The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop team wanted to take a moment to recognize the unprecedented challenges we are facing together globally. If you are struggling with loss, grief, or just stress right now, we want you to know that you are not alone. During this pandemic, we have been trying to act responsibly with regards to our programming.
We cancelled our Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat (March 19-22, 2020) because of the threat COVID-19 posed in New Orleans. Over the last 8 years, since we began our retreat programming in 2012, we have never had to cancel a writing retreat, but we felt this was necessary for the health and safety of everyone. We are continually assessing the COVID-19 situation as it unfolds, and at this time, we are making the decision to also cancel our Summer in Paris Writing Retreat (July 16-21, 2020). We feel that it is the most responsible course of action at this time.
With that said, we are looking towards the future and how we can adapt to the current situation. Keep a look out for an online series of writing workshops that will launch over the summer. Cambridge Writers’ Workshop faculty will be giving writing workshops that will combine asynchronous and synchronous learning via lectures, seminars, and creative writing workshops over video conference.
We are also currently reading through submissions for our Disobedient Futures anthology, and will be announcing our list of accepted authors by the end of Summer 2020.
We will also be hosting readings on the fourth Fridays of each month over the summer, starting with our COVID-19 Benefit Reading on May 22, 2020 at 8 p.m EDT. Our May 22 Reading will support COVID-19 response efforts. Stay tuned for more details.
Rita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018). She is the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, March 2018), which was nominated for the 2019 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize at the Academy of American Poets, featured on the Ruth Stone Foundation podcast, and named one of Book Riot’s“Must-Read Poetic Voices of Split This Rock 2018”, and was selected by Finishing Line Press as their 2018 nominee for the National Book Award in Poetry. Banerjee is also the author of the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She is the co-writer and co-director of Burning Down the Louvre (2020), a documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France. She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and she is a recipient of a Vermont Studio Center Artist’s Grant, the Tom and Laurel Nebel Fellowship, and South Asia Initiative and Tata Grants. Her writing appears in the Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers,PANK, Nat. Brut., The Scofield, The Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. She is the Director of the MFA in Writing & Publishing program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and an Associate Scholar of Comparative Literature at Harvard. She is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool. Her writing is represented by agents Jeff Kleinman and Jamie Chambliss of Folio Literary Management.
Madeleine Barnes is a poet and visual artist from Pittsburgh living in Brooklyn. She is a doctoral fellow at CUNY’s Ph.D. Program in English, and the recipient of a New York State Summer Writers Institute Fellowship, two Academy of American Poets prizes, and the Princeton Poetry Prize. Her second chapbook, Light Experiments, is forthcoming from Porkbelly Press this year, and her protest embroideries were recently featured in Boston Accent Lit. She serves as Poetry Editor at Cordella Magazine.
Alex Carrigan is an associate editor with the American Correctional Association. He has edited and proofed the anthologies CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, 2018) and Her Plumage: An Anthology of Women’s Writings from Quail Bell Magazine (2019). He has had fiction, poetry, and media reviews published in Quail Bell Magazine, Life in 10 Minutes, Realms YA Fantasy Literary Magazine, Mercurial Stories, Lambda Literary Review, Stories About Penises (Guts Publishing, 2019) and the forthcoming anthologies Closet Cases: Queers on What We Wear (Et Alia Press, 2020) and Whale Road Review (Summer 2020). He currently lives in Alexandria, VA.
Kristina Marie Darling is the author of thirty books, including Look to Your Left: The Poetics of Spectacle (University of Akron Press, 2020); Je Suis L’Autre: Essays & Interrogations (C&R Press, 2017), which was named one of the “Best Books of 2017” by The Brooklyn Rail; and DARK HORSE: Poems (C&R Press, 2018). Her work has been recognized with three residencies at Yaddo, where she has held both the Martha Walsh Pulver Residency for a Poet and the Howard Moss Residency in Poetry; a Fundación Valparaíso fellowship; a Hawthornden Castle Fellowship, funded by the Heinz Foundation; an artist-in-residence position at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris; three residencies at the American Academy in Rome; two grants from the Whiting Foundation; a Morris Fellowship in the Arts; and the Dan Liberthson Prize from the Academy of American Poets, among many other awards and honors. Her poems appear in The Harvard Review, Poetry International, New American Writing, Nimrod, Passages North, The Mid-American Review, and on the Academy of American Poets’ website, Poets.org. She has published essays in The Kenyon Review, Agni, Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, The Iowa Review, and numerous other magazines. Kristina currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Press and Tupelo Quarterly, an opinion columnist at The Los Angeles Review of Books, and a contributing writer at Publishers Weekly.
