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#LitinColor Write-a-Thon Brings Diversity to North America's Largest Annual Literary Conference

For the second year, the #LitInColor Write-a-Thon will take place at the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference.
Poet Douglas Manuel leads a workshop at the first #LitinColor Write-a-Thon
Poet Douglas Manuel leads a workshop on using music to ignite your poetry at the first #LitinColor Write-a-Thon held during the 2016 AWP Conference in Los Angeles, California.Courtesy of Kaya Press

Writers of color will come together for a special day of writing, networking, and writer’s workshops next week during North America’s largest annual literary conference, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference.

Writing the Resistance: #LitinColor Write-a-Thon at AWP” was first envisioned by Minal Hajratwala of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective in 2016 as a creative respite for writers of color attending the annual AWP Conference who might feel marginalized or overwhelmed by the scale of the event, which had 12,000 attendees, 2,000 presenters, and 550 readings, panels, and lectures last year.

“This year, the idea of the #LitinColor Write-a-Thon seems even more important as so many people are looking for community and ways to ground themselves in what have suddenly become very harrowing times,” Neelanjana Banerjee, managing editor of Kaya Press, told NBC News. “I know personally, along with participating in protests and making phone calls to elected leaders, moments where I can share space with other writers, or find a few hours to sit with a friend and work on my own writing, have felt just as much a part of resistance to what is happening.”

The day of writing, networking, and small writers’ workshops will be hosted by Kaya Press, The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, on the first day of the AWP Conference in Washington, D.C. It will feature writing instructors from several organizations that focus on writers of color, including Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA), CantoMundo, Split This Rock, Kimbilio Fiction, and Kundiman.

“We're very excited to support the Write-a-thon,” Lawrence-Minh Búi Davis, curator of Asian Pacific American studies at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, told NBC News. “[It] embodies our shared commitment to cultivating communal literary spaces for writers of color.”

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