April 2015

Amherst Writers & Artists


April 2015

Amherst Writers & Artists Newsletter
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April Newsletter Photo by Maureen Buchanan Jones
Image Credit: Maureen Buchanan Jones

Dear Friends of AWA,

Getting perspective often means taking a giant step back. Or up. Seeing who we are from a distance can make things clearer. Flying over the rumpled terrain of the Southwest region of the U.S. offers up lots of texture, lots of depth perception. Writing is like that too. Putting ourselves on paper gives us the chance to see what we think, what we dream, from a different vantage point.

The Conference on May 2nd and 3rd will give all of us who are part of the landscape of AWA a perspective on who we are and what we collectively dream. We will stand on the rim of today and look back and then look forward. If you haven't already registered, please come. You are part of how we got here.

The Conference promises to be rich, diverse, dynamic, provocative and fun. We have filled two days with ways to develop workshop leader skills, pick up writing strategies and join with other voices to claim ourselves as writers. Bisi Ideraabdullah will share her writing and healing stories from Brooklyn to Liberia in the Keynote Speech. We invite you to read to us at the open mic. We have hugs and smiles we want to give away.

On the evening of May 2nd, we have created an evening to celebrate the woman who set everything in motion. At the Founder's Dinner, Pat Schneider will tell us what she sees and understands after 30 years of leading workshops. She will say Yes to all of us once again. Don't miss out!

The training program continues with wonderful success. We welcome 11 new AWA Affiliates from the training in Malibu, CA. We saw the vision in their eyes to write with others and stay connected. Four more training sessions are scheduled for 2015. Please see below for more information.

Peregrine, the AWA Journal, will go to press before the conference. Issue number 28 will celebrate Poetry Contest winners and as well as other diverse writers. The Pat Schneider Poetry Contest is underway with a July 1st deadline. Details of both Peregrine and the contest can be found below and online.

Heights or distances can be dizzying. AWA's 35-year history and Pat Schneider's contribution to how we understand writing and literature deserve to be viewed in their entirety. Through writing we travel deep and far in memory or imaginations. And through writing we arrive on more solid ground.

With gratitude and respect,
Maureen Buchanan Jones
Executive Director


AWA Conference: May 2nd & 3rd

The first-ever AWA conference is less than a month away. Please register now to join us as we celebrate our history and strengthen our vision of the future.

Every session of the AWA Conference promises to be informative and memorable, so you're not missing out if you haven't made your selections yet. The AWA Conference is a great value and an unprecedented opportunity to connect as a community. Please ensure your spot today.

If you have already registered, thank you and we look forward to welcoming you! As we get closer to the event, we are ramping up our use of social media to share our process and help you plan to make the most of the Conference. Please connect with us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date, and check our website to get in-depth information. Also, please join the event on Facebook if you'd like to connect with other attendees in advance.


For an additional $40, all conference members, as well as the general public, are invited to the Founder's Dinner to hear Pat Schneider speak on her more than 30 years of leading workshops and her lifetime journey as a writer. Her talk is titled: The Reason I Came Was . . . Reflections on 30 Years as an AWA Workshop Leader.

The reason I came was
what I had to say
was important to someone.

Lynn Goodspeed
Member Original Chicopee Workshop
for women in low-income housing


Training Updates: Malibu Complete, Pennsylvania Next

Our first training session of 2015 is done! We are excited to welcome this new group of workshop leaders to our community.

Top row (left to right, instructors in italics): Sarah Pemberton Kastrup, Jill Goodacre, Jen Cross, Julia Lee; Bottom row: Rachel Fiala, Carson Hawks, Dana Cunningham Anderson, Maureen Buchanan JonesMary Tuchscherer, Jo An Gaines, Concepcion Tadeo, Marcia Arrieta, Bibi Hamblin, Annette Peizer


If you'd like to join us in 2015, please begin the application process online by visiting the Training Schedule. Or, to apply offline, download and print the 2015 Application and send it with the $300 deposit to:

Amherst Writers & Artists
PO Box 1076
Amherst, MA 01004

If you have questions, 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

May 30 - June 32015 Training in Philadelphia, PA

Pendle Hill 
Philadelphia, PA

2015 Training in Ontario, CanadaJuly 22 - 26

Ecology Retreat Centre Mono, ON, Canada

September 9 - 132015 Training in Chicago, IL

Cenacle Retreat
Chicago, IL

2015 Training in Loranger, LA November 15 - 19

Solomon Episcopal
Loranger, LA


Peregrine Double Issue Gone to Print

After a long transition from its founding editors to new leadership, Peregrine Journal will be available at the AWA Conference this Spring, and online after that. The double issue, XXVIII & XIX, will include the winning poems from the second and third annual Pat Schneider Poetry Contests, as well as tributes to the many people who kept the presses humming for thirty years of Peregrine. It also ushers in our use of a new distribution platform, Amazon's CreateSpace, where physical copies of the journal can be ordered online and shipped anywhere starting in May.


Founder's News


The Jones Library is proud to announce that the Second Annual Samuel Minot Jones Awards for Literary Achievement will honor author Julius Lester and Pat and Peter Schneider of Amherst Writers & Artists for their literary contributions. The gala celebration event, the "Sammys," will take place on April 16, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. at the Yiddish Book Center.


Affiliate Classifieds


Writing Through the Crazy Times
Yoga Nidra, Writing, and Reading by guest Author/Facilitator, Suzanne Rancourt. Sunday, April 26, 2015 from 11am - Noon at Orenda Yoga Studio Guilderland Center, NY 12085. Please register via www.orendayoga.org/studio/wellnessworkshops. For more information, visit Suzanne's website: www.expressive-arts.com

Free: Writing Workshop for Women Veterans, Friends, Family and Supporters. Sunday, April 19, 2015 from 12:30 - 4:30pm at Orenda Yoga Studio in Guilderland Center, NY 12085. Please register via www.orendayoga.org/studio/wellnessworkshops. For more information, visit Suzanne's website: www.expressive-arts.com


"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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