Newport Writing & Yoga Retreat – April 4, 2015

After Energizing Yoga with Elissa, Stephen introduced “Theater of the Impossible.”  In Stephen’s “Theater of the Impossible” workshop, we talked about the most satisfying components of watching a play: seeing the impossible unfold before us or watch as it is staged. Instead of thinking of a script as a blueprint, Stephen encouraged us to consider the script “recipe” a challenge and to think outside of it.

After Stephen’s class, Kathleen reviewed the manuscript revisions during a second session of “Reviewing Your Manuscript for Publication” and read from her own book: With Robert Lowell and His CircleYou can watch Kathleen read here:

The writers took a much deserved break after Kathleen’s class and explored historic Newport during the afternoon.  Workshops resumed with Stephen’s “Against Aristotle: New Structures for New Stories.” We discussed the traditional Aristotelian story structure. Then we began breaking the rules with new ways of storytelling through interpolation (like Charles Mee’s Iphigenia 2.0), tessellation (like Carson Kreitzer’s Flesh and the Desertand the looped stack narrative (like Jason Grote’s 1001).

Norma finished out the day of workshops with a second session of “Your Voice: Bringing your Page to Performance.” We shared our work salon style in the living room. Both Claire Ince’s performance piece and Saundra Norton’s can be heard below.

At the end of the night, we made an impromptu group performance in response to “Too Many Cooks”—a crazy parody of sitcom opening credits.

– Emily Smith

Newport Writing & Yoga Retreat – April 3, 2015

We started Day 2 bright and early with Energizing Yoga taught by Elissa Lewis. Our belief is that yoga can clear and prepare the mind for writing during the day. Elissa rounded out yoga with aromatherapy using a citrus-scented essential oil.

The first set of workshops began with Rita Banerjee‘s “Literary Taboo.” Each participant drew two pieces of paper from a bowl with a word like “crocodile” or “femme fatale” on each. Each sheet also included a list of taboo words, which each writer was forbidden to use in writing about the words they had selected. For example, a writer who drew “spaceship” wasn’t allowed to use the words “portal,” “fly,” “aliens,” or “planetary.”

In Stephen Aubrey‘s “Weirding the World” workshop, we learned that the script isn’t a flat work of literature or a description in poetry of another world but rather another world passing before us in time and space. While language is part of this world, the rest of it is space. And before we populate space, we must create it.  During the afternoon, some writers stayed at the house to work on their pieces. Others explored Newport’s beaches and enjoyed the warm spring weather.

Executive Art Director Diana Norma Szokolyai taught us to own our voices during “Your Voice: Bringing your Page to Performance” in the evening. We watched performance poets like Anne Waldman (Uh-Oh Plutonium!) and Saul Williams (List of Demands) and then practiced using unusual instruments to add depth to our own work. Participant Claire Ince took to the thumb piano and Saundra Norton used a music box to add mystery to her poem (see Day 3 post for their work).

The final workshop for the day, “Developing Your Manuscript for Publication,” was led by Kathleen Spivack. The participants were asked to read their work out loud. After carefully reviewing each participant’s manuscript and giving individual feedback, Kathleen assigned a revised draft due from everyone for the next day.  After a hard day’s work, the whole group went out to dinner at the Brick Alley Pub in historic downtown Newport!

– Emily Smith

Newport Writing & Yoga Retreat – April 2, 2015

After arriving at the Newport, Rhode Island retreat location—a Cape Cod style home nestled into a quiet neighborhood near the beach—we kicked off the retreat with a champagne toast and the Welcome Dinner. Our delicious dinner was catered by Pasta Beach and made by a chef from Bologna, Italy. We had food for days!

After dinner, CWW Executive Creative Director Rita Banerjee and Executive Artistic Director Norma Szokolyai broke the ice with the Evocative Object workshop. Each participant was asked to randomly pick an object out of a bag, then attempt to write a description of it. Trying to guess each person’s object inspired future writing and a lot of laughter! To our surprise, many of the objects (like a mini topiary) were wedding favors.

Following the workshop, we broke for the night and got some sleep in preparation for the exciting workshops held on Day 2.

