Writers for Migrant Justice: September 4 in Back Bay

We’re so proud to be one of the sponsors for next week’s Writers for Migrant Justice: Poetry Reading & Fundraiser in Boston. We hope you’ll be there to support the work being done to help migrant families at our southern border. The organizers have gathered a stellar group of readers: Danielle Legros Georges, Natalie Shapero, Martín Espada, Nicole Terez Dutton, Jennifer Jean, U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo, Pablo Medina, Yara Liceaga Rojas, Willy Ramirez, and more.

A note from the organizers: “In a time where we are all asking What can I do? reading and hearing writing that holds witness to the ongoing cruelty and inhumanity happening at our border and, importantly, fundraising to help provide urgently needed aid to detained children and adults is a small and necessary action to help fight these injustices. Please join Boston’s literary community in protesting the actions of our government through poetry.”

If you can, we hope you’ll join us Wednesday, September 4th, 6-7:30pm at Arlington Street Church in Boston. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Drinks, snacks, and appetizers available for purchase. Location is accessible. The event is free and open to the public, but donations are encouraged and appreciated.

apt Issue 10: Climate Change – Call for Submissions

We’ve just opened submissions for the tenth print issue of apt, due out in spring 2020. For this issue, we are seeking to publish new work that addresses climate change. Topics we’re especially interested in include:

  • Environmental, economic, and intergenerational justice
  • Community-based responses to climate change
  • Physical- and mental-health impacts of climate change
  • Biodiversity and species/ecosystem conservation
  • Environmental policy and programs
  • Intersectional views of climate change

Check out our guidelines page for full details about what we’re looking for and how to submit.

Pre-sale for Forward: 21st Century Flash Fiction

Earlier this year, we announced the first volume of Forward: 21st Century Flash Fiction, a new anthology of flash fiction edited by Megan Giddings, and we’re so proud to open the pre-sale and show off the cover! With art by Anuj Shrestha, and design by Jon Cameron, you’ll definitely want to order this handsome volume for your shelf!

Check out Forward‘s Substack newsletter for an interview with Anuj about his artwork and the cover (facilitated by Forward‘s own Bix Gabriel), and don’t forget to subscribe for updates from our contributors, editors, and collaborators.

In the spirit of the holiday season, we want to express our deep gratitude to all the donors who have supported Forward so far—if you’d like to donate, you can keep us moving full-steam toward the anthology’s release!

 

AP at Albany Book Festival!

We’re really excited to be part of the first Albany Book Festival! There’s a great group of authors lined up—Colson Whitehead, Alicia Ostriker, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Walter Mosley, Keisha N. Blain, and so many more—and we’ll be tabling at the festival all day long!

So, come out and see us! Our co-founding editors, Carissa Halston and Randolph Pfaff, will be at our table to talk about books and publishing, and we’ll have Aforementioned books and every issue of apt!

Can’t wait to see you there!

Greater Boston Writers Resist Recap

When I started organizing last week’s Boston Writers Resist event, I knew I wanted Writers Persist to be part of the title. For the writers who’ve always voiced dissent, and written about politicized issues: the subjects of their work are the topics that affect all of us. Racism affects everyone. Gun violence and police brutality affects everyone. The fight for equal rights and protections for queer and trans communities, especially in communities of color, affects everyone. Climate change affects everyone, and you better believe denying science does too. Sexual assault affects everyone. Mass incarceration affects everyone. War affects everyone.

We could quibble to what degree everyone is affected. But the more important question is: in what ways are we comfortable enough to simply dismiss society’s problems because we don’t believe we’re affected? And what will it take to to look inward and question that comfort, and write honestly about the ways white supremacy, heteronormativity, wealth disparity, and hatred permeates our communities, even the communities as liberal as we believe we have here in Boston?

I urged the audience on Saturday to listen closely to the work and the words of these authors, but also to look to themselves.  Don’t shy away from the topics that you think are off limits. Write the parts of your life that the rest of us need to see.

Many of the authors who read and presented work on Saturday have books you can buy. I strongly encourage you to support their work by visiting the links below.

Sam Cha’s American Carnage

Jennifer De Leon’s Wise Latinas and Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From (forthcoming)

JoeAnn Hart’s Float

Krysten Hill’s How Her Spirit Got Out

Simone John’s Testify

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir 

Timothy Patrick McCarthy‘s Stonewall’s Children: Living Queer History in the Age of Liberation, Loss, and Love (forthcoming)

Kim McLarin‘s Womanish: A Grown Black Woman Speaks on Love and Life (forthcoming)

Alex Myers’s Revolutionary

 

Many thanks to all the co-sponsoring organizations, especially the Boston Public Library and Brookline Booksmith, and to Randolph Pfaff, who took these photos:

 

Our promotional image. Photo by Henry Han. Design and photo manipulation by Carissa Halston.

