Meet our Writer in Residence, Hannah Connors!

 In Voices of Young People

Meet our Writer in Residence, Hannah Connors! 

The Springtide Writer in Residence is a brand-new program designed to nurture and encourage a young writer through one-on-one mentoring, workshopping and feedback, prompts and assignments, and opportunities for skill-building, bylines, networking, and hands-on experience in publishing and production.  

Among other opportunities, this 9-month residency explores and enhances competencies in data and report writing, news and blog writing, reflective and essay writing, and newsletter and copywriting. In addition to the prompts and work assigned by Springtide, Hannah will also undertake a residency-long project focused on her own questions on themes pertaining to young people’s inner and outer lives.  

Funding for this residency comes from a generous, anonymous donor.  

Below is a quick Q&A between Ellen Koneck, Springtide’s Head Writer & Editor, and Hannah Connors, our inaugural Writer in Residence. Welcome, Hannah!

Ellen: What brought you to Springtide? How did you hear about the WIR position? 

Hannah: I am passionate about uplifting personal and collective wellbeing, and do a lot of reading and thinking about how spirituality and community-building can be vehicles to that end. This led me to find the How We Gather report several years ago and I continued to follow the authors’ work. One of them, Casper ter Kuile, is a Research Advisory Board member at Springtide, and shared something about Springtide and it was synchronistic that it was about a month before the WIR application deadline.  

E: Tell us a little about your professional background. What were you doing before you arrived at Springtide; what do you hope to do next?

H: My original post-grad plans were to serve in the Peace Corps in the Philippines as a Youth Development Facilitator. When that fell through due to COVID, I took a job teaching at a forest preschool in Washington state. I also have experience as a study coordinator, undergrad course designer and facilitator, and oversaw a university peer support program. I hope to continue exploring my interests in education, wellness, nature, community-building, and storytelling, in whatever form that may take.  

E: You’re a Writer in Residence, so we must know: What do you love about writing? What role does writing play in your life?

H: Writing is my attempt at grounding myself in the face of the ephemerality of everything. All language is only an approximation of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experiences, but I think when I write that approximation gets a lot closer to the real thing than when I speak. I am a daily journaler, snail mail enthusiast, and I wrote a lot of haiku when quarantine started!  

E: Oh my gosh, beautiful! I love that expression—grounding in the face of emphemerality. Okay… a nerdy but writerly set of questions. Your favorite font? Do you handwrite or type first drafts? Best writing advice? Thing you want to work on most in your writing over the next 9 months? 

H: For prose, I’ve tried them all but you can’t go wrong with Times New Roman, she’s timeless. For planning documents I like Proxima Nova. I usually type first drafts that require outside research, but for purely personal essays, I like to write longhand. My writing advice is to give yourself constraints, at least to start. Over the next 9 months I want to work on my ability to artfully weave together seemingly disparate ideas. 

E: We all know reading and writing are inextricably linked. What’s the best book you’ve read this year? What’s the best book of all time (no pressure), in your opinion? 

H: This year: The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible by Charles Eisenstein

All time: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

E: Want to tell us a little bit about what you’re hoping to work on in your independent research and writing project this year? 

H: I am hoping to explore changes in how young people have come to value traits like empathy, kindness, honesty, generosity, and patience, and how they engage with cultivating these traits, as they move away from organized religion. I also want to investigate different motivational frameworks for making “good” decisions, from religious, spiritual, and secular lenses.  

E: Thanks, Hannah! And welcome to Springtide 🙂 

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