Disobedient Futures – Final Call for Submissions – November 1, 2019 Deadline

Dear Writers, in honor of all the buzz around Disobedient Futures generated at the Brooklyn Book Festival in September 2019, we will be extending the call for submissions for our new anthology to November 1, 2019.  The editorial team is currently reviewing all submitted work and will be in touch with all of the writers and artists who submitted through the Winter 2019-2020 season.  The final roster of accepted authors for our new anthology will be announced in Spring 2020.

And if you’d like to submit your work before our final deadline, please do so by November 1, 2020 at cww.submittable.comMore info about our new anthology follows below:

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop welcomes submissions of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, mixed-genre work, plays, and screenplays on the topic of “Disobedient Futures” for our new speculative literature anthology. Writers are encouraged to imagine what the future cultures of America and the world might look like, and submit their work on the following topics:

Disobedient Women: How might women, feminists, female-identifying, and/or non-binary individuals disobey and reconfigure our understandings of power and femininity and masculinity in the future?

Disobedient Tribes: What if Americans found a way to subvert racial categories and challenge tribalism and cultures of fear? How might tribes disobey the rules of the game and create new types of community identities and cultural bridges?

Disobedient Class: Could Americans in the future overcome systems of class oppression and capitalist gluttony? How might individuals in the future subvert class hierarchies?

Disobedient Futures: Tell us what the future cultures of America and the world have in store. How might the emerging generations of today and tomorrow reconfigure today’s value systems, challenge today’s modes of violence, oppression, and power, and create new visions of society? Give us your best speculative writing which explores the possibilities and disruptions of disobedient futures.

Writers are welcome to submit utopian, dystopian, parallel history, futuristic, alternative reality, speculative essay, and even purely speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and theatre. Optimistic and pessimistic tales of the future are welcome in equal measure, but gratuitous violence and discrimination are not. Poetry submissions should be 3-5 pages in length. Prose submissions can be 10-20 pages in length.  Excerpts from longer works with synopses are welcome. Previously published work of which the author holds copyright and the right to republication is acceptable for submission. Visual art related to these categories of Disobedient Futures is also welcome.  Submit your retelling of the future today!

Submit your work at cww.submittable.com || Deadline: November 1, 2019

Alumni News: Screenwriter Nneka Samuel’s TV Pilot “Rejig” Shortlisted for Two Awards

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop would like to congratulate Nneka Samuel for her recent recognition in WeForShe’s 2019 WriteForHer List. Samuel is an alumna of our 2018 Summer in Paris Writing Retreat, where she workshopped a TV pilot with our directors Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai, as well as Raya Hajj, Autumn Cooper, Nivea Castro, Nandini Bhattacharya, Renee Ozburn and Barbara Baldwin.

Nneka Samuel is a West Coast transplant who hails from the nation’s capital, and is a film, tv and digital media writer. The WeForShe list aims to promote women “[who] bring about a gender-balanced landscape in television.” The recognized pilot, titled “Rejig,” is about a young woman whose obsessive compulsive disorder goes haywire after she discovers that her ex-boyfriend is newly engaged. Nneka was also recently featured in the 2019 Bitch List for Best Feature Film for her film The House with the Purple Door. The film is about a girl who’s only wish for her thirteenth birthday is to see her idol Prince perform in concert, yet her disapproving parents and annoying older brother get in the way of her plans. Nneka recieved her MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and is the recipient of several awards and fellowships, including the NBC/NAACP Fellowship, Felicia D. Henderson Award, Zaki Gordon Award for Excellence in Screenwriting and Carl David Memorial Fellowship. Nneka has written scripts for production companies such as A. Smith & Co, Flower Avenue Films and WaterWalk Productions. She currently writes for NAACP award-winning TVOne docu-series, Unsung. She also has numerous print and online credits, including Madame Noire and Heart & Soul.

