Empower - The Campaign for Northeastern University


Writers' Week Spring 2021: Writing about Culture, Race, and Identity | A Workshop with Jennifer De Leon

How do we define “culture”? How does race, language, religion, gender, class, country of origin, and sexual orientation influence our experience of the world we live in? How do we define who we are and where we belong? How do we write about it? In this generative writing session, we will read published excerpts by contemporary writers exploring the topic of culture in America. We will look at issues of privilege and of oppression, of discrimination and celebration. We will pay special attention to literary craft and the strategies writers use to bring us into their lived experience. And we will write our own stories, developing narratives that expand our understanding of self-identity and the identity of others. 

Jennifer De Leon is the author of Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, 2020) and the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). She graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in International Relations (she spent a semester in Vietnam and another semester in France), earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of San Francisco’s Center for Teaching Excellence and Social Justice while in the Teach For America program, and later, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from UMASS-Boston. She has received several awards and residencies from organizations across the country, including: the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Hedgebrook, Macondo, VONA, Associates of the Boston Public Library, and the City of Boston. Her short story, “Home Movie,” originally published in The Briar Cliff Review, was the 2015 One City, One Story pick as part of the Boston Book Festival (30,000 copies were distributed around the city), and her stories and essays have appeared in dozens of literary magazines and anthologies, including: Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Guernica, and Best Women’s Travel Writing. De Leon is a winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. After a decade teaching in Boston Public Schools, she is now an Assistant Professor of English at Framingham State University and a faculty member in the MFA in Creative Nonfiction program at Bay Path University as well as a GrubStreet instructor and board member. Her essay collection, White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, & Writing, is the recipient of the Juniper Prize (UMass Press, 2021). Learn more about her work at: www.jenniferdeleonauthor.com

Friday, April 9 at 6:00pm to 8:00pm

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