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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CWW’s CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press) Launches on March 7, 2018!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is proud to announce that CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writingedited by Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai, and produced by the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop (with assistant editors Alexander Carrigan and Megan Tilley), will be published on March 7, 2018 by C&R Press.  C&R Press began in 2006 as a literary press committed to publishing books from new and emerging writers.  C&R Press is interested in supporting authors whose thoughtful and imaginative contribution to contemporary literature deserves recognition and support. C&R Press’s catalogue includes exciting new poetry, fiction, nonfiction, as well as reportage/journalism.

CREDO. I believe. No other statement is so full of intent, subversion and power. A Credo is a call to arms. It is a declaration. A Credo is the act of an individual pushing back against society, against established stigmas, taboos, values, and norms. A Credo provokes. It desires change. A Credo is an artist or community challenging dogma, and putting themselves on the frontline. A Credo is art at risk. A Credo can be a marker of revolution. A Credo, is thus, the most calculating and simple form of a manifesto.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing is a raw look at what motivates 21st century authors. CREDO is a triad of creative writing manifestos, essays on the craft of writing, and creative writing exercises. These manifestos interrogate and harken back to the modernist manifestos of the early 20th century. The second section of CREDO focuses on craft of writing essays that examine the writing process with candid vulnerability. The third section includes writing exercises, which are meant to challenge and incite creativity.

CREDO is our declaration against violence and limitations of free speech. Our CREDO focuses on transgender poetics, world literature and aesthetics, collage and appropriation, and the politics of place. The anthology bridges the theoretical and the practical with accessible writing advice, and its ultimate mission is to inspire innovative writing and to provoke it. CREDO features writing from contemporary authors such as Kazim Ali, Forrest Anderson, Rita Banerjee, Lisa-Marie Basile, Jaswinder Bolina, Stephen Burt, Alexander Carrigan, Sam Cha, Melinda Combs, Thade Correa, Jeff Fearnside, John Guzlowski, Rachael Hanel, Janine Harrison, Lindsay Illich, Douglas C. Jackson, Caitlin Johnson, Christine Johnson-Duell, Jason Kapcala, Richard Kenney, Eva Langston, John Laue, Stuart Lishan, Ellaraine Lockie, Amy MacLennan, Kevin McLellan, E. Ce. Miller, Brenda Moguez, Peter Mountford, Robert Pinsky, Kara Provost, Jessica Reidy, Amy Rutten, Elisabeth Sharp McKetta, David Shields, Lillian Ann Slugocki, Maya Sonenberg, Kathleen Spivack, Laura Steadham Smith, Molly Sutton Kiefer, Jade Sylvan, Anca Szilágyi, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Marilyn Taylor, Megan Tilley, Suzanne Van Dam, Nicole Walker, Allyson Whipple, Shawn Wong, Caroll Yang, and Matthew Zapruder.

Stay tuned for our upcoming launch & book tours for CREDO!  For inquiries and reading engagements regarding CREDO and publications by the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, Inc., please contact our agent, Natalie Kimber at The Rights Factory.

Happy New Year 2015 from the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop!!

CWW-NY2015 Happy New Year 2015 from the directors and staff of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop! We hope you’re all as excited for 2015 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 2015!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop had a wonderful year in 2014.  Over the last twelve months, we’ve had a chance to hold retreats and readings across America and the world, meet exciting writers, yoga practicioneers, and artists, and have found new ways to inspire our own writing.  Our year began with the 2014 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Seattle, WA in February. At AWP 2014, we got a chance to announce our CREDO Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing, promote our new literary internships,  and discuss our Summer 2014 Château de Verderonne Yoga & Writing Retreat, and our AWP 2014 A Night at the Victrola Reading. At AWP 2014, CWW Directors, Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai signed copies of their books, Cracklers at Night and Parallel Sparrows, respectively.  And our A Night at the Victrola, featuring readings from authors such as Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokollyai, Peter Mountford, Anca Szilágyi, Nancy Jooyoun Kim, Pattabi Seshadri, Susan Parr, Johnny Horton, Talia Shalev, Leah Umansky, Dena Rash Guzman, Kevin Skiena, Jessica Day, and Carrie Kahler.  Our AWP 2014 literary reading was even featured in Vanguard Seattle as a top AWP reading event.

