Category: Blog

We’re Back with Fall Workshops!

9/10/2021

After a brief summer hiatus—which has given us the opportunity to regroup and reflect upon what the past year and a half meant to us and our community, in addition to what the future might look like—we’re thrilled to say that we’re back with our regular scheduled (virtual) programming.

Our workshops, however, will be looking a little different. Rather than the drop-in format we’ve previously offered, we are now going to be running our writing workshops in 6-week segments, with the same participants joining each week. This format will thus require a weekly commitment from each participant, and will allow each respective workshop to grow and flourish with its repeating members—as such, space in each workshop will be limited, so make sure you keep note of our sign-ups!

Please find our forthcoming virtual workshop schedule below:

Mondays (9/20 – 10/25) with Tim at 7 p.m.
Tuesdays (9/21 – 10/26) with Marcie at 10 a.m. & with John at 3 p.m.
Wednesdays (9/22 – 10/27) with Alison at 7 p.m.
Thursdays (9/23 – 10/28) with Tasha at 10 a.m.
Saturdays (9/18 – 10/23) with James and Marae at 2 p.m.
Sundays (9/19 – 10/24) with Marae at 10 a.m.

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time. All workshops will
operate once a week at the same time for six weeks, and
require a 6-week commitment from all participants.

Registration for the first half of these workshops (Monday-Thursday) will begin this Sunday, 9/19, at 8 p.m. Registrations for the second half of workshops (Saturday-Sunday) will begin on Wednesday, 9/15, at 8 p.m. (Please only sign up for one of the weekly workshops offered; if not, you risk being removed from them.)

Although writing workshops can often be expensive and exclusive, these workshops are pay-what-you-can, with suggested donations being $50, $25, or $0—whatever you feel comfortable with. Unable to make these times, or did a workshop fill up before you were able to register? Don’t worry—after this 6-week period concludes, another cycle will start up.

Please click here to access our Eventbrite page. The first half of our writing workshop series (Monday-Wednesday) will appear there this Sunday, 9/12, at 8 p.m. et.

A note on our summer programming …

July 20, 2021

At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, NY Writers Coalition pivoted quickly to providing a robust schedule of online writing workshops; within two days of the NY State PAUSE order, we launched our very first virtual workshop, and since then, we have provided close to 1,000 online workshop sessions. We are incredibly proud of our work, of which so many of our participants have told us has been a lifeline through the isolation, uncertainty, and loss of the past year and a half.

As we turn our attention towards returning to in-person programming, we are writing to update you on NYWC’s plans for the remainder of summer‘s virtual writing programs and beyond. Most notably, many of our programs throughout the month of August will be on hiatus—that is to say, not running. This will allow us to regroup from the last 18 months, and evaluate and revamp our current systems for administering our programs. We also will take time for much-needed reflection and planning for NYWC in a soon-to-be-post-pandemic world.

Below are more details about what to expect for the rest of our summer programming:

    • Virtual Public Programs/Summer Youth Program Hiatus: Our virtual public workshops will be on hiatus for the month of August. During the break, we will fine-tune our plan to continue these workshops as part of our permanent programming. One of our intentions at the moment is to shift our workshop model from “drop-ins” model to multi-week cycles. This will help simplify our registration process and create schedules that will enable workshop members to plan in advance. Similarly, we will not be holding our signature Summer Youth Program this year. We look forward to our youth programs returning in-person next year.
    • Black Writers Program Drop-In Workshops: An exception to the above will be made for our Black Writers Program drop-in workshops. Thanks to the generosity of our GoFundMe donors, we are thrilled to be able to continue to provide BWP drop-in workshops throughout summer. These workshops will be first-come, first serve and open to Black Writers of all genres and levels of experience. If you’re interested, make sure to join our email list about the BWP.
    • Outreach Workshops: If you are a member of a virtual writing group that is targeted towards a specific demographic or a part of a partner organization (e.g. SAGE, CIDNY), your workshop leader will be in touch with you about your summer schedule. Some workshops may continue, whereas others may take a break for August.

We understand the importance of our virtual community that has emerged throughout the pandemic, and we intend to do all we can to ensure that it continues to be a space for creativity and connection for as many people as possible. We thank you for staying by throughout all this time, and stay tuned for more information regarding next-steps in late September!


Questions, thoughts, or concerns? Email us at info@nywriterscoalition.org.

