Livestream Event: CWW Benefit Reading for the Institute of International Education * Friday, July 24, 8-9 pm EDT

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop
Institute of International Education Benefit Readig
July 24, 2020 8:00pm—9:00pm EDT on Facebook Live

ChagallPAC’s Fourth Friday Literary Salon Series & the Cambridge Writers Workshop present a livestream reading event to benefit International Students in the US via the Institute of International Education (IIE) on July 24, 2020 at 8:00-9:00 p.m. In light of recent pressures against allowing international students to stay in the United States during COVID-19, we would like to emphasize our support of international connection and study. Many of our own writing retreats are held abroad, and since we have come to understand firsthand the importance of international exchange, we hope to show solidarity with international students during this time by directing resources and attention to IIE.

“IIE’s mission is to help people and organizations leverage the power of international education to thrive in today’s interconnected world.”

“We believe that when education transcends borders, it opens minds, enabling people to go beyond building connections to solving problems together. Our vision is a peaceful, equitable world enriched by the international exchange of ideas and greater understanding between people and cultures.”

IIE focuses on work that “advances scholarship, builds economies, and promotes access to opportunity.” They run over 200 programs for international students with more than 29,000 participants.

If you would like to join us in supporting IIE’s work, you can learn more about making a direct donation here.

Learn more about the authors who will be joining us and participating in our reading:

Stephen Aubrey is a Brooklyn-based writer and theater-maker. His fiction and essays have appeared in CRAFT Literary, Electric Literature, Publishing Genius, and The Brooklyn Review. As a co-founder and co-artistic director of The Assembly Theater Company, his plays have been produced at The New Ohio Theater, The Living Theater, The Ontological-Hysteric Theater, The Flea Theater, The Collapsable Hole, and Edinburgh Fringe Festival where his original play, We Can’t Reach You, Hartford, was nominated for the prestigious Fringe First Award. He is an instructor of English at Brooklyn College.   

Nandini Bhattacharya was born and raised in India and has called the United States her second continent for the last thirty years. Wherever she has lived, she has generally turned to books for answers to life’s big and small questions. Her short stories have been published in Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, Storyscape Journal, Raising Mothers, The Bacon Review, The Bangalore Review, OyeDrum, and Ozone Park Journal. She has attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Workshop and held residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, VONA, and Craigardan Writers Residency (forthcoming). She was first runner-up for the Los Angeles Review Flash Fiction contest (2017-2018), a finalist for the Fourth River Folio Contest for Prose Prize (2018), long-listed for the Disquiet International Literary Prize (2019 and 2020), and a finalist for the Reynolds-Price International Women’s Literary Award (2019). Love’s Garden is her first novel. She is currently working on a second novel about love, racism, xenophobia and other mysteries, titled Homeland Blues. She lives outside Houston with her family and two marmalade cats.

Elizabeth Devlin is a visual artist, poet, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. She is the curator of numerous art, music and literary events including the series: The Highwaymen NYC, Prose By Any Other, and Token Folk Acoustic.   As the Founding Director of Bessie’s, a private artist studio and salon, Devlin hosts art, community, literary and acoustic music events in Brooklyn.  Devlin has toured nationally and internationally for over a decade. An Autoharpist and singer-songwriter with avant-garde-folk sensibilities, she defies traditional song structures, weaving small worlds where magic and fantasies collide. Devlin’s third full-length album, Orchid Mantis, released in 2017, received 4.5/5 from Impose Magazine and is the follow-up to the previously released albums: For Whom the Angels Named, in 2011, Ladybug EP in 2011 and All Are Relative, in 2009.  In 2020, Devlin will release her second EP, Conscientious Objector.  Post-COVID, Devlin will continue to tour and will release her fourth full-length album, My Father’s Country.

Heather Thomas Loepp is pursuing an MFA in creative writing; meddling with her favorites: poetry, hybrid and the lyric essay. She has worked previously as a journalist, writing profiles on local artists, events, and the music scene—writing songs long before poetry in bands since childhood. Her poetry explores Native American mixed-blood identity, the camaraderie that can be found in poverty, and intergenerational trauma with humor & tenderness. She is working on publishing her first book of poems, entitled If I Were an Unhooked Rabbit. Heather spends her free time cooking elaborate meals for no one in her tiny house in the woods, where the fear of being mauled by a neighborhood cougar is a daily concern. Please send help or dinner guests. 

Diana Norma Szokolyai is the Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and co-founder of Chagall Performance Art Collaborative. Her books are CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing, Parallel Sparrows, and Roses in the Snow. Her poetry manuscript, Milk & Water, was a finalist for Hunger Mountain’s 2020 May Day Mountain chapbook series. Her poetry was also shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Prize and received honorable mention in the 87th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition. Her work has been published in MER VOX Quarterly, VIDA, Quail Bell Magazine, The Boston Globe, Luna Luna Magazine, and has been anthologized in Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Teachers As Writers, and Die Morgendämmerung der Worte Moderner Poesie-Atlas der Roma und Sinti. Her poetry–music collaborations have hit the Creative Commons Hot 100 list and been featured on WFMU radio.

Juneteenth: A Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter

Dear Writers and Readers, 

Today, is Juneteenth which marks the end of slavery in the United States. However we realize that systemic racism and inequality continue in the United States. We, at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, reject racism, prejudice and violence in all forms. We are heartbroken at the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other Black Americans who have lost their lives unjustly. This country is built on racist systems like slavery, disenfranchisement, redlining, and mass incarceration. We are living in a moment when systemic racism is coming to a head with the eruption of police brutality. Right now, we take a stand and say Black Lives Matter. 

As an arts organization centered around creative writing, we want to also say Black imagination matters and Black voices matter. The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop community would not be complete without the richness that our Black writers and writing retreat participants have brought. To meet this moment, we want to announce a reading we have coming up in support of Black Visions Collective and Black Lives Matter.

Friday, June 26, 2020 8-9 p.m. EDT

Watch on Facebook Live

The CWW’s Reading for Black Visions Collective is in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Our featured authors for our June 26 reading are Devynity Wray, Rita Banerjee, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich , Frederick-Douglass Knowles II, Maggie Downs, Tim Horvath, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. The writers featured in our reading were part of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Granada Writing Retreat. Granada is known as a multicultural city, where Roma, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims have all been a part of creating a culture in conversation. It is also the city of Frederico García Lorca, who was a queer poet and part of the anti-facist movement in Spain. He was assassinated by fascist dictator Franco’s firing squads for his antifascist beliefs. As a literary organization, we, the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, are a community of writers who stand unwaveringly against fascism globally and in support of ending systemic racism in the United States. #BlackLivesMatter

About Black Visions Collective:

“Since 2017, Black Visions Collective, has been putting into practice the lessons learned from organizations before us in order to shape a political home for Black people across Minnesota. We aim to center our work in healing and transformative justice principles, intentionally develop our organizations core “DNA” to ensure sustainability, and develop Minnesota’s emerging Black leadership to lead powerful campaigns. By building movements from the ground up with an integrated model, we are creating the conditions for long term success and transformation.

Black Visions Collective envisions a world in which ALL Black Lives Matter. We use the guidance and brilliance of our ancestors as well as the teachings of our own experiences to pursue our commitment to dismantling systems of oppression and violence. We are determined in our pursuit of dignity and equity for all.”

Donate to the Black Visions Collective
Watch on Facebook Live

We will continue our tradition of offering our diversity scholarship for our retreats for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ writers 

In this moment, we encourage everyone to read more Black authors and support African American literature. Some resources:

Cave Canem Poets
Princeton University’s African American Studies Resources