WORKSHOPS AT-A-GLANCE (See link or read below for more details)
Other Countries Writing Workshop
Presented by Christopher Adams
The Other Countries Writing Workshop is a peer-facilitated workshop that has created community among emerging literary artists for over twenty years. Workshop members have included writers of various levels of experience and academic training, working in genres such as poetry, film, short fiction, memoir, social commentary and novels. Former moderator Christopher Adams will lead Cotillion participants in the OC workshop process, showing how focused critique from attentive readers can lead an author to a more powerful draft. Author/participants are asked to bring 10-15 copies of their draft. Please bring no more than 1-3 pages of poetry and 5-12 pages of prose. Additionally, writers should consider and share their F.A.P. (Focus for their work, Audience intended for their work, and Purpose for writing). Finally, writers should bring essential questions about their draft, such as “is this ready to submit to literary journals?” or “does my main character seem too cardboard or cliché?”
It’s Where I’m From (poetry)
Presented by C.C. Carter
The LGBTQ community has often been mistaken as one monolithic community devoid of diversity yet often clumped together as a subsector of diversity “marketing.” But our own cultural ethos, customs and traditions (whether passed down through the generations or brought from other states or countries) as well as the neighborhoods in which we live influence how we view who we are in relationship to how we are categorized. This intersection of the cultural/passed down traditions of self makes the experience of LGBTQ people of color a most interesting subject to write about. Using inspiration from George Ella Lyons’ poem “Where I’m From,” participants will write a piece that combines who they are and where they live to create a sensory page piece. They will then work individually and as teams to turn that piece into a spoken word performance using additional sound and rhythm elements.
Memoir Writing: Telling Your Own Tale
Presented by Staceyann Chin
The process of turning the self into character, memory into narrative, a series of occurrences into narrative, requires the ability to simultaneously detach and be ultra-present with one's personal, and sometimes painful, experiences. That fine line is the inkwell from which all good memoir writers dip. This workshop will focus on how to identify the arc, and whittle away the extraneous, so that a clear, concise and moving tale emerges. Telling Your Own Tale aims to show that everyone has a story. You just have to know how to tell it.
Tongues Afire/A Model for Creative Community Workshops
Presented by R. Erica Doyle
Tongues Afire is a creative writing workshop for queer women of color and trans and gender non-conforming people of color that was begun in 2006 by A. Naomi Jackson and R. Erica Doyle. Now in its third year, Tongues Afire has proven to be a successful model for creating community for writers who are looking for just this sort of creative and supportive community and is a model of diversity, including writers of African, Asian, Arab, Persian, and Latino descent ranging from ages 19-68. In this workshop participants will experience the TA model, which includes community building, structured conversation, writing exercises and diverse and provocative readings. Afterward, there will be time to discuss how the group was formed and how it is run and funded, so that participants can be empowered to start their own groups in their own communities.
Igniting Your Poetic Fire: How to Begin
Presented by Dorothy Randall Gray
They say writing is easy – you just open up a vein and stick a pen in it. But how do you capture the experiences of life and effectively commit them to paper? What tools do you need to get started and what do you have to know in order to keep going? Igniting Your Poetic Fire will show you how to use inspiring thoughts to ignite what you write and turn simple ideas into sensational stories, memoir, poems and more. It will help you discover infinite sources of creativity and transform ordinary experiences into extraordinary writing. You will learn how to identify the power points in your work and finish what you start. This workshop utilizes evocative exercises, storytelling, music, stimulating feedback, handouts and professional perspectives to inform, enlighten and inspire.
On the Edge: Writing the Sacred/Writing the Profane
Presented by Herukhuti and Pamela S. Booker
This creative writing workshop focuses on two themes of provocative, controversial writing: sacred and profane texts. In the context of this workshop, sacred texts will be defined as writings that primarily have metaphysical, religious or spiritual themes/perspectives and profane texts will be defined as writings that primarily have erotic, queer or transgressive themes/perspectives. We will explore examples of both of these themes in writing, write creative pieces of work with either of these themes, share our work with each other, and give each other feedback. Bring objects/symbols of sacred and profane significance to you to the workshop. We will use these pieces in our writing. Participants interested in this workshop should be prepared to engage in authentic, open discussion of metaphysical, religious, spiritual, erotic, queer and transgressive topics.
Fleshing the Bone: A Revision Workshop for Fiction Writers
Presented by G. Winston James
Now that you’ve completed your short story, novella or novel draft, how do you take your work to the next level? This workshop will explore the elements of fiction and offer techniques to establish the necessary objective distance that will allow you to find and fill the gaps in your work. Together we will explore word choice, narrative detail, exposition and the use of dialogue to hone your fiction. Fleshing the Bone will provide the tools to move your writing from good to great, from simply entertaining to profound.
Black LGBTQ Translation
Presented by John Keene
Workshop will focus on encouraging translation by LGBTQ writers from across the African/Black Diaspora; includes the importance of literary translation, history of black LGBTQ translators, selecting an author to translate, translating specific texts, gaining permission and publishing the work.
Basic Fiction Writing
Presented Ana Lara
Is there a story you’ve been wanting to write but don’t know where to start? Do you have the beginnings of a masterpiece and can’t figure out how to make it into a full-blown story? This workshop will explore basic methods for starting the fiction writing process, and we’ll also try on tools for developing a narrative. Bring a journal and a writing implement. We’re going to start from the beginning.