Virtual Mic Check 7/30/21

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, July 30, from 7 – 8 pm EST.

In the spirit of our mission, we’re giving our workshop attendees and leaders the opportunity to share the writing they’ve created in our virtual workshops with the entire NYWC community—and the public!

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS:
In our Mic Check events, workshop participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public. Celebrated poet Jon Sands will be our MC for the night.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.

14 St Y Virtual Mic Check

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, April 30, from 7 – 8:30 pm EST.

This open mic event will feature writers from our groups at the 14th Street Y, reading work from their latest publication. Workshop leaders Elena Schwolsky and Rhonda Zangwill will introduce their respective 14th St. Y groups; celebrated poet Jon Sands will be our MC for the night.

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to read our 14 St Y Journal, filled with poetry and prose written by the attendees of 14 St Y workshops for seniors.

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS: 
In our Mic Check events, workshop participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.

Virtual Mic Check 4/16/21

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, April 16, from 7 – 8 pm EST.

In the spirit of our mission, we’re giving our workshop attendees and leaders the opportunity to share the writing they’ve created in our virtual workshops with the entire NYWC community—and the public!

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS:
In our Mic Check events, workshop participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public. Celebrated poet Jon Sands will be our MC for the night.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me At All

by Doris Weil

Image by Marjorie Newnham

Sara was eight years old. She read this poem by Maya Angelou, a poet whom she respected and loved.
___But Sara was frightened. Her school had been shut down. Everyone in the street was wearing a mask even though it wasn’t Halloween or Carnival or Purim. They stood apart from one another when they talked. Her parents wouldn’t let her watch the news but she heard the ambulances screaming down the street and she knew something was wrong.
___What would Maya Angelou do in this situation? What advice would she give Sara?
___Maya had a magic charm up her sleeve.
___The only thing up Sara’s sleeve was a skinny arm. Nothing up her other sleeve either. Maybe Maya would suggest that Sara also write a poem.

Sara’s poem
Where is my magic charm?
What will keep me from harm?
Maya, I’m not strong like you.
What do you think I should do?
I know you’re not near me
But can you hear me?

___Just then Sara felt a breeze, smelling of lavender, rub against her cheek. When she looked in the mirror she saw her own face, not Maya’s, but it looked different. It was calmer than it had been for weeks.
___Sara folded up Maya’s poem and put it up her sleeve.

 

Manuel

Manuel was considered small even for a Mexican boy. He was eight years old and lived with his parents and two sisters on an avocado farm.
___He was enrolled in a Catholic school. His family was poor but because he was so serious about his studies he was granted a scholarship. His mother was insistent that he go to school every day and study hard.
___He would wear his uniform; a starched white shirt and navy shorts. When he came home he would change into work clothes to help his father pick the avocados. He only had one uniform, which his mother washed in the evening and ironed in the morning.
___In December, his teacher, a nun, taught the children about the origin of Christmas. It was about a baby whose family was forced to travel to Bethlehem from Nazareth. He was born in a manger surrounded by animals because there was no room at the inn when his mother’s labor started.
The teacher taught that three kings, guided by a star, came with expensive presents. But also, poor people came to see the child. They brought simple gifts; one boy gave the child his drum.
___Manuel wondered what he would have given this wondrous child if he had been in Palestine at the beginning of the first millennium. He couldn’t afford to go to the local tienda to buy a gift.
___Then his whole face lit up as he realized what he would have brought: a basket of ripe avocados which the Holy Family could enjoy that evening for Christmas dinner.

A Bad Diagnosis

Even though she had half expected it, Maria gasped when her doctor gave her a life threatening diagnosis.
___He outlined a plan of treatment but she hardly heard it. “Later” she said to herself, “Later I’ll process this.”
___She went home, got into comfortable clothes and made herself a cup of tea.
___She had always thought about problems by talking out loud. “Okay” she said to her cat which was lurking about. “What does this mean? How does this make my life different?”
___“Of course,” she continued, “I will have to make time for visits to the clinic. But what about the rest of my day-to-day activities?
___Maria knew people who, in this situation, had made frantic plans to do everything on their bucket lists. She knew others who turned inward and basically resigned themselves to the worst outcome.
___She sipped her tea and felt that she didn’t have to make any decisions right away. She would wait and see how she felt after the regimen started.
___But she did make a promise to herself: “I’ll try to figure out what’s important to me to keep doing and which people I want to keep in my life. I won’t radically change my activities. But perhaps I’ll take a few more risks (not medical of course) and plan some adventures I’ve always wanted to do sooner than later.
___Maria felt much calmer as she made herself another cup of tea and cut herself a large piece of the cake on the kitchen counter.

