Category: Press Release

Introducing Our Online Journal!

click here to view the journal!

2020 has been a year filled with many challenges, and it has introduced to us new ways of thinking, living, and doing. Earlier this year, at the onset of COVID-19, we here at NY Writers Coalition deployed our corps of writers & activists—our workshop leaders—to provide virtual creative writing workshops to our community. These workshops have now expanded to our outreach programs and specialty workshops, including our newly-launched Black Writers Program.

In spite of the difficulties of these times, each new day continues to bring reminders that most people are caring, loving, creative, and compassionate in the face of the most challenging circumstances. In our virtual public workshops, our leaders and participants have been able to form deeply supportive communities, and their stories that have emerged continue to help name what may feel unspeakable at this moment. Further still, these virtual workshops have remained true to our mission: To create safe spaces for creativity and deep listening, to find purpose, and to support and uplift the members of our community and, now, the world at large.

We invite you to explore the beginnings of our Journal, and to keep checking back as we go on to include new writing. To remain updated with our most current virtual workshops and events, please sign up for our newsletter here. And if you would like to consider making a much-appreciated donation, you can find that here.

I Am Music: Horror Edition / Creative Writing Workshop

In this special horror edition deep dive writing workshop led by NYWC workshop leader Alisha Acquaye, we’ll specifically listen to Black musicians who use horror, absurdity, mystery and eccentricity in their art. Through curated media lists (essays, music videos, performances, interviews, music reviews and more), group discussions and imaginative writing prompts, we’ll use music as a guide to writing through our complex emotions, ideas and fears.

This workshop will begin on Wednesday, October 7th from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. (edt), and will meet six (6) weeks until November 11th.

(Note: this is a creative writing workshop, not a songwriting workshop! But songwriters are welcome. )

Workshop title inspired by Timbaland and Magoo’s song “I Am Music” featuring Aaliyah and Static Major.

APPLICATIONS TO THIS WORKSHOP ARE CLOSED

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR DROP-IN WORKSHOP FOR BLACK 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 Nightmare Creative Writing Workshop

In this month long writing workshop, led by NYWC workshop leader Alisha Acquaye, we’ll watch and discuss films and television episodes revolving around Black horror. We’ll write into the themes, ideas and inquiries these visuals introduce, and contemplate how they intersect within our identities, relationships, society, and most of all, our creativity.

This is a 5-week workshop that will begin on October 8th from 6-8 p.m (edt) until November 5th.

APPLICATIONS TO THIS WORKSHOP ARE CLOSED

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR DROP-IN WORKSHOP FOR BLACK 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.

NYWC’s Virtual Mic Check 10/16/2020

NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is hosting a virtual open mic night on Friday, October 16, from 7 – 8 pm EDT hosted by Jon Sands!

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:
NYWC hosts three creative writing workshops per day, six days a week. Participants respond to prompts issued by the workshop leader and write for a designated amount of time. In our Mic Check events, participants and leaders will have the chance to share what they’ve written with the public. Each person will read for a max of three minutes.
 
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.
 
ABOUT JON SANDS:
Jon Sands is a winner of the 2018 National Poetry Series, selected for his second book, It’s Not Magic (Beacon Press, 2019). He is the author of The New Clean, the co-host of The Poetry Gods Podcast, and a curator for SupaDupaFresh, a monthly reading series at Ode to Babel in Brooklyn. His work has been featured in the New York Times, as well as anthologized in The Best American Poetry. He teaches at Brooklyn College, Urban Word NYC, and facilitates a weekly writing workshop for adults at Baily House, an HIV/AIDS service center in East Harlem. He tours extensively as a poet but lives in Brooklyn.

NYWC Remembers Pat Schneider

Pat Schneider (1934-2020)

NY Writers Coalition is celebrating the life and mourning the loss of Pat Schneider, creator of the Amherst Writers Method of writing workshops, which she describes in her book, Writing Alone and With Others. All of NYWC’s workshops are based on this safe, supportive, craft-driven and deeply powerful model, so our organization is just one small piece of Pat’s life-changing work. We join a worldwide community of people who’ve been impacted by Pat’s life, and are deeply saddened to hear of her loss.

I like thinking about our piece of Pat’s legacy, and how happy she would get when we’d discuss NYWC.  Pat’s writing workshops with women in low-income housing and other groups for similarly underrepresented/oppressed groups inspired me to create NYWC.  So, if you’ve led or participated in one of our more than 20,000 workshops sessions over the past eighteen years, you are connected to Pat.

I also like thinking about the incredible work of like-minded writers leading workshops and organizations all over the world–all in one way or another connected back to the Amherst Writers and Artists movement that Pat, with her husband Peter, launched and continued to inspire, even after she “retired.” (I have stories.)

Pat was a brilliant creative writer, across so many genres. (One of her poems is below.) For anyone interested in writing/creative and spiritual practices, I recommend her book How The Light Gets In: Writing as a Spiritual Practice. If you have any interest in creating or running writing workshops, Writing Alone and with Others is essential.

Pat’s family has posted more information on her Facebook page. They request that, if you wish, you may honor her by making a donation in her memory to AWA, the organization she founded, nurtured, and sustained with love and boundless energy, either online at https://amherstwriters.org/honoring-pat/, or by check to Amherst Writers and Artists, PO Box 1076, Amherst MA 01004.  You may also post on her memorial blog here.