Alone Together: Creating a One-Person Show (master class)
Presented by Lenelle Moïse
In a homophobic, hyper-capitalist, anti-being, pro-doing society, we desperately need each other's stories of resistance, recovery, survival and success. Who was your first kiss? When did you first discover your race and gender? How did you spin a traumatic childhood event into gold triumph? If you have a good memory, can tell a tall tale or are eager to impart lessons learned, then you can develop a solo show! In this 2-hour workshop, acclaimed solo performance artist Lenelle Moïse fuses writing prompts, theatre exercises and live demonstration to help participants leap into the brave art of the one-person show. Together we will write the true and the taboo, accentuate text with gesture, and practice connecting with our audience. Participants will learn how to make self-revelation user-friendly and universal. We will gently ask, safely admit, jump, shout, laugh and channel the colorful characters of our pasts. For writers who act, actors who write or anyone who dares to remember out loud. Wear clothes you can roll in and your heart on your sleeve.
Radical Voice and Movement
Presented by Lenelle Moïse
This is an interactive and highly physical performance 1-hour workshop for poets, actors, musicians, dancers or anyone interested in radical self-expression and improvisational vocal composition. As Lenelle guides participants through a series of ensemble theatre exercises and thematic “sound jams,” the voice and body are explored as political texts that compliment the written word. Limited to 15 participants.
Presented by Michelle Sewell
Writing for film requires a unique set of skills. The writer is both storyteller and architect, creating in compelling but efficient ways. In 120 pages or less the narrative must jump through time, space and even lifetimes, all while keeping the audience riveted. If you have an idea for a screenplay, a script in progress, or a completed draft, this dynamic 2-hour workshop is for you. Part film discussion, part step-by-step instruction on how to write for a visual medium, this workshop will review the topics of coming up with a great story, writing a treatment, character development, plot development and producing believable dialogue. The last 30 minutes of the workshop will be devoted to reading the first five pages of scripts in progress and providing feedback (bring in at least 10 copies to share).
To Be Constantly Writing—A Survey of Our Resources
Presented by Shawnta Smith
What additional resources are available to us as queer writers of African descent? What are best practices for tapping into financial resources and self-sustaining organizations? How can the resources we are already acquainted with help us to be become published, in demand, and constantly writing? Presented by Shawnta Smith, this workshop will discuss best practices for applying for grants, calls for papers, and submissions.
Oral Histories/Creating Memory
Presented by Selly Thiam and Ana Lara
This hands-on workshop will present information on existing oral history projects focused on African-American/Black/African Diasporic LGBTQ/in the life artists and bring to life the numerous tools at our disposal for sharing our own stories and gathering others’ stories. Participants in the workshop will learn about the basic parameters and tools used in collecting oral histories and how to develop interview questions. As a practicum for what they learn, they will also interview each other.
Hiphop & Haiku
Presented by Mami Watu
Workshop participants will be engaged in activities designed to stimulate creative thinking, challenge perception, induce self-reflection, as well as be exposed to the mechanics of writing haiku. Topical issues examining homophobia in hiphop, gender identity in the Black community, HIV/AIDS imagery in the Black media and others will be explored and reflected upon during the writing process. Haiku will be written as individual and as group writing exercises. A workshop collective reading of the haiku will be held as a final activity.
Lyricism 101/From Page to Stage
Presented by Tim’m T. West
This workshop explores the possibility that “reading” our poetry brings it to life in a way that is unavailable to the writer who pens only for the page, especially in a media-driven visual culture of YouTube, Def Poetry, and hip hop culture. Through the exploration of various rhythmic forms of poetry and the review of our brothas and sistahs who’ve utilized these techniques, we will look at how to write in a way that demands that our stories be voiced and remembered (and remembered as sound). If lyricism is the art of bringing words to life, then what kind of living do we, the lyricists (and poets and emcees) make possible? Will the history we have told be a rhythmic one? Will people remember our sound? This workshop is recommended for poets, emcees, spoken word artists, and songwriters on various levels looking for technical cues to enliven their writing.
Morning Literary Stretches
Presented by Marvin K. White
For the uninitiated to the world of literary conferences and for the ones who return to these opportunities of learning and sharing, we offer a pre-workshop “Morning Literary Stretch” led by Marvin K. White. Consider this yoga, the gym, meditation, stretching and centering before the day’s events. Full of fun and reflection-filled, pencil and pen moving exercises and imaginings, this time is reserved for blood pumping and mind opening, to energize and welcome you into the day.
Humor and Writing
Presented by Karen Williams
The powerful healing combination of humor and writing will take you on a journey of self-exploration, self-awareness and goal-actualization designed to enhance your personal and professional life. Facilitated by Karen Williams, renowned comedienne, humorist and writer, and founder of the HaHA Institute, whose mission is to encourage the highest activation of human potential for compassion, wisdom and life force through the daily use of humor and healing arts.
Book Production I & II
Lisa C. Moore, Eunice Corbin
Book Production I:
Do you wonder what goes into making a book look like a book? In Book Production I, Lisa C. Moore of RedBone Press will take you through part I of the process of traditional small press publishing—from manuscript acquisition, book contract overview and assigning an ISBN to manuscript editing. Learn what editors look for, what editors hate and how to prepare and pitch your manuscript to the right publisher.
Book Production II:
Do you wonder what goes into making a book look like a book? In Book Production II, graphic designer Eunice Corbin joins Lisa C. Moore of RedBone Press to take you through part II of the process of traditional small press publishing—from book layout and design, marketing and distribution to accounting for book sales and the successful afterlife of a book.
Making Peace With Making Money
Presented by Yvonne Welbon
You like what you are doing, but not sure about how to make money doing it? In this seminar you will see that your art and earning a living don't have to be mutually exclusive. We'll focus on case studies demonstrating the use of new media entrepreneurial and monetization strategies, utilizing the Internet and social networking tools to earn from $10,000 to $1,000,000. Others have done it. You can too.
NOTE: Fire & Ink III: Cotillion acknowledges this is a working schedule, and reserves the right to change the Cotillion program. Fire & Ink III: Cotillion is not responsible for any act or omission of speakers from the program.