In Solidarity – From the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop recognizes that the 2016 election failed to acknowledge climate change, racism and homophobia, and the denial of human rights therein. 2016—encompassing the presidential election, Ohio’s Heartbeat Law, the continued efforts and actions to defund Planned Parenthood and the continued acts of police brutality against people of color, at large and in Standing Rock—was a year of mourning, protesting and solidarity. Now, in 2017, the list of injustices only continues to grow, and Trump’s presidency has only just begun. We will not be complacent.

Today, on the inauguration of President Trump, we mourn for—and protest—the violent manifestations of racism in the United States, as evidenced by the murders of Terrence Crutcher, Khalid Jabara and, still, more. We mourn for—and protest—the Pulse Nightclub Shooting and the continued dehumanization, discrimination and violence against Transgender People and other members of the LGBTQIAP+ community. Considering our VP-Elect, Mike Pence’s  track record of anti-LGBTQIAP+ policies, we are afraid that the progress made for LGBTQIAP+ rights will be stripped away—that those who identify under different sexualities and genders will face discrimination under the guise of “religious freedom.” We are afraid that “law and order,” that vague but governing ethical principle in the United States, will continue to enable devastating acts of violence, particularly against people of color.

We mourn for—and protest—the minimization of climate change throughout the 2016 presidential election, both in debates and beyond to news and media coverage, as well as the devastation we have brought upon our earth and, most recently, made manifest in Hurricane Matthew and continued drought in California. We mourn for—and protest—the continued pollution of water in Flint, Michigan and the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline and its inevitable contribution to the wreckage of our earth, as well as its denial of the rights of those at Standing Rock, and the implications of the American attitude towards Native peoples therein. We understand, too, that climate change’s devastation extends beyond the United States. We won’t let the Trump deny the grave manifestations of climate change. We protest our nation’s “collective cowardice,” per Kerry Emanuel. We at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop will do our part to support environmental organizations to ensure our concerns take constructive shape.

Similarly, the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop rejects the rise of hate crimes in the wake of the presidential election. We find it extremely disturbing that swastikas are appearing across the country and hateful acts are being committed in the name of President Trump.  Even if Trump does not openly condone these acts, the language and policies of his campaign have paved the way for racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and biased behavior to become disturbingly normalized.  Trump is the first president to be endorsed by the KKK, and neo-Nazis, white supremacists and members of the alt-right have all praised him.  Many supporters of Trump would change his slogan, “Make America Great Again” to “Make America White Again.” With the appointment of people like Stephen Bannon, formerly of the white supremacist Breitbart News, to Trump’s cabinet, people are realizing that the President Elect is surrounding himself with a team of people who have a history of supporting white supremacist politics.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is a sanctuary organization that is actively anti-bias and does not discriminate against members of our community based on race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, or ethnic background.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop will not turn away from combating climate change, racism and homophobia, and will engage in meaningful conversation with our peers to ensure that continued awareness and action persists.

We believe in art and provocation that crosses borders and challenges institutions.  Each writer, each instructor, each visionary, and each provocateur, who walks through our doors, creates, interrogates, and redefines the culture in which we live.  Our goal is to make America queer, female, multi-ethnic, immigrant, undocumented, multilingual, multicultural, heterodox, unafraid, self-aware, nonviolent, secular, and communal.  As writers, our goal is make America a welcoming, self-reflective, and dynamic location of culture. As an organization with queer, female, immigrant, multicultural and multilingual members, we welcome and accept those of different creeds and ways of life and aesthetics. We welcome and encourage all writers to express themselves through art and their unique narratives, to move culture forward just a little bit, and to be a part of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop.


Cambridge Writers’ Workshop
Diana Norma Szokolyai, Artistic Director
Rita Banerjee, Creative Director
Emily Smith, Programming and Arts Manager
Alexander Carrigan, Managing Editorial and PR Intern
Anne Malin Ringwalt, Programming and Development Intern
Anna-Celestrya Carr, Media Development Intern
Shannon Sawyer, Media Arts Intern

January 20, 2017

Happy New Year 2017! -♥️- Cambridge Writers’ Workshop

happynewyear2017-cwwHappy New Year 2017 from the directors, staff, and board of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop!  We hope you’re all as excited for 2017 as we are!  We’re planning a delightful, productive year for our writers and artists with plenty of opportunities to travel, write, practice yoga, and network, and we’re looking forward to seeing you at our retreats, workshops, readings, and literary fest events in 2017!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop had a wonderful year in 2016.  Over the last twelve months, we’ve had a chance to hold retreats and readings across America and the world, meet exciting writers and artists, and have found new ways to inspire our own writing.  Our year began with  the 2016 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Los Angeles, California. At AWP 2016, we got a chance to promote CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing, advertise our new literary internships, and discuss our Summer Writing Retreats in Granada, Spain, Barcelona, Spain, and Narbonne, France, as well as our Spring Writing Retreat in Newport, Rhode Island. We also hosted our third AWP event at Sabor y Cultura. At our event, there were featured readings from authors such as Rita BanerjeeJess BurnquistJulialicia CaseAriana KellyGwen E. KirbyKatie KnollEllaraine LockieOndrej PazdirekHeather Aimee O’NeillBrenda Peynado, Esther Pfaff, Jessica PiazzaJonathan ShapiroEmily Skaja, and Emily Smith.

