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GWN Author Profile: Bridgett M. Davis and Into the Go-Slow

Time Out named her one of ten NYC authors to read right now. Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow and Leaving Atlanta calls her ”a brilliant writer, a soulful artist, and a true citizen of the world.”

A tremendous writer with an incredible presence, we’re confident that Bridgett M. Davis is going to create some serious waves with her new novel, Into the Go-Slow. A highly anticipated second novel, Feminist Press published it this week and we’ve been tearing through it. Set in 1986, the book spans oceans—moving between Detroit and Nigeria. It’s a powerful story of a young woman traversing  the boundaries of her identity, a country on the brink of civil war, and the cultural implications of Nigeria’s notorious traffic (the go-slow). Buy a copy today!

Bridgett, a Detroit native herself, is driven by a similar fire as Girls Write Now. As a champion of a proud space to write and “a major advocate for promoting and nurturing literary talent by people of color,” she is the Books Editor for the black culture site Bold As Love Magazine, the founder and curator for the popular Brooklyn reading series, Sundays @; and a founding member of ringShout, a group dedicated to celebrating and promoting ambitious literary work by African American writers. Her articles have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Atlanta Journal/Constitution, The Washington Post, Essence, O, The Oprah Magazine, TheRoot.com, The Chicago Tribune, and The Detroit Free Press. She holds even more accolades! Her first novel, Shifting Through Neutral, which the Washington Post called a “beautifully rendered first novel,” was a Borders Books “Original Voices” selection and a finalist for the 2005 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright LEGACY Award.

In short, Bridgett is everything we’re about, and we’re so proud to call her a member of our community. We’re thrilled she’ll be joining us on October 10th to celebrate the International Day of the Girl and a girl’s right to write. In her own words: ”I care so much about this issue of girls’ lives around the world, of the power of narrative to change their lives, and the value of educating them.” 

Bridgett M. Davis at the Girls Write Now offices this summer

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Thank You, O Magazine!

This summer, O, The Oprah Magazine hosted a book sale to benefit Girls Write Now. Already fans, we were blown away by the support and generosity of their staff, and the rest of Hearst employees. Sarah Meyer, an Assistant Books Editor at O, remarked, “The choice of whom to donate the modest proceeds of our book sale to seemed obvious: GWN! As a community of writers and readers, O Magazine is proud to support the mission of mentoring young female writers, and I know I speak for everyone at the magazine when I say how impressed we are by the quality and diversity of programs GWN offers.”

From all of us at Girls Write Now: thank you! All proceeds will go straight to our girls.

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Beyond High School: Where GWN Takes You

Each year, we send our graduating seniors out into the world with a polished portfolio, a sense of ownership over their creative voice, and a bank of memories. But the GWN story doesn’t end there. You can find our mentee-alums translating the next great poem in a university library, fighting for human rights, leading our Youth Board, or launching a children’s book series.

See what some of our stellar alumnae are up to!

Taysha Clark and Natalia Vargas-Caba are our new Youth Board Co-Chairs. Join us in congratulating them! We rely heavily on the support, creativity, and guidance from our Youth Board members to drive our curriculum and community building. They’re beyond impressive leaders!

Taysha is a rising junior at Barnard College, where she is majoring in Political Science and Human Rights with a minor in Sociology and Race and Ethnic Studies. Outside the classroom she’s a mentor, writer, and activist—not only serving as our Co-Chair, but also as the President and Founder of the Barnard College Civil Liberties Club. She’ll also be speaking about a girl’s right to write as a panelist during our International Day of the Girl celebration on October 10th. She says of Girls Write Now and her new position:

“Girls Write Now has been my family since my last year of high school. I never expected to be a part of such an important organization, community and am so grateful! I found out about GWN my junior year of high school when my English teacher, Ms. Cordil, hunted me down and told me to apply. My mentor, Mayuri, and the GWN community provided a safe space where I felt comfortable sharing myself completely and using my writing as a means to express my opinion on contentious issues. I wouldn’t have found my voice in my writing, the courage to speak my raw words, without GWN.

