Mission

YALDA stands for the Young Artists Language & Devotion Alliance and operates as a NYC-based summer literary intensive and publishing platform for young women authors ages 12-19. 

Given the guidance, support and readership they deserve as authors, young women can make valuable and vital contributions to literary culture at-large. We believe that some of our country's most exciting artists are women under the age of 18. Not only can they innovate in literature but their active presence in the conversation can also enrich the cultures of literary education and publishing. To create that platform of support, in a spirit of friendship and dedication-- that's YALDA's mission. It is also the mission and wish set forth by George Eliot in her Prelude to Middlemarch.

  • Young women deserve and need a space where they can work together, apart from judgment, outside the test-and-grades pressures of an academic environment that so often restricts the creative vision of young women. Our platform exists to offer them the same respect and freedom of expression given to adults in print.  
  • We believe in the concrete benefits of seeing your own work in print. By connecting with arts professionals and mentors who are inspired by their work and helping to publish and promote it, young authors can better recognize its value and advocate for themselves with more confidence. Involving them directly in every stage of publication allows them to learn about the fields of creative writing, literary education and publishing first-hand. The support and advice they receive in the process will help them navigate their high school and college years, and subsequently, any profession they pursue.
  • We believe that financial status should not be an obstacle to passionate young writers and we remain committed to providing our summer program at no tuition cost to the student. Each student is responsible only for their travel, room and board; and, one financial aid award is available to cover these costs for a student in need. 
  • We are committed to digitally archiving our chapbooks, making them free and accessible on our website. That means the works of our authors can reach and inspire countless other young women as well as adults beyond their limited edition printings.
  • The name "Yalda" means "birth" and alludes to ancient Zoroastrian winter solstice holiday, Shab-e-Yalda ("Yalda Night"), when friends and family gather and stay up on the longest, darkest night of the year, making a purifying fire and reading poetry, celebrating at sunrise the light that is born of darkness. The following day also traditionally involved a subversion of conventional orders, private and public-- servants became masters and and visa versa-- in a practice of acknowledging equality and interdependence. So, too, YALDA's pedagogy honors the mutual and equalizing process of learning whereby the roles of teacher and student are continually developed and shared. 

To learn more about the pedagogy behind YALDA, or the instruction and mentorship services offered during the academic year, please click HERE.