 

New Faculty Announced for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to announce our new faculty members for our upcoming Spring and Summer 2017 Writing Retreats.  The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat will take place from March 23-26, 2017, and will coincide with the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival.  The faculty includes award-winning writers Dipika Guha, Emily Nemens, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include playwriting, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in Portland Writing Retreat will take place from April 22-24, 2017.  The faculty includes award-winning writers Adam Reid Sexton, Kerry Cohen, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.  The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Granada Writing Retreat will take place from August 2-6, 2017.  The faculty includes award-winning writers Tim Horvath, Alexandria Marzano-LesnevichRita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Writers are welcome to register for all retreats at cww.submittable.com by the early deadline of February 15, 2017!  We are delighted to work with a talented group of poets, playwrights, essayists, and fiction writers during our Spring and Summer 2017 Writing Retreats.  Please give a warm welcome to our new faculty!

dipikaDipika Guha was born in Calcutta and raised in India, Russia and the United Kingdom. She is the inaugural recipient of the Shakespeare’s Sister Playwriting Award with the Lark Play Development Center, A Room of Her Own and the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival. Her plays include  The Art of Gaman (Berkeley Rep Ground Floor ’16, KILROYS LIST ’16, Relentless Award Semi-Finalist), I Enter the Valley (Theatreworks New Play Festival ’16, Southern Rep New Play Festival‘16), Mechanics of Love (Crowded Fire Theatre, Upcoming: Two by For, NYC) and Blown Youth (Wallflower Theatricals, UK). She is currently working on Yoga Play, a commission for South Coast Repertory Theatre, a translation of Merry Wives of Windsor for Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s PlayOn Project and a play for the McCarter Theatre’s Princeton Slavery Project. Most recently her work has been developed at Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Roundabout Underground, McCarter Theatre’s Sallie B. Goodman Residency, New Georges, Shotgun Players, the Sam French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, Southern Rep, 24 Hour Plays on Broadway and the Magic Theatre amongst others. Dipika is currently a visiting artist at the Schell Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School and a resident playwright at the Playwrights Foundation. MFA: Yale School of Drama under Paula Vogel.  Dipika will be a Hodder Fellow in Playwrighting at Princeton University from 2017-2018.

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Emily Nemens is coeditor and prose editor of The Southern Review, a literary quarterly published at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Her editorial work has been featured in Writer’s Digest, draft: a journal of process, and on LeanIn.org, and her selections from The Southern Review have recently appeared in Best Mystery Writing 2016 and Best American Nonrequired Reading 2015. She studied art history and studio art at Brown University, and before moving to Louisiana to pursue an MFA in creative writing at LSU, she lived in Brooklyn and worked in editorial capacities at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Center for Architecture. Alongside her editorial work, Emily maintains active writing and illustration practices. Her fiction and essays have recently appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and n+1, and she is working on a linked story collection about spring training baseball. As an illustrator she’s collaborated with Harvey Pekar on a Studs Terkel anthology, painted miniature portraits of all the women in Congress, and recently published her first New Yorker cartoon. Follow her at @emilynemens.

adamsextonAdam Reid Sexton
teaches writing at Yale University, where he is a Lecturer in the English Department, a Critic on the faculty of Yale’s School of Art, and a Silliman Residential College Fellow.  He has taught writing at Columbia University and the New School, and he has lectured at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House, and the University of Alabama, where he delivered the Hudson Strode Lecture in the Age of Shakespeare.  Sexton is the author of Master Class in Fiction Writing: Techniques from Austen, Hemingway and Other Greats, and with a team of graphic artists, he has adapted four of Shakespeare’s tragedies as manga (Japanese-style graphic novels).  His anthology Rap on Rap was acquired by Harvard’s W.E.B. Dubois Institute for African and African American Research, while Desperately Seeking Madonna is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archive.  Sexton’s fiction, essays, and reviews have been published in the Bellevue Literary Review, the Mississippi Review, and Off Assignment, as well as the Boston Phoenix, the New York Times, and the Village Voice.  For four years Sexton curated a reading series at KGB Bar in New York City.  He has been interviewed on writing and literature by the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time, and npr.com, and one of his classes was broadcast on BBC Radio.

kerrycohen
Kerry Cohen
is the author of 10 books, including the bestselling Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity and Girl Trouble: An Illustrated Memoir, her most recent book, which came out October 2016. Kerry is faculty at the Red Earth Low Residency MFA program and is a practicing counselor. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.

