Creative writing is a tool for knowing yourself, understanding the world, and connecting with other people. Led by author Seema Reza and accomplished guest writers—including poets, memoirists, novelists, and storytellers—these community workshops follow the model developed by Community Building Art Works over the course of a decade of bringing people together in military and hospital settings. Each workshop is designed to help participants put their personal stories on paper in a supportive environment.
Bring a pen, a notebook, and an open mind! Whether you’re just starting out or have been writing for years, you are welcome; no experience is required.
Doors open at 6:30pm, workshops begin promptly at 7pm.
The registration price for this workshop reflects a subsidized rate in order to keep the program as low-cost as possible. Because of this, we are unable to offer an additional member discount on the registration price, but we hope you will join us for this special program.
Essays are a window into your lived experience, but it takes courage and an open heart to get those words on paper. Brainstorm, develop a narrative arc, and learn basic editing and revision techniques. Discuss beta readers, writing groups, and publication opportunities. You’ll leave with the beginnings of an essay and a plan to move forward.
Maryland Poet Laureate Grace Cavelieri guides participants through an exploratory poetry workshop. We’ll go into the elevator of our lives to find the moments where armor has covered our truth to find, express, and watch the poem appear.
Sufian Zhemukov guides writers through the key elements that make a good story, including devices of plot, character, surprise, and humor. Each participant will pick a story from their life and craft it into a concise essay designed to be performed.
The Story of Myself. In this lyrical memoir workshop, participants will do some guided brainstorming on their personal “origin story” and write a mythological poem or prose piece telling that story.
More information to come on February–June 2020 guest instructors and topics!
Seema Reza is the author of the poetry collection A Constellation of Half-Lives and the memoir When the World Breaks Open. Reza has led writing workshops in correctional facilities, military and civilian hospitals, and schools. She is the Executive Director of Community Building Art Works, a unique arts organization that encourages the use of the arts as a tool for narration, self-care, and socialization among a military population struggling with emotional and physical injuries.
Hannah Grieco is an advocate, writer, assistant fiction editor at Barrelhouse, and the organizer of the monthly series Readings on the Pike. Her essays can be found in The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Huffington Post, Motherwell, Today’s Parent, Your Teen, and more.
Grace Cavalieri is Maryland Poet Laureate. She is the author of 20 books and poetry chapbooks, playwright of 26 plays produced on American stages, and founder of 2 small presses. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the George Garrett Award, the Pen-Fiction Award, two Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, and more.
Dr. Sufian Zhemukhov is Associate Research Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University. He is an award-winning storyteller, building connections with audiences through well-told stories.