Published On: Sun, Apr 17th, 2011

NYC Event: Vanessa Martir’s Writer Workshop @ Hunter College

Vanessa-Martir (1) In the backdrop of the controversial ban on ethnic studies, textbook wars and immigration legislation occurring in the American Southwest, we must use these circumstances to inspire and empower ourselves as Latinos/people of color. It's time we put our stories down and write ourselves into the fabric of this nation.

For so long people of color have been left out of American history and literature. We've been taught that our stories don't matter and can't stand alongside the heavyweights of the American literary canon. It's up to us to change this attitude for the sake of our young people, and what better way to do it than to show them through our own words? Considering the exponential growth of ethnic communities, primarily that of the Latino population, now is the time to leave our stories for the generations of tomorrow. Vanessa Martir's Writing Our Lives Workshop will help emerging writers do this.

Through such techniques as mind mapping, voice development exercises, and interactive lessons on character development, plot, and dialogue structure, Vanessa will work with writers to start and/or complete a short story, essay, memoir, or novel. There will be daily and weekly assignments. The writers will also be given the opportunity to contribute to an anthology. This will be discussed further in class.

Past students have said:

"Vanessa Martir's workshop was the flashlight in the dark room of my memories. It gave me my story, in the sense that I finally realized it was the one that needed to be told. Intense digging, deep readings, and a real and brutally honest facilitator…all of these may seem heavy and daunting, but trust me when I say that what would be more daunting is not opening yourself up to the possibilities that Ms. Martir guides you to. I'd tell anyone that's committed to writing from a personal perspective to take this workshop."

"This workshop is perfect for those trying to write the infamous 'my life story.' Not only do I recommend it, I plan on taking the workshop again, at a future date. Vanessa is one of the most clear-cut, to the heart of the matter instructors I have ever seen. Her method to the madness of writing this story not only prepared me for a project I have been putting off, but her guidance has allowed me to actually take on the project pen first, paper second and everything else will come as it should."

Workshop Details:

The class is capped at 13 students.

Dates: May 1, 8, 15, 22

Times: 3pm to 7pm

Location: Hunter College

Cost: $300 includes 16 hours of instruction and two one-on-ones with the workshop facilitator. For details on how to reserve your spot, email Vanessa at with "Writing Our Lives Workshop" in the subject line.

Scholarship Info: There are three need-based scholarships available. To apply, send a letter explaining your financial need for the scholarship–i.e. unemployed, underemployed, etc. Also explain why you think you need this workshop, what you expect to gain from it, and why you think you are deserving of the scholarship beyond your financial need. Send the letter no later than 4/15 with "Writing Our Lives Workshop Scholarship Application" in the subject line. The scholarship decisions will be made no later than 4/18/2011.

About the facilitator: A graduate of Columbia University, Vanessa Martir is a writer, educator, speaker and seasoned workshop facilitator. Her first novel, Woman's Cry, was published in 2007, and she is currently shopping her second, To Play Right. Vanessa most recently co-wrote Do Something!: A Handbook for Young Activists, an interactive workbook that gives young people all the tools they need to change the world. She is currently working on her first memoir, A Dim Capacity for Wings, and a one woman show, Millie's Girl. Known as La Loba in the literary scene, Vanessa performs regularly and curates the La Loba Poetry Series. Last year, Vanessa resigned from her full-time editing position to live her dream of being a freelance writer, performer and teaching artist. She teaches writing and theater at various schools around the city.


NYC Event: Vanessa Martir’s Writer Workshop @ Hunter College