Charlene Elsby, Ph.D., is the Philosophy Program Director at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Her first novel, HEXIS, was published by CLASH Books. Her second novel, AFFECT, is forthcoming with The Porcupine’s Quill.
Adilene Hernández is a queer, Latina writer and educator with roots in Atlanta, GA. She earned her B.A. in Creative Writing from Knox College, and she aspires to continue her studies through an M.F.A. program. She is an alumna of the Winter Tangerine Workshop and Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. She is currently at work on her first two novels, both of which focus on family ties and identity in the Latinx culture.
Samuel Kọ́láwọléwas born and raised in Ibadan, Nigeria. His work has appeared in AGNI, Gulf Coast, Washington Square Review and Consequence amongst other literary journals. Samuel was a finalist for the 2018 Graywolf Prize for Africa and winner of the 2019 Editor-Writer Mentorship Program for Diverse Writers. His fiction has been supported with fellowships, residencies, and scholarships from the Norman Mailer Centre, International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, Columbus State University’s Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, Clarion West Writers Workshop, Wellstone Centre in the Redwoods California, and Island Institute. Samuel was educated at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and holds a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing with distinction from Rhodes University, South Africa and an MFA in Writing and Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts, USA. His debut novel The Road to Salt Sea is forthcoming from Amistad/Harper Collins.
Rachel Kurasz is a PhD student at Northern Illinois University where she is studying rhetoric/composition and Graphic Novels/Comic Books. Rachel earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Roosevelt University under the guidance of Christian TeBordo and Kyle Beachy. Rachel also was a Fall 2017 AWP writer to writer under mentor Laura Creedle. Rachel is currently querying and writing her first graphic novel series entitled “weirdos”.
Mari Pack is a poet and writer from the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She has an MA from the University of Toronto, and is a current MFA candidate at Hunter College.
The faculty includes award-winning writers & playwrights: Stephen Aubrey, Carly Dwyer,Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. All genres welcome. Genres include playwriting, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. This year, we will also be exploring writing for live action roleplay (LARP) theater with an expert. The cost of the retreat is $1200, which includes tuition, lodging, and some meals. Due to limited seats, early applications are encouraged. Applications are due February 28, 2019.
Emotion and Suspense in Theatre, Poetry, and (Non)Fiction with Rita Banerjee
Plato argues that human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. And before staging Kalidasa’s The Recognition of Śākuntalā, the director challenges his actress-lover: “As though in a painting, the entire audience has had their emotion colored through your melody. So now—what shall we perform to sustain the mood?” In this class, we will explore how creating vivid emotional worlds between characters and within storylines can build suspense, sustain drama, and lure the reader deeper in. Whether you’re currently working on a short story, novel, screenplay, theatrical play, lyrical essay, memoir, or narrative poem this class will help you craft a unique emotional landscape
Weirding the World with Stephen Aubrey
“My mind affects my reality.” -Farad’n Corrino (in Frank Herbert’s Dune)
Every piece of writing is an act of imagination, another world passing before you in time and space. Language is only one part of this world. The rest is space. And before we populate this space, we must create it. In this class, we will discuss the basics of world-building and, through guided exercise, explore the spaces in which our writing takes place, interrogating our own implicit assumptions and expectations of what is possible in our imagined universes.
The Situation and the Story with Stephen Aubrey
When we write, we usually start from something: a character, a setting, a phrase, an event. And we usually have an initial sense of where things will end up (even if we’re eventually wrong about that). But to get from that establishing moment to a satisfying denouement requires an unfathomable number of decisions about structure, character, point of view, and information flow. These decisions are what carve story out from situation. This class will focus on how one can create effective narrative and character arc by tackling the important decisions every writer must make.
LARP Theatre: No End In Sight with Carly Dwyer
Description: LARP-Theatre creator Carly Dwyer will take you through a condensed series of exercises she has devised for creating complex playable characters that inhabit the worlds of her live action role play based theatre pieces. Instead of creating characters who travel through an arc, larp writing requires developing characters with complex characteristics and details that allow the character to exist wholly in their world, but for whom their story has no predetermined ending. Combining theatre exercises with writing prompts, research and fieldwork, this class will have you on your feet, in your head, and out in the world.
