This blog post was written by Mara McCollom a Girls Write Now intern about the June CHAPTERS reading on June 19, 2015 with keynote speaker Quiara Alegría Hudes.
On a sunny summer evening, we gathered at the Rose Auditorium at Cooper Union to celebrate our final CHAPTERS reading of the year. Our keynote speaker Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes opened the night with a speech reflecting on her childhood in Philadelphia, her Puerto Rican-Jewish heritage, and memorable summer kisses. She spoke of the intensity of adolescence— both the passions and the anxieties—and then handed it over to our girls. With performances from sixteen girls, we heard a diversity of stories and poems that captured the intense honesty, excitement, and emotion of which Quiara spoke.
Our girls come from each borough in New York and a multitude of different cultures, languages, and countries, and their stories reflect that diversity of experience. We heard from Ashley Christie, who read a piece about her father’s incarceration. We heard an essay from Gnesis Villar on how her teenage experience hasn’t reflected the one she’s seen in movies. We heard from Janae Lowe, who told us that she’s decided she doesn’t love chicken but only likes it. Our girls drove the audience to laughter and tears, often experienced side by side.
And with that, our CHAPTERS season comes to a close. Thank you to all our guest authors, mentees, and mentors, who participated this year. We’re already anxiously awaiting the beginning of next year’s CHAPTERS series and also maybe some of that non-sweltering spring weather!