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Teen Camp Grad Publishes First Novel

Francesca G. Varela, a graduate of show:tell, Marylhurst's summer camp for teen writers and artists, published her first novel in 2014.

Excerpt from an article by Cliff Newell in the Lake Oswego Review, May 15, 2014.

Not long ago, Francesca Varela was just another young wannabe writer at show:tell, Marylhurst University's workshop for teen writers and artists.

When the workshop returns in June, the West Linn native will be coming back as an author.

Now a student at the University of Oregon, Varela has already written her first novel, Call of the Sun Child, and she will be reading her work to those attending the camp. She will be talking to a lot of ambitious young writers who want to be like her.

Varela has fond memories of her own experience at the workshop. In fact, it laid much of the foundation for her writing her new novel.

"It was both fun and informative, not to mention inspiring, since we were surrounded by real-life authors," Varela said. "The biggest lesson I learned was to keep writing. Write intuitively, see what comes naturally, and challenge yourself to just go for it."

As soon as Varela's book came out, she gave a copy to Jay Ponteri, director of the summer workshop, and he enthusiastically responded with a rave review that appears on the back cover of the book.

"Then he asked me to come back and present at the teen writers workshop and come full circle," Varela said. "Of course I said yes!"

Call of the Sun Child has already received lots of glowing reviews.

"So far I've heard good things from friends who have read the book," Varela said. "I've heard that they couldn't put it down; that they stayed up all night reading it and they didn't want it to end."

That is about the highest praise a writer can get.

» Read the full article on

show:tell, a workshop for teen writers and artists, is a nine-day seminar in which high school students receive college-level instruction in creative writing and contemporary arts, culminating in an all-student reading/exhibition.

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