NYWC Virtual Mic Check 3/19/21

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, March 19, from 7 – 8 pm EST.

In the spirit of our mission, we’re giving our workshop attendees and leaders the opportunity to share the writing they’ve created in our virtual workshops with the entire NYWC community—and the public!

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS:
In our Mic Check events, workshop participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public. Celebrated poet Jon Sands will be our MC for the night.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.

NYWC’s Virtual Mic-Check 2/19/21

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, February 19, from 7 – 8 pm EST.

In the spirit of our mission, we’re giving our workshop attendees and leaders the opportunity to share the writing they’ve created in our virtual workshops with the entire NYWC community—and the public!

To attend as a guest, register for the Zoom webinar, CLICK HERE

HOW THE OPEN MIC WORKS:
In our Mic Check events, workshop participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public. Celebrated poet Jon Sands will be our MC for the night.
 
ABOUT NYWC:
NY Writers Coalition work amplifies the voices of historically unheard and under-resourced individuals in our society; we welcome people of all backgrounds into our free virtual creative writing workshops. No writing experience is necessary, and writers of all levels of experience are welcome. In each workshop, participants write a piece in response to optional prompts provided by the workshop leader. NYWC’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method developed by Pat Schneider and are led by an experienced, trained workshop leader.

The Words Between Us Mic Check

We’re hosting a special virtual mic check featuring the participants of The Words Between Us: A Writing Series for Black Womxn on Sunday, January 10th starting at 7pm EST. It will be hosted by workshop leader, Alisha Acquaye. RSVP as a guest and show your support! Best of all it’s free and everyone is invited!

In the spirit of our mission, we’re giving our workshop participants the opportunity to share the writing they’ve created in this writing series with the entire NYWC community—and the public!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP AS A GUEST

ABOUT THE WORDS BETWEEN US: The participants wrote to different themes revolving around Black womxnhood, and received readings from Black womxn writers. The readings were meant to inspire, entertain and ignite their imaginations. It’ll be a wonderful event to commemorate this cycle of this writing series and to show support to all of these amazing writers!

**********

Alisha Acquaye is a writer, artist and event organizer with a passion for mutual empowerment across POC communities, and self-imagination as an instrument for resistance. Her work—ranging from journalism, creative nonfiction and multi-media collaboration—explores the relationships between art, identity, culture and intersectionality. Alisha is particularly inspired by the creative and afrofuturistic methods Black people use to reclaim their narratives, and self-care and community building as formative weapons against oppression.

In addition to documenting and storytelling, Alisha co-founded Sister Circle Brunch, a womxn of color event for sharing food and discussing self-care, and Unblended, a photo and interview series that celebrates the importance of Afro Asian friendships. You can find Alisha at alishaacquaye.com and read her essays in Teen Vogue, GQ, Allure, OkayAfrica, ELLE, The Establishment, Catapult, and more.

Black Writers Program / “Yes, And…”: Craft and Revision for Multidisciplinary Artists

Between the two of them, Donnetta Lavinia Grays and nicHi douglas have careers that span playwriting, screenwriting, acting, dancing, and directing for stage, television, and film. That’s a lot of ground covered—but creative breadth is increasingly common among artists today. Join Grays and douglas on Saturday, December 19 as they speak on a panel moderated by NYWC Interim Program Director Calley Anderson about multidisciplinary art. They’ll share their experiences, processes, and explain how they refine their writing craft and express themselves fully while wearing multiple hats.

