Workshops and Panel Discussions

All Workshops and Panel Discussions will take place during the Book Fair in Central Park on Saturday, July 23, 2016. All workshops are free and open to writers at all levels of their careers. We will accommodate as many as we can; however, spaces are limited and available on a first come first served basis.  Please come with a notebook and writing , and be prepared to write!

10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Workshop Tent A:
“To Your Blasphemous Self Be True”
Instructor: Bill Yarrow
Flannery O’Connor wrote, “The only way to the truth is through blasphemy.” In this session, we will confront our external and internal censors and explore strategies to evade or outwit them. Bring your courage. Leave your naysayer at home. Everything is permitted.

Workshop Tent B:
Panel Discussion “Women in the Small Press”
Facilitators: Jane L Carman,  Shaindel Beers

We will discuss women working in the small press and all the intricacies that surround this important topic. Join Jane L Carman and Shaindel Beers as they share their experiences and pose questions about commitment, sacrifices, learning curves, and perception. Audience is encouraged to chime in.

12:30 p.m.-2 p.m.

Workshop Tent A:
“How to write the “sonastic” poem”
Instructor: Curtis L. Crisler
Crisler’s lastest poetry book, Don’t Moan So Much (Stevie): A Poetry Musiquarium, “is a collection of praise poems for Stevie Wonder,” E. Ethelbert Miller says. It is also a book where he came up with the “sonastic” poem. This workshop will help you to understand this new form of poetry, as well as get you to produce work that establishes you writing your own sonastic poetry.

Note: a “sonastic” is a poetic form I created where a persona poem (“sona”) and ekphrastic poem (“astic”) are married/combined. Here, the ekphrastic element is not just a poet describing a painting with words, but more the poet describing any art form in words. In the case for this manuscript, it’s Stevie Wonder’s music and inspirations. Along with describing (or I like to use “investigating”) the artform, you also use the persona of the artist to establish an intimately authentic connection to the artist and his/her artwork.

Workshop Tent B:
“Writing the Intersections”
Instructor: Tolonda Henderson
One tactic of systemic oppression is to divide us from each other. Another is to keep us separated within ourselves. As a fat, queer, neurodivergent African American woman, I am often expected to privilege parts of my identity and silence others depending on the politics of the space I find myself in. These negotiations are taxing.  We need spaces which celebrate our complexity so that we can both heal and develop language to challenge and dismantle systemic inner segregation. In this writing workshop, we will explore the intersections we represent by putting various parts of ourselves in conversation with each other. It is my hope that this workshop will allow participants space to grapple with an aspect of human experience that is often silenced. 

2:30 p.m.-4p.m.

Workshop Tent A:
“From Pen to Performance, a writing and performance workshop”
Instructor: Roberta Miles
This interactive session will take you through the process of writing stories, monologues, and/or poetry and then performing your work in front of a live audience.

During the hour-and-a-half workshop you will:

  • Learn exercises and techniques for boosting creativity in your writing
  • Get coaching and hands on experience being a dynamic reader
  • Learn to find places to perform

Workshop Tent B:
“The Stories that Hide in Our Shadows: Notes on Narrative Nonfiction”
Instructor: Jen Knox
In this workshop, we’ll discuss the fundamentals of personal narrative, including persona, structure, and how to be creative without sacrificing truth. You’ll gain tools to examine your memories and recreate compelling scenes, then frame them with strong narration.