Applications Open for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat (April 13-16, 2018)!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat will take place from April 13-16, 2018. 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 the lovely Algiers Point neighborhood, just a short ferry ride away from the Historic French Quarter.  Our retreat features multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write.  The faculty includes award-winning writers and literary agent Rita BanerjeeDiana Norma Szokolyai, and Natalie Kimber. There will one-on-one consultations with our literary agent, and workshop genres include nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. If you’d like to join us in New Orleans, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by March 20, 2018. More info: cww.nyc 

 

Queen Mob’s Tea House features Rita Banerjee’s new fiction, “Darling Marie”

DarlingMarie
“This corner of Valencia seemed gray and abandoned but in the middle of all this nothingness, Marie could imagine that door, in another time, opening up into a dimly lit cigar-centered room, covered by umbrella lamps and French boudoir wallpaper.  The windows next to the entrance would be opaque and flickering…There was gunpowder and the unknown behind it, and in her hand, she held the black-lacquered fan and its secrets…”

The current issue of Queen Mob’s Tea House features Rita Banerjee’s neo-noir story, “Darling Marie.”

Rita Banerjee received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington.  Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in the Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Riot Grrrl Magazine, Objet d’Art, and on KBOO Radio’s APA Compass in Portland, Oregon.  Her first collection of poems, Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press) received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Los Angeles Book Festival, and her novella, A Night with Kali (Spider Road Press), is forthcoming in 2016.  Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, she is currently working on a novel, a book on translation and modernisms, and a book of lyric essays.

Sabor y Cultura: Cambridge Writers’ Workshop AWP 2016 Reading – April 1

CWW-AWP2016ReadingThe Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is coming to Los Angeles for the AWP Conference (March 30 – April 2, 2016)!  Last year’s AWP  was a success with our bookfair table and reading at Boneshaker Books.  This year, you’ll be able to find us at Table 1157 and find information regarding our upcoming Spring in Newport, Rhode Island (April 22-25, 2016) Summer in Narbonne & Barcelona (July 18-26, 2016), and Summer in Granada, Spain (July  28-August 5, 2016) Writing Retreats.

We’ll also be hosting our AWP Reading at Sabor y Cultura (located at 5625 Hollywood BlvdLos Angeles, CA 90028) on Friday, April 1, 2016 from 4-7 pm.  Featured Readers include Rita BanerjeeJess BurnquistJulialicia CaseAriana KellyGwen E. KirbyKatie KnollEllaraine LockieOndrej PazdirekHeather Aimee O’NeillBrenda Peynado, Esther Pfaff, Jessica PiazzaJonathan ShapiroEmily Skaja, and Emily Smith.

 

Rita Banerjee featured in Poets & Writers Magazine (March/April 2015)

PWWriters such as Rita Banerjee, David Shields, Peter Orner, Kathleen Spivack, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Stephen Aubrey, Jessica Reidy, and yoga instructor Elissa Lewis are featured in the March/April 2015 Writers Retreats Issue of Poets & Writers Magazine for their instruction in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, and yoga the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Newport, RI Writing & Yoga Retreat (April 2-5, 2015), Summer Writing Retreat in Paris (July 22-30, 2015), and Summer Writing Retreat in Granada, Andalucía, Spain.  In this special issue of Poets & Writers, the “Conferences & Residencies” section features the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop 2015 Spring and Summer Creative Writing Retreats in New England, France, and Spain.   Here’s some more information on each retreat:

 

 

CWW Newport, RI Writing & Yoga Retreat (April 2-5, 2015)

NewportThe 2015 Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Writing & Yoga Retreat will be held from April 2 to April 5 at the historic Inn Bliss in Newport, Rhode Island. The retreat offers workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as craft seminars, manuscript consultations, time to write, daily yoga and meditation classes, and local excursions. The faculty includes poets and prose writers Rita Banerjee, Kathleen Spivack, and Diana Norma Szokolyai; and prose writer Stephen Aubrey. The cost of the retreat is $650, which includes tuition, shared lodging, and some meals. Using the online submission system, submit five pages of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction with a $5 application fee by February 20, 2015. Apply at cww.submittable.com

CWW Summer Writing Retreat in Paris (July 22-30, 2015)