 

tim_horvath_authorphotoTim Horvath is the author of Understories (Bellevue Literary Press), which won the New Hampshire Literary Award, and Circulation (sunnyoutside). His stories have appeared in Conjunctions, Fiction, The Normal School, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. His story “The Understory” won the Raymond Carver Short Story Award, and “The Conversations” earned a Special Mention in the 2014 Pushcart Prize Anthology; he is also a recipient of a Yaddo Fellowship. He teaches in the BFA and low-residency MFA programs at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where he coordinates the Visiting Writers Series. He is currently at work on The Spinal Descent, a novel about contemporary classical composers, as well as a second short story collection.

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Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s first book, THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, is forthcoming from Flatiron Books (Macmillan) in May 2017, as well as from publishers internationally. The book layers a memoir with an investigation into, and recreation of, a 1992 Louisiana murder and death penalty case. For her work on the book, Marzano-Lesnevich received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Rona Jaffe Award, and has twice been a fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo. Other scholarships and fellowships received include those from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Millay Colony for the Arts, Blue Mountain Center, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Studios at Key West, Vermont Studio Center, and the Alice Hayes Fellowship for Social Justice Writing from the Ragdale Foundation. Her essays appear in The New York Times, Oxford American, Iowa Review, Hotel Amerika, The Rumpus, and the anthologies True Crime and Waveform: Twenty-First Century Essays by Women, among many other publications, and were recognized “notable” in Best American Essays 2013, 2015, and 2016. She was educated at Harvard (JD), Emerson College (MFA), and Columbia University (BA) and now teaches at Grub Street, a nonprofit writing center in Boston, and in the graduate public policy program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Bazodee – a film by Claire Ince (CWW Alumna) reviewed by Anna-Celestrya Carr

Bazodee: a state of dizziness or confusion often used with regards to love or infatuation. In other words, caught up in a magical moment. I experienced this last week when I attended the international premier of Bazodee at the Playstation Theater, in the heart of Time’s Square.

Bazodee is a film combining the styles of a Bollywood musical, the American rom-com and the cultural aspects of the Caribbean. Dubbed “Trini-wood” by members of the cast.  The story is of Anita Panchouri (Natalie Perera), the dutiful Indian daughter of a deep-in-debt businessman (Kabir Bedi), who is about to marry a family friend and wealthy Londoner (Staz Nair) when a chance encounter with a local singer, Lee de Leon (Soca music star Machel Montano in his film debut) sets things askew. After failing to become internationally known as a musician in London, Lee returns home to Trinidad disheartened.  In search of a muse, Lee agrees to perform at the engagement party for both families. Unable to deny their mutual attraction, and with the excitement of Carnival approaching, Anita must now choose between the answer to her family’s financial prayers and the possibility of real love.

Bazodee stars legendary soca and calypso artist Machel Montano, along with internationally acclaimed actor Kabir Bedi, Staz Nair, Natalie Perera, and scene stealers Valmike Rampersad, Cindy F. Daniel and Chris Paul Smith.

Representing the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop (CWW), I stood in line next to Roger Paperno, the director of the music video “I Forget,” one of the original songs written for the film. The line attending the premiere extended to Broadway and down the block. The pre-show reception continued past 7:30pm while people filled the theatre. In attendance were television, print and online media from several South Asian countries as well as from Europe and the US that covered the red carpet as Machel Montano and other main actors arrived.

Susanne Bohnet, CEO of Serafini Pictures and Producer of Bazodee, opened the night with “We at Serafini Pictures, we are here to bring you relevant stories from a view point which has nothing in common with the white supremacy of Hollywood. We believe to honor who we are and to celebrate who we are. Our films will feature in the leading rolls Africans, African Americans, Asians, West Indians, Latinos, the LGBT community and everybody who we feel deserves a strong voice and an authentic viewpoint. Bazodee is a passion project of many; it’s a film we’re very proud of.”