After AWP 2014, we were off to our annual writing and yoga retreat to the Château de Verderonne in Picardy, France. The event, which was featured in Poets and Writers and Quail Bell Magazine, was a chance for writers to spend two weeks in the French countryside, participating in writing workshops and craft of writing seminars, yoga classes, and culturally tours of Paris and Chantilly. We liveblogged the entire event as well, sharing dozens of photos from our trip while also allowing our writers to share their thoughts on the experience.

Our New Yorker members also hosted an event as part of LitCrawl Manhattan in September 2014.  Our Literary Masquerade featured readings of poetry, noir, science fiction, and original songs from Diana Norma Szokolyai, Rita Banerjee, Gregory Crosby, Elizabeth Devlin, Jonah Kruvant, and Nicole Colbert.

We also hosted an annual Pre-Thanksgiving Yoga and Writing Cleanse in November 2014. The two day event kicked off with yoga lessons from Elissa Lewis, followed by fresh juice cleanses, and creative writing workshops and craft seminars from Diana Norma Szkolyai, Jessica Reidy, and Jonah Kruvant.  Some of the creative writing classes included on the retreat included “The Art of Withholding,” “The Art of Revision” and “Sense of Smell, Memory, and Narrative.”   Our Pre-Thanksgiving Yoga & Writing Cleanse was an opportunity for the participants to cleanse themselves mentally, spiritually, and creatively before the bustling holiday season, and was even featured in a piece in Quail Bell Magazine.

In 2014, we also began work on CREDO Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing.  The collection will feature personal writer manifestos, essays on writing advice, and writing exercises to help spur creativity. Our staff has greatly enjoyed critiquing and conversing with writers on this publication, and more information about our featured writers will be announced shortly.

In 2014, we also welcomed our first interns to the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, and these interns include the wonderful  Alex Carrigan, Katy Miller, and Megan Tilley, all of whom have helped the CWW greatly this year. They’ve helped manage our social media and written up post about our events, critiqued and edited submissions for CREDO, shown their talent for graphic design 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 Alex, Katy, and Megan on our team, and we can’t wait to show you what they’ve helped us plan for 2015!

This was also a good year for our individual staff members getting published. Quail Bell Magazine featured plenty of creative writing from our staffers, including Jessica Reidy’s essay on novel research in Paris, Norma and Rita’s Mis/Translation poems, Megan Tilley’s poem “Puddle,” and Alex Carrigan’s poem “When I First Saw Her.” Reidy also had a series of trauma poems featured in Luna Luna Magazine and Tilley was featured in FictionvaleSzokolyai was also named one of twenty Romani authors you should be reading by VIDA and published in the anthology Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History.

While 2014 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 Minneapolis from April 8-11, 2015 You can find us at the AWP 2015 Bookfair at Table 954. We will also be planning an offsite reading, and more information about that will come as we get closer to the event.

Join us April 2-5, 2015 for our first annual springtime Writing & Yoga Retreat in beautiful and gilded Newport, Rhode Island.  Our Newport retreat offers the opportunity for writers of all genres and levels to work alongside award-winning authors & editors to hone their craft and expand their writing skills, while working on new or existing projects.  Faculty includes internationally renowned author and writing coach Kathleen Spivack (fiction, poetry, nonfiction), Stephen Aubrey (playwriting,  screenwriting), Diana Norma Szokolyai (poetry, nonfiction), Rita Banerjee (poetry, fiction), and Elissa Lewis (yoga, meditation).  Registration closes on February 20, 2015 and spots are limited, so sign up on cww.submittable.com as soon as you can.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Paris Writing Retreat will take place July 22-30, 2015 in France. The retreat offers participating writers of all genres and levels to work alongside award-winning authors and editors. Participating writers will hone their craft and expand their writing skills, while working on new or existing projects.  There will also be time to explore the city of Paris in all of its historical, literary, and romantic charm. Situated in heart of Paris’ Montparnasse neighborhood, amongst the fresh and popular open air markets and charming boutiques, the hotel where we will stay is full of charm and our Moroccan themed classroom will offer a wonderful oasis to practice the writing life.  Faculty includes internationally renowned author and writing coach Kathleen Spivack (poetry, fiction, nonfiction), David Shields (fiction, book-length essay), Diana Norma Szokolyai (poetry, nonfiction), Rita Banerjee (poetry, fiction), and Elissa Lewis (yoga, meditation).  If you’d like to join us in Paris, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by May 5, 2015.

