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Writing on Race & Immigration Workshops Continue Online

We've all been adjusting to a new reality these last few months in the “epicenter of the epicenter” of the coronavirus pandemic. With everyone in New York except essential workers encouraged to stay home as much as possible for the foreseeable future, we have brought some of our free writing classes online for the first time. It is our hope that these classes can provide a sense of community and an opportunity for writers to connect and create during these uncertain times.

On April 16, Newtown Literary hosted our first virtual writing workshop in partnership with Lewis Latimer House Museum. Queens poet Meher Manda led a workshop titled “Mapping Your Home in Poetry” as part of our ongoing “Writing on Race & Immigration” series with the museum. Nearly 30 participants logged on for the generative class which included not just writing prompts, but close readings of poems by Warsan Shire, Hala Alyan, and Willie Perdomo. After creating a map of their own childhood homes, writers were invited to build a poem set there, and to then reimagine a few lines with words exclusively found in poems of other established poets, such as Ariel Francisco and Ilya Kaminsky.

Our series continues this Saturday, May 9th from 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m with a free fiction writing class led by novelist Stephanie Jimenez titled “Getting to Know Your Characters.” Jimenez will review the work of Jamaica Kincaid, Sandra Cisneros, and Jade Sharma and guide participants through character writing prompts. Writers will leave with the beginnings of a new character sketch, or perhaps a deeper understanding of a character you’ve been working on for a while. Register today to receive instructions on how to join us.

The following Saturday, Trace DePass will lead a poetry workshop titled “Boundless Devotion for Home & Self” on May 16th, also from 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. In this generative class, participants will build poems around self-love and love for community while reading work that affirms love, dual heritage, and what it took for our ancestors to occupy a land to which we had no claim. Register here to receive instructions on how to join Trace’s May 16th class.

We hope to host a culminating open mic event in June with Lewis Latimer House Museum where past participants will be welcome to read work generated in our virtual workshops at a final online event.

All virtual workshops are free of charge and open to Queens writers of all levels of experience, from established novelists to people picking up the pen for the first time.

This free program in partnership with Lewis Latimer House Museum is made possible, in part, with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

We hope you’ll join us! (And maybe even submit some of the work you create for the next issue of Newtown Literary!)

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