What is Looseleaf?

Looseleaf is a MFA run program offering free creative writing workshops across the Greater Lafayette area. We work with elementary schools, senior centers, libraries, juvenile halls, LGBTQ centers, after-school programs, and more. It’s not just a place to write, it’s a place to see writing matter—see how it changes us and how it challenges us. It’s a place to experience how writing, especially creative writing, is relevant to how we experience life as it happens! Come write with us!

Who Volunteers with Looseleaf?

Looseleaf is completely run by volunteer graduate students in Purdue’s MFA program and its literary magazine Sycamore Review.

What do our Volunteers Have to Say?

“Last fall I worked with at-risk youth through Looseleaf’s partnership with The Cary Home. I know from my own experience in community workshops that they have a knack for emphasizing work that is unique and moving, and I feel that was true of The Cary Home workshops too. What I enjoyed most about this workshop was seeing how they brought their pains and goals into the writing exercises. I think Looseleaf is important because it is a form of advocacy. Through Looseleaf we ask for literary culture to not just exist in the world outside the academy, but also to embrace that world.”

“My favorite Looseleaf volunteer experience has been with WALLA, an organization that provides life-long learning opportunities to retirees in the community. I’ve taught classes on memoir, humor in writing, and fiction to small groups of folks whose experiences range from growing up on farms in rural Indiana during the depression to being a former physics or biology professors at Purdue. It’s incredibly rewarding to get to have conversations about writing with people who are invested and who have such different backgrounds and interesting stories to tell. Teaching also comes with bonuses like free pizza luncheons and getting to take any WALLA classes you want for free.”

“I worked with Lafayette Urban Ministry’s after-school program. I enjoyed watching these young writers realize writing is fun. There are no right or wrong answers. We have an infinite number of stories stored in our heads, and most of these kids felt that was infinitely liberating. A handful of them would have continued writing if we hadn’t collected the construction paper and pencils. I felt fulfilled by each of our writing workshop installments. That we had done something that mattered for these young people… whether they enjoyed it or not. What we had to offer was a writing practice that was not limited by statewide learning objectives or standardized tests, and I believe that writing has to be more than all that.”

“I conducted one workshop for adults on writing the supernatural and one for kids on writing a story at the Klondike branch library. The local library is super supportive of our workshops, providing copies, materials, related library books, and technology. They advertise on the local news and print posters, so we tend to have a nice turnout of 8-12 individuals. Through the library, I’ve enjoyed connecting with people in different stages of their writing lives: from the very young to those that are returning to writing after years of having that novel on the back-burner.”


Wendy Wallace is the program’s director. Contact her at wallac37@purdue.edu for more information.

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