ParisThe 2015 Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Paris Writing Retreat will be held from July 22 to July 30 at the Hôtel Denfert-Montparnasse in Paris. The retreat offers workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as craft seminars, one-on-one manuscript consultations, time to write, daily yoga and meditation classes, and local excursions. The faculty includes poets and prose writers Rita Banerjee, Kathleen Spivack, Jessica Reidy, and Diana Norma Szokolyai; and fiction and nonfiction writer David Shields. The cost of the retreat is $2,950, which includes tuition, lodging, and some meals. Using the online submission system, submit five pages of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction with a $5 application fee by May 5, 2015.  Apply at cww.submittable.com

CWW Summer Writing Retreat in Granada, Andalucía, Spain (August 3-10, 2015)

alhambra-granada-spain-900x1440The 2015 Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Andalucía Writing Retreat will be held from August 3 to August 10 at the Hotel Gar-Anat in Granada, Spain. The retreat offers workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as craft seminars, time to write, daily yoga and meditation classes, and local excursions. The faculty includes poets and prose writers Peter Orner, Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, and Jessica Reidy. The cost of the retreat is $2,950, which includes tuition, lodging, and some meals. Using the online submission system, submit five pages of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction with a $5 application fee by April 20, 2015.  Apply at cww.submittable.com

Register by March 15 for CWW Writing Retreat in Newport, RI ( April 2-5, 2015)

CWW-Newport-March15DeadlineJoin the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop April 2-5, 2015 for our first annual springtime writing & yoga retreat at the historic Victorian “Inn Bliss” in beautiful and gilded Newport, Rhode Island.  Our Newport retreat offers the opportunity for writers of all genres and levels to work alongside award-winning authors & editors to hone their craft and expand their writing skills, while working on new or existing projects. Famous for its seafood and coastline, we chose this location for its inspiring beauty and history. During free sessions in the afternoon, take a mansion tour of gilded-era Newport, visit the Newport Museum, listen to some Newport jazz classics, or just relax beside the ocean watching the sailboats and let the stunning location influence your writing.  Faculty includes internationally renowned author and writing coach Kathleen Spivack (fiction, poetry, nonfiction), Stephen Aubrey (playwriting, screenwriting), Diana Norma Szokolyai (poetry, nonfiction), Rita Banerjee (poetry, fiction), and Elissa Lewis (yoga, meditation).  If you’d like to join us in Newport, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by March 15, 2015.  More info: cww.nyc

Winter 2015 Literature Recommendations

EveningSnowatKanbaraThe Cambridge Writers’ Workshop just published their Winter 2015 – Books to Keep You Warm in honor of Valentine’s Day!  To celebrate February and the snowy tidings of 2015, the CWW staff has written about their favorite reads to keep you warm through this winter season!  Some of these works that have inspired our own writing and changed how we think and see the world, and other works have just stayed with us, entertained, or made us stop, stare, or smile for a little while.  The list has been curated by Alex Carrigan and contributors include Stephen Aubrey, Rita Banerjee, Alex Carrigan, Gregory Crosby, Katy MillerDavid Shields, Emily Smith, Christine Stoddard, Diana Norma Szokolyai, and Megan Tilley.  Here are some Winter 2015 literature recommendations by Rita Banerjee.  For the full list, please visit CWW Recommends!

Rita’s Winter 2015 Lit Picks:

whereeuropebegins_300_411Where Europe Begins by Yoko Tawada
(Recommended by Rita Banerjee)

Yoko Tawada is a force of nature.  She has mastered the art of defamiliarizing the familiar whether it be language, gender, the facets of the body, or the interplay between imagination and reality.  She is a master of writing fiction, memoir, and gorgeous lyrical essays in both Japanese and German (for which she’s won the Akutagawa Prize and Goethe Medal, respectively), and she’s given some impressive speeches in English quoting Japanese, German, and even Italian idioms and literary texts at free will.  (I had a chance to see her recently at Munich’s 2014 Shamrock festival and was floored by her performance and also later when she spoke to me in Japanese!)  Where Europe Begins explores the strangeness and uncertainty one encounters when looking at things just a little too closely.  In these short stories and musings, one’s body, one’s relationships and feelings towards others, one’s language, and even one’s existence become irrevocably uncanny and peculiar.

