Happy New Year 2018 -💖- the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop!

Happy New Year 2018 from all of us here at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop! We are looking forward to another year filled with inspiring workshops and retreats, readings and book launches and a variety of other ways to connect with new and old CWW writers and artists. Thank you to all of our CWW participants, teachers, friends and all of you who helped make this year creatively productive and inspiring.

2017 was a wild ride but looking back on the events of the past year we are overwhelmingly grateful for the ways we were able to connect with new and old friends through writing and art. Over the past year CWW held retreats and workshops in Europe and the United States, put the finishing touches on our anthology that is being published in 2018, and connected with other writers at readings and events throughout the country. We started the year off at the AWP Conference in Washington, DC where we hosted “Writers In Resistance.” Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, Emily Nemens, Jensen Beach, Tim Horvath, Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Alex Carrigan and Anna-Celestrya Carr read their original work at Upshur Street Books and it was a wonderful night of reading and community.

In March we held our Spring In New Orleans Writing Retreat where Dipika Guha, Emily Nemens, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai led workshops on character development, storytelling and writing in the lyric register. We produced new work, shared our goals and expanded our writing community with new friend and new teachers. Because we were there during the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, participants were able to take advantage of literary New Orleans in a very special way. We had such a wonderful time in New Orleans we’re doing it again! Stay tuned for details on our Spring 2018 New Orleans Writing Retreat.

From New Orleans it was on to our Spring in Portland Writing Retreat in April. Adam Reid Sexton, Kerry Cohen, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai led workshops in fiction, non-fiction and poetry. We held sessions at the Secret Library in the historic Heathman Hotel, spent an afternoon exploring the famous Powell’s bookstore and attended a reading by local author Paul Dage. In our short weekend, we managed to get a feel for this amazing city and can’t wait to go back. Check out CWW alum Angie Walls Portland recommendations!

For our next retreat we headed abroad to Granada, Spain in the Andalucia region. Tim HorvathAlexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai led workshops on character development, poetry, memoir, writing from the senses and translation. We enjoyed flamenco performances, visited the Roma caves of Sacromonte, enjoyed the delicious food and drink the region had to offer. It was a magical trip and we can’t wait to go back this August. Details coming soon! To get taste of what a CWW writing retreat is like check out Diana Norma Szokolyai’s poetic musings on the Granada 2017 retreat.

Our Harvest Creative Writing Retreat in Rockport, MA was our final writing retreat of 2017. We stayed in Gloucester, MA right by beautiful Wingaersheek Beach and took full advantage of our settings. When we weren’t in workshops led by Maya Sonenberg, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai, we were taking walks on the beach, enjoying the Rockport Harvest Festival and visiting nearby Salem to take advantage of their October Haunted Happenings. We are planning another New England retreat for 2018, but in the meantime, enjoy Alex Carrigan’s Rockport columns to get a sense of this fantastic weekend.

In addition to our retreats we hosted readings and performances in Boston and Cambridge throughout the year. Some of our readers and performers who joined us throughout the year were Fawn (Will Johnson and Anna Malin Ringwalt) Neil Sanzgiri, Audrey Harrer, Janaka Stucky, Matthew Wallenstein, Rita Banerjee, Sounds in Bloom (Diana Norma Szokolyai and Dennis Shafer), Erini S. Katopodis and Elizabeth Devlin. We also were excited to host our second annual fall writing series at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. Janaka Stucky, Megan Fernandes, Frederick Douglas Knowles II and Diana Norma Szokolyai taught workshops on haiku, poetry in the age of terror, the power of hip-hop, writing in the lyric register, Black Mountain and New York Poetry School and how to craft compelling characters.

2017 was also the year we began production on our forthcoming podcast, Contact Zones, a series of interviews featuring artists from all mediums all over the world sharing their artistic process and how they related to the world in order to explore how art reverberates after its creation. Our media interns, Anna-Celestrya Carr and Shannon O. Sawyer, are readying the first season of Contact Zones, and we can’t wait to share it will you.

