October 2014

Amherst Writers & Artists

October 2014
Amherst Writers & Artists Newsletter
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Autumn Advances by Maureen Buchanan Jones
Image Credit: Maureen Buchanan Jones

Dear Friends of AWA,

The month of October was a flame here in the Connecticut River Valley. The leaves flare and glow then release the light. It’s all about change. Here in the office, we have followed the season’s practice. AWA is made again as we go forward.

All of the sessions for the Amherst Writers & Artists Conference scheduled for May 2 & 3, 2015, are in place and can be found on the AWA website. This conference will bring together all those who have been trained in the AWA Method to share expertise, wisdom and inspiration. Each attendee can choose four sessions out of sixteen over the two days, as well as attend a separate fundraiser, the Founder’s Dinner hosted by Pat Schneider, on Saturday evening. Session leaders will offer workshops and discussions on topics ranging from manuscript review to writing with the incarcerated; from creating a non-profit to introducing exercises to support fiction. AWA will have the chance to see its strengths and depth; hear its range of voices and its abiding principles. Please join us!

On the subject of the widely varied voices that make up AWA, we are pleased to announce the winners of the Pat Scheider poetry contest! The first prize winner is Rachelle M. Parker, of Montclair, NJ, for her poem "The Dream's Path." Please read below for information about the Honorable Mentions and Finalists.

The 2015 Training Schedule is complete. AWA will arrive in Malibu, CA; Wallingford, PA; Mono, ON; Chicago, IL; and Loranger, LA. For more details, please read the article below and click on the link for the website application. Interest is increasing rapidly with people already registered for California, Ontario, and Chicago.

For those of you who contact AWA, you know that the two voices on the other side of a phone call or an email are mine and Katie Frank’s. This won’t change, but Katie’s voice will be answering emails from Oregon as of November 1. Joining me in the office is Emily Savin to partner with us as we attend to the needs of the AWA community. Katie and Emily are powerful forces in their own right; together, they will support AWA in established services as well as with innovative approaches. Joining us also as of mid-September is Intern Jhazalyn Prince, a first-year student at Hampshire College. Jhazalyn wasted no time proving herself an essential component to AWA’s daily success.

We are excited and inspired by the light around us, the turning leaves and the shared energy of sharp and poetic minds. We hope you are writing and listening well as others share their voices.

With gratitude and respect,
Maureen Buchanan Jones
Executive Director


AWA Conference Updates: New Keynote Speaker

More information about the AWA Conference is up on our website!

If you are a trained workshop leader, please go check out the list of offered sessions and the descriptions of their leaders. Many remain the same, but there have been a few additions and subtractions. If you find yourself excitedly planning which sessions you'd like to attend, make note of that information because registration is opening soon.

There will also be a new Keynote Speaker: Bisi Ideraabdullah, founder and Executive Director of Imani House. In addition, she is the founder and leader of Women of Color Writers' Workshop in Brooklyn, NY.

To be informed about when registration opens and other conference news, please connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and please contact us if the email to which you'd like us to send newsletters has changed.


Fourth Annual Pat Schneider Poetry Contest: Winners Announced!

1st prize awarded to: Rachelle Parker, of Montclair, NJ

Rachelle M. Parker will receive the $1,000 prize and her winning poem, “The Dream’s Path,” will be published in Peregrine, a forum for national and international writers since 1983 committed to finding exceptional work by both emerging and established writers published by Amherst Writers & Artists Press.

Honorable Mention awarded to (winning poems will be published in Peregrine): Jane Dominick of Laramie, Wyoming for “Two Women Folding a Sheet” and Barbara Krasner of Montclair, New Jersey for “Finding Franz Kafka”

Finalists: Charles Atkinson of Soquel, California; Elise Dirlam Ching of Walnut Creek, California; Kimaya Diggs of Belchertown, Massachusetts; Kim Ellis of New Paltz, New York; Jonathan Greenhause of Jersey City, New Jersey; Alice Jay of Miami, Florida; Djelloul Marbrook of Germantown, New York; Julianna McCarthy of Pine Mountain Club, California; William Allen Miller of Montague, Massachusetts; Jed Myers of Seattle, Washington; Annette Opalczynski of New Castle, Delaware; and Anne M. Rashid of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Contest Chief Judge: Dr. Sue Walker, Stokes Distinguished Professor, University of South Alabama and Poet Laureate of Alabama 2007-2012

The Fourth Annual Pat Schneider Poetry Contest was made possible by generous support from the Vessel Foundation and the Friends of Pat & Peter Schneider.


Training Updates: 2015 Schedule Complete, Registration Open

The application and registration process is now open for our 2015 Training Sessions!

If you've already been trained, please share this information with anyone you know who might benefit from becoming an AWA-certified workshop leader next year.

If you haven't been trained and would like to join our community of workshop leaders, you can begin the application process online by visiting the Trainings Schedule on our website. Or, to apply offline, visit our website, download and print the 2015 Application, and send it with the $300 deposit to:

Amherst Writers & Artists
PO Box 1076
Amherst, MA 01004

For questions about the application process or any of the trainings, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We look forward to hearing from you!

AWA Workshop Group Leadership Trainings in 2015

AWA Training Session: March 23- 25 2015 in Malibu, CAMarch 23 - 27

Serra Retreat
Malibu, CA

AWA Training Session: May 30 - June 3, 2015 in Philadelphia, PAMay 30 - June 3

Pendle Hill
Wallingford, PA

AWA Training Session: July 22 - 26, 2015 in Mono, Ontario, CanadaJuly 22 - 26

Ecology Retreat Centre
Mono, Ontario, Canada

AWA Training Session: September 9 - 13, 2015 in Chicago, ILSeptember 9 - 13

Cenacle Sisters
Chicago, IL

AWA Training Session: November 15 - 19, 2015 in Loranger, LANovember 15 - 19

Solomon Episcopal
Loranger, LA


Affiliate Classifieds

Your writing news here. AWA Affiliates are invited to email us 50-word announcements of writing-related news for inclusion in our Affiliate Classifieds. Each Affiliate may share news in four newsletters a year. Please take advantage of this space and help us showcase your brilliance! To do so, send an email with your 50 words to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



"Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level. . . . A writer is someone who writes."

-Pat Schneider


A Gift of Inspiration

Who is your favorite AWA writer? Someone in your workshop? Someone whose voice stays with you? Show appreciation to your favorite writer by donating $20 to AWA in her or his name. They will receive a card informing them of your donation and the knowledge that AWA continues its mission around the world.

To date, dozens of AWA writers have received this note of praise for their work. Choose your writer and let them know that they inspire you!


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