Sam Cha stands behind a podium holding a book.

Sam Cha reads a scene from AMERICAN CARNAGE, about Seung-Hui Cho, Eric Harris, and Dylan Klebold.

Timothy Patrick McCarthy stands behind a podium.

Timothy Patrick McCarthy reads a letter to his niece, Malia, the final chapter from his forthcoming book, STONEWALL’S CHILDREN: LIVING QUEER HISTORY IN THE AGE OF LIBERATION, LOSS, AND LOVE.

Simone John stands behind a podium.

Simone John reads poems from TESTIFY about police brutality and anti-black racism, and reminds us that persistence is necessary for resistance.

JoeAnn Hart stands behind a podium.

JoeAnn Hart reads from her novel, FLOAT, and gives an overview of what’s at stake when it comes to climate change.

Khury-Petersen Smith stands behind a podium.

Khury Petersen-Smith reads an essay about his time in Okinawa, and how our communities can’t be kept safe through increased border security.

Alex Myers stands behind a podium.

Alex Myers talks about gender, language, and identity, and reads from his novel, REVOLUTIONARY.

Jennifer De Leon stands behind a podium.

Jennifer De Leon discusses immigration, and reads from her forthcoming novel, DON’T ASK ME WHERE I’M FROM.

Edwin Padilla and Alondra Padilla stand behind a podium.

Edwin Padilla (left) and Alondra Padilla (right), not related, talk about their experiences studying writing with Jennifer De Leon at Margarita Muñiz Academy, and present their video, “American Dreamers Write: Reclaiming Our Stories.”

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich stands behind a podium.

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich reads from her memoir, THE FACT OF A BODY: A MURDER AND A MEMOIR, and discusses being gay, the #MeToo movement, and writing about trauma. Perhaps most important, she urges us, “Don’t shut up.”

Kim McLarin stands behind a podium.

Kim McLarin encourages us to reclaim the flag, and reads about self-delusion and death from two essays in her forthcoming collection WOMANISH: A GROWN BLACK WOMAN SPEAKS ON LOVE AND LIFE.

Krysten Hill stands behind a podium.

Krysten Hill reads poems about working-class life, surviving assault, and cultivating growth.

Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Kim McLarin, Simone John, Krysten Hill, Sam Cha, Jennifer De Leon, Alondra Padilla, Edwin Padilla, Alex Myers, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, and JoeAnn Hart sit in a row of chairs on stage below a projection screen with a list of their names.

Kim McLarin discusses teaching and writing during the Q&A. (Left to right: Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Kim McLarin, Simone John, Krysten Hill, Sam Cha, Jennifer De Leon, Alondra Padilla, Edwin Padilla, Alex Myers, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, and JoeAnn Hart.)

Greater Boston Writers Resist in DigBoston

We’re just three days from Greater Boston Writers Resist, and it’s impossible to overemphasize the need for free press right now. I hope you’ll consider attending on Saturday. If you need another reason, the kind crew at DigBoston ran an excerpt from Sam Cha’s American Carnage to plug the event, so check out a bit of the opening below and read the rest at DigBoston—or if you’re in town, it’s also in the print edition!—and be sure to come to the BPL in Copley Square on Saturday to hear Sam kick off Writers Resist. Let’s get together and recommit to writing our way through this administration, and making ourselves heard among all the noise.

“I looked down at the thing inside the case, nestled in black foam rubber.

Oh, I said.

Here, said Mat. You wanna hold it?

It was the damnedest thing.

I didn’t, but I did.”

— Sam Cha, from “How We Came to America (1)”

 

A note: if you’re far from Boston but still want to support our work, you can donate to us directly, and if you want to support an organization that’s keeping us all informed of the difficult details in the news right now, we’re especially reliant on ProPublica these days, and we’d love to keep them in business.

Announcing Forward: 21st Century Flash Fiction

Writers, readers, friends, neighbors, strangers, everybody: we’re proud to announce a new series of books dedicated solely to flash fiction by writers of color! Spearheaded by Megan Giddings, editor at The Offing and Boulevard, Forward: 21st Century Flash Fiction is a new print anthology of flash fiction and craft essays, and we’re publishing the first volume next March!

Want to help us get started on this exciting project? Know someone whose work would be perfect for the anthology? Or just want more information? Head over to the call for submissions to check out the FAQ!

June 23: Greater Boston Writers Resist/Greater Boston Writers Persist

Last January, writers across fifty cities and three continents gathered to re-affirm their support of freedom of expression. Since then, writers in various fields have faced increasingly hostile threats.

Author and activist Ijeoma Oluo received death threats on Twitter last August after making a joke about leaving a rural Cracker Barrel without enduring racial violence. She reposted the death threats on Facebook. Facebook shut down her account.