CLICK HERE to REGISTER

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

Donnetta Lavinia Grays – raised in Columbia, South Carolina – is a Brooklyn based playwright and actor whose writing credits include WHERE WE STAND (Lucille Lortel Nominee, Drama League Nominee, 3X AUDELCO Nominee, World Premiere Co-production – WP Theater and Baltimore Centerstage. O’Neill Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist.), WARRIORS DON’T CRY (Theaterworks USA/Bushnell commission), LAST NIGHT AND THE NIGHT BEFORE (World Premiere – Denver Center for the Performing Arts.  Kilroys List. Colorado New Play Summit. National New Play Network Showcase. Todd McNerney National Playwriting Award Winner.  O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist.), LAID TO REST (O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist.) THE REVIEW OR HOW TO EAT YOUR OPPOSITION (WP Pipeline Festival. O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist.) THE NEW NORMAL and THE COWBOY IS DYING. Donnetta a recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwright Award, Lilly Award, the National Theater Conference Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwright Award, and is the inaugural recipient of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. She is a former Space on Ryder Farm Working Farm Resident, is Time Warner Foundation WP Playwrights Lab alumna, a Civilians R&D Group alumna, an Actors Studio Playwright/Directors Unit alumna, and a terraNova Collective Groundbreakers Playwright group alumna. Currently, she is developing work at Hedgebrook (*Covid Class). Her work has been previously developed with New Harmony Project, Ground Floor Berkeley Rep, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Labyrinth Theater Company, New York Theater Workshop, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Portland Stage Company, Pure Theatre Company, [the claque], Naked Angels, Classical Theater of Harlem, Slant Theater Project, terraNova Collective, Theatre 4 the People, TOSOS, The Group Lab and Coyote REP. Donnetta is currently under commission from Steppenwolf, The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and WP Theater. For television she has been staffed on Spectrum Original/Lionsgate’s “Manhunt”, “Y: The Last Man” for FX Network/Color Force and is currently an Executive Story Editor on “Joe Exotic” starring Kate McKinnon for NBC Universal.

Donnetta’s acting credits include Broadway’s IN THE NEXT ROOM OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY and WELL. She has originated numerous roles including the Off-Broadway debut of her solo show WHERE WE STAND, O, EARTH (The Foundry Theatre), MEN ON BOATS (Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb) OF GOVERNMENT, TIN CAT SHOES and 16 WORDS OR LESS (Clubbed Thumb), BE THE DEATH OF ME and IN THE FOOTPRINT (The Civilians- as an Associate Artist), and SHIPWRECKED! AN ENTERTAINMENT (Primary Stages). Regionally, she has enjoyed runs at American Conservatory Theater, Barrington Stage, Westport Country Playhouse, Arena Stage, Hartford Theaterworks, Portland Stage Company, Baltimore Centerstage, Huntington Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and LA Women’s Shakespeare Co. She is a 2-time Connecticut Critic’s Circle Award Winner and a Helen Hayes Award Nominee. Her film and TV credits include THE BOOK OF HENRY (with Naomi Watts), WILD CANARIES, THE ENGLISH TEACHER (with Julianne Moore), THE WRESTLER (opposite Mickey Rourke and Evan Rachel Wood). She’s enjoyed recurring roles on NEW AMSTERDAM, HAPPY, RUBICON, MERCY and Law and Order: SVU. And guest starring roles on HIGH MAINTENANCE, THE NIGHT OF, BLUE BLOODS,THE BLACKLIST, A GIFTED MAN, LAW AND ORDER, L&O:CI and THE SOPRANOS. She is a Civilians Associate Artist and a frequent cast member of many Outside the Wire/Theater of War projects. Donnetta is a Part-Time Lecturer at The New School of Drama. BA: College of Charleston. MFA: University of California, Irvine.

nicHi douglas is a Brooklyn-based performer, choreographer, director, writer and ART-IVIST. she is the Head of Movement in the NYU/Tisch Playwrights Horizons Theater School studio. her sacred offering for Black womxn, (pray), co-composed by Starr Busby & JJJJJerome Ellis, will be produced by Ars Nova when theaters reopen. nicHi’s reparations-based mutual aid fund, nicHi’s SuSu, launched in October 2020. recent stage credits: A Time Like This: Music for Change (Carnegie Hall, Stage Director), Girl From the North Country (Public Theater, Associate Choreographer), where love lies fallow (The Shed, The Public Theater, Playwright/Choreographer/Director), SKiNFoLK: An American Show (The Bushwick Starr/National Black Theater, Choreographer). upcoming: Untitled Mockumentary Project (Ars Nova, Executive Producer/Director), The Harriet Holland Social Club Presents … (The Movement Theatre Company/New Georges, Movement Director). BFA, Tisch/NYU; MFA, The New School. You can find more at www.mynameisnicHi.com