And in between all of the retreats, classes, readings and performances we were writing, editing and dreaming about CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing. CREDO comes out in March 2018 and we could not be more excited to share it with you! But we didn’t do it alone. Our agent, Natalie Kimber, at The Rights Factory, and our publishers John Gosslee and Andrew Sullivan at C&R Press deserve huge thanks! As do our writers! Kazim Ali, Forrest Anderson, Rita Banerjee, Lisa-Marie Basile, Jaswinder Bolina, Stephanie Burt, Alex Carrigan, Sam Cha, Melinda Combs, Thade Correa, Jeff Fernside, Ariel Francisco, John Guzlowski, Rachel Hanel, Janine Harrison, Lindsay Illich, Douglas Jackson, Christine Johnson-Duell, Caitlin Johnson, Jason Kapcala, Richard Kenney, Eve Langston, John Laue, S.D. Lishan, Ellaraine Lockie, Amy MacLennan, Kevin McLellan, E. Ce. Miller, Brenda Moguez, Peter Mountford, Nell Irvin Painter, Robert Pinsky, Kara Provost, Camille Rankine, Jessica Reidy, Amy Rutten, Elizabeth Sharp McKetta, David Shields, Lillian Slugocki, Maya Sonenberg, Kathleen Spivack, Laura Steadham Smith, Molly Sutton Kiefer, Jade Sylvan, Anca, Szilagyi, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Marilyn Taylor, Megan Tilley, Suzanne Van Dam, Nicole Walker, Allyson Whipple, Shawn Wong, Caroll Sun Yang, Matthew Zapruder contributed the beautiful, thought-provoking pieces that make up CREDO and we are so grateful. Stay tuned for details about our CREDO book launch event in March 2018 in conjunction with the AWP conference in Tampa, FL. If you’ll be at AWP stop by and say hi!

Be sure to stick with us in 2018 for another year of incredible writing retreats in New Orleans, Paris, and Granada, Spain, fantastic readings, and a whole slew of exciting projects to come from the CWW and our friends and associates. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on our forthcoming retreats, workshops and readings and feel free to email us with any questions at info@cambridgewritersworkshop.org. We’d love to hear from you!

May you all have a happy, peaceful and creative 2018!
Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Directors, Board, & Staff

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Introducing our Spring in Portland Alumna Angie Walls’s Award-Winning “Redmonton”

Angie Walls, an alumna of our 2017 Spring in Portland Writing Retreat, has created an award-winning web series called Redmonton.  Redmonton follows four young girls who dream of leaving their small Midwest town for the big city, but life keeps getting in the way. They get a rude awakening when they find out a friend of theirs is moving to New York City, and have to come to terms with how their lives have turned out in their mid-20s, which grows with uncertainty and loss of direction.

Redmonton is the recipient of 27 prestigious film awards worldwide, including best screenwriting, direction, cinematography, women filmmakers, and ensemble cast.  For more information on Redmonton, and to watch the web series online, please visit the following:

Official Website: www.redmonton.com
IMDB Page: www.imdb.com/title/tt5181896/
Watch on YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCVTCxEWBBXUq9JTmsN8eJgw
Watch on Vimeo: www.vimeo.com/channels/redmonton  

Angie Walls is a short story writer, novelist, and screenwriter who grew up in Springfield, Missouri, near the Ozarks. Many of her stories explore contemporary themes of identity, isolation, and helplessness in the Midwest. She is the award-winning screenwriter and director behind Redmonton, an original web series inspired by her hometown, and has published stories in various journals including Cutthroat, East Bay Review, Summerset Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, The Helix, Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, The Griffin, and Stirring. Her short story “Things We Should’ve Said” received an honorable mention from Glimmer Train, and one of her essays will be published in Carve Magazine. In 2017, she will be releasing a new book of short stories, Anywhere But Here.  Angie Walls is an alumna of our 2017 Spring in Portland Writing Retreat.

CWW Recommends: Lit & Culture Scenes in Portland, OR

This April, I joined an amazing group of writers at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop 2017 Spring in Portland Writing Retreat, hosted in the Alberta Arts District. During our brief weekend, we enjoyed an inspired writing session at the (not so) Secret Library located in the historic Heathman Hotel; an afternoon exploring Powell’s, Portland’s most well-known bookstore that occupies a full city block and boasts a collection of one million books; and a public reading from local author Paul Dage at the American legion hall on Alberta Street.

I have been lucky enough to call Portland my home for the past year. Before moving here, I spent more than a decade living on the east coast, and have found Portland to be a different kind of city. If you’ve seen Portlandia, you know what I mean. From the outside, what usually stands out is Portland’s weirdness, often compared to the likes of Austin and Pittsburgh for its quirky locals and offbeat places (a museum of vacuums, abandoned schools/banks/jails turned into bars, and a vegan strip club, just to name a few). On the inside, Portland is a gem of a city that prides itself in many things: environmental consciousness, craft brewing, and a farm-to-table ethos – local bacon jam, local salt, local ketchup, local coffee roasters, and I could go on forever. Most of all, Portland is a city of passion, arts, and community, which frequently celebrates its indie authors, publishers, and artists. So in today’s post, I’m happy to share a few recommendations on the best places to write, discuss books, and otherwise soak up the creative life here in Portland.

