6 Necessary Contributors To A Rich Literary Culture
Writers require community and institutional support as they develop their craft and work on new projects. This list, presented in no particular order, looks at several organizations that are strengthening literary connections, creating new opportunities, and hosting events where scribes can grow.
Coming in at #1, we have Willamette Writers, which brings together authors of the Pacific Northwest. Writers of all genres and at all stages of their careers are welcome to the organization's meetings, annual conference, and workshops to connect with their community and develop their craft.
Willamette Writers was founded by writer Kay Snow. The organization has chapters across the state, in places such as Eugene, Salem, and Corvallis. Through its Script to Screen Competition, creators can submit a script, which is judged by industry professionals in Portland and Los Angeles, and later produced by the nonprofit.
Next up, at #2, we present the Center for the Art of Translation, based in San Francisco, California. As its name suggests, the nonprofit works to champion translated works of literature. It hosts a number of events each year, such as workshops, readings, and panel discussions. At the core of the Center is its Two Lines Press, an award-winning press committed to publishing new writing and overlooked classics that have not previously been translated into English.
Another of the Center's programs is Poetry Inside Out, a collaborative, cross-cultural language arts curriculum. It's meant to celebrate classroom diversity, build literacy skills, improve critical thinking, and unlock creativity by teaching students to translate poetry from around the world.
The #3 entry is Cave Canem Foundation. It was established to remedy the under-representation and isolation of African-American poets in the literary landscape. Through its programs and publications, it strives to nurture the artistic and professional growth of these often marginalized writers; enlarge the American literary canon; democratize archives; and expand for students, aspiring poets, and readers the notion of what's possible and valuable in a poem.
Cave Canem’s week-long retreat, its flagship program, is held annually at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The retreat is meant to offer African-American poets the opportunity to study with established writers and join a community of peers. Among the group's other programs are community-based workshops, readings, conversations, and three book prizes delivered in partnership with prestigious presses.
For #4, we present the Adirondack Center for Writing, based in Saranac Lake, New York. Its mission is to cultivate the art of writing and the joy of reading; celebrate the power of language to invite discovery; create an understanding of people and a sense of place; and build a community. With its work, ACW seeks to honor the rich literary, cultural, and natural history of the Adirondacks.
The nonprofit offers writing classes and weekly writing prompts to its community. Its Raining Poetry Project is an outdoor installation at Saranac Lake where poems are revealed on the ground when it gets wet. Featured writers include Hanif Abdurraqib, Stuart Bartow, Neil Gaiman, Mary Oliver, Danez Smith, and more.
Coming in at #5, we find VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. This nonprofit is an intersectional feminist literary organization dedicated to creating transparency surrounding gender imbalances and the lack of diversity in the publishing landscape. VIDA also aims to amplify historically-marginalized voices.
The VIDA Count, published each year, highlights gender imbalances in publishing by tallying genres, book reviewers, books reviewed, and journalistic bylines to offer an accurate assessment of the publishing world. VIDA also hosts several events, including readings, fundraisers, panels, and forums on all aspects of the literary community.
Last but not least, at #6, we present Key West Literary Seminar. The organization's main annual event, held in Florida, explores a different literary theme each January. Authors and readers from all over the world gather for four days of readings, conversations, lectures, panel discussions, and parties. The Young Writers Studio, meanwhile, provides local high school students with educational experiences and writing instruction each summer.
The organization's overall mission is to promote the understanding and discussion of important texts and their authors; to recognize and support new voices in American literature; and to preserve and promote Key West's literary heritage while providing resources that strengthen the perseverance of this culture.