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Ellie Bleharski’s Brewing Success at Matcha House

Inside of Java House

In the heart of Iowa city, Java House echoes with the rhythmic clatter of keyboards and the rich aroma of freshly ground coffee. Aspiring and established writers alike are immersed in their creativity, as they sip on lattes and cappuccinos. Little do the seasoned occupants of Java House realize that amidst the hum of the cafe, a teenage visionary is writing the opening chapter of her journey into the launch of a publishing company.

Junior Ellie Bleharski is the founder of Matcha House—a publishing company that features young writers’ work from all across the country.

“I am passionate about writing, and I want to get other people interested as well,” Bleharski said.

Although Macha House only launched on Oct 26th, 2023, Bleharski’s writing journey started well before then.

“During COVID, I had a really difficult time. Being isolated was definitely hard for me. So I decided to start writing, and it provided an outlet that I needed to express my thoughts,” Bleharski said.

She quickly realized that she wanted to write about her personal identity and experiences.

“My style of writing has always revolved around cultural works. I write a lot about my family and my culture, and I don’t really stray from that,” Bleharski said.

In the summer of 2023, Bleharski went to Iowa Young Writers Studio for a two week writing program. 

“I was proud of myself for getting into it, because it can be very competitive,” Bleharski said.

This program run by the University of Iowa received thousands of applications, but only accepted 80 young writers to attend. 

“Being in Iowa was a cool experience because I got to read a lot of writing from people my age, as well as have conversations with them about writing, which is something that I love to do,” said Bleharski.

Bleharski has a few of her works published in various magazines, as well as in a book entitled The Celebration of Poets, which features a poem by Bleharski called “祖母,” which translates to “Grandma.”

However, while trying to get works published Bleharski found that the process was much more tedious than expected.

“It’s a lot of work to get something published, even if it’s just one piece,” she said. “The process can be super annoying, long, and expensive.”

When at the Iowa Young Writers Studio, Bleharski learned that her peers experienced the same roadblocks that she had when getting published. 

“In Iowa I noticed that a lot of people struggled with the same issues that I did when trying to get published, so coming back I was inspired to start a company of my own to help people like me,” she said.

After leaving lowa, Bleharski began working to launch her own publishing company.

“I wanted to make a way for people to get published for free, so they don’t have to go through the tedious process,” she said. 

For three months, Bleharski worked to get her website ready for publication, and in October 2023, Matcha House launched to the public.

Bleharski decided to name her publishing company after a place she liked to write at the Iowa Young Writers Studio. 

“There is a chain of cafes in Iowa called Java House, and since I’m Japanese I decided to change the name to Matcha House,” she said. 

Since launching, Bleharski has received 25 pieces from various publishers. The writers include her peers from the Iowa Young Writers Studio as well as her fellow classmates at PHS.

“Matcha House has given me an opportunity to read a lot of works from other people, and I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from them,” she said. “It’s cool to see how I’m motivating people to want to create more work.”

“I started following Matcha House when it first launched. I’m not a writer or anything, but reading my peers’ work kinda makes me want to try,” junior Mary Schickedanz said. 

Having a free and accessible website to get work published incentivises people to write, Bleharski said. 

“I’ve actually met more people at our school who I probably wouldn’t have talked to otherwise who are interested in writing, and they know that I can publish it for them,” Bleharski said. 

“I decided to send in my piece “Amnesia” to Matcha House. It’s super cool to have something I wrote available for other people to see,” junior Genevieve Hiller said.

Matcha House accepts writing submissions from anyone, which are published based on a schedule created by Bleharski. 

“My plan is at the end of next year I’d like to publish a book compilation of everything people have sent me,” Bleharski said.

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Elizabeth Long
Elizabeth Long, Senior Staff Writer
Elizabeth Long (12) is a senior staff writer for TPH. She loves cats and eating tacos.
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