And from August 3-10. 2015, join the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop on our summer writing retreat to the cultural oasis of Granada, Spain. 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. Or, indulge in delicious Andalucían cuisine and traditional Arab baths. Work with world-renowned authors on your manuscript, or look to the beauty and warmth of Granada to inspire all-new projects.  Faculty includes Rita Banerjee (poetry, fiction), Diana Norma Szokolyai (poetry, nonfiction), Jessica Reidy (fiction, poetry) and Elissa Lewis (yoga, meditation).  If you’d like to join us in Granada, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by April 20, 2015.

We hope you are all as excited for our 2015 events as we are. If you have any questions about our upcoming retreats, please view the pages linked above. If you have any questions we may not have answered, you can email us at info@cambridgewritersworkshop.org, and for inquiries, please email the CWW Directors, Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai, at directors@cambridgewritersworkshop.org.  You can also follow us on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter for more information and updates on any of these events. We look forward to making 2015 a year full of creativity, writing, and renewal, so join us as we make 2015 rock!

– Alex Carrigan & Rita Banerjee

New Release: The Dismal Science by Peter Mountford

DismalSciencePeter Mountford’s second novel, The Dismal Science (Tin House, 2014), was recently reviewed by The New York Times.  We are proud to have had Peter read with us in Seattle in our A Night at the Victrola Reading.  Since graduating from the University of Washington’s MFA program in 2006, Peter’s short fiction and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Best New American Voices 2008, Conjunctions, Salon, Granta, ZYZZYVA, and Boston Review, where he won second place in the 2007 contest judged by George Saunders. He’s currently a writer-in-residence at the Richard Hugo House and at Seattle Arts and Lectures.

The plot follows D’Orsi as he quits the bank in a “kamikaze’s strategy” over a seemingly small argument with a colleague, about funding for Bolivia if the leftist Evo Morales wins the presidency. D’Orsi is being asked to cut off aid, putting politics above the bank’s mission. Because of his daughter, her activist colleagues, boredom and grief, “exhausted by the bank’s bloated ineptitude and inefficiency,” D’Orsi gives the story to his best friend, a reporter for The Washington Post. Its publication causes a spectacular and very public blowup, unfurling D’Orsi’s career and life. “It had an appealingly straightforward quality: He resented the bank and despised himself for participating in its work, so he torpedoed himself into the bank.” – Martha McPhee, The New York Times

Novelist Peter Mountford featured in The New York Times Magazine

mountfordPeterCongratulations to Peter Mountford, a good friend of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and an excellent fiction and nonfiction writer, whose piece, “Life in the Group Room” was recently published in The New York Times Magazine.  Peter Mountford originally read ‘”Life in the Group Room” at “A Night at the Victrola,” an AWP 2014 Reading sponsored by the Cambridge Writer’s Workshop.  Thank you Peter, for sharing this brave and provocative piece with us!  Peter Mountford’s debut novel, A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), won the 2012 Washington State Book Award and was a finalist in the 2012 VCU Cabell First Novelist Prize. In its full-page review, The Seattle Times wrote: “Debut novels don’t come much savvier, punchier, or more entertaining…the work of an extraordinary talent.”  His second novel, The Dismal Science, was published in early 2014 by Tin House Books. For his work on The Dismal Science, he was awarded a 4Culture Grant, a grant from the city of Seattle, and the Corporation of Yaddo’s Wallace Fellowship for a Distinguished Writer.   Since graduating from the University of Washington’s MFA program in 2006, Peter’s short fiction and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Best New American Voices 2008, Conjunctions, Salon, Granta, ZYZZYVA, and Boston Review, where he won second place in the 2007 contest judged by George Saunders. He’s currently a writer-in-residence at the Richard Hugo House and at Seattle Arts and Lectures.   Peter grew up in Washington, DC, apart from three years in Sri Lanka during the early stages of the Sri Lankan civil war.

A Night at the Victrola: CWW AWP 2014 Reading, Seattle

CWW-VictrolaFriday February 28, 2014
8:30-10:00pm

Victrola Coffee & Art
411 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop presents “A Night at the Victrola,” an AWP 2014 Reading, featuring the talents of Peter Mountford, Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Pattabi Seshadri, Nancy Jooyoun Kim, Kevin Skiena, Jessica Day, Anca Szilágyi, Talia Shalev, Carrie Kahler, Dena Rash Guzman, Leah Umansky, Susan Parr, & Johnny Horton.  Join us as we celebrate some of Seattle, New York, & Boston’s best writers, and graduates from the University of Washington MFA program.