Happy New Year 2019 from all of us here at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop! We are looking forward to another year filled with inspiring and creative writing workshops and retreats, readings 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.
2018 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, and connected with other writers at readings and events throughout the country.
We kicked the year off at AWP 2018 in Tampa, FL. This year’s AWP marked several important moments for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. It was there we released our first ever anthology, CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, published by C&R Press. The anthology featured over fifty writers sharing their personal writing manifestos, essays on the craft of writing, and writing exercises to show where the field of literature is heading in the 21st century. This release coincided with a reading at the Spontaneous Reading Party, where CREDO authors Rita Banerjee, Janine Harrison, Kevin McLellan, Nell Irvin Painter, Anca L. Szilágyi, and Diana Norma Szokolyai shared their work along with other authors from C&R Press and Women’s National Book Association. It was also during this event that we announced our call for submissions for our next anthology, Disobedient Futures. The speculative literature anthology asks writers to imagine what the future cultures of America and the world might look like, and submit their work on the following topics: Disobedient Women, Disobedient Class, Disobedient Tribes, and Disobedient Futures. Submissions will be accepted until February 14, 2019.
We also continued to host our national and international writing retreats in 2018. In April, we traveled to New Orleans, LA, where Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, and literary agent Natalie Kimber held writing workshops on subjects like finding a literary agent and Rasa theory, all while participants enjoyed staying in a house in the famous Algiers Point neighborhood. In July, we traveled to Paris, France, where we were joined by authors Kathleen Spivack and Kristina Marie Darling for poetry and memoir writing workshops in one of the most famous literary cities in the world. In August, we returned to Granada, Spain with author Tim Horvath to use the diverse and unique city to aid in our writing processes.
It was also in 2018 that we held several great literary readings and events. Earlier in the year, CWW Creative Director Rita Banerjee released her new poetry collection Echo in Four Beats. This included a workshop on Literary Manifestos and What’s at Stake? in Weehawken, NJ, followed by a launch party that same night, which included writers Dallas Athent and Jonah Kruvant. That same month, Banerjee was a part of the literary panel “Fantasy As Reality: Activism & Catharsis in Speculative Writing,” which was part of the Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation and Witness (April 19-21, 2018) in Washington, D.C., along with poets Christina M. Rau and Marlena Chertock. The panel demonstrated how non-realist poems and prose can offer a space for political critique and empowerment. The panelists also held a reading entitled “Disobedient Futures,” which included CWW Communications and PR Manager Alex Carrigan.
On June 2nd, CWW’s Artistic Director, Diana Norma Szokolyai, was a featured performer at the Grolier Poetry Bookshop’s 90th Anniversary Celebration. She performed her poetry with musical collaborators Dennis Shafer (saxophone) and Audrey Harrer (harp). Cambridge Writers’ Workshop was also represented by readings given by faculty member Kathleen Spivack and contributor to CREDO, Kevin McLellan. That afternoon, Diana Norma Szokolyai also led a Writing Workshop on Literary Manifestos and Jumpstarting the Process of Writing inside the Grolier Poetry Bookshop using exercises like her own “What’s At Stake” and Kathleen Spivack’s “Words as Inspiration” from CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing.
In September, the CWW also made an appearance at the Brooklyn Book Festival. Along with hosting a table at the event, the CWW held a reading at WORD Bookstore, featuring several CWW members and affiliates, including Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Alex Carrigan, Amanda Toronto, Emily Smith, Stephen Aubrey, Madeleine Barnes, Elizabeth Devlin, Jonah Kruvant, and Devynity Wray. These authors welcomed the festival by sharing some of their original poems, short stories, and play excerpts.
We wish to give a warm congratulations to the CWW Co-Directors Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai for some notable honors in 2018. Rita Banerjee’s book Echo in Four Beats was nominated for the National Book Award in Poetry by Finishing Line Press. Diana Norma Szokolyai’s poem “Shadows of the Pantry” was shortlisted for the prestigious Bridport Prize, received honorable mention in the 87th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, and will be published in 87th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition Collection.
With 2018 over, the CWW is now looking forward to what 2019 has in store. We are still looking for literary submissions to our Disobedient Futures anthology, so please read over our guidelines to find out how you can submit. We are also planning to once again host retreats in New Orleans and Paris, featuring Stephen Aubrey, Carly Dwyer, and Kazim Ali. More information about the retreats will be announced in the coming months.
We hope to see you sometime this year!