NewsLocal News


'It’s a creative community': Creative writing class in Lawrence connects its housed, unhoused community

Lawrence Creative Writing Class
Posted at 6:00 AM, May 29, 2024

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Brian Daldorph taught creative writing at the Douglas County Jail for 20 years until the COVID-19 pandemic ended the class, now he teaches a class of housed and unhoused people at the Homeless Resource Center in Lawrence.

After the Douglas County Jail class — which Daldorph wrote a book about and won the 2024 Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award in Literary Nonfiction award — ended in 2021, Daldorph said he wanted a different sort of challenge.

Daldorph was already a volunteer at the Homeless Resource Center when a former director suggested he bring the creative writing class to the center.

So, he began teaching the class again in August 2023.

Brian Daldorph
Brian Daldorph

“It’s for unhoused people in our community but also for the community as well, so that everybody can come together in the class,” Daldorph said.

Daldorph enjoys giving people the opportunity to write creatively.

“I’ve learned so much, I mean, it’s a great opportunity for me to meet people, to hear their stories and do my own writing, which is kind of inspired by the class," he said.

One student in particular stands out.

“Lee is just dynamic," Daldorph said.

Lee was present for class on Tuesday, May 28.

Lee Workman
Lee Workman

“The class is filled with different types of people that are in different situations in their lives," she said.

Lee said she began taking the class seven months ago because of her own situation; she says she's a survivor of domestic abuse and lost custody of her children.

Lee is also homeless.

“It’s a break, it’s kind of a break, and it’s something, you know, that a lot of people that come here look forward to because it’s about being around people that are trying to do the same thing," she said.