Directed by Todd Kessler, former show runner and a co-creator of Blue’s Clues. The cinematography captured the atmosphere of Carnival and the striking beauty of Trinidad and its people. The film boasts a full cast of people of color. Every actor in Bazodee is authentic, and their actual background is close, if not identical, to the background of the character they are playing. Most of the actors in the film are Trinidadian, which I found refreshing as compared with the standard Hollywood whitewashed rom-coms.

The film was a labor of love that was in development for 10 years. It was written by Claire Ince, who is an alumna of the 2015 Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in Newport, RI Writing Retreat, where she workshopped the script.  All of us at the CWW are so proud of her and happy to see such a worthwhile project come to fruition.  I, myself am an alumna of the 2016 CWW Spring in Newport Writing Retreat, so it was a unique experience to be able to attend the event as a fellow CWW Newport alumna.

The film is a universal love story, one could say a bit cliché, but set against the backdrop of Carnival on the vivid, colorful islands of Trinidad and Tobago, it becomes fresh.  The film’s themes include unity and honesty triumphing in the face of adversity. The story has potential to be a serious drama exploring the struggle of an inter-racial/cultural relationship and the sacrifice Anita experiences for the sake of her family. However, Bazodee has a lightheartedness throughout.

Watching the film, I realized that as an Indigenous woman, I’ve never been in a theater that had an audience almost completely of people of color. It was incredible to witness the audience react to and connect with a film that was made predominantly for them. Sitting in the theater, there was a dialogue between the screen and the people. I believe there is a real sense of freedom when people are able to see themselves represented in media. The small moments of female friendships had the women in the audience cheering. Scenes that were written for the audience were a riot. One man yelled out “informer!” at a confrontational point of the movie.

The on-screen chemistry between Montano and Perera was believable and they looked good together. The most impressive performance was from UK-based Trini actor Valmike Rampersad. His creepy, uptight, lurking, always suspicious character Nikhil provided the gravity and suspense to the film. He was as charming off screen as he was villainous onscreen.

Soca is the heartbeat of the film. The music felt like another character throughout the story. Most of the musical numbers were taken from Montano’s discography reinterpreted and remixed for film. Passionate and beautiful. The film is a good introduction to soca music.

The most obvious flaw in the film was with the editing. There were some continuity issues, and there were points that could have been brought up earlier in the film that would have made the ending more authentic. However, that didn’t stop the film from being entertaining and becoming a valued part of Trinidad’s filmography.  The premiere ended with an after party and special live performance by Machel Montano and Friends.

Bazodee opens in movie theaters across the United States on August 5, 2016.

Anna-Celestrya Carr, CWW Media (Audio/Visual) Development Intern

Register for CWW Summer Writing Retreat in Granada, Andalucía, Spain by May 1!

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apply

Join the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop on our summer writing & yoga 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 on your existing manuscript, or look to the beauty and warmth of Granada to inspire all-new projects.

The 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. Our Andalucían writing retreat will take place from August 3-10, 2015, and the cost of the workshop is $2950, which includes lodging, craft of writing seminars and writing workshops, yoga classes, room cleaning, and breakfast. Optional add-ons include reiki healing and aromatherapy sessions.

The retreat will be held at Hotel Guadalupe on Paseo de la Sabica in Granada, Spain.

Faculty includes Peter Orner (fiction, nonfiction), Rita Banerjee (poetry, fiction), Diana Norma Szkoloyai (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 May 1, 2015, and include $5 application screening fee and a 5-page writing sample. (Due to limited seats, early applications are encouraged, but check for rolling admission after deadline, depending on availability).

applyDeadline: May 1, 2015

Featured Faculty:

Peter OrnerPeter Orner Chicago born Peter Orner’s fiction and non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, Granta, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, The Southern Review, The Forward, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Ploughshares. Stories have been anthologized in Best American Stories and twice won a Pushcart Prize. Orner was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2006), as well as the two-year Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship (2007-2008). A film version of one of Orner’s stories, “The Raft” with a screenplay by Orner and the film’s director, Rob Jones, is currently in production and stars Ed Asner.  Esther Stories (Houghton Mifflin/​ Mariner, 2001) was awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction, and was a Finalist for the Pen Hemingway Award and the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award. Esther Stories was a 2001 New York Times Notable Book.

