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UPDATE 7/6: Mighty Writers has informed us that they made an error in their email announcing this program and that Rhiannon Giddens has not confirmed participation in this series.

Beginning July 8, local nonprofit Mighty Writers and national publication Literary Hub will launch their latest collaboration, Mighty SONG Writers. The weekly video series will showcase literary musical performances, and musicians’ words on their own craft.

Mighty Writers was founded in 2009 to teach local K-12 students writing. They serve in nine centers across the greater Philadelphia area and New Jersey, offering after school activities, writing classes, teen scholar programs, mentorship, and help with college prep and essay writing. LitHub.com, meanwhile, is an online publication about all things book-related.

In each Mighty SONG Writers installment, an artist will perform several songs, original and covers, that have been important to them. They will also discuss writing that resonated with them in their childhoods, influential books, and teachers that got them where they were today. The first three performers are XPN favorites Rhiannon Giddens, Marcus Roberts, and Phil Augusta Jackson. A special pilot episode will showcase Rhett Miller of Old 97’s.

Tim Whitaker, Executive Director of Mighty Writers, says this:

There’s never been a more important time for kids to think clearly about the world they’re living in. At Mighty Writers, where we teach writing to over 3,000 kids annually in economically-challenged communities, we believe that writing has magical powers, chief amongst them the ability to think critically and express oneself with clarity. In light of Covid-19, and unprecedented social unrest, we are doubling our efforts at Mighty Writers to reach kids and provide both guidance and venues that allow them to express what they’re feeling through the written word and are thrilled to have the support of these world-class musicians.

Lit Hub editor Jonny Diamond adds,

It’s almost impossible to define the border between literary songwriting and lyrical storytelling. Just ask any novelist and you’ll find a few unsung songs scrawled into the back of a notebook… Same thing goes for songwriters — take away the guitar and you’ll probably end up with a short story collection. And that’s what’s so important about Mighty Writers: whatever the medium, it’s a great thing to give kids the tools to tell their own stories.

The first installment of Mighty SONG Writers will appear on July 8 here, with more videos following every Wednesday in the summer.

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