Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 3, 2023

Writers’ Warehouse builds literary community on campus

By YVETTE SHU | September 25, 2023



The Writers’ Warehouse welcomes all students with a passion for writing, regardless of genre and background.

Hopkins students found over a dozen books wrapped in newspaper sitting on a small table at the Breezeway, waiting to be picked up by prospective readers on Sept. 11. Each came with a sticky note and a description, which ranged from “best-selling thriller” to “cozy summer romance.” 

This was part of the Writers’ Warehouse’s “Blind Date With A Book” event, which ended up giving away over 60 books for free. The Writers’ Warehouse is a student club that specializes in all things literary. The club currently has over 20 active members and publishes a semesterly literary magazine, The Warehouse

The Writers’ Warehouse began in 2021 when Co-Presidents Jeremy Giles and Abigail Russell met informally with interested writers every week in the Scott-Bates Commons. In 2022, they finally became an official club. 

Russell discussed the mission of the Writer’s Warehouse in an interview with The News-Letter. She explained that the goal is to create a tight-knit writing community, where everyone has the space to express themselves creatively without fear. 

“Especially for people who aren’t Writing Seminars majors, it can be hard for them to find a writing community at Hopkins, as it’s mostly STEM-based,” she said. “So, we decided, why not do it ourselves?”

This year, the Writers’ Warehouse plans to further expand its membership by organizing more events, such as trips to the Maryland Renaissance Fair and the International Edgar Allan Poe Festival & Awards. They also hope to host more campus events, like “Blind Date With A Book”, and open mic events in collaboration with the Writing Seminars department. 

Students from all majors are welcome to share their writing for feedback, whether it be screenplays, poetry or fiction. The club accepts email submissions on Sundays, and members read and edit pieces throughout the week. Every week, the club meets for writing days and workshop days, with the former dedicated to communal writing and brainstorming sessions, and the latter to sharing feedback.

In an interview with The News-Letter, Giles explained his favorite part of workshop days. 

“Something I like about our workshops — not that there’s anything wrong with the department workshops, I think they are very, very nice — is that they’re student-run,” he said. “You’re able to participate more than you are in a lot of classes. The author doesn’t have to be silent.”

Giles believes that the most beloved part of Writers’ Warehouse, however, is its close-knit community. He expressed that while Writers’ Warehouse celebrates hard work and craft, it is most dedicated to building comfortable and cozy ties between its members. 

“A lot of us have become friends outside of the club, which has been really nice,” he said. “I hang out with a lot of board members that were in the club. I think the big idea is that clubs should be fun.”

Hopkins students who went to “Blind Date With A Book” may have noticed a small wooden owl on the table, its base covered with signatures and dates. Giles first brought the bird to one of their meetings, and it has since become a mascot for the club.

“Last semester I went abroad to Ecuador, and it's there that I got the bird,” he said. “I decided to use the limited space in my suitcase to carry the bird with me as I traveled during the rest of the program and around South America after the program.”

Members who have been with the Writers’ Warehouse for over a month are invited to sign their names on the owl’s base. It serves as a badge of honor to those who have dedicated themselves to the craft of writing. Russell hopes that this tradition will continue after she leaves the club. 

The Writers' Warehouse has helped members form close bonds that extend beyond the club setting. Not only do writers meet outside of the club for informal writing sessions and activities, but they also help each other with submissions to literary magazines and journals. 

“I made so many new writer friends,” Russell said. “I could be up working on something at 1 a.m. in the morning and shoot a text to people saying, ‘Hey, are you up? Can you look at this for me?’ It’s just so nice to have.”

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