Boosting literacy, self-confidence, and creativity through the written word. 

The Porch is Nashville’s nonprofit literary center. Serving both adults and youth, The Porch hopes to foster a vibrant and diverse literary culture through creative writing workshops, writing events, and community outreach.


Idea into Story: A Creative Writing Workshop for Immigrants and Refugees

How do you transform your ideas into written stories? In this class, we’ll explore how to write about our real-life experiences, as well as the ideas from our imaginations. We’ll learn the fundamentals of fiction and memoir writing: character, point of view, setting, plot, and voice. Together, we’ll read work by immigrant writers, such as Edwidge Danticat, Yiyun Li, Junot Díaz, Jamaica Kincaid and others to learn from their examples.

Our class environment is diverse and welcoming. Past students have hailed from Mexico, Syria, Italy, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia, and other countries. Students have all different levels of experience with creative writing (including none) and all are welcome! We won’t focus on grammar or English language instruction, but we do discuss the challenges of and strategies for writing in English.

Each class, we’ll work on new writing exercises and students will have the option to share work for feedback. At the end of our eight weeks, we’ll have a reading and class celebration.

The class is free and open to all immigrants and refugees, regardless of documentation.

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Past students say:

“Extremely warm and welcoming atmosphere. It really encouraged me to open up and talk.”

“Classes are great. You have the chance to investigate writing and reading in all of its essence and nuance while sharing it with a wonderful group of people.”

“The workshop has been an incredible learning experience ranging from the appreciation of the tools of writing to the diverse experiences brought together by the international audience.”

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March 20 - May 8

Mondays, 6:30-8:30 pm

The Curb Center

1801 Edgehill Ave, Nashville, TN 37212

To sign up or with questions: email Anna at anna@porchtn.org

About the Instructor:

Anna Silverstein was born in Boston, MA. She has an MFA in fiction from Vanderbilt University and was the Curb Center’s Creative Writing Fellow from 2015-2016. Previous classes at the Porch include “Healing Through Writing,” “Writing as Resistance,” and writing workshops for immigrants and refugees. Her fiction appears in New Delta Review, Afro-Hispanic Review, Gravel, and Overtime. She lives in Nashville, TN.


Porch Outreach Statement:

• The Porch believes in the power of the written word as a means to empathy, connectivity, creativity, knowledge, and advancement.

• We believe those who experience writing as a joyful and creative act will ultimately improve in their ability to articulate and communicate their ideas. With joy comes a desire to practice; with practice comes growth.

• We believe competence in writing is an essential skill for success within both academic and professional lives. Incorporating creative writing as a supplement to traditional academic curriculums revitalizes writing instruction and student progress.

• We believe creative writing inspires character development through deepened self reflection, self expression, and creativity.

• We believe the world needs writers. There are so many voices, so many stories, so many perspectives, and literature in all its varied forms is one of the oldest, most powerful channels of building empathy into experiences outside of our own. In a world in which reading is at risk and the literary arts are in battle with twenty-first century distractions, fostering the art of writing is vital. 

What we do:

The Porch will tailor creative writing workshops and events to best meet the needs and time allowances of the specific group. Typically, workshops include a combination of writing warm-ups, story/poem starters, interactive group writing, creative writing games and activities, and an opportunity to share work. We offer one-time workshops, series of workshops, or long-term creative writing opportunities.

 

Our Outreach Programs and Partners:

Expressive Writing Workshops for New Americans: The Porch has received a grant from the National Humanities Alliance to teach two six-week workshops in the fall of 2016 for immigrants and refugees. Project partners include Tennessee Foreign Language Institute, NPL Adult Education, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and Nashville Center for International Empowerment.

Oasis Center: The Porch has an ongoing relationship with the College Connect program at the Oasis Center and has facilitated workshops on writing the college admissions essay as well as on college-level writing.

Nashville Scholars: The Porch has facilitated college-admissions essay writing workshops at each of the campuses as part of the 2015 Mayor's Scholars Academy and 2016 Nashville Scholars program.

Martha O'Bryan Center: The Porch participated as guest instructors with the pilot program Cayce Unbound by offering after-school writing workshops to middle-school girls.

Nashville Adult Literacy Council: The Porch has facilitated a writing workshop to NALC tutors and students. The stories collected contributed to their annual In Our Words publication of student work issued in November

Nashville Public Library: The Porch partnered with the Nashville Public Library in the fall to offer a free four-week college essay writing course, which will be open to Nashville’s high school seniors as well as to non-traditional college applicants.

Time to Rise:  The Porch has partnered with the Nashville educational nonprofit Time to Rise, offering a program designed to introduce the urban youth served by Time to Rise to the fundamentals and pleasures of creative writing.

We are actively seeking additional partnerships. Please contact Katie McDougall at Katie@porchtn.org to inquire further about our program.