Girls Write Now sees potential in people, in young writers, that can sometimes be too easy to lose sight of. I will continue to challenge myself as a writer, a person, and have my words leave a legacy — and I attribute that to GWN, which has been one of the most amazing support systems, families, and communities I have ever been a part of.

I hope to give as much to GWN as it has given to me, and I’ll begin that with my dedication to the Youth Board and all of Girls Write Now’s endeavors. In short: I love GWN!”

Taysha Clark and Mayuri Chandra pair photo

Taysha Clark and her mentor Mayuri Chandra

Natalia is a 2007 mentee-alum who is still driven to raise the young voices of our female writers. Before serving as our Co-Chair, she was a Programs Intern with us. She is in her second year at Sarah Lawrence College where she studies Creative Writing and Spanish, and aims to become a translator for Spanish poetry and fiction. You may  find Natalia hidden in the quiet, protective walls of an undiscovered cafe sipping hot green tea with Rimbaud’s words on hand. Reflecting on her GWN journey:

“In 2004, I joined Girls Write Now as an introverted teenager who never felt her place growing up in the Bronx. I attended an at-risk high school where I was an outcast among my peers, but I did not expect that I would bloom into the fearless writer I am now. Today, I am still involved to give back for all the wonderful opportunities Girls Write Now gave me, by working with the Youth Board developing workshops and fun events. Connecting with our current mentees brings me back to my time, and we join hands as a silenced minority bursting with knowledge. They are our words, and no one else can take them away.”

The Girls Write Now story extends further: our mentee-alums are publishing! Antonia Bruno recently completed a children’s book, co-written with her parents. Josie and the Fourth Grade Bike Brigade was inspired by the activism of the students of P.S. 321 in Brooklyn where my mom is assistant principal. The series aims to teach kids about global warming and encourage them to take action in their community. Children can continue learning about the environment through Josie’s blog, work toward change in their own communities through the “Josie Challenge,” and stay involved through upcoming launch events. Learn more about the series, order a copy, and join Josie as a crusader against climate change!

We asked Antonia about her time at Girls Write Now, and echoing Natalia and Taysha’s remarks, she shared this story with us:

“Girls Write Now came at a perfect time in my life. I was fourteen when I started, and self-doubt was beginning to shadow my love of writing. As a kid I had excitedly shown all my writing to my parents, and their approval was all I needed, but by high school I stopped showing my writing to anyone; I didn’t think it was good enough to share. Girls Write Now changed that for me. It was just the space that my teenage self needed. A space where everything I wrote was appreciated and respected. The feeling that I belonged with talented teenage writers and professional women made me take my own writing seriously, and propelled me over the hump of high school and all its power to kill a girls confidence.”

We’re so proud to continue to play a role in the lives of our alumnae, and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish next!

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Fantasy & Science Fiction: Week 3

This post was written by Chandanie Hiralal, a mentee-alum and a participant in this month’s Fantasy Writing Workshops

Hi there! It’s Chandanie coming at you with the inside scoop from the Fantasy Workshop on August 21st! I had the lovely Chana all to myself to discuss spirituality, rituals of death, rituals of weddings, and, of course, fantasy! I was interested in participating in the Fantasy workshop in the first place because I have a fantasy novel of my own I wish to publish soon. I thought perhaps attending the workshop would broaden my fantasy writing horizons, and it certainly did! Chana asked me certain questions and asked me to write about the inner workings of my novel as we did writing exercises which challenged me to flesh out certain areas of life I hadn’t thought about. It was inspiring because it made me want to take another gander at my manuscript which I had left to chill for some time.

Currently, I am going through it again, and ladies, the work is never done! There’s always something that can be written better or some little detail that can be included to enrich the characters to help readers understand them the way I do. In fact, I’ve been working on my book (Moonrise in the Darkness) for about three to four years by myself, and every time I comb through it I find some tangles I can smooth out or silkiness I can just be in awe of. I don’t really share the manuscript for fear someone will take it from me and publish it under their name, but I was able to trust Chana enough to allow her a copy of it. I look forward to the feedback. Positive and constructive criticism always bolsters my confidence in my work, so it’s truly helpful and a blessing all at the same time!

