A crucial democratic principle animates the Simpson Family Literary Project: literature creates community and inspires literacy. We are all storytellers. We tell our tales all the time, however reflexively and casually. When younger writers are encouraged and empowered, storytelling leads to literacy. At its core, then, the Simpson Family Literary Project is a literacy project.
Society has a sacred obligation to cultivate literacy in young people. After all, literacy fundamentally makes citizenship, art, scientific research, imagination, knowledge, and personal growth possible as well as articulate. Brain research and common sense confirm how complex is the attainment of literacy. Ultimately, literacy goes beyond mastering the mechanics of reading and writing.
It may seem logical that a command of the mechanics is a precondition for creative writing. But the drive to command reading and writing skills naturally merges with the passion to create. As experienced teachers testify, students with the desire to speak their minds and hearts come to master the mechanics. And with encouragement and instruction, they come to express themselves with nuance, purpose, and power—in other words, in story.
Stories bind families together over generations. Shared stories build community, and awareness of shared experience, values, and aspirations creates culture. All told, individual and communal contributions to storytelling strengthen the fundamental humanity binding us all. Telling stories helps us recognize and respect the wide range of differing assumptions, beliefs and perspectives that inform our daily lives.
The Simpson Family Literary Project serves not only professional writers who have distinguished themselves in fulfilling that commitment but also the educators who inspire and instruct new generations of writers by creating conditions where creativity flourishes. Most importantly, The Simpson Family Literary Project celebrates and supports new generations of writers as they explore ways to express themselves creatively — to surprise and delight themselves and other writers and readers by exploiting their resourcefulness with language in making meaning through the stories they tell about their own lives and the lives of others. Storytelling truly is the foundation of a literate and democratic society.