Stephen Aubrey is a Brooklyn-based writer and dramaturg. He is co-artistic director and resident playwright of The Assembly theater company. His plays have been produced at The New Ohio Theater, The Living Theater, The Flea Theater, The Collapsable Hole, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His writing has appeared in Electric Literature, Publishing Genius, and The Brooklyn Review. He teaches creative writing and literature in the CUNY system.
Carly Dwyer is an experienced director, educator and designer passionate about intersectional learning opportunities and sustainable creative economies. She uses immersive LARP theater as a way to challenge audience boundaries, to provide opportunities for audience autonomy in the story, and to explore the limits of their capabilities from within our worlds. Through collaborations with the venues and communities she works with, she helps organizations diversify their engagement and innovate the way the public interacts with their business.
Rita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018). She is the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, March 2018),which was named one of Book Riot’s “Must-Read Poetic Voices of Split This Rock 2018”, was nominated for the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and was selected by Finishing Line Press as their 2018 nominee for the National Book Award in Poetry. Banerjee is also the author of the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and she is a recipient of a Vermont Studio Center Artist’s Grant, the Tom and Laurel Nebel Fellowship, and South Asia Initiative and Tata Grants. Her writing appears in the Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers,Nat. Brut., The Scofield, The Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Tahoma Literary Review, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. She is the Director of the MFA in Writing & Publishing program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, an Associate Scholar at Harvard, and the judge for the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest. She is currently working on a novel, a documentary film about race and intimacy, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.
Diana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. Her edited volume, CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, will be released by C&R Press in May 2018. She is author of the poetry collections Parallel Sparrows (honorable mention for Best Poetry Book in the 2014 Paris Book Festival) and Roses in the Snow (first runner-up Best Poetry Book at the 2009 DIY Book Festival). She also records her poetry with musicians and has collaborated with several composers including David Krebs (US), Robert Lemay (Canada), Claudio Gabriele (Italy), Peter James (UK), Jason Haye (UK), and Sebastian Wesman (Estonia). Diana Norma is a founding member of the performing arts groups Sounds in Bloom, ChagallPAC, and The Brooklyn Soundpainting Ensemble. Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause, “Space Mothlight,” hit #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. Her work has been recently reviewed by The London Grip and published in VIDA: Reports from the Field, The Fiction Project, Quail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure,The Dudley Review and Up the Staircase Quarterly, The Million Line Poem, The Cambridge Community Poem, and elsewhere, as well as anthologized in Our Last Walk, The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering, and Teachers as Writers. She is currently at work on her next book and an album of poetry & music. Diana Norma holds a M.A. in French (UCONN, La Sorbonne) and an Ed.M in Arts in Education (Harvard).
The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to announce that our 2018 CWW Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat Alumna Deb Jannerson’s new poetry book Thanks For Nothing is now available for pre-0rder on Finishing Line Press here.
“Deb Jannerson’s Thanks for Nothing is a jewel-toned, kaleidoscopic rendering of living among contemporary America’s unkindnesses. Out of pain, Jannerson creates a strange and elemental tableau. Structural inequities, phony concern, and the speaker herself morph into sinister dioramas pasted together from tainted childhood memories and the always-distressing news. The collection’s images traverse seamlessly among nature, pop-culture, mythos, and political critique. Jannerson’s alliterative and idiosyncratic rendering of firsts—persons, touches, tries—fun-houses the collection’s physics, welcoming readers in the experience of emerging, dizzy but comfortable, from a legacy of hurt.” –Jessica Morey-Collins, poet and Pushcart nominee
Deb Jannerson is the author of the acclaimed poetry collection, Rabbit Rabbit (Finishing Line Press, 2016), available wherever books are sold. Her second book of poems, Thanks for Nothing, explores the biases of personal experience, the ways in which pop culture infuses one’s personal narrative, and the far-reaching repercussions of political upheaval. Jannerson won the 2017 So to Speak Nonfiction Award for her short memoir about queer intimacy and PTSD, and the 2018 Flexible Persona Editors’ Prize for a piece of flash fiction about gruesome work injuries. More than one hundred of her stories and articles have been featured in anthologies and magazines. Deb is currently searching for a home for her middle grade fantasy novel. She lives in New Orleans with her wife and pets. Learn more at debjannerson.com.