Thanks for reading, and write on!

***
During this week’s workshop, Chana Porter, the instructor for the series, asked the participants to go deeper in their work during a silent free writing exercise. Here are a few she asked Chandanie about Moonrise in Darkness:

It’s time for you to get off the train and move around inside the world of your story. As you wander, try to answer these questions. Don’t think about them too much, just write what first comes to your mind.

Q: What do people eat in the morning? What do they drink?

A: There is no such thing as morning in the world I am thinking of (the Metal Realm of Wraith World). It is not so simple as wraiths do not need to eat every day; however, there is a special day where all the wraiths of the realm eat the soulless body of some creature from another dimension or time. The blood of the deceased being is what the wraiths quench their thirst with.

Q: How do people send messages to each other?

A: The wraiths use their intuition, their natural sensitivity to the Universe and morphogenetic fields, to know what is going on anywhere at any given time. So, in a sense, telepathy.

Q: What do children do during the day?

A: Children live beneath the earth where whole communities thrive. They learn and play and are only given a formal education if they show the promise of great power.

Q: What does a family do when a baby is born?

A: Wraiths are not born in the traditional sense of a female giving birth to them; however, that does happen, but it is extremely rare. Once the soul of anything passes on it can be guided to the wraith realms by a reaper wraith develops a wraith body when it touches the ground there. Older wraiths may take the newly born wraith into their band of wraiths, or a child may choose it’s destiny.

Q: Are there seasons in this world?

A: There is only one season, and that is early autumn, and its reign is eternal in the Metal Realm. Other seasons reign supreme in other realms.

Q: What’s the weather like?

A: The weather is mild and fairly beautiful. It can be warm, but nothing extensive. Same for it’s level of coolness. It does not rain or snow here; it’s just calm and peaceful. Other realms do experience varying weather patterns, though.

Q: Does the weather change? If so, how do people mark or celebrate the changing of the weather?

A: In the Metal Realm, no, the weather does not change, but there is a certain clearing of dead trees that has a slightly overcast sky with the crescent moon shining brightly. Since the weather remains constant, there is no need for celebration.

Check back next week for our final post about this month’s workshop series!

***

Chandanie Hiralal is a young, fantasy writer that hopes to make it big one day so she can use the money she makes to help fuel organizations against animal cruelty (and adopt a fully vegan diet) as well as movements for women’s equality, environmental conservation, and LGBTQ rights. Chandanie has published a book of poems and short stories when she was 14 and was again published in the 2013 Girls Write Now Anthology. Currently she is working on another book of poems to publish before the end of 2014, and will look to publish her first novel entitled Moonrise in the Darkness some time in 2015. She’s a sophomore at CUNY Queens College with a major in English and minor in Business in Liberal Arts. Chandanie has a wide range of interests, but in her spare time she enjoys playing video games, going out with her boyfriend on magical adventures, and attuning herself with the Universe; recognizing and becoming one with the stream of meaningful coincidences found in everyday life.

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Constructive Compelling Characters in Fantasy & Science Fiction: Week 2

This blog post was written by Chana Porter, this month’s instructor for the Fantasy Writing Workshops

This workshop focused on building distinctive, engaging characters in sci-fi and fantasy worlds. To see our characters from a different perspective, the group explored an exercise in creating collaborative comics.

Writing Exercise: Pass the Character!

  • On a blank piece of unlined paper, describe your character in great physical detail. What are they wearing? Describe how they look, how they stand, their expression. Do they have any objects with them?
  • Pass the description to the right. Draw the character described in fullest detail possible.
  • Pass the drawing to the right. Create dialogue and/or captions for the drawing.
  • Pass the drawing to the right. Draw a background scene for the character.
  • Give the comic back to the originator. Share your collaborative comics!

Check out the awesome characters Arnell Calderon, Nyasiah Colon, Katherine Ortiz, and Sharon Young created below!