– Emily Smith

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Newport, RI Writing Retreat feat. in Coldfront Magazine

rhode-islandThe Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s retreat to Newport, RI has been featured in Coldfront Magazine. The website featured details of our retreat, along with information to help interested parties register for the event.

If you’re interested in the event, you can read more details about the retreat here. You can also register for the event here. You can also check out our Facebook event post for the event. Registration for the event has been extended to March 15th and now includes tuition and a few meals.

Register by March 15 for our Newport, RI Writing & Yoga Retreat (April 2-5, 2015)

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Join us April 2-5, 2015

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. Famous for its seafood and coastline, we chose this location for its inspiring beauty and history. During free sessions in the afternoon, take a mansion tour of gilded-era Newport, visit the Newport Museum, listen to some Newport jazz classics, or just relax beside the ocean watching the sailboats and let the stunning location influence your writing.

Tuition includes:

  • Shared room lodging
  • Daily creative writing workshops 
  • Craft seminars
  • One-on-one manuscript consultations
  • Toasts
  • An orientation dinner
  • A farewell brunch 
  • Yoga and meditation classes

During the retreat, writers and yoga practitioners will learn craft techniques alongside award-winning and internationally-renowned authors such as Kathleen Spivack (fiction, poetry, nonfiction), Stephen Aubrey (playwriting, screenwriting), Rita Banerjee (poetry, fiction), & Diana Norma Szokolyai (poetry, nonfiction).  Yoga and meditation will be lead by Elissa Lewis

Included in the $650 tuition are all daily creative writing workshops, craft of writing seminars, one-on-one manuscript consultation, orientation dinner, toasts, and farewell brunch, plus daily yoga and meditation classes.  Shared room lodging is included. Please send us an email to inquire about partial attendance ($375 or $475 with shared lodging). Please inquire about optional add-ons include aromatherapy, massage, and reiki healing. There are limited seats for this workshop so apply early! There are limited seats, so apply early!  The extended deadline for admittance for our retreat is March 15, 2015.  Apply at cww.submittable.com.

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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).

If you’d like to join us in Newport, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by March 15, 2015 and include $5 application screening fee along with a 5-page writing sample. (Due to limited seats, early applications are encouraged, but check for rolling admission after deadline, depending on availability).

applyExtended Deadline: March 15, 2015

Featured Faculty:

Stephen Aubrey is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, dramaturg, lecturer, storyteller and recovering medievalist. His writing has appeared in Publishing Genius, CommonwealThe Brooklyn Review, Forté, Pomp & Circumstance, and The Outlet.  He is also a co-founder and the resident dramaturg and playwright of The Assembly Theater Company. His plays have been produced at The Ontological-Hysteric Theater, The Flea Theater, The Collapsable Hole, The Brick Theater, Symphony Space, the Abingdon Theater Complex, UNDER St Marks, The Philly Fringe and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where his original play, We Can’t Reach You, Hartford, was nominated for a 2006 Fringe First Award.

Kathleen Spivack is the author of A History of Yearning, winner of the Sows Ear International Poetry Prize 2010, first runner up in the New England Book Festival, and winner of the London Book Festival; Moments of Past Happiness (Earthwinds/Grolier Editions 2007); The Beds We Lie In (Scarecrow 1986), nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; The Honeymoon (Graywolf 1986); Swimmer in the Spreading Dawn (Applewood 1981); The Jane Poems (Doubleday 1973); Flying Inland (Doubleday 1971); Robert Lowell and His Circle (2011) and a novel, Unspeakable Things. She is a recipient of the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award 2010, the 2010 Erica Mumford Award, and the 2010 Paumanok Award. Published in numerous magazines and anthologies, some of her work has been translated into French. Other publications include The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, Massachusetts Review, Virginia Quarterly, The Southern Review, Harvard Review, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Agni, New Letters, and others. Her work is featured in numerous anthologies. She has also won several International Solas Prizes for “Best Essays.”

