February 2015

Amherst Writers & Artists

February 2015
Amherst Writers & Artists Newsletter
Thawing Seasonfacebooktwitter

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Fence by Maureen Buchanan Jones
Image Credit: Maureen Buchanan Jones

Dear Friends of AWA,

Remember the first time you walked into a writing workshop? Did your heart go still, and your mind freeze to blankness. How could you possibly write anything worthwhile? How could you possibly read it to a room of strangers? I try to remember this feeling when someone new enters my workshop. It takes courage to enter a room that isn’t familiar; it takes bravery to enter the page not knowing what might happen there. The best assurance for writers lies within the philosophies and practices of the AWA Method. Once these are clearly established and consistently honored, the room transforms, the snow melts and the strangers in the room become people who read and listen with integrity. We are no longer cold lumps, but an infinite connection of stories.

Once again the AWA Training season is upon us. AWA will lead sessions in Malibu, CA; Wallingford, PA; Mono, ON; Chicago, IL; and Loranger, LA. Please spread the word to those who would like to join us for a rich, five-day initial leadership training. Details are below and on the AWA website.

We are hosting the first-ever AWA Conference for all those who have been trained in the AWA Method. This is an expanded version of the Post-Certificate Training that AWA used to offer. It is the first time the AWA Community will gather to honor its founder, its members, and the incredible distance the organization has traveled. Please celebrate with us!

Please see below for a link to AWA Founder Pat Schneider’s website and news about her upcoming events. Pat continues to lead retreats at her home, as well as extended retreats focusing on poetry, combining writing with visual art, and writing as a spiritual practice.

Anyone who leads an AWA workshops has experienced the moment of thaw, the moment when a new member reads what has been written and receives the affirmation of what is strong and memorable. It’s a powerful magic the way Spring is powerful after a hard winter.

With gratitude and respect,
Maureen Buchanan Jones
Executive Director


AWA Conference Updates: Keynote, Founder Information

AWA Conference registration is open! We continue to update Conference information on our website, so please check there or To be informed about conference news, please connect with us on Facebook or Twitter if you're curious about what we're up to. Also 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 is changing.

In the past, AWA offered two-day Post-Certificate Trainings, led by two instructors, at a cost of $750 for those who had been trained in the AWA Method and had been leading a workshop for over a year. The AWA Conference is an expanded version of the Post-Certificate Training. For $225 (or $275 for non-Affiliates), we invite workshop leaders to draw on the expertise and imagination of over 36 seasoned members, and offer the opportunity to meet AWA leaders from all over the world.

Attendees will experience:

  • Your choice of four of the sixteen offered conference sessions.
  • A Keynote Speech by Bisi Ideraabdullah, AWA Board member and Founder of Imani House in Brooklyn, NY and Liberia.
  • An evening of open mic readings and performances.
  • Two buffet breakfasts and lunches.
  • An unprecedented opportunity to meet members of our international community.

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.

If you have already registered for the Conference, please join our event on Facebook to connect with other attendees in advance and help us spread the word!


Training Updates: Registering Now for 2015

Our first session of 2015, which will take place next month, March 23 - 25 at Serra Retreat Center in Malibu, California, is nearly full. If you'd like to be a part of this training, please read on for information about how to apply and do so as soon as you can.


The application and registration process is now open for our 2015 Training Sessions. If you would like to join our community of workshop leaders, 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


Founder's News


March 6 – 8, 2015
Friday 4 – 7, Saturday 8 – 8, Sunday 8 – 1

22 Kings Highway
Rowe, MA
413 339 4954
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A weekend-long poetry retreat

There will be exercises ranging from free-writes to sonnets. You’ll gain new tools that will help you grow as a poet — and to live as one, learning how to navigate the world of publishing as well as how to manage your creative life. Meals included.


Affiliate Classifieds


AWA Affiliates Marian Calabro and Barbara Krasner offer a weekend retreat, “Go Deeper,” on March 27-29, at St. Marguerite Retreat House in Mendham, New Jersey. The retreat includes six writing sessions devoted to generating new work, six meals, and single-room lodging. http://mariancalabro.com or http://bit.ly/15DWzGP.

AWA Writing and Yoga in the Umbrian Hills, Italy in April 2015. Join AWA Affiliates Sue Reynolds, Deepam Wadds, and James Dewar for 10 days of exploration on the page, through our bodies, and in the beautiful Italian landscape. More details at: www.radicalrestoration.ca



AWA Affiliate Ellen Girardeau Kempler offers ideas to help you refresh, rewire & reboot. Visit Gold Boat Journeys to download the free PDF, Lifesavers for Writers; schedule a creative strategy session; or book a Mind Trip for Writers. Each group leader receives an Unblock Box designed to inspire new work.

iWrite Cards For Sale - $19.95 : These visual prompt cards are perfect for creative writing groups. Each 2.75 inch square card is printed on thick card stock and packaged in a satin pouch for safe keeping. Every image takes you on a magical writing journey. Shop athttp://www.etsy.com/shop/MilkhouseArtists.



Jan Phillips & the Livingkindness Foundation are collaborating with University of San Diego's Women's Leadership Academy to produce a symposium August 13-16. To submit a proposal for a 15-minute EVE talk, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  &, in 200 words or less, articulate how you merge art & activism, provide evidence of success, & identify your plan to inspire the audience. Include contact info & your website (if applicable).



"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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