March 7: The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s AWP 2020 Off-site Reading feat. Rita Banerjee

Join the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop for our offsite reading at Rosella Coffee House (203 E Jones Ave, Suite 101) in San Antonio, TX! Featured readers include Rita Banerjee, Madeleine Barnes, Alex Carrigan, Kristina Marie Darling, Charlene Elsby, Adilene Hernandez, Tim Horvath, Samuel Kóláwọlé, Rachel Kurasz, and Mari Pack! Come celebrate with a gorgeous night of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and speculative writing!  More info on the reading & featured authors below!

Featured Readers:

Rita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018).   She is the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, March 2018), which was nominated for the 2019 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize at the Academy of American Poets, featured on the Ruth Stone Foundation podcast, and named one of Book Riot’s “Must-Read Poetic Voices of Split This Rock 2018”, and was selected by Finishing Line Press as their 2018 nominee for the National Book Award in Poetry.  Banerjee is also the author of the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010).  She is the co-writer and co-director of Burning Down the Louvre (2020), a documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France.  She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and she is a recipient of a Vermont Studio Center Artist’s Grant, the Tom and Laurel Nebel Fellowship, and South Asia Initiative and Tata Grants.  Her writing appears in the Academy of American PoetsPoets & Writers, PANK, Nat. Brut.The ScofieldThe Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. She is the Director of the MFA in Writing & Publishing program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and an Associate Scholar of Comparative Literature at Harvard.  She is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.  Her writing is represented by agents Jeff Kleinman and Jamie Chambliss of Folio Literary Management.

Madeleine Barnes is a poet and visual artist from Pittsburgh living in Brooklyn. She is a doctoral fellow at CUNY’s Ph.D. Program in English, and the recipient of a New York State Summer Writers Institute Fellowship, two Academy of American Poets prizes, and the Princeton Poetry Prize. Her second chapbook, Light Experiments, is forthcoming from Porkbelly Press this year, and her protest embroideries were recently featured in Boston Accent Lit. She serves as Poetry Editor at Cordella Magazine.

Alex Carrigan is an associate editor with the American Correctional Association. He has edited and proofed the anthologies CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, 2018) and Her Plumage: An Anthology of Women’s Writings from Quail Bell Magazine (2019). He has had fiction, poetry, and media reviews published in Quail Bell Magazine, Life in 10 Minutes, Realms YA Fantasy Literary Magazine, Mercurial Stories, Lambda Literary Review, Stories About Penises (Guts Publishing, 2019) and the forthcoming anthologies Closet Cases: Queers on What We Wear (Et Alia Press, 2020) and Whale Road Review (Summer 2020). He currently lives in Alexandria, VA.

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of thirty books, including Look to Your Left: The Poetics of Spectacle (University of Akron Press, 2020); Je Suis L’Autre: Essays & Interrogations (C&R Press, 2017), which was named one of the “Best Books of 2017” by The Brooklyn Rail; and DARK HORSE: Poems (C&R Press, 2018). Her work has been recognized with three residencies at Yaddo, where she has held both the Martha Walsh Pulver Residency for a Poet and the Howard Moss Residency in Poetry; a Fundación Valparaíso fellowship; a Hawthornden Castle Fellowship, funded by the Heinz Foundation; an artist-in-residence position at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris; three residencies at the American Academy in Rome; two grants from the Whiting Foundation; a Morris Fellowship in the Arts; and the Dan Liberthson Prize from the Academy of American Poets, among many other awards and honors. Her poems appear in The Harvard Review, Poetry International, New American Writing, Nimrod, Passages North, The Mid-American Review, and on the Academy of American Poets’ website, Poets.org. She has published essays in The Kenyon Review, Agni, Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, The Iowa Review, and numerous other magazines. Kristina currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Press and Tupelo Quarterly, an opinion columnist at The Los Angeles Review of Books, and a contributing writer at Publishers Weekly.

