September 2014

Amherst Writers & Artists

September 2014
Amherst Writers & Artists Newsletter
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Chagall's American Windows by Maureen Buchanan Jones
Image Credit: Maureen Buchanan Jones

Dear Friends of AWA,

If you are in Chicago and have a moment, walk down to the lower level of the Art Institute. At the end of a gallery full of Etruscan, Greek and Roman statuary, you will arrive at Marc Chagall’s American Windows. The photo on the left here is one of three windows. After leading a training in the AWA Method, standing before these windows is the perfect place to be. Chagall’s luminous and weightless images offer feelings of playfulness, generosity, and connection. I found myself smiling and wanting to sing to match the blue joy of Chagall’s light. Writing with others does that to me too. The training sessions bring out the right questions, the right excitement for writing as shared art and individual healing.

With the end of the Chicago training, we have one more session to complete for 2014. Toronto will host AWA once again, and we are excited and ready. The 2015 training schedule is nearly complete, with four sessions in place and one with details still to be confirmed. AWA will travel to Malibu, Philadelphia, Chicago and Toronto next year. Our hope is to also bring AWA to New Orleans.

Our plans for the first AWA Conference are nearly in place also, with the two-day schedule full of sessions that will focus on writing fiction, poetry, and memoir, or writing in the academic classroom, erotic writing, writing with children, and writing in jails and prisons, to name a few. This conference is open to all those who have been trained in the AWA method and will have Bisi Ideraabdullah as the keynote speaker. A separate Founder’s Dinner will be open to the public, featuring Pat Schneider.

The AWA Pat Schneider Poetry Contest has closed its submission process and the judges are at work to determine the 4th annual contest winner as well as those awarded honorable mention. The double issue of Peregrine, which will combine issues 28 and 29, will be available this December.

Pat and Peter Schneider are to be awarded the Samual Minot Jones Award for contributing to the local literary life of Amherst. This award comes after a unanimous vote through the local town library, the Jones Library. Congratulations to Pat and Peter! As a resident of Amherst, I applaud this wise choice. To Pat and Peter!

My hope is that you, AWA community, are inspired to keep writing and that those that write with you share their voices in a spirit of dignity and adventure.

With respect and gratitude,
Maureen Buchanan Jones
Executive Director


AWA Conference Updates: May 2nd & 3rd in 2015

Registration for the AWA Conference, which will take place >May 2nd and 3rd, is almost ready to re-open. We are still waiting to hear from a few session leaders, but we are able to announce that there will be a new Keynote Speaker: Bisi Ideraabdullah, founder and Executive Director of Imani House

The conference will, as before, take place at the Willits-Hallowell Conference Center on Mount Holyoke's campus, in South Hadley, MA. 

To keep updated on when registration opens and other conference news, please connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if the email to which you'd like us to send newsletters has changed.


Training Updates: Chicago Complete, More Dates in 2015

We had a wonderful time returning to Chicago to lead a training session earlier this month. The city was once again the perfect host for those who want to become AWA workshop leaders. The essential practices and other intricacies of the method were well-outlined by the session leadeers and the trainees put everything into practice, emerging as strong workshop leaders. We are proud to welcome these new voices to our community. For even more information about the training session, Sue wrote a great blog post about her experience as a leader.

Chicago 2014 Training Group
Standing, left to right (instructors in italics): Maureen Buchanan Jones, Barbara Donohue, Barbara DeCoursey Roy, Aaron Zimmerman, Adele Simmons, Kim Grahl, Pam Mostek, Kathy Skaggs, Sue Reynolds, Joan Livingston; Seated, left ro right: April Boyington Wall, Kira Elliott, Yvonne Coombs, Anne Rath


Registration is almost open for our 2015 Training Sessions, with just one more session to schedule. We will announce via social media and our website when registration is available. Until then, we hope you will save the date of any session that interests you and share the schedule with friends or colleagues who might be interested in the AWA training program.

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
Philadelphia, 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


Affiliate Classifieds

Steven Riel, author of two books published by AWA Press (How to Dream, and The Spirit Can Crest), will read with award-winning poet David Groff in the Collected Poets series on Thursday, October 2 at 7:00 PM. The event will take place at Mocha Maya's, 47 Bridge St., Shelburne Falls.



"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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