Fantasy Workshop Images_1

Fantasy Workshop Images_2

Fantasy Workshop Images_4

***

Chana Porter is a writer and teacher living in Brooklyn, New York. Her plays have been produced and developed in New York City by Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, Primary Stages, PS122, Dixon Place, True Love Productions, The Invisible Dog, and the White Bear in London. She has led classes and workshops in “Writing From The Body” as an artist-in-residence at Cave and Space on White, and as a guest teaching artist at Hampshire College. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A at Goddard College in Creative Writing and writing a series of Young Adult Science Fiction novels entitled New Human Classics.

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World Building in Fantasy & Science Fiction: Week 1

This blog post was written by Chana Porter, this month’s instructor for the Fantasy Writing Workshops and mentee Sharon Young

I have the absolute privilege of leading a series of workshops at Girls Write Now this August, focused on World Building in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Throughout this series, we’ll be focusing on creating setting, developing complex characters, exploring ritual and culture, while using hands-on techniques to break through writer’s block and other possible pitfalls of writing long fiction.

For our first workshop, we focused on developing specificity of setting, to create the sights, sounds, and smells of our imaginary worlds. During this long writing exercise, students used a well-known fairy tale to explore setting, reframing the classic story in a modern context. Here’s a fairy tale Sharon Young, an attendee, adapted for her first exploration of developing setting. Read Sharon’s retelling below, and stay tuned for more updates on this series!

***

There’s this lizard that camouflages itself from its prey. Spiders, snakes, birds, and even other lizards all want a bite out of it. It survives by disappearing into tree bark, mimicking its surroundings. Not an exciting life, but enough to get by.

Maisie felt like this lizard. Adapting to whatever it took to survive.

Both of her parents were well respected scientists. They loved watching PBS documentaries and taking her to museums where they were granted discounted passes. At her 8th grade club fair they insisted that she signed for every science program.

The intelligence must have skipped a generation. Maisie never attended a single robotics meeting. She went to film club instead. During the robotics exhibition she casually stood by a random mechanism while her parents marveled over the wiring and coding.

And now there was this.

“Over 8 million people living in New York City. Pools of high schoolers to choose from. And Maisie has been selected to attend the prestigious Atticus High School!” Her dad proudly announced to her Gran from Alaska over the phone.

Maisie could hear him from her loft bed. Carefully pushing aside his stack of Stephen King novels, she tried to shut the door to their small bedroom crammed with various miscellany. How can they afford the tuition when they can barely fix this place up.

Maisie stepped on an astronaut Barbie she’d received many holidays ago. She’d specifically asked for a dancer. Her dad claimed it sold out. She stuffed it beneath the futon that her parents shared.

Gran was the first person he’d shared the news with. Then his close colleagues at the clinic. And probably the night class he taught at the community college

“My daughter. Can you believe it?”

Maisie stared blankly at the glossy brochure of the school campus. Students in white lab coats meticulously poured unidentifiable liquids into beakers. Another page proudly displayed the school’s mathlete champions. She never imagined that she’d get in. But something about her dad’s celebrity status in the science world told her otherwise.

Atticus wasn’t a place that could be easily overlooked. For startles, it occupied an old church building on the top of a hill. Maisie could see the tower from her apartment. The facade was antediluvian and crumbly. Paint peeled off the walls. The floors were always dusty, no matter how many times the janitors waxed it over the holidays. And with 340 students enrolled, it wasn’t a place you could be ignored.

At the school orientation a sea of navy and white uniforms occupied the lawn. For once Maisie got her wish. She blended with the crowd. Conversations buzzed around her about the renovated library and the new software for the computer lab.

“Did you catch yesterday’s episode of Supernatural?” she asked a curly redhead girl seated next to her. The fold – in chair squeaked as she shifted.

“What episode?”

The principal gave a groundbreaking message on how their generation was set on change the future. Pure intellects. She felt like a fraud.

By the middle of September she found herself struggling with her advanced math and biology courses. Why do I need to learn college material when I haven’t even seen high school material? Her parents were never home to help, always busy or working late shifts at the lab.