Charlene Elsby, Ph.D., is the Philosophy Program Director at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Her first novel, HEXIS, was published by CLASH Books. Her second novel, AFFECT, is forthcoming with The Porcupine’s Quill.

 

 

Adilene Hernández is a queer, Latina writer and educator with roots in Atlanta, GA. She earned her B.A. in Creative Writing from Knox College, and she aspires to continue her studies through an M.F.A. program. She is an alumna of the Winter Tangerine Workshop and Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. She is currently at work on her first two novels, both of which focus on family ties and identity in the Latinx culture.

 

Samuel Kọ́láwọlé was born and raised in Ibadan, Nigeria. His work has appeared in AGNI, Gulf Coast, Washington Square Review and Consequence amongst other literary journals. Samuel was a finalist for the 2018 Graywolf Prize for Africa and winner of the 2019 Editor-Writer Mentorship Program for Diverse Writers. His fiction has been supported with fellowships, residencies, and scholarships from the Norman Mailer Centre, International Writing Program at the University of Iowa,  Columbus State University’s Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians, Clarion West Writers Workshop, Wellstone Centre in the Redwoods California, and Island Institute. Samuel was educated at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and holds a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing with distinction from Rhodes University, South Africa and an MFA in Writing and Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts, USA. His debut novel The Road to Salt Sea is forthcoming from Amistad/Harper Collins.

Rachel Kurasz is a PhD student at Northern Illinois University where she is studying rhetoric/composition and Graphic Novels/Comic Books.  Rachel earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Roosevelt University under the guidance of Christian TeBordo and Kyle Beachy. Rachel also was a Fall 2017 AWP writer to writer under mentor Laura Creedle.  Rachel is currently querying and writing her first graphic novel series entitled “weirdos”.

Mari Pack is a poet and writer from the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She has an MA from the University of Toronto, and is a current MFA candidate at Hunter College.

 

 

Feb 10, Vermont Public Radio: “Representation & Writing: Who Gets To Tell Whose Story?” feat. Rita Banerjee, 12 – 1 pm EST, 94. 1 FM, Montpelier VT

On Monday, February 10, from 12 noon – 1 pm, Radio Host of Vermont Edition Jane Lindhom will be interviewing Rita Banerjee on “Representation & Writing: Who Gets To Tell Whose Story?” on Vermont Public Radio. More details about the show follow below:

“Representation & Writing: Who Gets To Tell Whose Story?”
Vermont Edition Hosts: Jane Lindhom & Matthew Smith
Feb 10, 2020 * 12 – 1 pm EST (rebroadcast at 7 pm)
94.1 FM, Montpelier, 107.9 FM Colchester, VT
Live-stream online on VPR’s Website

Live call-in discussion: The new novel American Dirt revolves around a mother and son fleeing cartel violence in Mexico and attempting to cross into the U.S. But some critics argue the author doesn’t have the right to tell this story. The book’s publication has stirred controversy, launched the #DignidadLiteraria hashtag and led to discussion on diversity in the publishing world.

We’re talking with Vermont authors about representation, cultural appropriation and diversity in storytelling.

Our guests will include:

For more information & for the livestream online broadcast, visit Vermont Public Radio’s website here.

AWP 2020 Panel: “Dismantling the White Imagination: On Intimacy in Creative Nonfiction” feat. Emily Arnason Casey, Rita Banerjee, Jericho Parms, Aisha Sabatini Sloan, & David Shields * Sat, March 7 * 9 – 10:15 am

Rita Banerjee will be presenting on Burning Down the Louvre (2020), a documentary film on race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France that she is co-writing with essayist David Shields at the 2020 AWP Conference during the following panel:

S122. Dismantling the White Imagination: On Intimacy in Creative Nonfiction

AWP Conference * Saturday, March 7, 2020 * 9:00-10:15 am
Room 205, Henry B. González Convention Center
900 E Market St, San Antonio, TX 78205

Creative nonfiction requires intimacy and vulnerability. Within a genre where the relationship between “I” and “you” is always on the line, how can we as writers forge connections between self and other? How can we reimagine whiteness and disrupt the marginalization of nonwhite voices? By exploring the electric space of collaboration and conversation, panelists will discuss how writers of color and white writers can make otherized identities familiar and new American narratives viable.

