Our spring series has always spotlighted the tenacity of today’s young writers and honored the women who paved the way for them, but April’s event also shone a bright light on the resilience of the Girls Write Now community as a whole. With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to develop, we were eager to find a way to bring the heart, hope, and inspiration that always accompanies our live performances to viewers at home. Fast-forward to Friday, April 3 and we’re streaming the first-ever digital episode of Girls Write Now Live to an engaged Facebook audience of more than 1,000 viewers worldwide.
The evening was gracefully woven together by emcee Galina Espinoza, veteran journalist and president and editor in chief at Rewire.News, where she leads a team of editors and journalists reporting on reproductive and sexual health, rights, and justice. (She’s also a board member alumnae and long-time champion of Girls Write Now!)
It also featured a wisdom-packed keynote and a lively Q&A with Agent of Change Robyn Crawford, New York Times bestselling author of A Song for You: My Life With Whitney Houston (Dutton). We are thrilled to honor Robyn for showing us the difference between a friend and a fair-weather friend; for being brave, not only in telling her own truth but in elevating a friend’s legacy when the public had expressed their scorn; for reminding us that acceptance is not always a given; and for showing us the power of writing from the deepest possible place—a place of love. Watch her keynote below and check out the Q&A starting at 31:00 in the Facebook Live video.
The evening’s featured mentee performers are listed below. They took over the screen from their homes to share multi-genre, multimedia work—from a winning campaign speech to moving, identity-driven short films to poetic recollections of dance floors, grief, and summer romance.
- Manar Dihyem; speech,“Becoming Manar the Star”
- Jessica Jiang; short film, “How to be Asian-American”
- Jordan Che; animation, “Love Through My Eyes”
- Naomi Habtu; memoir, “Embarking”
- Yamilet Ortega, short film, “bloom in”
- Sylvi Stein; poetry, “Summer Camp Love Letter”
- Claire Yu; poetry, “interludes”
Thank you to everyone who tuned in! Mark your calendars for May 1 at 6PM for our next Girls Write Now Live event with a dazzling lineup of talented mentees, emceed by 2019 Agent of Change Joanne Ramos and honoring Agent of Change honoree Lauren Wilkinson, author of American Spy (Random House).