Diana Norma Szkoloyai is author of the poetry books Roses in the Snow and Parallel Sparrows (Finishing Line Press). Her writing and hybrid art have appeared in Lyre Lyre, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Fiction Project, Teachers as Writers, Polarity, The Boston Globe, The Dudley Review, Up the Staircase, Area Zinc Art Magazine, Belltower & the Beach, and Human Rights News. Founding Literary Arts Director of Chagall Performance Art Collaborative and co-director of the Cambridge Writer’s Workshop, she holds an Ed.M from Harvard and an M.A. in French Literature from the University of Connecticut.

Rita Banerjee is a writer, and received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. She holds an MFA in Poetry and her writing has been published in Poets for Living Waters, The New Renaissance, The Fiction Project, Jaggery, The Crab Creek Review, The Dudley Review, Objet d’Art, Vox Populi, Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure, and Chrysanthemum among other journals. Her first collection of poems,Cracklers at Night, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2010 and received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book at the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Book Festival. Her novella, A Night with Kali, was digitized by the Brooklyn Art-house Co-op in 2011. She is a co-director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, and her writing has been recently featured on HER KIND by VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and on KBOO Radio’s APA Compass in Portland, Oregon.

Elissa Lewis is the Yoga & Arts Coordinator of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop.  She began her journey with yoga in 2006, when she moved to France and made the practice part of her daily routine. She saw yoga as a lifestyle, not only a class, helping her to clear her mind and have more compassion for herself and others. In 2010 she moved to New York and completed her teacher training at Laughing Lotus, a creative, soulful yoga studio that teaches the student to ‘move like yourself.’ She’s taught private and group classes in Manhattan and Brooklyn ever since. Visit her website for informative yoga sequences and information.

Suggested Accommodations:

We encourage people to stay at the Architect’s Inn, as they are affiliated with Inn Bliss and will make your stay as comfortable as possible.  They are offering a special discount for people on our retreat.  Contact Nick Maione for details at (401)845-2547 and mention that you are with the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop.  Discounts will depend on the particular room and number of nights you are staying between April 2-5, 2015.

(Detailed list with descriptions and locations available here.)

Bed & Breakfast:

Newport Blues Inn, average nightly price from $109-$269
Marshall Slocum Inn, average nightly price from $137-$175
Ivy Lodge, average nightly price from $139-$209
La Farge Perry House, average nightly price from $149-$269
Hydrangea House Inn, average nightly price from $150-$233
Sarah Kendall Houseaverage nightly price from $150-$295
Beech Tree Inn & Cottage, average nightly price from $155-$202
Almondy Inn, average nightly price from $175-$290
Cliffside Inn, average nightly price from $175-$365
Samuel Durfee House, average nightly price from $186-$233
Frances Malbone House, average nightly prices from $207-$395

Mid-Range Hotel:

The Attwater, average nightly price from $119-$409
Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina, average nightly price from $155-$185
Mill Street Inn, average nightly prices from $168-$228
Hyatt Regency Newport, average nightly prices from $229-$379

Budget Hotel:

Mainstay Hotel & Conference Center, average nightly prices from $64-$82
Carriage House Inn, average nightly prices from $99
Courtyard Marriott Newport Middletown, average nightly prices from $99
AirBnb Rentals, prices vary

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop 2015 Retreats featured in Poets & Writers Magazine

IMG_0036Writers such as David Shields, Kathleen Spivack, Peter Orner, Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Stephen Aubrey, Jessica Reidy, and yoga instructor Elissa Lewis are featured in the March/April 2015 Writers Retreats Issue of Poets & Writers Magazine for their instruction in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, and yoga the CWW Newport, RI Writing & Yoga Retreat (April 2-5, 2015), CWW Summer Writing Retreat in Paris (July 22-30, 2015), and CWW Summer Writing Retreat in Granada, Andalucía, Spain (August 3-10, 2015).  In this special issue of Poets & Writers, the “Conferences & Residencies” section features the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop 2015 Spring and Summer Creative Writing Retreats in New England, France, and Spain.   Here’s some more information on each retreat:

CWW Newport, RI Writing & Yoga Retreat (April 2-5, 2015)

