Miami, mars s’en va! (A recap)

A few years ago, Natalia Maldonado pointed out on The Writer’s Digest, “It’s hard to believe that [Miami], a city associated with oily bronze bodies, million-dollar yachts and a sleepless club scene would have any place for bookworms and writers.” Later, Poets and Writers described Miami as “a city in the throes of cultural enlightenment.” I agree. And I believe that writing workshops help foster the vitality of Miami’s literary community. I was happy to announce some interesting March events, with writers such as John Dufresne (How to Write a Novel in Six Months) and Jan Becker (Boot Camp for Queer Writers). John Dufresne is the author of five novels (Louisiana Power &…

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19 Women Honored for their contribution to Haitian Culture

On Wednesday, March 25th, 2015, the Consulate General of the Republic of Haiti in Miami hosted its 3rd Annual International Women’s Month Ceremony. This year, the Consulate honored 19 women who contributed to the Haitian Culture in South Florida. They were recognized as “Beacons of Hope and Achievement.” “Each one of the award winners make significant contributions in their respective fields of action, such as art, music, literature, public service, contribution to education, and journalism,” points out Reynold Beauplan, on Sawpanse. Congratulations to all these phenomenal women! 1.  Emeline Alexis Schulz; 2. Alexandra Barbot ; 3. Danielle Barthelemy-Jacques 4. Angie Bell ; 5. Naomie Labaty ; 6. Carole Demesmin ; 7. Sandy Dorsainvil 8. Esther Fortuné ; 9.…

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Suze Baron: Take Vladimir, He’s Good Company

It is biting cold in front of the Family Court.

 A year ago, if you had told me that I would be standing here today, about to petition guardianship for a seven-year old, I would have said, “You’re nuts.” Life is difficult as it is, with my eighty-nine-year-old Mama twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. She forgets where she goes to the bathroom, forgets where she lives, even forgets who I am. Besides Mama, I have my teenagers, Edena and Jimmie, and two dogs. At fifty-two, I yearn to be free. I yearn to be free. I yearn to return to work, to writing classes, to…

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Stories for a Healthier World: You’ve Got This!

Edwidge Danticat, who has been honored with the MacArthur Genius Award and other awards for her writing and work on behalf of Haiti, once said, “We tell stories to live, to connect with one another and to build community.” In Haiti, storytelling is a vital educational tool. In the 1990’s, when I was growing up in Port-au-Prince, the voice of Monique “Fannie” Souvenir, and that of fellow actor “Ti Joe” were very familiar ones on radio waves. Kat, from Kreyolicious, points out that “the two [actors] had their own television show on Television National, in which they educated viewers on everything from drunk driving to reckless behavior.” I often think…

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M.J. Fievre to receive “Beacon of Hope and Achievement Award”

On behalf of the Consulate General of the Republic of Haiti in Miami, Consul Guy François Jr. wrote me a letter to let me know that I have been chosen as one of the Honorees for this year’s “Beacon of Hope and Achievement Award.” I will be recognized on Wednesday March 25th, at the 2015 International Women’s Month Ceremony, in Little Haiti. Awesomeness! The following is the biography that guided the selection process. It shows (in Mr. François’s words) my “contribution to Cultural Excellence in the Haitian Diaspora.” Born in Port-au-Prince, Jessica (M.J.) Fievre self-published her first mystery novel, Le Feu de la Vengeance, at the age of sixteen. She was nineteen years old…

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Single. Taken.

(A story by Tatiana Garcia) You might roll your eyes when people say they’re happy just because they’re in a relationship. Many are liars, but not me: I really don’t miss being single. Before Justin “got” me, I was a mess. I showered only when I could take in my own odor (after all, since I work indoors, I didn’t see the point of wasting electricity, water, soap, and especially 15 minutes of my time). Now, I shower twice a day: I happily waste hot and cold water, my skin as smooth as a baby’s buttocks. I didn’t use to wear make-up, even when the dark circles around…

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Miami Beach: Boot Camp for Queer Writers with Jan Becker

On March 28th and 29th, join writer Jan Becker‘s bootcamp for queer writers, an intensive prompt-driven poetry and flash non-fiction workshop. (The term boot camp may sound intimidating, but the only real order is, “permission to write freely.”) This two-day workshop is designed to free writers from their individual closets and get their words down on the page. The fast-paced writing prompts will help disengage writers from the nagging, negative voice that plagues and prevents us from accessing what poet Maria Mazziotti-Gillan calls “the wise person who lives within our bellies.” Workshop participants will need to provide their own writing instruments and paper. Join us Sunday after the workshop at the…

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Haiti, Phoebe, and the Oloffson: At the Crossroad of Race and Nationality and Class: An Interview

Phoebe Rusch: Thank you for featuring me, MJ. It’s an honor. MJ Fievre: You’re welcome, Phoebe. I’m happy to help promote your fundraising campaign. Do you want to say a little about that? Phoebe: Yes! I’m trying to raise money to spend May-September in Port-au-Prince doing research for my novel The Hotel Trianon, which is loosely based off of the history of the Hotel Oloffson. I’m using a crowd-funding platform called Hatchfund, similar to Kickstarter. I’d like to rent a studio apartment at Kay Bartoli in Pacot, close to the Oloffson, and be able to get around safely (i.e. drivers and moto-taxis.) The cost of transportation adds up…

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South Florida, what’s your story? (We want you to send it to us!)

Back in November, in honor of its eight-year-anniversary, Lip Service launched Badass, Lip Service: True Stories, the Double Album (Lominy Books, 2014) edited by Andrea Askowitz.  This anthology is acollection of some of the best of Lip Service’s first eight years. Lip Service is a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation award-winning organization and a Miami institution. Badass recentry got a great review in Florida Book Review.  Bonnie Losak wrote, “The stories in Badass are effective, evocative, and accessible. They cover a wide array of subjects, ranging from an attempt to use Santeria to affect the outcome of a criminal trial in Miami to the rape of a heroin addict in New York City.”…

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How to Write a Novel in Six Months: A Workshop in Miami

From Gulf Stream Magazine: Do you have a great story to tell and need to get it on the page as soon as possible? Have you already started writing a novel and can’t see it through to the end? If so, award-winning author John Dufresne has the method that will take you from the first page to the last in less than a year. At the workshop “Writing A Novel in 6 Months,” you’ll learn different writing exercises, how to plan your plots, set goals for yourself, and many other tips that will help you finish the book you’ve always wanted to write. Saturday March 21st from 9:00am…

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Adieu, February! (A recap)

Adieu, February! Together, we paid A Tribute to Maya Angelou and Ruby Dee, “not because they are gone but because their work and words will live on forever.” (Suze Guillaume) Fans of both flash fiction and the noir genre welcomed A Father First, a gripping tale by Hector Duarte Jr. An Angel on the Other Side of the Border, a story by Marylin Laurent, brought us a moving and authentic perspective on the deep-rooted tensions between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Jerry Ambroise said it best: “I thought [this story] to be as nuanced as reality is. The truth is never black or white. It’s those who see…

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