SFNoir2BostonNoirAkashic’s Noir Series
(Recommended by Rita Banerjee)

A few years ago, I picked up my first Akashic Noir Series book in the famed City Lights Books in San Francisco while I was working on my dissertation at Berkeley.  I selected San Francisco Noir 2: The Classics because for every flower in someone’s hair, San Francisco was also pretty cold and gritty, and the ghosts of Dashiell Hammet, Jack London, and Mark Twain seemed to hang around downtown, just lurking in the air.  And this volume did not disappoint.  Frank Norris’s chilling, uncomfortable view of Chinatown still haunted in “The Third Circle,” and you could see why Hitchcock was so mesmerized by the city by the bay.  Flitting back to Cambridge for work, Boston Noir also provided a delightful read.  Don Lee’s “The Oriental Hair Poets” seemed especially à propos in the atmosphere of Cambridge.  The story centers around two female Asian poets who compete with one another for men and literary accolades, attempting to sabotage each other’s poetic careers and prestige, until something goes horribly wrong…

TreadwindsTreadwinds by Walter K. Lew
(Recommended by Rita Banerjee)

During my MFA days, Walter K. Lew’s Treadwinds was a poetry collection that I returned to again and again.  Like Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s novel Dictée, Lew’s Treadwinds was unique and powerful for its unusual collage-like form and ability to breakdown and rethink linguistic barriers.  Lew presents poems written in English alongside phrases and texts written in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese in order to demonstrate the narratives of colonial occupation, immigration, and cultural assimilation felt by Koreans and Korean-Americans in the 20th century.  He juxtaposes images from film, photography, news stories, and idioms from folk songs, jazz, and old family anecdotes and tales of trauma to convey the complexity and multifaceted voice of the Korean in the modern era.  In the namesake poem, “Treadwinds” language and grammar itself breakdown as Lew explores what it means to return, hungry and dwindled, to home and “the sounds of spring.”

moon-mountain-banerjeeMoon Mountain by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay
(Recommended by Rita Banerjee)

Moon Mountain or Cāndēr Pāhaṛ  (চাঁদের পাহড়), is a famous Bengali novella by the much-loved Bengali novelist, Bibhutibhushan Bandopahdyay (author of the renowned novel Pather Pāncālī, which was later made famous on the silver screen by Satyajit Ray).  Set between 1909-1910, Moon Mountain focuses on the story of Shankar Roy Chowdhury, a young Bengali man, who goes to Africa and winds up working for the Uganda Railway.  Hungry for adventure, Shankar meets a strange cast of imperialists and prospectors from Britain, Portugal, Holland, and elsewhere as they try to exploit the riches of Africa and its people.  One prospector, the Portuguese Diego Alvarez, a Kurtz-like figure, tells Shankar about his trials and misfortunes hunting for diamonds in the caves of the Moon Mountain, a legendary place deep in the jungles of Richtersveldt, which is haunted and guarded by a spirit called bunyip.  Shankar then has to decide whether or not he will follow Alvarez and his thirst for adventure with open eyes or with eyes wide shut.

tolstoy-family_happinessFamily Happiness by Leo Tolstoy
(Recommended by Rita Banerjee)

There’s really nothing like setting the mood for Valentine’s Day in the middle of a snowy winter than reading some dark, deeply existential Russian Literature.  Leo Tolstoy is a master of examining the minutae of social relationships and the unpredictably psychology of human behavior.  In “Family Happiness,” he takes a hard look at romance and bourgeois obsession of finding the perfect romantic partner and creating the façade of the perfect family.  The story follows Masha, a young seventeen-year-old girl, and Sergey, her much older would-be paramour as they engage in a courtship which leads to “romance” and a very unexpected ending.