Participants

Moderator:

Emily Arnason Casey is the author of Made Holy: Essays. Her writing has appeared in the Normal School, The RumpusHotel AmerikaBriar Cliff Review, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. She teaches writing at the Community College of Vermont. www.emilyarnasoncasey.com

Rita Banerjee is the director of the MFA in Writing & Publishing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and author of Echo in Four BeatsCREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, and A Night with Kali. Her work appears in Poets & WritersThe RumpusVIDA, and LARB.

Aisha Sabatini Sloan is the author of The Fluency of Light: Coming of Age in a Theater of Black and White and Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit, which won the CLMP Firecracker Award for Nonfiction. She is currently the Helen Zell Visiting Professor of Creative Nonfiction at the University of Michigan.

Jericho Parms is the author of Lost Wax. Her essays have appeared in Fourth GenreThe Normal SchoolHotel AmerikaBrevity, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches at Champlain College.

David Shields is the internationally bestselling author of more than 20 books, including Reality Hunger (30 “best books of 2010” mentions),The Thing about Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead (New York Times bestseller), The Trouble with Men, and Nobody Hates Turmp More Than Trump. He is an NBCC finalist and his books appear in twenty-four languages.

For more information, please visit the AWP 2020 Conference website here.

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Paris Writing Retreat (July 16-21, 2020) Now Open For Applications!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Paris Writing Retreat will take place from July 16-21, 2020.  Situated in heart of Paris’ Montparnasse neighborhood, amongst the fresh and popular open air markets and charming boutiques, the hotel stay is full of Parisian charm, and retreat activities will include craft of writing seminars and creative writing workshops, literary tours of Paris. If you’re serious about writing and want to soak in some exquisite French culture this summer, join our retreat in Paris!   The faculty includes award-winning writers David Shields, Diana Norma Szokolyai, and Rita Banerjee.  Genres include poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. If you’d like to join us in Paris, France, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by May 30, 2020. Scholarship Applications due March 1, 2020.  More info: cww.nyc 

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat (March 19-22, 2020) Now Open For Applications!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat will take place from March 19-22, 2020. Known for its Spanish and French architecture, live jazz, cajun food, and street festivals, New Orleans offers an inspirational and one-of-a-kind environment for creative writers. During the retreat, we will be staying in downtown New Orleans, just a short walk away from the Historic French Quarter.  The faculty includes award-winning writers & playwrights: Stephen Aubrey, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. All genres welcome. Genres include playwriting, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. The cost of the retreat includes tuition, lodging, and some meals. If you’d like to join us in New Orleans, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by March 10, 2020.  Scholarships Applications are due by March 1, 2020.  More info: cww.nyc 

Rita Banerjee’s essay “Birth of Cool” on 9/11 and a generation coming of age and keeping its cool debuts in Hunger Mountain

18 years and 12 hours ago, Rita Banerjee was in the middle of a generation coming of age and witnessing 9/11. Her essay “Birth of Cool” captures how a generation of young people watched 9/11 and kept their cool.

An excerpt from “Birth of Cool,” which debuts in Hunger Mountain (Issue 23: Silence & Power) follows below:

Lauren played her Gibson on the phone for me. Voodoo Child. Learning Hendrix one blistered finger at a time. Stairway to Heaven. A poster of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant hung on her bedroom wall. Plant made love to the microphone in his too-tight jeans and denim jacket. His threads hadn’t been washed in decades. Neither had he. His hair was a total mess: wastrel, lion, drunken boat. His stance suggested everything hot and sticky and full of sweat. Plant sang as if his life depended on it. As if Page were a living siren: all dark curls and velvet. Soft everywhere. And cool where it mattered. Who was the devil and who the angel here? Their hair, their dishabille, their guitar riffs, their primal screams. What were Plant and Page selling to us, neo-nostalgic teens of the ’90s? Was it sex or something else? A taste of barely contained passion or total apathy? Whatever it was, it became the object of our attraction, our envy. Could a woman ever be so decadent? So illustrious? So free?

