Every embassy sets up a number of American Corners in Cultural Centers and Libraries. Both Serbia and Macedonia have around 7 American Corners apiece. The ones in the major cities can be very large and have many programs a day. Right now the American Corners in the main Library in Skopje is having a program on how Macedonian students can apply to the right American Universities for their majors, their tuition needs, etc. These are very busy places and the State Department staff members work long hours cooperating with the American Corners. There must be 30 people in the library right now in a little room, and it is 6:26 at night. You can come to Friday night movies at an American Corner in a town that has no movie theatre. You can practice your English, read free books, check out American movies, all sorts of things. The American Corners open at 9 am and close at 8 pm. They also offer free internet for people like me!
Our summer creative writing camp starts tomorrow. Today I met with my co-teachers from Bitola, Tetovo and Skopje, and we planned the assignments for the four day program. I used so many wonderful lesson plans from experienced WITS Writers, and my co-teachers are very excited about our venture. This is the first time, according to Amy Storrow who should know, that a Department of State American Corners Library has offered a creative writing course. Evidently, this has been done in the distant past by the British, but never before with us.
After three meetings, including a lunch meeting, we had one final meeting with Elizabeta Hristovska-Iceva the President of the English Language Teachers’ Association of Macedonia, and she invited me to write an article about our Creative Writing Camp in their newsletter, which I will be doing. There should be several Google accounts of Writers in the School’s Macedonian Express since so far I know that I have given at least 10 interviews. Please keep an eye out for them.
Tomorrow is the day that we find out how the children do with not just a single day of creative writing but four days of assignments including turning a Pourquoi short story into a Reader’s Theatre play to be produced by the writer/director and his or her writer/actors on the final day of the camp. I will stay late after tomorrow’s workshop and tell you exactly what happened with our four hours of Creative Writing Camp here in Macedonia.
Reporting from the Macedonian Express, this is Merrilee Cunningham, Writers in the Schools (WITS)