RBRita 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.

DianaNormaDiana 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.

25ugmblJessica Reidy earned her MFA in Fiction at Florida State University and a B.A. from Hollins University. Her work is Pushcart-nominated and has appeared in Narrative Magazine as Short Story of the Week, The Los Angeles Review, Arsenic Lobster, and other journals. She’s a staff-writer and the Outreach Editor for Quail Bell Magazine, Managing Editor for VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts, Art Editor for The Southeast Review, and Visiting Professor for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop retreats. She teaches creative writing and is a certified yoga instructor and Reiki Master. Jessica also works her Romani (Gypsy) family trades, fortune telling, energy healing, and dancing. Jessica is currently writing her first novel set in post-WWII Paris about Coco Charbonneau, the half-Romani burlesque dancer and fortune teller of Zenith Circus, who becomes a Nazi hunter. You can learn more at www.jessicareidy.com.

ElissaLewisElissa 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.

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

CWW Writing & Yoga Retreat in Newport, Rhode Island (April 2-5, 2015) Class List

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Join the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop in Newport, Rhode Island for the opportunity to take these exciting classes taught by award-winning authors and editors. The 4-day retreat will allow participants to hone their craft and writing skills in fiction, poetry, non-fiction, screenwriting and playwriting.

Registration for the retreat ends on March 15, so apply while seats are still available.

Workshop on the Evocative Object
(with Diana Norma Szokolyai and Rita Banerjee)
Enjoy searching for and discovering evocative objects in your surroundings, and tell their stories through lyrical descriptions that will thrill the reader.

Literary Taboo (with Rita Banerjee)
Learn to play a literary game that will keep you on your wordsmithing toes. You will have to think of new ways to write about subjects, while avoiding clichés!

Your Voice: Bringing your Page to Performance (with Diana Norma Szokolyai)
Whether preparing for a literary reading or recording your poetry with musicians, it is important to develop your own voice because it is the vehicle for your words. In these sessions, you will connect with your inner voice to bring it outward, learning how to better create a bond between you and your audience.

Developing Your Manuscript for Publication (with Kathleen Spivack)
All genres, all levels welcome
Please choose only one project to work with, and bring all necessary materials. Plan to dedicate yourself fully to your writing project during the retreat. This course will look at beginnings, transitions, and choices of endings. We’ll discuss the many publication options, but if your manuscript isn’t ready for that yet, don’t worry. My goal is to help each of you shape your manuscript to the best of your ability. The classes offer encouragement, support and yes, the gentlest of pushes. We’ll work with the positive energy of the group to support you in your writing goals.

Weirding the World (with Stephen Aubrey)
“My mind affects my reality.” -Farad’n Corrino (in Frank Herbert’s Dune)
The script is not a flat work of literature, not a description in poetry of another world, but is in itself 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.

Theater of the Impossible (with Stephen Aubrey)
From “Exit, pursued by a bear” to today, part of the joy of live performance has been in watching the difficult, the unlikely and the unstageable become staged. Instead of thinking of a play or script as a blueprint for a realist performance, this class encourages you to think of it as a challenge for potential collaborators. A problem to be solved instead of a recipe to be followed. In this class, we will explore the tension between imagination and execution in order to answer one of the central questions of playwriting: how do we create spectacle and what’s the purpose in doing so anyway?

Against Aristotle: New Structures for New Stories (with Stephen Aubrey)
For over two millennia, Aristotelian structure has dominated the Western sense of story. Protasis, epitasis, and catastrophe. Over and over. The same structures breeding the same stories. In this class, we’ll first look at what makes Aristotle’s ideas so seductive before investigating alternative ways of imagining and telling story. From collage/assembly to circular structure to devising, we’ll study new forms of a very old practice.

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.

OntologicalHysteric

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.