The Writing & Mentoring Program had an amazing fall in 2017! We kicked off our first semester by diving into the genres of memoir, poetry, and journalism!
During our third workshop of the year (and last of the fall semester), we learned about column writing and the importance of developing a voice or theme that maintains consistency for readers over multiple installments while bringing fresh ideas, information, and insight with every installment.
Our AM craft talk speaker was Jia Tolentino, staff writer at the New Yorker and author of a forthcoming book of essays called Trick Mirror from Random House. Jia spoke to her experiences of always trying to find the tricky, yet perfect balance of research, storytelling, and personality in her pieces.
Our PM craft talk speaker was Romaissaa Benzizoune, an NYC based writer, college sophomore at New York University, and former GWN mentee. Romaissa shared what she’s learned since being in our Girls Write Now space two years ago, and how developing a column for McSweeney’s lead the way to other opportunities.
“The fact that Romaissaa was a mentee at Girls Write Now, that she was almost my age, and that she came back to speak to us is what really inspired me to write more. I started off being insecure of my writing but now I am inspired and motivated to share my work and let people read it. I want to write more because I thought to myself that there might be a possibility of me one day being like her.”
Read more of Angely’s thoughts about our PM workshop with the rest of her blog, here.
During our second workshop of the year, Poetic Forms, we explored formal verse poetry and embraced the challenges and opportunities provided by strictly defined formats.
Our AM craft talk speaker was Amber Atiya, multidisciplinary poet and author of the fierce bums of doo-wop. Amber shared her creative process as a poet, and how she fuses various mediums of art with her words.
Our PM craft talk speaker was Kyla Marshell, a creative writer of poems, essays, articles and interviews. Kyla gave the room such inspiring advice to find and pursue our own style, saying, “A sonnet is such an old form. You don’t have to do it like Shakespeare did. Actually, I recommend you don’t.”
“I walked out of the workshop feeling hopeful about poetry again. Amber showed me that poetry is everywhere, and I don’t need to force myself to find it. I was cynical towards poems because I forgot how to write authentically. Now, I see that if I’m going to write a poem, I do not have to force it out. It will come naturally because it’ll be my truth.”
Read more of what Sabrina had to say about our AM workshop with the rest of her blog, here.
During our first workshop of the new 17-18 program year, Intergenerational Memoir, where we wrote about how family members and members of communities from other generations have shaped our lives. We reflected upon changing beliefs, habits, and norms from one generation to another, and how we defined our own generation in relation to others.
Our AM craft talk speaker was Aarti Monteiro; writer, educator, and former GWN staff member. During Aarti’s craft talk, she shared how she integrated research, lived experiences, and opinions in her own writing.
Our PM craft talk speaker was Samhita Mukhopadhyay, writer, executive editor of Teen Vogue, and recent co-editor of anthology, Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America. Samhita spoke to us about finding our own unique places within a wide scope of generations.
“Her experiences, although they are hers and no one else’s, helped me to connect with her. While she spoke I found myself nodding with conviction every time I thought what she said was just so right. I nodded at least a dozen times. She spoke about her own differences with her family. She spoke about her own experience in the aftermath of the election. I nodded when I understood her own emotions because I felt so similarly.”
Read more of Gianny’s views on our PM workshop with the rest of the blog, here.