LUMOS! Illuminating Pittsburgh . . .

Luminari Newsletter – November 28, 2011

Learning to Drive at Night:

by Gina Catanzarite, Director, Teen Writer!

Teen Writer!

As a young writer, I was always inspired by this quote from the great writer E.L. Doctorow:

Writing is like driving at night. You can only see as far as the headlights but you can make the whole trip
that way.

It motivated me to keep moving forward on that road, no matter how hard it got, so I could fulfill my dream of becoming a professional writer.

My mission now is to help today's teens take positive and productive steps to turn their own dreams into reality. Teen Writer! is designed especially for young writers and I want them to leave these workshops feeling inspired and prepared to share their perspectives, their creativity, and their art with the world.

Read more on Teen Writer!

Matthew's Essay: 

by Matthew Rudoy, High School Senior, Teen Writer! 2011

Teen Writer!
For me, creativity often lurks in the realms of absurdity and boredom.

Bored with a homework assignment in eighth grade, I began writing a nonsensical story about two men,
Eddie and George. George was trying to convince Eddie to join a mysterious campaign that Eddie abhorred. Eddie refused. A fight to the death ensued.

What began as an entertaining diversion from homework laid the foundation for Corruption, the novel I self-published as a junior in high school.

The story of Eddie and George fascinated me. Its nonsense was as intriguing as it was frustrating. For more than a year, I constantly mulled over the idea, determined to have the story further develop and make sense. Once I had a rough sketch of the story and characters in my mind, I began to write.

Writing the first draft was like creating and watching a movie at the same time. I watched as Eddie and George disappeared from the story entirely. They were replaced by an unconfident, apathetic teenage boy, Jack Clark, and a wise, yet deceptive old man, Grassemer.

My characters, particularly Jack and Grassemer, consumed my life, their dilemmas and personas constantly hovering at the forefront of my mind. I was proud of my creations and wanted to show them off to the world, which was my primary inspiration to self-publish the novel.

My characters were greater than I could ever be. It would be cruel and selfish to keep them chained when they were mature enough to venture into the world unknown. Now, they have been unleashed into the public, where the story and characters continue to grow in the many minds joined in the life of the Corruption universe. 

Read more on Corruption →

To purchase Corruption, visit,, or

Matthew Rudoy was a participant in one of Luminari's 2011 Teen Writer! workshops. Learn more about upcoming Teen Writer! workshops for 2012 so you can expand your creative skills and start publishing your work!  

President's Message:

by Hilda Pang Fu, President, Luminari

Welcome new and returning readers. Team Luminari is par­ticularly fond of the winter season for rea­sons both symbolic and aesthetic. To be sure, the cycle of the seasons are no better realized in terms of beauty and brilliance than the magical months that lie before us. It is here that we come to distinguish this glacial season and the creative influence it has over our lives. The balance of light and dark, warm and cold, becomes re-imagined as the tilt of our planet’s axis affords those of us in the Northern Hemisphere a polar landscape alive with stories and archetypes that nourish our thoughts and foster our artistic endeavors.

In the spirit of this new season, Team Luminari seeks writers with an interest in a variety of topics for a new Lumos! segment dedicated to emerging authors. As we launch our 2012 Teen Writer! series, we invite young people ages 12 - 18 to submit their short stories, poetry or essays (word max: 1,500). This is your opportunity to share wisdom, humor and voice with a new audience. Our first entry comes from Matthew Rudoy, who took part in 2011's inaugural Teen Writer! workshops where he learned tools and techniques used by professional writers to foster creativity, strengthen writing and nurture love of the written word.

Details for submitting your writing to Lumos! →

Diplomacy Week:

Ambassador students: complete the Diplomacy Week Journey: Activity Sheet for a chance to win a Kindle eReader! 
Contact us at for the activity sheet and more information.

Read more on Diplomacy Week →

What's Next:

The Luminari Award – as we prepare to announce the recipients of the 2012 Luminari Award, we'll also check in on some of our former Ambassador students for an update!  

Read more on the Luminari Award →


What's Inside:

Director's Message:
    Learning to Drive at Night
Matthew's Essay
President's Message
Reminder: Diplomacy Week
What's Next: Luminari Award

Ambassador Reunion

On November 12th, we celebrated the success of 
I Want to be an Ambassador! with the students and instructors from the past two years of camp. We met for lunch at Sushi Too in Shadyside, where we kicked off our shoes and enjoyed sushi and tempura around traditional low tables.

Read more on I Want to be an Ambassador! →
Ambassador Reunion
Ambassador Reunion
Ambassador Reunion


Internship Opportunities:

We are looking for top-notch interns this Winter/Spring. Do you know anyone who might be interested?

Read more on Luminari internships →

Our Supporters

We thank our sponsors:

Brown Borthers Harriman

We are grateful to all our supporters:

Grable Foundation

Richard King Mellon Foundation

The Heinz Endowments

The President's Discretionary Fund, of The Pittsburgh Foundation

Desisto, Jones, Schneeberger & Associates, P.C.

Luminari Board of Directors (100%)

Individuals like YOU who support a greater degree of vibrancy and prosperity in the Pittsburgh region!

If you believe in our mission to broaden minds and inspire innovations in the Pittsburgh region, then help us grow! We believe that every dollar makes a difference.

Donate Now!
Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

December 14, 2011
Deadline: Submit Essays
Luminari Award

December 31, 2011

Early-early Registration:
I Want to be an Ambassador!

December 31, 2011
Early Registration:
Teen Writer!

January 9, 2011
Submission Deadline:
LUMOS! Teen Essays

January 16, 2012
Submission Deadline:
Teen Writer! Scholarship

Contest: Activity Sheet
Diplomacy Week

Gifts That Last

Coming soon . . .

Our Very First 
Holiday Giftcards


Looking for the perfect gift for your teen?

Luminari's Teen Writer! workshops and I Want to be an Ambassador! camp are experiences that will inspire your teen for years to come.
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