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Radio Interview with Louie b. Free


Thursday, May 7th, via Louie b. Free



Over the past 18 years, the Brooklyn-Based nonprofit organization NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) mission has been to help people in crisis ease isolation, find community, and ground themselves through the art of creative writing. In response to the Coronavirus crisis, NYWC immediately launched a rapid response in mid-March, and now offers 3 free virtual creative writing workshops a day, 6 days a week, to support people from all over the world through supportive and powerful workshops.

“Creating safe writing spaces for hundreds of people each week from groups routinely in crisis has prepared us for this unprecedented moment in history,” said Aaron Zimmerman, NYWC’s Founder and Executive Director. “The process of creative writing is an attempt to find meaning and purpose, to create a legacy, to name what feels unnameable, and assert one’s identity in an increasingly crushing world.”

As the crisis continues to unfold, NYWC is unrolling ambitious new programs to further connect those struggling with the effects of social distancing.

To watch the video interview, please click here.

On The Same Page with NYWC

NY Writers Coalition has served hundreds of men, women, and youth through our Criminal Justice Writing Program on Rikers Island, and we fully support the freedom of expression and the importance of the written word.

We are excited to continue the mission of Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop: to respond to and uplift our fellow writers–behind bars or not–as they dig deeper into their writing practice: Let’s get On the Same Page.

 at this event:

  1. NYWC will provide and distribute copies of prose & poetry written by NYWC workshop members currently incarcerated at Rikers Island, and from those at other various correctional facilities who would like feedback on their writing.
  2. The works will be passed around, and you are invited to contribute remarks that respond, uplift, and encourage.
  3. At the end of the evening, the artistic works covered with our inspiring comments will be collected and mailed back to their authors.

This a free & accessible event that is open to everyone and everything–we hope to see you there!

If there are any questions about this event, please contact us at


This event will take place at 80 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, on Wednesday, November 7th from 7:00 – 9:00 PM. To RSVP, please click here.

It’s Happening: The 14th Annual Fort Greene Summer Literary Festival!

14th Annual Fort Greene Summer Literary Festival

Saturday, August 18 @ 3 PM at Roulette (509 Atlantic Ave.)

Presented by NY Writers Coalition, Akashic Books, and Greenlight Bookstore

Prospect Park, farmers markets, the Brooklyn Flea, and open-air dining at Habana Outpost are just a few perks of being in Brooklyn during the summertime. When it comes to a community tradition in this ever-changing neighborhood that readers and writers from all generations flock to, however, there’s not much else that matches the allure of NY Writers Coalition’s Fort Greene Park Summer Literary Festival — and this year we’re celebrating our 14th anniversary!

We are excited to partner with Greenlight Bookstore and Akashic Books to present the 14th Annual Fort Greene Summer Literary Festival! This year, we unite in one of the neighborhood’s premier artistic spaces Roulette (509 Atlantic Avenue) to celebrate a summer of storytelling. Along with featured readers such as Jon Sands, Phillip B. Williams, and Samantha Thornhill, we welcome the young writers in our summer youth program (ages 6-18 years) who will also read for an inspiring afternoon of literature, good times, and support.

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This year’s lineup features three highly acclaimed poets & novelists: Jon Sands, author of The New Clean, educator Samantha Thornhill, and Phillip B. Williams, author of Thief in the Interior. Writer Chris Prioleau returns as the MC of this exciting event with NYC-based musician Morgan Weidinger, bringing generations of writers together to build on the rich literary traditions of Fort Greene. 


Jon Sands is the author of The New Clean (Write Bloody Publishing), as well as the co-host of The Poetry Gods Podcast. His work has been published widely, and anthologized in The Best American Poetry. He’s a Youth Mentor with Urban Word-NYC, and teaches creative writing for adults at Bailey House in East Harlem (an HIV/AIDS service center). He’s received fellowships from the Blue Mountain Center, the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, and the Jerome Foundation. He’s a recent MFA Graduate in Fiction from Brooklyn College, where his work won the Himan Brown Award for short stories. He’s represented New York City multiple times at the National Poetry Slam, and he lives in Brooklyn. 

