A Hopper painting of Manhattan Bridge

Creative Writing Competition: Edward Hopper

Posted by Speakeasy News > Wednesday 05 October 2022 > Pedagogy

Many of Edward Hopper’s paintings are like mini-narratives of mid-20th-century America. Although he also painted landscapes, he is best known for portrayals of lonely urban life. There are plenty on show in Edward Hopper’s New York at the Whitney Museum in NYC. We'd like to challenge your pupils to write stories inspired by the images.

Hopper was born in 1882 in Nyack in the state of New York. He lived most of his adult life in New York City, and died there in 1967. He started studying art at the age of 17 and dreamed of being an artist. But for many years he worked as a commercial illustrator to make money. He sold his first painting in 1913, but he didn’t sell the second one till 10 years later. That second painting was the beginning of his success. He became popular in museums and art galleries.

Automat, 1927

Hopper’s paintings use strong colours and contrasts. Two of his common themes are city life and isolation. The viewer often feels they are watching a scene from a film: there is a story. You want to know more about the people he depicts.

We would like pupils to write an imaginative piece inspired by one of Hopper's. It's a creative writing assignment, not a request for a description or a report on the artist. The idea is to imagine what is happening in the image (or what happened before or after) for example. If there are a people in the image, what are they thinking? Or pupils can put themselves in the place of someone (the artist or someone else) observing the scene.

We will choose our  favourite texts by level, and publish them on Speakeasy News.

To introduce your pupils to Hopper, you can download our biobox video about his life and some of his famous works, and check out our article about the Whitney exhibition, which includes videos with curators' inside knowledge of some of his works.


This competition is open to pupils at A2, B1 and B2 levels. Entries can be individual or group efforts. The texts must be in English and approximately 100 words long for A2 and 200 words for the higher levels.

If you are having a whole class or classes participate, it would be very helpful if you could send the entries collected by class, by post or e-mail.

Each entry should state the title of the painting which inspired the text, and have the pupil's/pupils' name(s), age(s) and class level, teacher's name and school address. Please note: Pupils' surnames will  in no circumstances be used on the site and we will contact teachers whose pupils' work is chosen for publication to ascertain how to identify pupils (or not if they or their families wish them to appear anonymously.)

Entries must reach us by Wednesday 11 January 2023.

Send entries to:
Speakeasy News Edward Hopper Competition
Nathan Secteur Langues
92 avenue de France
CS 91464
75702 PARIS CEDEX 13

Or by e-mail.  (If you send an e-mail, please send .doc, .docx or .pdf documents ONLY. If you are sending for a whole class, it helps us immensely if you send them all together. Or even better in a single file.)

Edward Hopper's New York
Whitney Museum, New York
Till 5 March 2023

The Whitney has a large collection of Hopper's paintings, which you can find on their site.

The Sheridan Theater, 1937

Ready to Use Downloadable resources ready to use in class
> Biobox: Edward Hopper
> Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing
Downloadable resources ready to use in class
> Dorothea Lange: On the Road