“If you don’t pass the final, I’ll have to fail you,” Mr. Yomishida told her two weeks before Thanksgiving break. “I’ll have to call your parents.”

“No they’re … busy during the day,” Maisie stammered. She’d lied about struggling in her core classes. Her dad beamed at her every morning like a shiny new award.

“That’s my good girl.”

“They’re going to find out eventually,” Mr. Yomishida straightened her stack of failed quizzes on his desk. “Attend homework help in the library in the meantime.”

Maisie was paired with Frank, a junior honor student. She found herself improving, just barely though. His tedious lectures dragged on. Sometimes she’d rather confront her parents than listen to Frank rant about dark matter. A boy sitting three rows in front stifled a laugh behind his book when Frank’s hands flailed in the air.

One Monday afternoon Maisie found herself dozing on her biology book. She’d tried reading a couple of pages before Frank arrived to spare her from his lengthy explanations. The LED lighting made her sleepy and she smelled like dusty books. Her phone vibrated against the oak table. The librarian shot her an irritated look.

Frank: Can’t come today. got a student council meeting

Maisie: thats ok. nobody can cover for you?

Frank: I’m the president

“Hey,” a boy slid into Frank’s usual seat. The one who always cracked up from Frank’s wild hand gestures. He flashed a smile. “Marcey, right?”

“It’s Maisie.”

“We have study hall together.”

“Right, you’re the bathroom monitor. Thought that face looked familiar”

“And you’re the one who scored a 5 on the AP world history exam.”

“So?”

“So, I’m asking you to tutor me. Mine ditched for jazz band.”

“Why would I do that?”

“Because I don’t wave like I’m about to set sail on the Titanic.”

Maisie bit her cheek to stop herself from laughing, a trick she’d learned from sitting with Frank for two hours daily.

“Ok, and if I agreed…”

“I’ll help you. You won’t be sorry”

She considered her options. Parents. Final. Frank.

“Deal.”

He got up abruptly to leave.

“Wait,” she half whispered half called. “I don’t know your name.”

“Just call me … R.”

Something about his response told Maisie that wasn’t his name. But before she could call him back, he was already out the door.

Once again, Maisie was left alone.

***

Chana Porter is a writer and teacher living in Brooklyn, New York. Her plays have been produced and developed in New York City by Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, Primary Stages, PS122, Dixon Place, True Love Productions, The Invisible Dog, and the White Bear in London. She has led classes and workshops in “Writing From The Body” as an artist-in-residence at Cave and Space on White, and as a guest teaching artist at Hampshire College. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A at Goddard College in Creative Writing and writing a series of Young Adult Science Fiction novels entitled New Human Classics.

Sharon Young is a high school junior at The High School for Math, Science, and Engineering. She started writing stories in second grade and never stopped. In her spare time she enjoys photography, daydreaming, walks in the park, and cupcakes.

 

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Getting College Essays Off the Ground

This blog post was co-written by program interns, Jocelyn Jacoby and Emily Becker. 

As part of our College Bound program, Girls Write Now organizes college essay writing workshops aimed at kickstarting the application process and getting a jump on the ever-important essay. Following the Morgan Stanley Resume Writing Workshop earlier this summer, volunteers and mentees met throughout the month of July to pour over essay drafts and hone their prose. Check out some personal reflections on the series below!

“For me the college essay writing process feels like it was yesterday, but I am sure glad it is over. Many of the girls come into our College Bound Essay Writing Workshop feeling unsure what they want to write about, unsure how to express themselves to a college admissions office in so few characters, even unsure what college admissions officers are looking for in the first place. Here at Girls Write Now we work to answer these questions and help the girls walk out of the workshop with a solid first draft and the confidence to continue working on it.

After being given time to first outline then write a draft, we broke into small groups to share and help each other, guided by a writing mentor. I loved being able to hear each of their fabulous essays and watch how well they were able to give and receive advice from their peers. Towards the end many of the girls asked me questions about the application process and college itself and I was happy to be able to counsel them on the subject given how enthusiastic they are. I know every one of them will bring something marvelous and unique to whichever school they attend.” — Jocelyn Jacoby, Program Intern.

