LIVE TO WRITE:
A PROGRAM SERIES FOR STUDENTS PURSUING A Full-Time CAREER IN WRITING
This program interrogates what it means to live as a writer, which includes incorporating a daily practice of writing and learning to read the literary world. We will explore the importance of presentation to success in this realm, including key elements of a writer’s portfolio like the bio, artist statement, and submission cover letter. Within the writing community that we establish, we will assemble and offer feedback on submission packets. We will write, submit, praise and challenge one another in the craft, support one another in social media and learn strategies for getting your work from the page to the world where it belongs.
This program is designed for students who have a full body of work and a strong interest in continuing their growth in the writing profession through publishing, fellowships, residencies, and/or an MFA or alternative writing program.
To clarify, this program will NOT include editing or formal workshopping. Instead, this program is focused on moving work that is polished and completed to the final stages of publication or other arenas in the writing profession.
DURING THE PROGRAM
To receive the most from this p series, we recommend students take both our four-week session and our eight-week session, as each session complements the other and fully equips the student for success in the literary world.
In the four-week session, students will learn how to prepare themselves for working with an agent or publicist. Guest speakers will include literary agents or publicists who will lead workshops on how to write a query letter, package a manuscript, research and work with agents/publicists, build promotional items and more.
Students will met at the beginning of each week for a 1-2 hour discussion with seminar leader, Dr. Raina J. Leon. Through this course, students will be exposed to a number of literary agents or publicists representing a diverse array of clientele.
At the end of this course, our students will be invited to submit a single query to each of our partner literary organizations. Agents or publicists will grant these queries a priority reading past the normal 'slush pile' of submissions.
In the eight-week session, participants will be guided through the significant pieces to include in a working writer's press kit as preparation for applying for residencies and grants; writing, submitting, and tracking new work; and ultimately doing learning more about the business that supports your work. That includes how to fund a book tour, how to craft a book trailer, and how the fundamentals of crafting a campaign to support a new project.
Students will meet at the beginning of each course week for a 1-2 hour discussion with seminar leader, Dr. Raina J. Leon. She will frequently be joined by expert guest lecturers. Students will continue in their assignments over each week and practice through asynchronous support in the online learning community.
We offer substantial scholarships to students based on need. Over 60-70% of our students receive partial to full scholarships for our programs. If you intend to apply for financial aid, please fill out the last three questions on the application. Please be mindful of other students when applying for assistance.
DATES AND TIMES FOR THE PROGRAM/LECTURES ARE LISTED ON THE APPLICATION.
MEET THE INSTRUCTOR / GUESTS
Raina J. León, Cave Canem graduate fellow (2006), CantoMundo fellow, Macondo fellow, and member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, has been published in numerous journals as a writer of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Her first collection of poetry, Canticle of Idols, was a finalist for both the Cave Canem First Book Poetry Prize (2005) and the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize (2006). Her second book, Boogeyman Dawn (2013, Salmon Poetry), was a finalist for the Naomi Long Madgett Prize (2010). Her third book, sombra : (dis)locate, was published in 2016 as well as her first chapbook, profeta without refuge. She has received fellowships and residencies with Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Montana Artists Refuge, the Macdowell Colony, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Annamaghkerrig, Ireland and Ragdale. She also is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latino and Latina arts. She is an associate professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California.
Prior to joining Ayesha Pande Literary, Serene Hakim worked at Laura Gross Literary Agency in Boston. She has also interned at David Godine Publisher and Chase Literary Agency. Serene holds an M.A. in French to English translation from NYU and a B.A. in French and Women’s Studies from the University of Kansas. She loves to read a variety of genres, but is particularly drawn to fiction with strong female voices, both YA and adult fiction and non-fiction with international themes, and LGBTQ and feminist issues. She is always on the lookout for great YA sci-fi and fantasy, realistic YA, and anything that gives voice to those whose voices are underrepresented and/or marginalized. As a child of Lebanese immigrants, she is especially interested in stories dealing with the Middle East and the variety of immigrant experiences out there.
