Wordplay - Teen Writers and Artists Project/Naperville Public Library

Teen Writers and Artists Project
Friday, May 18, 2018 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm

In the wake of recent events where young people across the nation have felt the need to stand up and be heard regarding the injustices they see prevalent in the world around them, Teen Writers and Artists Project (T-WAAP) and Naperville’s Nichols Library have decided to partner together to create a safer/braver space for young people to come together and explore their thoughts and opinions in a creative way.

Each month, T-WAAP gathers young people in three different communities along the Fox Valley to write, share, & experience art celebrating themselves and their communities. In these spaces, they are given the opportunity to experience the power and joy in their worlds alongside the acceptance of the struggles they live with daily. "When we say 'Speak Your Truth' we really mean it," said Diana Zwinak, T-WAAP's founder and artistic director.

The Naperville event will be hosted and facilitated by T-WAAP’s Adam Gottlieb, featured in Siskel Jacob's award winning 2009 Louder Than a Bomb documentary, and Corey Dillard, teaching artist and author of poetry chapbook, That One Black Kid.  Gottlieb and Dillard will moderate a writers workshop designed to elicit an engaging and thought-provoking brainstorm and discussion, leading to a chance to explore thoughts and feelings that arise about the issue. Participants will then be given time to write.

At 7:30pm, an open mic begins. Young people are invited to bring previously created music, beats, poetry, or other writing to share, provided the piece is no longer than 3-5 minutes, or they may share the piece they created in the workshop. 

Following the open mic, a featured spoken word artist or musician will share their works and thoughts, and answer questions about their process, productions, or anything else of interest. This month's feature is Ireon Roach.

Ireon Roach is a Theater Arts and Sociology double major at Boston University. Originally from Chicago, she’s a company and board member of The Yard Theater Company where the focus is on works by and for young people of color. She is a poet, writer, actress, and activist through all of these. She was a 2016 and 2017 Louder Than A Bomb Chicago Indy Poet Finalist and 2016 National August Wilson Monologue Competition finalist. She finds her writing to be inspired by current events and personal revelations within them in an effort to revolutionize her body and weaponize her words. 

There is no charge for admission. T-WAAP and the Naperville Public Library warmly invite all to attend this event in the Community Room of the Nichols Library in the heart of downtown Naperville.

Information on features for other dates/locations and more information about T-WAAP is available at www.twaap.org. Any questions may be directed to artistic director Diana Zwinak at dzwinak@twaap.org or by phone at 630-677-8735.


For over ten years, T-WAAP has worked with teens insuburban Chicagoland, offering mentoring and providing opportunities in the arts. It hosts Wordplay workshops three times a month in Batavia, Elgin, and Algonquin along with other events around Chicagoland. Annual events include two major teen poetry slams: The Nightmare Before LTAB in October, and Slammin’ the Sun Down in January. The latter is the Far West Suburban Regional Slam which leads into the nation’s largest youth poetry festival: Louder Than a Bomb held in Chicago. T-WAAP teaching artists also work directly with teachers and students in many schools throughout the area, offering guidance, giving performances and assemblies, and supporting budding writers, performers, and artists. 

Adam Gottlieb is a poet/emcee, teaching artist, musician, and activist from Chicago. He got into spoken word in high school through the Louder Than A Bomb poetry festival, and was featured in the 2009 Siskel Jacobs documentary by the same name. His mission became bringing poetry into educational settings, and using spoken word as a tool for self-expression, community building, youth empowerment, and social justice. A Hampshire College graduate, he studied poetry and critical pedagogy. He currently serves as T-WAAP’s Curriculum Director, regularly running workshops and open mics as part of the West Suburban Wordplay program.

Corey Dillard is a Hack-of-all-trades. A poet, playwright, photographer, actor, improviser, and teaching artist, Corey dedicates his life to not getting too good at any one skill. For the past 4 years Corey Dillard has been a teaching artist and program director for Teen Writers and Artists Project. He has hosted several youth poetry slams, opened for Buddy Wakefield during his 2014 tour, and coached several teams of teens to compete in the annual Louder Than a Bomb competition. With Teen Writers and Artist Project, he helps run 3 workshops a month alongside Adam Gottlieb. Corey has recently published a book of poetry entitled That One Black Kid--an examination of his life growing up black in predominately white suburbs.

The Naperville Public Library serves a population of more than 147,000 at the Nichols Library, 200 W. Jefferson Ave., Naper Blvd. Library, 2035 S. Naper Blvd., the 95th Street Library, 3015 Cedar Glade Drive; and their website, www.naperville-lib.org. The library’s collection of more than 660,000 items includes magazines, newspapers, CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, audiobooks, eBooks, downloadable audio books, music and movies; online resources, and, of course, books. Naperville Public Library supports all residents of Naperville in their lifelong pursuit of learning, enjoyment and inspiration by providing excellence in public library services, resources and programs.

Location and contact
Nichols Library - Community Room
200 W Jefferson Ave
Naperville  Illinois  60540
United States
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