After AWP 2016, we were off to our second annual Spring Writing Retreat in Newport, Rhode Island. We were joined by award-winning and internationally-renowned authors such as Jade SylvanDiana Norma Szokolyai, and CWW yoga instructor Elissa Lewis. The event was a chance for writers to spend a long weekend in historic Newport and near the beach, participating in writing workshops (such as Sylvan’s workshops on “writing yourself naked”) and craft of writing seminars, yoga classes, and cultural tours of the historic Newport village. We live blogged the entire event as well, sharing dozens of photos from our trip while also allowing our writers to share their thoughts on the experience.

During the summer we hosted our Summer in Granada and Summer in Barcelona and Narbonne Writing Retreats. In Barcelona and Narbonne, we explored the cities and all of their historical, literary, and romantic charm. The retreat included craft of writing seminars and creative writing workshops, literary tours of the cities, and one-on-one manuscript consultations. We were also joined by writer and professor Bret Anthony Johnston and literary editor Heidi Pitlor. CWW directors Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai taught workshops on spacial poetics and world building, and also led workshops for participants to share their work and use the Liz Lerman method for critiquing writing. We live blogged our retreat on our website, so be sure to check out the sights and classes from our trip. We were really happy to experience this with all of our participants, who traveled from all over to come write and explore these cities with us.

In Granada, wrote in the city’s winding streets, absorbed its Moorish history, and were inspired by its evocative landscapes. The retreat included craft of writing seminars and writing workshops and yoga classes. We were joined by novelist Alexander Chee and poet and activist Frederick-Douglas Knowles II, who taught classes on historical fiction and hip-hop and poetry, respectively. Rita Banerjee led workshops on narrative stakes and emotion and suspense. We also live blogged this trip, so you can see all the exciting things we did on this trip.

We also hosted creative writing workshops and craft of writing seminars at The Cambridge Center for Adult Education throughout the fall. In addition to Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai, we were joined by Jade Sylvan and Cambridge writer Laura van den Berg for creative writing workshops and craft of writing seminars every other weekend in Cambridge, MA. This is something we hope to repeat this year, and we hope we can bring in new faculty and participants as well.

We hosted a Brooklyn Bookend Reading at Molasses Books during The Brooklyn Book Festival. Some of the writers had emerged onto the literary scene with a bang, while others had recently published their first or second books, and had received prestigious awards in the past. The event featured Stephen AubreyRita BanerjeeMadeleine BarnesEllaraine LockieBen PeaseAnne Malin Ringwalt, Kate McMahon, Emily SmithBianca Stone, and Diana Norma Szokolyai, along with a beautiful interludes of music from accomplished songwriters Erica Buettner and Elizabeth Devlin.

We also hosted a literary crawl event during Lit Crawl NYC 2016. Our Literary Vaudeville event featured performances and readings from Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Megan Fernandes, Claire Ince, Emily Smith, Christina M. Rau, and Frederick-Douglass Knowles II.

In 2016, we welcomed our second round of interns to the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, and these interns include the wonderful AM Ringwalt, Anna-Celestrya Carr, Erynn Porter, and Shannon Sawyer, all of whom have helped the CWW greatly this year. They’ve helped manage our social media and written up posts about our events, shown their talent for graphic design, grant writing, audio/visual media development and corresponding with writers and hosts in French, Spanish, and English, and have provided much valuable assistance on our retreats and literary events this year.  We’re excited to have, on our team, and we can’t wait to show you what they’ve helped us plan for 2016!

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While 2016 proved to be a very exciting year for all of us, our staff is quite ready to move on to our next round of exciting events. The CWW will once again table at AWP in Washington DC from February 8-February 10, 2017, and will be announcing our AWP Reading in downtown Los Angeles shortly!

neworleans2017posterwcThe Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat will take place from March 23-26, 2017, and will coincide with the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival.  Known for its Spanish and French architecture, live jazz, cajun food, and street festivals, New Orleans offers an inspirational and one-of-a-kind environment for creative writers. During the retreat, we will be staying in the lovely Algiers Point neighborhood, just a short ferry ride away from the Historic French Quarter.  Our retreat features multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write.  The faculty includes award-winning writers Dipika Guha, Emily Nemens, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include playwriting, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.

portland2017posterThe Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in Portland Writing Retreat will take place from April 22-24, 2017.  While you’re in the home of writers Cheryl Strayed and Ursula K. Le Guin, feel free to go bicycling and explore the terrain, hike, or relax at local cafes for people watching—no matter how you choose to spend your time, this city is full inspiration. We will be staying in the Alberta Arts District during the retreat, an area that is sure to inspire our participants and help them create.  The retreat offers multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write. The faculty includes award-winning writers Adam Reid Sexton, Kerry Cohen, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

granada2017posterAnd the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Granada Writing Retreat will take place from August 2-6, 2017.  Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucía, Granada is one of the gems of Spain and has inspired writers from Washington Irving to Salman Rushdie to Ali Smith. Let the old city stimulate your writing with its winding streets, Moorish history, and evocative landscapes.  Work on your existing manuscript, or look to the beauty and warmth of Granada to inspire all-new projects.  During the retreat, we will be staying at the Hotel Guadalupe, just a short walk from the Alhambra.  The retreat offers multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write. The faculty includes award-winning writers Tim Horvath, Alexandria Marzano-LesnevichRita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

We hope you are all as excited for our 2017 events as we are. If you have any questions we may not have answered, you can email us at, and for inquiries, please email the CWW Directors, Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai, at  You can also follow us on FacebookTumblr, and Twitter for more information and updates on any of these events. We look forward to making 2017 a year full of creativity, writing, and renewal, so join us as we make 2017 rock!

— Alex Carrigan, CWW Managing Intern