Eloisa Amezcua is from Arizona. Her debut collection, From the Inside Quietly, is the inaugural winner of the Shelterbelt Poetry Prize selected by Ada Limón. A MacDowell fellow, she is the author of three chapbooks and founder/editor-in-chief of The Shallow Ends: A Journal of Poetry. Her poems and translations are published in New York Times Magazine, Poetry Magazine, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, and others. Eloisa lives in Columbus, OH and is the founder of Costura Creative.
Monika Woods is a literary agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. She is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course and has worked at Trident Media Group and InkWell Management, where she worked closely with leading voices in contemporary literature. Her interests include literary and compelling non-fiction in food, popular culture, journalism, science, and current affairs. Monika is particularly excited about plot-driven literary novels, non-fiction that is creatively critical, unique perspectives, a great cookbook, and above all, original prose.
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is a poet, essayist, and translator. He is the author of Cenzontle, which was chosen by Brenda Shaughnessy as the winner of the 2017 A. Poulin, Jr. prize (BOA editions 2018). His first chapbook, DULCE, was chosen by Chris Abani as the winner of the Drinking Gourd Prize published by Northwestern University Press. His memoir, Children of the Land is forthcoming from Harper Collins Publishers. He was born in Zacatecas, Mexico. He holds a B.A. from Sacramento State University and was the first undocumented student to graduate from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan. He cofounded the Undocupoets campaign which successfully eliminated citizenship requirements from all major first poetry book prizes in the country and was recognized with the Barnes and Noble “Writers for Writers” award. His work appeared or is featured in The New York Times, The Paris Review, People Magazine, PBS Newshour, Fusion TV, New England Review, Gulf Coast, Buzzfeed, Indiana Review, and Southern Humanities Review, among others. He lives in Marysville, California and teaches at the Ashland University MFA program.
Vanessa Mártir is a NYC based writer, educator and writing coach. She is currently completing her memoir, A Dim Capacity for Wings, and chronicles the journey at vanessamartir.blog. A five-time VONA/Voices and two-time Tin House fellow, Vanessa’s work has appeared in The Butter, Smokelong Quarterly, Kweli Journal, As/Us Journal, the VONA/Voices Anthology, Dismantle, and Roxane Gay's anthology Not that Bad, among others. She is the creator of the Writing Our Lives Workshop and the Writing the Mother Wound Class, which she teaches in NYC and online. When not writing or teaching, you can find Vanessa either on a dance floor, in a gym punching a bag or hiking in the woods. vanessamartir.com
J. K. Fowler is the founder and executive director of Nomadic Press, a community-focused literary and arts non-profit with operations in Oakland, CA, Des Moines, IA, and Brooklyn, NY. He also serves as the Director of Operations at Harm Reduction Coalition, a national advocacy and capacity-building organization that promotes the health and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by drug use. He is a part-time lecturer in the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Rutgers University Newark where he teaches on issues ranging from postcolonialism to deviance and the nature of work, and serves on Cogswell College's English and Humanities Professional Advisory Board. He also sits on the board of North Atlantic Books, headquartered in Berkeley. He has been published in a wide range of publications, including Bay Area Reporter, Eleven Eleven, Foglifter, COG Magazine, and elsewhere, has performed across the Bay Area and Brooklyn, and has been featured in a number of radio shows and online podcasts, including KPFA, Fuel My Fiction, StoryCorps, and others. He is the recipient of the 2016 Alameda County Arts Leadership Award and travels this world with a Kelpie named Stella.
