If you plan on attending the AWP Conference in Chicago next week drop by the Astoria Room at the Hilton Chicago between 4:30 and 5:45 pm on March 1 and check out the NYWC panel that I’m moderating. It’s called “Empowering At-Risk and Under-Served Populations through Creative Writing” and will explore working with a broad range of people not often thought of as writers, such as the homeless and formerly homeless, war veterans, seniors, immigrants, the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, people living with major illnesses, and many more. I’ll be joined by some of my colleagues, all talented writers/workshop leaders with a great deal of experience working with disenfranchised people – Deborah Clearman, NYWC Program Director and leader of a workshop for women on Rikers Island; Alex Samets, leader of workshop at SAGE, a program for LGBT elders in Manhattan; and Clarissa Cummings and Melissa Tombro, both leaders of a group for people living with cancer at the Creative Center. We’ll talk about the NYWC method, and how it creates safety and enables participants to write deeply and find their own unique voice. We’ll also share some success stories and challenges of doing this work, as well as some writing prompts that work well with writers of all levels and experiences. If you have ever been interested in creative writing as a way to build community, or as an instrument of social change, you’ll want to check us out.
There are other amazing events going on both at the conference and off-site. We’ll be headed to the “Ancestors: A Queer Writers of Color” reading on Thursday night, 7pm to 10pm at Center On Halsted, featuring NYWC’s own Tamiko Beyer along with other awesome writers. Hope to see you there!