NewportThe 2015 Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Writing & Yoga Retreat will be held from April 2 to April 5 in Newport, Rhode Island. The retreat offers workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as craft seminars, manuscript consultations, time to write, daily yoga and meditation classes, and local excursions. The faculty includes poets and prose writers Rita Banerjee, Kathleen Spivack, and Diana Norma Szokolyai; and prose writer Stephen Aubrey. The cost of the retreat is $650, which includes tuition and some meals. Shared room lodging is also included. Using the online submission system, submit five pages of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction with a $5 application fee by March 15, 2015. Apply at cww.submittable.com

CWW Summer Writing Retreat in Paris (July 22-30, 2015)

ParisThe 2015 Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Paris Writing Retreat will be held from July 22 to July 30 at the Hôtel Denfert-Montparnasse in Paris. The retreat offers workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as craft seminars, one-on-one manuscript consultations, time to write, daily yoga and meditation classes, and local excursions. The faculty includes poets and prose writers Rita Banerjee, Kathleen Spivack, Jessica Reidy, and Diana Norma Szokolyai; and fiction and nonfiction writer David Shields. The cost of the retreat is $2,950, which includes tuition, lodging, and some meals. Using the online submission system, submit five pages of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction with a $5 application fee by May 5, 2015.  Apply at cww.submittable.com

CWW Summer Writing Retreat in Granada, Andalucía, Spain (August 3-10, 2015)

alhambra-granada-spain-900x1440The 2015 Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Andalucía Writing Retreat will be held from August 3 to August 10 at the Hotel Gar-Anat in Granada, Spain. The retreat offers workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as craft seminars, time to write, daily yoga and meditation classes, and local excursions. The faculty includes poets and prose writers Peter Orner, Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, and Jessica Reidy. The cost of the retreat is $2,950, which includes tuition, lodging, and some meals. Using the online submission system, submit five pages of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction with a $5 application fee by April 20, 2015.  Apply at cww.submittable.com

Register by February 20 for CWW Writing & Yoga Retreat in Newport, RI (April 2-5, 2015)

Newport2015-RetreatJoin 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.  Tuition includes shared lodging, classes, and some meals.  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, so sign up on cww.submittable.com while seats are available.

CWW Interview with Stephen Aubrey, Newport, Rhode Island Instructor & Playwright

stephen AubreyThe Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is proud to introduce Stephen Aubrey, who will be teaching classes on theatre, performance, screenwriting, and playwriting at our Writing and Yoga Retreat in Newport, Rhode Island (April 2-5, 2015).  The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Megan Tilley sat down to interview Stephen Aubrey.  Check out Megan’s interview with Stephen below, and be sure to apply for our Newport Retreat by February 20, 2015!

We-Cant-Reach-You-Hartford

MT: How did you get into playwriting?  What were some of the early plays or performances which inspired you to write?

SA: My life as a playwright owes more to serendipity than anything else. Growing up, theater had always interested me. I was obsessed with Spalding Gray and I hung out with a lot of the theater kids in high school, but my complete incompetence as an actor meant that I was usually an audience member rather than a performer (save for one disastrous turn as Francis Nurse in The Crucible in 11th grade). Playwriting (and writing in general) never exactly occurred to me as something I could do.

In college, I took a lot of philosophy and history courses, which exposed me to a wealth of interesting stories and ideas and very slowly, I became interested in writing short stories my senior year of college. About this time, I was approached by a director I knew from a fiction workshop I was taking. She was interested in developing a documentary play about a historical event and asked me if I knew of any good source material. After batting around a couple of ideas, I told her about the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944. She was hooked on the idea immediately and we decided to round up a couple of actors and co-write the play.

I thought this was going to be a one-shot deal. I really thought of myself as an academic and was seriously considering getting a PhD in history after I graduated college. Slowly, however, writing got its claws in me. We brought our play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that summer where it was well-received and nominated for a prestigious award. When I came back from Scotland, I moved to New York and started thinking seriously about writing plays. The group of people who traveled to Scotland asked me to write another play to perform the next summer and we slowly coalesced into a theater company.