College Bound_Blog Post

Photo by Munessh Jain

“Of all facets of the college application process, the essay is perhaps the most personal, the one place where you can abandon the laundry list of activities and instead focus on reflecting your true self. This July, our girls took a break from summer jobs and trips to the beach to hunker down and tackle the tricky business of beginning. At our Essay Writing series, our fabulous team of volunteers broke down the writing process, emphasizing the importance of letting your story shine in the essay. The girls were challenged to identify what aspect of their lives the application would be incomplete without. Faced with this gargantuan question, the girls responded with incredible, varied stories—stories of fighting gender expectations in the weight room, of celebrating Ramadan in India, of the power of a name. The girls broke into small groups, and, led by a volunteer, filled the circle with the power of their collective voices. Through discussion and critique the girls became to shape their writing, crafting the foundations of honest, funny, and moving essays. A few weeks later, the girls had the opportunity to come in again, this time to meet one-one-one with a volunteer for personalized feedback. We know their dedication and enthusiasm through the summer months will churn out some truly amazing essays!” — Emily Becker, Program Intern.

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Alum Spotlight: Heather & Isoris

Nothing breaks the Girls Write Now bond. Once pairs forge a relationship at Girls Write Now, they stay connected well into the future, to college and beyond. This week, we’re delighted to share an update on mentor-alumna Heather Smith and mentee-alumna Isoris Nivar.

Isoris & Heather’s pair portrait during their year together at Girls Write Now

They were paired together in 2007 during Heather’s first year as a volunteer and Isoris’ final year in high school. Building off of an unforgettable year together, Isoris went on to college, employing the skills and confidence promoted by Girls Write Now, and is now looking to give back to the world herself. Heather stayed heavily involved with Girls Write Now, and we are grateful for her dedication to the community. Both forces of nature, read more about what they’ve accomplished since they joined Girls Write Now.

HEATHER SMITH

Heather has been an active member of the Girls Write Now community since 2007. Isoris was her mentee in her first year. The pair quickly bonded over their shared passion for music, meeting weekly in the recording studio Heather was managing. They have stayed in touch regularly since Isoris started university, and Heather has been thrilled to watch Isoris excel in all aspects of her life.

Heather has been Drumhead Magazine’s Executive Editor for the last eight years, and recently transitioned to be Marketing Manager for Kaman Music Corp, a division of Fender Musical Instruments Corp. Although she has relocated to Lyndhurst, NJ, she will continue her association with Girls Write Now as Mentor Community Chair. You can reach her directly at mentorcommunity@girlswritenow.org.

ISORIS NIVAR

“Since completing Girls Write Now, I moved to Philadelphia and began attending college. I just graduated from Temple University with a B.A in Psychology. During my junior year of college I landed a job at the Schizophrenia Research Center located in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. My experiences with the patients, some of whom were not that much older than me, stirred up a passion to work with the schizophrenic population. I quickly realized how misunderstood and underserved they were.

I am currently still working there, and hopefully come fall will have a full-time position. I am also going to pursue an M.D/Ph.D program where I can provide psychiatric care to this population as well as conduct research with the hopes of implementing treatment before symptoms worsen.
I am forever grateful for the skills that I’ve learned in Girls Write Now, and for being introduced to my mentor Heather.”
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An Evening with Author Sarah Murray to Benefit Girls Write Now

Dancing with the Dead

This post was written by Development Intern, Megan Malloy.

Last night, acclaimed author and journalist Sarah Murray spoke to a crowded room about something we don’t usually speak about: death. All proceeds from the event went towards supporting GWN’s programs and mission. Murray is the author of the book Making an Exit: From the Magnificent to the Macabre, How We Dignify Death. The book has been called “an Eat, Pray, Love for the afterlife” by the Washington Post, and it’s a medley of personal memoir, anthropological research, and philosophical insights.