Natasha Marin is a conceptual artist whose people-centered projects have circled the globe since 2012 and have been recognized and acknowledged by Art Forum, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, NBC, Al Jazeera, Vice, PBS and others. This year, the City of Seattle and King County have backed BLACK IMAGINATION-- a series of conceptual exhibitions. Black Imagination has engaged (and paid!) black folks from all over the PNW region and the world-- amplifying, centering, and holding sacred a diverse sample of voices including LGBTQIA+ black youth, incarcerated black women, black folks with disabilities, unsheltered black folks, and black children. The viral web-based project, Reparations, engaged a quarter of a million people worldwide in the practice of "leveraging privilege," and earned Marin, a mother of two, death threats by the dozens. As a busy consultant and community builder, Natasha was listed as one of 30 women who "Run This City" by Seattle Met magazine in 2018.
Henry Goldkamp has lived against the Mississippi his entire life. His work appears in many journals, most recently Cutbank, Xavier Review, glitterMOB,Permafrost, Notre Dame Review, and The Cape Rock. Last year (2017) his work was nominated for a Pushcart and two Best of the Nets. He is the recipient of the Ryan Chighizola Award for poetry from University of New Orleans, and his Bad Beach manuscript was named a finalist in Yemassee’s 2018 Chapbook Contest. His short story "The Manner of Your Scramble" was awarded the Richard Cortez Day Prize from Humboldt State University. His public art projects have been covered by Time and NPR.
A.J. Alana Ka'imi Bryce is a musician and multimedia artist. As creative director of Trans-Genre, a transgender artists showcase, and publisher of Trans-Genre Press, he has produced CDs, and published queer/trans people of color–centered books by Ryka Aoki, Kit Yan, Helen Klonaris, and Amir Rabiyah.
Kima Jones has received fellowships from PEN Center USA Emerging Voices, Kimbilio Fiction, Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and was included on the inaugural Bitch 50 list in 2017 as a "shape-shifter who pushed pop culture to be more representative, inspiring, and meaningful for communities who are typically ignored by mainstream media." The Los Angeles Times called Kima "2018's literary breakthrough" and "an important new voice on the national stage." She has been published at Poets and Writers, GQ, Guernica, NPR, PANK and the Rumpus and in the anthologies Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, Her Own Accord: American Women on Identity, Culture, and Community and the New York Times Best Seller, The Fire this Time, edited by Jesmyn Ward. Her short story "Nine" received notable mention in Best American Science Fiction 2015, and her hybrid poem "Homegoing AD" appears in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017. She serves as an advisory board member for the Rumpus, the Anisfield-Wolf Fellowship and the World Play Literary Festival. Kima founded Jack Jones Literary Arts in March 2015 and works as lead strategist on all publicity campaigns and is especially proud of her work on the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry winner, Olio, by Tyehimba Jess; the 2017 PEN America Robert W. Bingham Emerging Fiction Prize winner, Insurrections, by Rion Amilcar Scott; and the 2017 Midland Authors Award winner in Adult Fiction, Know the Mother, by Desiree Cooper. Kima divides her time between Los Angeles and New York. She writes poetry and prose.
Arisa White is a Cave Canem fellow and the author of You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, Black Pearl, Post Pardon, Hurrah’s Nest, and A Penny Saved. With funding from the City of Oakland, Post Pardon was adapted into an opera. As a 2013-14 recipient of an Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation, Arisa self-published dear Gerald, a collection of epistolary poems addressed to her estranged father, and then traveled to Guyana to give him a copy of the book. Her debut collection, Hurrah’s Nest, won the 2012 San Francisco Book Festival Award for poetry and was nominated for a 44th NAACP Image Award, the 82nd California Book Awards, and the 2013 Wheatley Book Awards. Member of the PlayGround writers’ pool, her play Frigidare was staged for the 15th Annual Best of PlayGround Festival. She has received residencies, fellowships, or scholarships from Headlands Center for the Arts, Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, Rose O’Neill Literary House, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Hedgebrook, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Prague Summer Program, Fine Arts Work Center, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Arisa’s poetry is featured on the album WORD with the Jessica Jones Quartet.
Thoughts, Questions, Concerns?
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