INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Letter from Kate Hymes; Regional News; Training News; Affiliate News; Founder’s Message; Affiliate Classifieds.

July 2018


Books Photo by Janko Ferlic

“Hold fast to dreams…”

—Langston Hughes, Dreams

Dear AWA friends,

At present, academia has a stranglehold on what is American literature. Too few writers rise up from community writing groups to have their work honored and recognized.

Amherst Writers & Artists’ goals are to make writing (small -d) democratic by supporting working writers, while also emphasizing marginalized or excluded voices, and providing an alternative, as well as a curative, to the academic literary world. We are proud of the work we do making it possible for more and more people to claim writing as their art.

AWA is a community of writers, workshop leaders and published authors­—of novels, memoir, essay collections, poetry, and creative non-fiction. We have dreams of increasing and strengthening our ability to honor and publicize the achievements and community service of workshop leaders, as well as the work of writers in the extended AWA community.

Some of the dreams we are dreaming:

  • The AWA network could be a resource to identify bookstores, homes, workshop gatherings or other sites for AWA members who publish. AWA workshops might sponsor or host readings for AWA authors on book tour.
  • We could further promote member publications, readings and book launches through AWA social media.
  • We can recognize and support the authors among us by purchasing, reading, and reviewing books by fellow AWA Affiliates and workshop members on Amazon, in local newspapers or in community magazines.

But we need your help to make these dreams a reality. Let the AWA Board (by emailing me, Kate Hymes) know that you are willing and we will be in touch to follow-up.

It is by spreading the word of all our good news: outreach to special populations, community writing workshops, and publications by the authors among us, that Amherst Writers & Artists will grow strong and make the kind of difference in the literary world Pat Schneider envisioned. For all of us who believe in AWA, we are committed to turning dreams into reality.

Kate Hymes

AWA Board Member

Regional News


Read a report from Canada’s resource-sharing retreat below. AWA’s Professional Development and Writing Retreat is October 12 – 15, 2018 in Albuquerque, NM.

A group of AWA Affiliates met in Canada this month for a few days to support each other in their AWA journeys. We wrote a lot and attended sessions to help think about setting up writing groups, different types of groups that might be of interest to writers, ways to promote ourselves as facilitators and make money for our work. There was plenty of time for relaxation and for sitting down with others to share experiences.

This year was the first, an experiment, and it was better than expected. We loved having time to connect, to write with like-minded people and to learn by watching and doing. After breakfast the last morning, Cheryl MacLean wrote this:

“This week has been special. Similar to last year’s facilitator training, but very different. Last year was about learning, testing the boundaries of what I knew, meeting and getting to know—each other, language, techniques, method, philosophies, possibilities. But this year is sharing. A coming together of peers as individuals, each learning session feeling more like a person facilitating the unearthing of what we already know, each of us individually, but also a collective knowing, understanding. We are petals of a flower, each the same and each utterly unique and special, comprising a whole that is greater than just the collection of our parts. We are an energy, a flow, a connection, a collective, a one. I am grateful and awed to be just one perfect petal among all the other exquisite petals of this most special, most perfect bloom.”

This is a format we will use again. Finding space to nurture ourselves, our craft and the work we do is hard. If this is something that interests you, join us for a similarly wonderful retreat this fall. Don’t wait, register today for the very last residential spot! If you want more information about this opportunity to connect with AWA community and your own writing voice, please visit our website or reach out to us via email.


Join AWA Down South for a Regional Gathering in North Carolina on Saturday, September 29!

The group will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a day of writing and conversation at this lovely retreat, home of Cynthia Yancey, in Mars Hill, NC, about 30 minutes outside Asheville. We’ll begin with hello’s, bagels, coffee, and tea, write until noon, then enjoy a catered lunch. Our afternoon will begin with conversation–about your writing, the direction of AWA, workshops, business questions, challenges, ideas. Another hour of writing will close out the day. The cost of $50 ($38.50 for dues-paying affiliates) will include snacks and lunch, with a little left over for AWA. There will be two scholarship slots for $25. For more information, contact Lane Goddard at, and to sign up, please visit the AWA Event Calendar.

Training News

Writers at Pond

Just two spaces left in our Chicago training this September!

This is our final facilitator training of 2018. Sign up now to become AWA-certified: August 31–September 4 in Chicago, IL.

If you have questions, please visit our website or email our Training Program Director, Maureen Buchanan Jones at

Affiliate News


In support of Affiliates and AWA workshop leaders, AWA has placed the ad pictured here in the Sep/Oct issue of Poets & Writers.

The publication will be on newsstands August 24. If you’ve been meaning to set up or edit your Affiliate listing, now would be a great time as we anticipate additional traffic! Please email Katie,, if you have any questions about the process.

Poets & Writers Ad

Founder’s Message

I have finished my work on a new book of poems, titled The Weight of Love, and I am turning back to my project of writing a narrative history of Amherst Writers & Artists for the very large archive of AWA in the Jones Library, Amherst, MA. I invite anyone who wants to do so, to contribute narratives of your own work using the AWA method to that collection. Send it to me,, with “History of AWA” in the subject line, or directly to Special Collections, Jones Library. Recently I have had the opportunity to attend a reading by Sarah Browning, who for five years wrote grant proposals for AWA, and as a result we had twelve workshops for under-served populations in five towns in our valley. And last week, an article appeared in our local paper by Sarah Werthan Buttenweiser, whose generous donation made it possible for us to publish our first two books, launching Amherst Writers & Artists Press forty years ago. We have published 39 books of poetry in as many years. So many of us have “created” AWA — I’d like the stories to be available through all the years to come.

Pat Schneider

Pat Sign Off

Affiliate Classifieds

Poetry, Prose, and Procrastination. Write with AWA Affiliate, Grace Farrell, and poet and journalist, Patricia Ann Chaffee, during a day-long retreat. We’ll consider the challenges and gifts of procrastination. Why wait? August 25, 2018 at a waterfront studio on the Rhode Island shore. Limited overnight accommodations available.

Want to publish your writing but unsure where to start? Wondering how to submit in a way that feeds your creative process? You’re invited to Tending the Work, an online workshop led by AWA Affiliate Emily Stoddard of Voice & Vessel. Get guidance and tools for preparing your writing (and yourself!) for publication. Early bird discount until August 10!