 

PoeticScientifica Poetic Scientifica by Leah Noble Davidson
(Recommended by Rita Banerjee)

Leah Noble Davidson’s poetry collection, Poetic Scientifica, is a beautiful experiment.  The collection follows the breakdown of a romantic relationship as it simultaneously explores memories of past sexual violence, individual agency, and female empowerment.  In doing so, Poetic Scientifica explores the roles of double-identities, mirror images, Norma Jeane & Marilyn Monroe, beauty, and its lovelorn echo.  Perhaps, the charm and play of Davidson’s work can be best described by the hidden poem in her collection which introduces all others: “Oh careful readiness, oh cinders in the jaw / you: fountains of birdsong and / velvet ropes, aspiring Marilyns / maybe I covet you / the way you would have me, do so / Climbing into our story / we build your image together / a person to love, an echo / of the anecdotes strangers tell each other / I can not hate you for being the bathtub / I drain my culture into / for shining myself into / so many lights.”

JulesVerne-VoyageExtraodinaire Voyages Extradonaires by Jules Verne
(Recommended by Rita Banerjee)

When I was studying at the Sorbonne, I would always carry a Poche paperback of a Jules Verne classic with me and would devour it as I made my way through the undergrounds of Paris each morning.  Some of my favorite reads were Voyage au centre de la Terre, Vingt milles lieues sous le mer, De la Terre à la Lune, and Paris au XXe siècle.  While the stories were familiar from childhood, there was just something about cracking a secret code or cipher with Axel and Lindenbrock in French.  The scope and worldview of Verne’s novels, which are set in Baltimore, Hamburg, Paris, China, and India, was also impressive as was his mastery of the scientific romance genre.  Characters in his novels always seemed to be at the brink of discovery, whether in realizing the potential or limitations of science and technology or in understanding the potential and limitations of their own humanity.  The future could materialize crystal clear in a Verne novel, full of possibilities and full of failures.  And now as I am writing my own futuristic novel, it’s wonderful to go back to the pillars of modern day science fiction with writers like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and try to find answers to those big and scary questions like, “what is science?” “what is fiction?” and “what might tomorrow bring?”

schomburg-themansuitThe Man Suit by Zachary Schomburg
(Recommended by Rita Banerjee)

The Man Suit is a memorable, must-read collection of poems by Zachary Schomburg.  The poems in The Man Suit dance a fine line between melancholy, dark humor, and unnerving absurdity.  Images of forests, monsters, stars, death, white and black telephones, music bands, and theatre pepper the collection.  And stories of late barons, experiments gone awry, John Wilkes Booth and Abraham Lincoln, and a singular tale of a lost love and a girl named Marlene appear, disappear, and remix like constellations across the page.  Read in another way, Schomburg’s collection takes a hard look at the values of Americana and the changing shape of the American social and political landscape in the waning years of the Bush presidency.  In “Last President of a Dark Country,” the speaker of the poem, states “Trying being the last president of a dark country.  It is lonely as hell here.  You should come. / …if you are careful, you can find the railing.  It will lead you to a dimly-lit hole that you can climb down into.  You’ll find me there, most likely.  I’ll be working on my last presidential address.  It will be a list of everything that haunts me.  No matter how much you ask me to read it, I probably won’t.”

Echo in Four Beats – An Evening of Poetry & Fiction by Rita Banerjee – Feb 7, 2015

EchoSaturday February 7, 2015 * 19:00-20:30
The Munich Readery * Augustenstraße 104 München, Germany

Join the Munich Readery for an evening of original poetry and fiction by writer and creative writing instructor, Rita Banerjee. Rita Banerjee will be reading from her poetry collection, Cracklers at Night, and her new poetry manuscript, Echo in Four Beats. She will also read excerpts from her novel manuscript, Mélusine, as well as her selections of her short fiction.

ritaRita Banerjee is a writer and creative writing instructor at the Munich Readery. She received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University and her writing has been published in Poets for Living Waters, The New Renaissance, The Fiction Project, Jaggery: A DesiLit Arts and Literature Journal, Catamaran, Amethyst Arsenic, The Crab Creek Review, The Dudley Review, Objet d’Art, Vox Populi, Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure, and Chrysanthemum. Her first collection of poems, Cracklers at Night, received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book at the Los Angeles Book Festival. Her novella, A Night with Kali, was digitized by the Brooklyn Art-house Co-op. She is Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, and her writing has also been recently featured in VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, Quail Bell Magazine, Speaking of Marvels, and on KBOO Radio’s APA Compass in Portland, Oregon.