I feel lucky to have had Pat Schneider as a mentor and friend for more than twenty years. I have so much more to say than can go in an email.  I am thinking about the writing prompt that Pat used to give: “Close your eyes, get in touch with your body, and imagine yourself in a doorway, then write what you saw in your mind’s eye.” I like to think that maybe somewhere, on the other side of that doorway, Pat is already working on her next book.

Aaron Zimmerman
Founder & Executive Director

 

we tell stories, build
from fragments of our lives
maps to guide us to each other.
We make collages of the way
it might have been
had it been as we remembered,
as we think perhaps it was,
tallying in our middle age
diminishing returns.
Last night the lake was still;
all along the shoreline
bright pencil marks of light, and
children in the dark canoe pleading
“Tell us scary stories.”
Fingers trailing in the water,
I said someone I loved who died
told me in a dream
to not be lonely, told me
not to ever be afraid.
And they were silent, the children,
listening to the water
lick the sides of the canoe.
It’s what we love the most
can make us most afraid, can make us
for the first time understand
how we are rocking in a dark boat on the water,
taking the long way home.
Going Home the Longest Way Around, by Pat Schneider

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 Friday, October 9th, starting at 7pm EDT. 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

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!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR WEEKLY THE WORDS BETWEEN US DROP-IN WORKSHOP

**********

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.

I Am Music: A Writing Workshop for Black Music Heads

In this deep dive writing workshop*, we’ll interpret, analyze and pull inspiration from our favorite Black muses, and use their art as mirrors into self. Each week we’ll zoom in on a specific artist who influences Black contemporary sounds. Through curated media lists (essays, music videos, performances, interviews, music reviews and more), group discussions and imaginative writing prompts, we’ll use music as a guide to writing through our complex emotions, ideas and fantasies.

Workshop title inspired by Timbaland and Magoo’s song “I Am Music” featuring Aaliyah and Static Major.

*This isn’t a songwriting workshop, but songwriters are welcome!

NOTE: This workshop is for Black writers only.

WORKSHOP REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

NYWC Summer Youth Program

We’re happy to announce our NYWC Virtual Summer Youth Program! We’ll be offering a series of FREE creative writing workshops for New York City youths ages 10-18, but virtually through Zoom!

It will span for 6 weeks, with our first workshops starting on Saturday morning, July 11th. We’ll have another set of workshops on Tuesday afternoons starting on July 14th. We do want to note that kids and teens will be divided into different groups.

SCHEDULE

Saturdays / 10:30 am – 12:00 pm / July 11th – August 15th

Tuesdays / 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm / July 14th – August 18th

Please also share this news, with anyone who may be interested. It’s a great way to engage and encourage the creativity of kids and teens as they await the new school year.

At the moment we have reached capacity for the number of kids and teens to join. Sometimes there are participants who drop-out, which leaves spots open, so please fill out our form if you are still interested in having your child(ren) attend. This doesn’t guarantee a spot, but we will email ASAP if a spot opens up.

CLICK HERE TO BE ON OUR WAITLIST

Email us at summeryouth@nywriterscoalition.org regarding any questions.

Our workshop for Essential Workers

Calling all of the amazing and hardworking individuals who are considered essential workers during this time, take a moment (when and if you’re able) to unwind and ground yourself with a creative writing workshop. From working in the medical field to being a delivery driver–if your occupation requires you to leave your home during COVID-19–you’re an essential worker. Come join us this summer and write with us, best of all it’s free.

To provide a safe and supportive space, we do require that those who plan to participate fill out a brief pre-workshop application.This is to ensure that only those who are essential workers join the workshop. If you are not an essential worker, please sign-up for our weekly general public virtual workshops. We don’t have a set date for the first workshop, since we’re in the starting phase, generating interest. Please spread the word to anyone in your life who may be interested! Participants from all over are welcome!

THE WORKSHOP WILL BE SET FOR SATURDAYS FROM 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM (EDT)

FILL OUT THE APPLICATION BY CLICKING HERE

The Words Between Us: A Drop-in Workshop for Black Writers

We’re so excited to announce that we’re expanding our The Words Between Us series to a free virtual drop-in workshop for Black writers of all gender identities.

It will be an NYWC-style workshop where our teaching artist, Alisha Acquaye will provide some original writing prompts to inspire participants in a safe and supportive space. There is only room for 20 participants max.

We do want to note that this workshop does not tolerate any sexism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, ableism, colorism or any other -ism/-phobia not stated. As said before, we want to ensure that this is and stays a safe and supportive space.

We ask that all who are interested fill out our pre-workshop survey. After the form is submitted we will reach out as the workshop date draws closer with an email to sign-up through Eventbrite. This is in order to ensure this workshop stays a safe space for all attending.

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE:

Sundays / 2:00 – 4:00 pm (EDT) / October 25 – December 21
Virtual Drop-in session open to Black writers of all genders.
NYWC style, loose format with original prompts and no discussion. 12 participants max.
Will meet every Saturday unless otherwise stated

TO FILL OUT THE PRE-WORKSHOP FORM, CLICK HERE.

If you would like to learn more about our Black Writers Program that includes specialized workshops, panels, and more please click here


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.