MW: I help the students at El Futuro as a Mighty Tutor. One of my favorite parts of my week is walking into the building and hearing the kids shout, “Miss Pat!”
Favorite author: David Sedaris
Last book I read: Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
Book I liked as a kid: Junie B. Jones series
Quote I like: “Keep typing until it turns into writing.” – David Carr