Lauren bent over her guitar and strummed, as if she were searching for an answer, as if the metallic edge of her Gibson could vibrate to the right pitch of cool. Her mom had immigrated from Hong Kong and her dad came from nowhere Zen, New Jersey. They spoke Cantonese on the phone together when they wanted to keep their secrets secret. But Lauren, always listening when she shouldn’t have, found out that her mother was pregnant anyway. Her father played in garage bands. He was born with an electric guitar. And so was she. When our history teacher went around the class and asked what kind of music do you listen to? I said, “Garbage,” and Lauren, “Hendrix.”

At her sweet sixteen, we sang “Landslide,” in an improvised, acoustic harmony. Her living room, surrounded by turn-of-the-century Qing chests and miniature lacquered paintings, felt like a recording studio that afternoon. Red cushions, low lights, and dark walnut furniture. A makeshift cabaret for a bunch of girls, barely legal. Gillian with her dark hair and half-smile, belting out the lyrics louder than anyone else. As if she were Stevie Nicks, herself, and knew the truth about pain. Her parents had divorced. Ours just seemed to fight all the time. So Gillian held the honor of being part mystic, part witch in our tribe.

At another sweet sixteen, Maddy sang, “I Will Survive,” and we girls danced primitive, like women, as if our lives depended on it. What heartaches had we experienced? What did we know about life at sixteen? Most of us hadn’t seriously been in love yet. With a man or a woman. We were just beginning to learn what it meant to come of age. To gaze into the future. To gaze back, an old crone, towards all the mistakes and milestones of our life. And what we saw, at sixteen, frightened us. We were experienced. We sang Fleetwood Mac, Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin together in Lauren’s living room, as if classic rock could keep the future at bay. As if these staged rebels in their infinite costumes, postures, and expressions of cool could save us. Save us from becoming adults. Save us from becoming women. Save us from a million taboos and stigmas and haunting forms of socialization.

“Darling go make it happen,” Lauren’s voice picked up tempo on the phone, “take the world in a love embrace.” Her guitar kept up the song’s dirty rhythm and twanged just when it mattered. I tried to impress her by playing back Joplin, Brubeck, Bach, Beethoven, Yann Tiersen, different time signatures, and chord progressions on the piano. In the ’90s, we spent so many afternoons like that. On the second line just for us: chatterboxes, klutzes, not yet agents of our lives. Girls. Our songs fused and interrogated one another. They hardly made sense. But that’s how we were. She and me. Latchkey kids. Part-time musicians. Like a true nature’s child. Our jams short-circuited every style in history.

To read the full essay, order a copy of Hunger Mountain or visit their website here.

Poets House Reading feat. Rita Banerjee, James Ragan, & Finishing Line Press Authors – September 13, 7 pm

On Friday, September 13, from 7 pm – 10 pm, join Finishing Line Press at the Poets House  (10 River Terrace, New York, NY 10282 ) for a reading by FLP poets James Ragan, Rita Banerjee, Deborah Kahan Kolb, Stephanie Laterza, Danelle Lejeune, Mark A. Murphy, Dawn Marar, Katherine E. Schneider and others.

This event is free and open to the public.  The reading by Finishing Line Poets will be followed by an Open Mic portion.  Snacks and drinks will be provided.  This event is made possible through Poets House’s Literary Partners program. Poets House is an ADA accessible facility.  For more information, please visit Poets House or Finishing Line Press’s events page.