Samantha Thornhill is a poet, educator, producer and author of three children’s books, including the poem in Tribute to Odetta: The Queen of Folk. Her work has been published in over two-dozen literary journals and anthologies, such as The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop. A performer on stages across the United States and internationally, she holds an MFA from the University of Virginia. For ten years, Samantha lived in New York City where she taught poetry to acting students at the Juilliard School. She also served as a writer in residence at the Bronx Academy of Letters, where she taught creative writing seminars to youth. A co-founder of Poets in Unexpected Places, which was profiled in the New York Times for their surprising pop up poetry experiments all over New York City, Samantha also facilitates workshops for the Dialogue Arts Project, which ventures into professional settings and uses creative writing as a tool to navigate uncomfortable discussions around social identity. Samantha is a native of the twin island nation of Trinidad & Tobago. Her third children’s book, A Card for my Father, was just released by Penny Candy Books this past May.

Phillip B. Williams is a Chicago, IL native and author of Thief in the Interior, winner of the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a 2017 Lambda Literary award. He received a 2017 Whiting Award and 2013 Ruth Lilly Fellowship. Phillip is the co-editor in chief of the online journal Vinyl and currently teaches at Bennington College.

Chris Prioleau has published short nonfiction in The AwlZYZZYVA, and Apogee Journal, among others. He has taught at Columbia University, both undergraduate creative writing courses and in the Summer Creative Writing Program for teens, at the Benjamin Banneker Academy, the Brooklyn High School for the Arts, and the Globe Institute of Technology. He was the Development and Communications Manager for the NY Writers Coalition, a founding editor of Apogee Journal, and a current board member of the Wendy’s Subway community writing center in Brooklyn. He holds a BA from the University of California-Santa Cruz, and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia University.

Combining her passion for songwriting, arranging, and performing, Morgan Weidinger revels in a melodic strain of funk-pop. She is a St. Louis-native violinist, guitarist, vocalist, live loop-ist. Morgan attended Berklee College of Music on a 4-year, full-tuition scholarship, graduating in 2017. Five months later she released her debut album, Fairchild. Five months after the release she is established in Manhattan’s East Village, performing weekly at Speakeasy Sessions.


The 14th Annual Fort Greene Summer Literary Festival is presented by NY Writers Coalition, Akashic Books, and Greenlight Bookstore, with additional support from Con Edison and the office of City Council Member Laurie Cumbo.

NYWC’s Fort Greene Summer Youth Program & Literary Festival is generously supported by Amazon Literary Partnership, Con Edison, Cowan Slavin Foundation, City Council Member Laurie Cumbo, the Meringoff Family Foundation, and Tiger Baron Foundation. Lit Fest is funded in part by Poets & Writers through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

For more information, please contact

NY Writers Coalition
(718) 398-2883

Writing Aloud with Chris Lilley!

Join us as we come together and Write Aloud

Created by NY Writers Coalition in 2003, our Writing Aloud Reading Series is a free event that unites NYWC’s community of writers and activists with prominent literary figures to share prose, poetry, and other writings in safe and inspiring places. Here’s how it works:

  1. Listen and watch a performance by this month’s special guest, Chris Lilley
  2. Receive a writing prompt from our guest writer.
  3. WRITE.
  4. Hit the mic!–if you want to. Feel free to just sit back and listen, too!

Monday, May 21st, at 5:00 PM at NYPL Morningside Heights (2900 Broadway, Manhattan)

This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome to write and share in this safe space.


This month’s featured guest artist is Chris Lilley, a poet, spoken word artist, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.

Chris has performed as a featured artist in several famed venues across the country including the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, the Bowery Poetry Club, Union Square Slam, among others. He seeks to fuse music and poetry to create well-rounded and engaging stories with a focus on bringing mental health awareness to black, Christian, and otherwise marginalized communities.

He is a member of the Brooklyn Slam Team that placed second in the nation at the 2017 National Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado.

His writing most often reflects his love for God, his love for blackness, and his love for the hurting. He says that his writing seeks to encompass everything that he is in its entirety. When he is not writing, he teaches music and voice lessons in inner city schools. His work has been featured in Artifact Nouveau, HoneyBeNatural Magazine, Rigorous Magazine, and the Chagrin River Review.

Chris is the author of The Quiet Way, as well as one chapbook entitled je suis noir [i am black], available now on Amazon.



This event is FREE, wheelchair accessible and open to the public. All are welcome to write and share in this safe space. It will take place Monday, May 21st, @ 5:00 p.m. at NYPL Morningside Heights (2900 Broadway, Manhattan).