Since I came to playwriting somewhat late, most of the formative plays in my life haven’t been ones I studied in a classroom (though I love some plays I happened to study in school, mostly the Greeks and Shakespeare) but rather, ones I saw performed when I first moved to New York. I didn’t have very much money when I first came to the city. All those big sexy expensive shows were out of the question so I ended up exposing myself to the weird, scrappy stuff you can find downtown where the tickets cost the same as a beer at one of the ritzy joints. When I had been at the Fringe Festival doing my show, I had seen the TEAM’s Particularly in the Heartland which really blew me away (I think I’ve ended up seeing it 5 times in total in a bunch of different theaters over the years) and showed me how adventurous and alive and surprising theater could be. Nearly 10 years later, it’s still one of the most amazing pieces I’ve seen. So when I was trying to acquaint myself with what was happening in the theater world, I sought out more people like the TEAM. After seeing a few shows that interested me, I started lurking around theaters that I thought were curating interesting work–The Ontological-Hysteric [R.I.P.], The Ohio, PS122–and becoming aware of groups like Elevator Repair Service, 13P, and Pig Iron that were doing things I found really interesting. I think I learned a lot from these groups, but above all, my downtown education taught me to take risks and embrace the idiosyncrasies of my voice, things that are in abundance downtown and less so once you get above 14th street.

Daguerrotype

MT: You’re the cofounder of The Assembly Theater Company in New York – what lead you to create the group, and how has it impacted your writing?

SA: The simplest explanation for why I created the group was that it was the easiest way to make theater in New York. Especially when you’re just starting out and have very limited resources, it really does take a village to make a play. Doing it alone is, well, lonely. It can be incredibly discouraging for the first few years as you try to break into the community and are dealing with expensive yet somehow filthy black boxes you can only half-fill with friends and loved ones you’ve coerced into buying a ticket. It helps to have comrades.

I was lucky enough to find a group of collaborators in college who have similar interests and aesthetic senses and whom I genuinely care about. We formed the company fresh out of college; there have been some personnel changes as we all learned what the life of a young theater artist entailed, but a core group has remained over the years which has been a wonderful resource to have as I tried to find my artistic identity.

As we’ve grown and developed as a company, we’ve worked towards a truly collaborative way of working together that has become fundamental to the way I think about my writing. After my first few plays, I became disenchanted with the way new plays were developed and also with the way that certain voices (namely straight white men like myself) were overrepresented. At the same time, I was being exposed to a lot of alternative ways of making work–chief among them devised theater–that seemed new and fresh. The Assembly’s four artistic directors are a director, a designer, an actor, and a writer (that’s me); the idea is that by working together as equal partners in series of development periods over the course of a year or two (rather than the typical new play process in which a playwright writes a script, a director decides to work on it and then hires a cast and crew who rehearses for a few weeks) we can create plays where every part of the production is realized in harmony. Even more recently, we’ve been working with group-writing where I write the script along with the actors so that as they get deeper into their characters and make interesting discoveries, we can integrate these into the script.

I’ve found that working this way has really opened up my writing. The plurality of voices and concerns you have to contend with when working in this way can be really overwhelming and intimidating, but it’s incredibly satisfying when it all comes together. It can get messy and heated sometimes in the rehearsal room, but the kind of work I’m creating now–where I’m a main voice, but by no means the primary one–seems important to me. I think we live in a complicated world, one where we need to be aware of and sensitive to alternative perspectives, especially ones that we don’t normally encounter on stage.

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MT: You’ve written plays that have been performed at venues from The Ontological-Hysteric in Manhattan to The Brick Theater in Brooklyn. What was the process like for putting on plays at these venues?

SA: When I first started, my company had to work very hard to find theaters to do our plays in. Being curated by a theater was ideal, but more often than not, we had to rent the theater (which is a huge financial burden). I was very lucky to be able perform in venues like The Brick or The Ontological-Hysteric; both of those came about by applying to programs or festivals like the Short-Form Series or the Video Game Festival. In those instances, the theater was given to me free of charge (though I was financially responsible for everything else). There were a few other fortuitous opportunities like the year-long residency The Assembly had at Horse Trade Theater Group, but for the most part, putting on a play at a venue in New York requires producing it yourself. At least at the beginning, that’s going to be the case. But these things tend to snowball. If you produce a play yourself, and you invite the right people to come see it (or the right people wander into the theater on their own, which is a rare, but beautiful thing), it’s possible that you will be accepted to a festival or residency somewhere down the road. Making a career from theater is largely about using each opportunity to springboard to the next. Once you start generating interest in your work, things get a little easier.

