shifting from the negativity of po-bizz to the positivity of po-comm:
you must must must read rich villar’s post at his blog here. his thoughts on this ongoing conversation of is honest, funny, complex, and profound.
and, check out rachelle cruz’s thoughts on the Pen USA Emerging Voices Fellowship program at the PAWA blog, curated by Barbara Jane Reyes.
The PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellowship program provided me with access into the literary world and the confidence to name myself “writer.”
Although I grew up writing poems and short stories, studied poetry during my undergraduate years, and taught creative writing to young people, I hadn’t truly taken myself seriously as a writer until I became immersed in the literary community in Los Angeles through the Emerging Voices program.
The EV Fellowship challenges the idea of the writer creating in isolation, and seeks to promote community and access for writers from underserved and diverse backgrounds. I applied to the fellowship because I wanted to give my full attention to a project I started in college and was clueless about what to do next. I especially wanted a literary community that encouraged writers-of-color to write the stories that aren’t often heard.
The fellowship seeks to surround emerging writers with a wealth of community resources. This is evident through the program’s components: one-on-one mentorships with professional writers, leadership in community service, author evenings, public readings, master classes with a published writer, and free classes at the Writer’s Program at UCLA Extension. The goal is to work on a manuscript ultimately resulting in The First Book.
a description of the program from the PEN website:
Emerging Voices is an intensive eight-month program for writers in the early stages of their literary careers. The program includes free classes at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program; a one-on-one mentorship with a professional writer; Q&A evenings with professional writers, publishers, editors, and agents; Master classes by genre with a published PEN author; Workshops on various elements of publishing and a public speaking seminar; a $1,000 stipend. The program culminates with a public reading and reception.
The Mentorship Project grew out of PEN USA’s forum “Writing the Immigrant Experience,” held at the Los Angeles Central Library in March 1994, which explored the issues, problems and challenges faced by first and second generation immigrant writers. It was evident from the forum that many of the culturally diverse communities of writers in Southern California have special needs and are often isolated from the literary establishment. In the fall of 1995, PEN USA initiated Emerging Voices as a literary mentorship designed to launch potential professional writers from minority, immigrant and other underserved communities.
Emerging Voices serves writers from underserved communities, though selection is not based solely on economic need. Participants need not be published, but the program is directed toward poets and writers of fiction and creative nonfiction with clear ideas of what they hope to accomplish through their writing. There are no age restrictions.
–the application is $10.