“It’s so important to support young writers,” said Sarah. “I didn’t have a huge amount of support while I was at school, and so to have had something like this would have been phenomenal. If I can contribute to that in any way, that’s made me happy.”

Sarah Murray with a photo of her father, Nigel Murray, whose death inspired her to write her book.

The evening’s festivities were held in the stunning offices of Interface, the world’s largest producer of carpet tile. Not only is Interface located in the shadow of the Empire State Building, but it has a sustainable business model that will reduce the company’s carbon footprint to zero by the year 2020.

Panoramic views from the Interface offices.

Panoramic views from the Interface offices.

Board member Marci Alboher introduced Girls Write Now and mentee Misbah Awan. Misbah regaled the audience with her words, reading a fictional account of a young boy cremating his baby brother. Misbah moved the crowd with her piece’s evocative use of detail, and the contrasts she drew between the innocence of childhood and the finitude of death. After sharing her story, Misbah spoke about the influence of GWN in her life, saying that it has given her the confidence to share her work. Misbah now works at the Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment (WISE), an advocacy group for immigrant and refugee women and girls, and Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), a community organizing group for South Asian Americans.

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Our fabulous mentor, Hadia Sheerazi, spoke about what it was like to grow up female in Pakistan, and how having a father who emphasized girls’ education made all the difference in her future. She spoke about the bond she shares with her mentee, Carmen, and how she tries to impart to Carmen that “what you have to say matters.”

Overall, the event raised $1525. Thank you to all who attended, and all who gave generously to support our work!

Check out an excerpt of Misbah’s writing below.

Excerpt

  • Misbah Awan7 National Anthems
    Out of all my travels, it’s the children I remember, with perfect clarity; they are impossible to forget. Their tiny hands. Their vibrant smiles. Their eyes, dancing. Their tattered clothes, or lack thereof. But this one was different. And it was only then I had realized that this is not a personal world, no matter how much of it recognizes you in the streets…
    Out of these children, no one paid more than a second’s worth of attention to a little boy, about ten years old, walking by alongside the edge of the dirt road. The boy was wearing faded white clothes, which barely protected him from the heat of the late afternoon sun. His feet were bare and his arms stiff. He walked while carrying a baby on his back. The little head behind his was tipped back, as if the baby were fast asleep.
    Passing strangers opened a pathway for this boy simultaneously — it was a becoming routine amongst the war-weary nation. A lone black dog wagged his tail when he passed by…

Check out more photos on our Facebook page here!

 

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Girls Write Now Selected as Semifinalist for 2014 Nonprofit Excellence Awards

We’re thrilled to announce that Girls Write Now has been selected as one of ten semifinalists for the 2014 New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards!

Produced by the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, Philanthropy New York, and sponsored by WNYC, the awards honor organizations with exemplary management practices, better enabling them to realize their goals and cultivate their programs. Michael Clark, president of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee, applauded the semifinalists for being ”models of key best practices that showcase how nonprofits can employ strong management to better fulfill their missions.” We aim to be transparent, efficient, and innovative in our management so that supporting the next generation of writers will happen today, tomorrow, and years into the future.  

“For roughly half of our history, Girls Write Now was an entirely volunteer-driven enterprise,” explained founder and executive director, Maya Nussbaum. “As we increased capacity across our board, staff, and budget, our aim has been to harness that volunteer power while professionalizing the organization’s management strategies. The application process for the 2014 Nonprofit Excellence Awards has helped Girls Write Now put a laser focus on our structures and systems. The process has given us pride for all that we have accomplished in the areas of outcomes tracking, board engagement, IT, finances, fundraising, communications, and more.”

We’re humbled to be in the company of such  diverse nonprofits as Bowery Residents’ Committee, Community Access, Equal Justice USA, Graham Windham, Leake and Watts, Inc., Planned Parenthood of New York City, Row New York, Safe Horizen, and Washington Heights CORNER Project. They’ll be announcing three finalists later this year, so stay tuned! Read more about the awards and each semifinalist in the official press release.

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