But what has been true throughout is that, even if we were given the space, my company has always been responsible for making the play happen. We have been responsible for finding a cast and design team, for doing the brunt of the fundraising, grant writing and marketing (or paying for our own press agent if we had the money). I’m also forgetting a thousand other small, obnoxious tasks that also fall to us. It’s a DIY world. Making theater requires initiative and a bit of humility; you may be the Writer, but you also have to be The One Who Takes a Vacation Day to Drive the U-Haul to The Storage Unit in New Jersey and Sit in Traffic for the Better Part of the Afternoon. Unless you’re at a theater with a lot of money and resources, that’s the reality of theater.  

MT: How would you compare your writing process for fiction versus screenwriting?

SA: In my mind, the difference is about a visual language versus a written language. In fiction, you can get so much deeper into a character’s mind. You can linger or digress in a way that screenwriting or playwriting cannot. Fiction necessarily requires narration which is something that doesn’t usually work on the screen. A voice-over is so often the sign of an insecure screenwriter, someone who isn’t thinking about a visual language. Because when you’re writing for the screen, you need to be thinking about the audience’s gaze. “Show, don’t tell” is one of those writing cliches I hate throwing around, but it’s an essential tip for screenwriting. Whether it’s through sharp dialogue or a clever structure, you need to find a way to dazzle the senses.

MT: What kinds of workshops are you planning to offer at our Newport, Rhode Island Retreat, and what would you say is the most important part of the workshop experience?

SA: I’m offering three workshops at Newport: one on world-building and the importance of defining space in playwriting and screenwriting; one on “impossible theater,” which is all about pushing yourself away from Realism and thinking in terms of visual and symbolic gestures; and a third on Aristotelian and anti-Aristotelian narrative structures and the opportunities that each affords a writer.

I think the most important part of the workshop experience is meeting other writers. Writing can be a lonely pursuit at times and community is very important. It’s helpful to know that there are other people also sitting at their desks staring at a blinking cursor for hours at a time. Sharing your work with other writers also exposes you to a lot of different styles and perspectives; other writers can show you tricks and tactics and solutions that would never have occurred to you. Finding your co-travelers is an immensely important task and the workshop is a great place to do it.

MT: What advice do you have for budding playwrights and screenwriters?

SA: The most important piece of advice I can give is: Learn how to produce your own work. It’s very difficult to find people willing to take a chance on your writing, financially or artistically, if you’re untested. No one is going to believe in your work, in your words, more than you. You are your own best ambassador for your art, and you need to learn how to present it and talk about it. If you keep at it, people will begin to pay attention, but they need to see your work first. You can apply to contests and festivals (in fact, you should apply to contests and festivals), but it takes a lot of time and patience to work through the system. You could spend that time waiting for a response, or you can take the matter into your own hands and make the work you want to make.

Stephen Aubrey descends from hardy New England stock. He is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, dramaturg, lecturer, storyteller and recovering medievalist. His writing has appeared in Publishing Genius, Commonweal, The Brooklyn Review, Pomp & Circumstance, Forté and The Outlet. He is a co-founder and the resident dramaturg and playwright 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, Wesleyan University, The Tank, The Brick Theater, Symphony Space, the Abingdon Theater Complex, UNDER St Marks, The Philly Fringe and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where his original play, We Can’t Reach You, Hartford, was nominated for a 2006 Fringe First Award. He is also the editor of two ‘pataphysic books, Suspicious Anatomy and Suspicious Zoology, both published by the Hollow Earth Society. He has an MFA from Brooklyn College where he received the Himan Brown Prize and the Ross Feld Writing Award and a BA with Honors from the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. He is an instructor of English at Brooklyn College and holds the dubious distinction of having coined the word “playlistism” in 2003.

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