PEN World Voices Literary Conference THIS THURSDAY, May 7, 2015

This Thursday at the Bronx Museum, join writers from across the world for a day of writing workshops and author discussions featuring authors such as Chantel Acevedo, Billy Kahora (pictured below), and Boubacar Boris Diop. And did I mention it’s free?

Read below for more information.

“The Bronx is an immigrant borough and deserves worldly literary programming,” says Bronx Writers Center Director Charlie Vázquez. “The Bronx Council on the Arts was extremely excited to participate on this project and we’ll continue this win/win/win partnership for the benefit of Bronxites borough-wide.” Info and RSVP: http://bronxarts.orgBillyKahora

Catch Bronx Poet Urayoán Noel’s Book Launch THIS Saturday, July 5

The Bronx Council on the Arts will be doing having a special book launch party for BRIO Award Winner Urayoán Noel this upcoming Saturday! Read below for details from BCA.

The Bronx Council on the Arts’ (BCA) Bronx Writers Center will present a book signing and reading by Bronx poet and scholar Urayoán Noel, at BCA’s future headquarters at 2700 East Tremont Avenue       

(corner of St. Raymond Avenue) on Saturday, July 5, 2014, from 4:00-6:00 pm. Noel will speak about his newest book, In Visible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam, followed by a Q&A discussion. Admission is free and all are welcome. Books will be available for purchase.

“The Bronx Writers Center is honored to host Mr. Noel’s first New York City book release event for this groundbreaking study. And we will have more events as such in the future, as part of our book presentation series designed to spotlight books being published by Bronx natives and residents, as well as books about the Bronx In Visible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam (University of Iowa Press, 2014) is a critical analysis of the development of the Nuyorican poetry movement, from its mid-20th-century barrio roots to the contemporary global stage. 2011 BCA BRIO winner and Bronx resident Urayoán Noel is a poet, performer, scholar, translator and Assistant Professor of English and Spanish at NYU. The Bronx Writers Center supports and develops the appetite for writing and reading in the Bronx and searches for and promotes new community voices and audiences via literary and literacy programs. The Bronx Council on the Arts is a private, non-profit membership organization that is the official cultural agency of Bronx County for more than 50 years. Recognized nationally as a leading arts service organization in providing cultural services and arts programs, BCA serves a multicultural constituency of almost 1.4 million residents. BCA provides an array of services to 5,000 artists and more than 250 arts and community-based organizations.

The Bronx Writers Center, a program of the Bronx Council on the Arts, is supported by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Robert A. Bowne Foundation, the NYS Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, Arts Midwest, the Lambent Foundation of the Tides Foundation, and the Bronx Branches of the New York Public Library.


It’s Not Too Late to Catch a FREE Memoir Workshop!



The Bronx Memoir Project, a subset of the Bronx Council on the Arts, has been hosting free memoir writing workshops since March, offering Bronxites a chance to express themselves by sharing personal stories and the opportunity to have their work compiled alongside other residents’ anecdotes. This is the very LAST week to check out  some of the workshops, which take place around the city. I know I’ll be checking one out this weekend. For the schedule of the remaining workshop, click here.

For more information  on the Project, read below:

Bronxites—share your story with the world!

The Bronx Memoir Project was created by the Bronx Council on the Arts and seeks to develop

and collect various (500-1000-word) memoir fragments written by people of all ages, races,

genders, nationalities and backgrounds currently residing in the Bronx. This will be achieved by

deploying memoir writing facilitators to different cultural destinations throughout the borough

from March 15 through May 31, 2014.

Final draft memoir fragments will be collected and published in a summer anthology,

in both paper and e-book formats. Oral and video memoirs will be shared online. This

compilation of original testimonies will be the first of its kind and will give a much needed

and well-deserved voice to those who call the Bronx home. Final drafts can be e-mailed


Bronx filmmakers are also encouraged to participate by compiling video/film clips of people

telling their stories to the camera instead of the page, as part of the Bronx Memoir Project’s oral/

visual history component. If you are a filmmaker and this is of interest to you, please contact

Charlie Vázquez at the Bronx Writers Center –

The second round of writing and graphic memoir workshops kicks off on May 1, 2014 and will

wrap on May 31, 2014. Submissions must be emailed in by June 5, 2014.


Bronx Writers’ Center Speed Writing Workshop


I really miss being able to write. When I was in high school, I’d write all day, I’d set the mood in my house with some candles and incense and some nice music. It was really inspiring…and sexy lol. But, I just felt like I was always in the zone and if I wasn’t, it wasn’t hard to get there. Fast forward to now with work and grad school, I seldom find the energy to put into my writing. And it sucks. There’s this awesome writing group I sometimes go to and whenever I do, I feel amazing afterwards, like some people do after church, I imagine.  The problem is that it takes place at member’s houses all over the city and there’s no way I’m coming from Castle Hill on a weeknight and heading to Bed-Stuy or even the LES. So, when Nicole (a.k.a. Bronx Mama) suggested we go to one of the Bronx Writers’ Center’s free workshops this week, I was all for it.

Led by director Maria Romano, the group – an eclectic mix of young and young at heart, from all sorts of cultures and backgrounds- wrote in brief 15 minute bursts on a variety of prompts. Maria was excellent at creating a welcoming atmosphere, banishing judgment and criticism, most of which comes from ourselves, from the group.  The beauty of creative writing  is how many different ways people can manipulate a prompt. No two stories were the same. BWC will be holding another workshop next month and I’ll be sure to post information so you all can check it out. It was so great to finally experience a taste of the Bronx literary scene.

Third Annual Fair @ the Square

Maybe it was the gloomy weather, but I think the Bronx Council on the Arts’ annual street fair in Westchester Square could’ve used a boost of energy.

While some vendors sold beautiful photography, paintings, or jewelry , others seemed to be hawking a hodge podge of knick knacks.

A gap in tables and activities from St. Raymond’s to Frisby made the fair lack cohesiveness. This might have been prevented by closing E. Tremont between these two streets and rerouting the 40 and 42 buses to Williamsbridge. Other street fairs do this and I think it would have made a tremendous difference.

Some of positive points of the fair included Drew Torres‘ Jason Mraz-like performance and the children’s activities including the pony rides, magician, and face painting.

Hopefully, with BCA moving to the Square soon, it’ll be even better next year.