Journalist Dan Heyman was arrested in Virginia last May for repeatedly asking then-Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, whether domestic violence would be considered a preexisting condition under the Republican health bill that had just cleared the House. Heyman was charged with “willful disruption of state government processes.” Tom Price never answered Heyman’s question.

And, this past winter, after the Department of Health and Human Services released a list of words CDC employees should avoid in order to increase their chances of getting funding—a list that included words like “transgender,” “vulnerable,” and “diversity”—author and expert on autocratic regimes Sarah Kendzior wrote:

“Yes, of course [the CDC word list is] a sign of authoritarianism. But the worst signs are those that don’t announce themselves. Look for more nefarious paths to censorship: partisan firings, funding cuts, prohibitions on public documents.”

In this era, as we continue to face institutionalized racism, a reversal of free speech and free press, police brutality, the undermining of facts and science, gun violence, widespread deportation, LGBTQ discrimination, religious intolerance, domestic violence, mass incarceration, misogyny, and a range of other actions not so easily described, it sometimes seems too much to catalog or write about.

Yet, authors who write about political and politicized issues not only keep readers informed. Their work provides us with methods to regroup and heal. And authors who’ve written at length about the subjects above take stances on the page to make readers feel whole in a world that sometimes threatens to break us.

Although it seems particularly difficult right now, we’re lucky to have a wealth of writers in greater Boston to learn from, authors who inspire readers to engage with the realities of our times, and whose work paves the way for their fellow writers to tackle society’s threats.

In the spirit of celebrating and attesting our ongoing commitment to freedom of expression, we’re bringing together ten authors and two student writers to read from their work and discuss how they’ve used writing as a method of persistent resistance. From self-expression to education to community outreach, their work is a testament to the strength of our broader literary community.

To that end, we hope you’ll join us on Saturday, June 23, 1-3pm, at Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square (700 Boylston St) when the following authors and writers will lead the next Greater Boston Writers Resist event:

Sam Cha
Jennifer De Leon
JoeAnn Hart
Krysten Hill
Simone John
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Timothy Patrick McCarthy
Kim McLarin
Alex Myers
Edwin Padilla
Khury Petersen-Smith
Angie Ramos

The event will be hosted by Carissa Halston. Books by the authors will be for sale at the BPL on the day of the reading, courtesy of Brookline Booksmith. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP on Facebook

Greater Boston Writers Resist/Persist is co-sponsored by Aforementioned Productions, PEN America, Boston Public Library, Boston Cultural Council, Brookline Booksmith, The Critical Flame, AGNI, Arrowsmith Press, Black Ocean, The Boston Book Festival, The Boston Poet Laureate Program, The Common, CONSEQUENCE, Grub Street, Harvard Review, Louder than a Bomb, MassLEAP, The Massachusetts Review, MassMouth, The Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, New England Foundation for the Arts, Ploughshares, The Poets’ Theatre, Post Road, Salamander, StoriesLive, The Writers’ Room of Boston, The William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences, and The Woodberry Poetry Room.

Writers Resist is a national network of writers driven to #WriteOurDemocracy by defending the ideals of a free, just, and compassionate democratic society. #WritersResist

Upcoming readings and festivals


It’s finally starting to feel like winter might really be over, which is as good a time as any to venture out to bookstores and literary festivals!

If you’re in the Boston area, you can find us or our authors at the following events:

Monday, April 23 at 7pm
Krysten Hill reads at AGNI release party
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA

Thursday, April 26 at 7pm
Krysten Hill reads at Belmont Books (with Maggie Dietz and Sandra Lim)
79 Leonard St, Belmont, MA

Saturday, May 5
Massachusetts Poetry Festival

11am-4pm
Small Press Literary Fair
We’ll have a table at the book fair this year, so come out and see us. Pick up a copy of the latest issue of apt, or any other AP titles!

12:15pm
Panel and Workshop: Poetry as Social Action
Krysten Hill will join Boston’s Poet Laureate, Danielle Legros Georges, as well as authors Fred Marchant and Gloria Mindock, to discuss writing work that focuses on justice, resistance, and ways to bolster spirits and protect the disenfranchised in uncertain times.

9:30pm
Reading: What Poetry Means to Me
Krysten Hill joins Michael Ansara, Sean Thomas Dougherty, Alice Kociemba, and Lisa Mangini to tell stories about how poetry has changed their lives.

Saturday, June 23 1-3pm
Greater Boston Writers Resist/Greater Boston Writers Persist
Boston Public Library – Central Library at Copley Square
700 Boylston St, Boston, MA
Rabb Lecture Hall

Readers to include: Sam Cha, Jennifer De Leon, JoeAnn Hart, Krysten Hill, Simone John, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Kim McLarin, and Khury Petersen-Smith, among others.