— Angie Walls

Mother Foucault’s Bookshop

This beloved indie bookshop sells new and used books, and proud of its bookish, low-tech environment (cash only, no cell phones, and they don’t have a website). With floor-to-ceiling wood bookshelves, a small stage, a back room for book groups, Mother Foucault’s is a great spot to get lost reading. They host several readings and events for writers, poets, and performers, including this summer’s Last Thursdays of Humanity – an open stage for storytellers to respond to the current state of America.


Literary Arts

Literary Arts is a thirty-year-old nonprofit literary center in Portland that offers valuable programs and support services for writers. They celebrate local authors with the Oregon Book Awards and Fellowship programs, offer creative writing workshops, and build community around literature through lecture series and author events. Every November, they host the city’s biggest book festival called Wordstock, an entire day of fifty on-stage readings, writer panels, pop-up signings, and book fair.

Liars’ League PDX & Backfence

In addition to poetry slams, Portland has a few groups hosting spoken word open mics. The Liars’ League originally formed in London and has spread to NYC, Hong Kong, and Portland. Every month’s event is based on a theme like “East and West” and “Willpower and Shame.” The League picks the best  short fiction and then casts actors to reach them at the live event. And in the past week, the Liars’ League PDX will be part of The Archive Project, a collaboration between Literary Arts and OPB Radio that features recordings from lit/poetry slams and other live literary events around Portland.

Rimsky-Korsakoffee House

One of my favorite writing spots, the Rimsky-Korsakoffee House is one of the oldest coffee houses in the city and is full of oddities including a coffin centerpiece and self-rotating tables. Inside a Victorian house in Southeast Portland (formerly a warehouse and industrial neighborhood that now offers hip eateries and shops), Rimsky’s is great for a late-night writing session, complete with coffee and to-die-for desserts and live classical music. According to owner Goody Cable, “the house is haunted by it former tenants, a pair of writers who bore witness to the Russian revolution.”

Crystal Ballroom

Originally built in 1914 as Cotillion Hall to host dance revivals and popular music artists during the Great Depression, the Crystal Ballroom continues to be one of Portland’s top music venues. Even after decades of changes, the building has managed to maintain its unique character, in its high ceilings, murals, chandeliers, wide-arched windows, and restored “floating” dance floor. In addition to bringing in local and national bands, the ballroom also hosts its 80s and 90s dance parties that have been drawing crowds for the past ten years.

Saturday Market

Portland’s Saturday Market has been around for nearly forty-five years, and every Saturday, Portlanders come to explore the open-air market in Old Town. This market showcases more than 250 local arts, crafts, and food vendors: handcrafted soaps, mosaic art, oil paintings, vegan bakeries, eco-friendly jewelry, and more.

First Thursdays

Originally a gathering of art collectors and dealers, this is the place to discover Portland’s thriving art scene. In the heart of the Pearl District, First Thursdays draws thousands into the area’s thirty-plus art galleries spread over eight city blocks, so you can meet local sculptors, painters, photographers, collectors, and others over wine and a shared love of art. Come summertime, the closed-off blocks come alive through live music, beer, food, and new friends.

Revolution Hall

Revolution Hall is a performing arts venue and concert hall. It’s housed in what used to be the Washington High School building in Southeast, which was abandoned after the ‘80s and later renovated as a performance venue in 2013. It’s hosted local bands from Portland’s Mississippi Studios among a variety of national and international acts – from blues to grassroots to British indie rock. While most of the calendar is filled with bands, they host other exciting events like comedy, live author events (in Feb, an Evening with Activist/Journalist Dan Savage) and live radio productions, including Cheryl Strayed’s Dear Sugar radio show and LiveWire (a popular live variety show).

Angie Walls is a short story writer, novelist, and screenwriter who grew up in Springfield, Missouri, near the Ozarks. Many of her stories explore contemporary themes of identity, isolation, and helplessness in the Midwest. She is the award-winning screenwriter and director behind Redmonton, an original web series inspired by her hometown, and has published stories in various journals including Cutthroat, East Bay Review, Summerset Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, The Helix, Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, The Griffin, and Stirring. Her short story “Things We Should’ve Said” received an honorable mention from Glimmer Train, and one of her essays will be published in Carve Magazine. In 2017, she will be releasing a new book of short stories, Anywhere But Here.  Angie Walls is an alumna of our 2017 Spring in Portland Writing Retreat.