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November 2016

Amherst Writers & Artists Newsletter

Stellar November


Dear Friends of AWA,

It’s easy to feel like we are lost in a crowd, one of many and indistinguishable from our billions of fellow human beings. But we are, each of us, quite unique. We are each glowing in our particular way. In this edition of the AWA Newsletter, we are launching a new feature: Among the Stars. This section will celebrate who AWA actually is: You, a constellation of unique and brilliant stars.

AWA was founded in 1989. Since then many non-profits have been established to expand on and focus in on the work that is possible through the Amherst Writers & Artists Method. Each of these stellar leaders was first trained by AWA:
Voices From Inside: Founded in 1999 by Carolyn Benson, Karen Buchinsky, and Sara Weinberg. Workshops for the incarcerated or formerly incarcerated.
NY Writers Coalition: Founded in 2002 by Aaron Zimmerman. Brooklyn NY community-based creative writing workshops.
VoiceFlame: Founded 2010 by Mary Tuchscherer. Writing workshops to develop literacy and end discrimination in Malawi.
916Ink: Founded in 2011 by Katie McCleary. Empowers youth literacy.

Please support these important and inspiring organizations. Please support AWA to train more workshop leaders who turn their passion into action. Each of these leaders supports hundreds of writing voices.

AWA is launching the AWA Blog. This newsletter will appear on the blog and portions of it and other news will be posted on social media. Please visit our website, our Facebook page, and find us on Twitter to keep up to date on our posts.

We have completed the 2016 Training Program with the final session in Albuquerque, NM. We offer the 2017 Training Program with a February session in Atlanta, an April session in Malibu, a June session outside Boston, and a September session in Chicago. For details visit our website.

In October AWA established its annual fundraising event: Write Around the World. AWA workshop leaders from Ireland to Mexico gathered writers and shared their work and photos. Together we raised over $6,000 to help train people who cannot afford the tuition. Thank you to everyone who participated! You are glorious stars in the AWA firmament.

This is a season of noticing those who do good work. You do good work. Thank you for opening your hands to those who are lonely, scared, hungry, and hurt. Thank you for sharing your hearts, your skills, and your warmth. Thank you for making AWA part of your community. We watch you shimmer as your lights reach everywhere.

With gratitude and respect,
Maureen Buchanan Jones
Executive Director

Training News: Accepting Applications for 2017

New Mexico TraineesBack Row, Left to Right: Aaron Zimmerman, Polly Giantonio, Sue Reynolds; Front Row, Left to Right: Sandra Block, Ruth Q. Leibowitz, Kelly Giles, Judith Crop, Janet Clement, Renée Clifton

Thank you and welcome to our new AWA Affiliates, pictured above, who were trained this month in New Mexico! We are hugely excited to include you in our community of writers and workshop leaders.
AWA Workshop Leadership Trainings in 2017:

February 22 – 26 in Atlanta, Georgia at Calvin Retreat Center
April 10 – 14 in Malibu, California at Serra Retreat Center
June 28 – July 2 in Boston, Massachusetts at Walker Center
September 4 – 8 in Chicago, Illinois at Cenacle Sisters Retreat Center

To join us, please begin the application process online or print the 2016 Application and send it with a $300 deposit to: Amherst Writers & Artists, PO Box 1076, Amherst, MA 01004

Reach out with any questions to We look forward to hearing from you!

Among the Stars

VoiceFlame, a non-profit established by Mary Tuchscherer teaches literacy development in Malawi as a way to empower women and eliminate discrimination. This summer, Mary traveled to Malawi for cross-country and cross-cultural journey #5.

To read more about VoiceFlame’s most recent training and the impact of their work in Malawi, please visit our blog.



AWA Affiliate Madge O’Callaghan’s documentary, My Uncle Jack, has won a Gold Medal at the New York Festivals World Radio Awards. Congratulations, Madge!

To read more about Madge’s documentary and her experience with producing and being honored for her work, please visit our blog.

Eilís Coe, a Sister of Charity and AWI Affiliate, traveled to Rome to offer two 90-minute Amherst Writers & Artists writing groups at a conference with European Religious Network Against Trafficking and Exploitation.

To read more about the experience of sisters and survivors of trafficking from a variety of European countries who wrote together, please visit our blog.


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