Join A Community Of Young Writers

An Online Writing Program with Live One-to-One Instruction and Real Peer Connections

Gifted Writers Academy is a place to learn, get and give feedback, make friends and become a better writer

We're a tight-knit group of young novelists, poets, playwrights, and documentarians

Become A Better Writer

Young writers gain confidence and technical skill in a friendly, supportive, and challenging course.

Learn From Published Authors

Students will interact with real, professional writers who will offer real-time feedback and deep instruction.

Build Lasting Relationships

Students will create lasting and deep friendships with their course-mates and instructors.

Our Courses

Whether you're a rising poet, novelist, documentarian, or playwright, The Gifted Writers Academy is the perfect place to start your writing career. We begin with our "Writing Essentials" course, a program that exposes young writers to the wide world of writing – and many genres they may have never considered. After Writing Essentials, students can select a "track," like the "Portfolio" course or the soon-to-come courses in screenwriting, essay and composition, college essay writing, and advanced poetry. The tracks are designed to go deep into the young writer's area of interest, while still exposing them to other technical skills.


Foundations in Academic Writing: Grades 9-College

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Your Choice!

The Prompts Challenge: Grades 9-Adult

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Your Choice!

The Prompts Challenge: Grades 6-8

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Middle School Creative Writing Essentials

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Meet The Gifted Writers Team

Ted Ibur, Founder and Instructor
Ted Ibur — Founder & Instructor

Program founder/director, Ted Ibur, was an English teacher for 27 years until joining the staff at Saint Louis University as Executive Director of the St. Louis Literary Award and as an English liaison for the 1818 Dual Enrollment Program. He received a BA in both English and Sociology with a minor in Journalism and Creative Writing from Mizzou, and earned an MA in Education from Washington University. For the first ten years of his teaching career, Ibur was also a full-time musician playing drums in several bands. His 2012 debut novel written under his full name, Edward Scott Ibur, is called Teacher of the Year, a satirical comedy set in a middle school. He is currently working on a new book, tentatively called Teitel, and a play—both comedies.

Arden Armstrong, Mentor Instructor

Arden Armstrong

Hi, I’m Arden Armstrong! I’m a sophomore at Tulane University studying Marketing with a minor in Legal Studies. I joined Gifted Writers Academy in the fall of 2012 and haven’t looked back. Within 10 seconds of meeting me, I will probably mention one of three things so let me spare you that time by telling you now: I have a 60-year life-plan, I am a meme queen, and this writing class changed my life. I look forward to getting to know all of you this summer!
Tara Ernst

Tara Ernst

Tara Ernst is currently in her second year of doctoral study in the Curriculum and Instruction Ph.D. program at Saint Louis University’s School of Education (focusing on curriculum development and the inclusion of fine and performing arts in education). She earned a BA in Psychology from SLU in 2016 and an MA in Higher Education Administration from New York University in 2018. While at NYU, Ernst taught a graduate seminar for new international students and served as an Assistant Residence Hall Director at The School of American Ballet in Lincoln Center. Currently, she teaches a section of University 101 for new, first time freshmen at Saint Louis University. She has 15 years of on-stage experience in theatre, having been involved in both community and semi-professional companies in and around the St. Louis area. She enjoys rainy days with moody books, running half marathons (never full), and day dreaming about becoming an astronaut.
Olivia Bickford, Mentor Instructor

Olivia Bickford

I’m Olivia Bickford! I’m an incoming sophomore at the University of Louisville where I am a Music Therapy major. I was a part of the GWA from my sixth grade year until my senior year of high school, participating as both a student and a mentor! I’m your go-to poetry gal and will talk villanelles with you all day. I’m so excited to work with you this summer, and I can’t wait to see what you create!
Charlotte Marshall, Mentor Instructor

Charlotte Marshall

Charlotte Marshall is going into her second year at the University of Kansas, where she is majoring in English. She is also a part of the LEAD (Legal Education Accelerated Degree) Program, an accelerated Pre-Law program, and plans on attending Law School at KU after completing her undergraduate degree. Charlotte has been a part of the Gifted Writers Academy since seventh grade (2013!), participating in the program as a student until her graduation in 2019. She has been an avid writer for as long as she can remember, her favorite style being free verse poetry. Charlotte is so excited to collaborate with all of you!
Sydney Cimarolli, Mentor Instructor

Sydney Cimarolli

Sydney is a junior at American University studying Literature and Political Science, where she also works as a Teaching Assistant. Sydney has been involved with Gifted Arts for eight years as both a student and mentor-instructor and is looking forward to another summer with the program.
Dino Thesaurus, Intern

Dino Thesaurus

Well, hello there. I'm Dino Thesaurus and I make the coffee, get postage stamps, and keep things tidy around the Gifted Writers Academy office. I look forward to taking your job one day, Mr. Ibur.
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