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 & Light, Love Warps the Mind a Little, Deep in the Shade of Paradise, Requiem, Mass., and No Regrets, Coyote), two short story collections (The Way That Water Enters Stone and Johnny Too Bad), and two books on writing (The Lie That Tells a Truth: a Guide to Writing Fiction and Is Life Like This?: a Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months). He teaches creative writing at Florida International University. Jan Becker is an MFA candidate at Florida International University. Her writing has appeared in Sliver of Stone, The Florida Book Review, The Circus Book, Brevity Poetry Review, and Emerge. She is a regular contributor to Selfies in Ink, an online writing and art project.
Lip Service sent out a call for submissions, which I (excitedly) shared with you. South Florida, what’s your Story? (If you’re still trying to figure it out, remember: the deadline is April 17).Lip Service is a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation award-winning organization and a Miami institution. Lip Service is created by Andrea Askowitz and Esther Martinez-Kenniff. The next show is being produced by Andrea Askowitz, Nicholas Garnett and an embassy of volunteers.
The Whimsical Project celebrated emerging Miami-writer Tatiana Garcia who wrote a hilarious story titled Single. Taken. You should really check it out!
Within the Haitian community, the General Consulate of the Republic of Haiti in Miami honored 19 women for their contribution to Haitian Culture in the Diaspora. I was proud to write about the “Beacon of Hope and Achievement Award” that I received alongside 18 other phenomenal women. In an email, Consul Guy François Jr. wrote, “We believe it is imperative to shine a light on those who share their talents and skills for the betterment of our people. We hope you found the event stimulating and empowering.”
Among my achievements, the Master of Ceremony at the Caribbean Marketplace mentioned the script I wrote in Creole for an educational film about diabetes: “You’ve Got This!” (the release should take place in April. I guess we’ll find out whether I’m any good at acting too!). In my acceptance speech, I thanked God, but also the Haitian muses and loas of creativity.
The Whimsical Project didn’t stay in Miami. We interviewed the talented Phoebe Rusch who’s launched a fundraising campaign so she can spend May-September in Port-au-Prince doing research for her novel The Hotel Trianon, which is loosely based off of the history of the Hotel Oloffson. We also introduced you to author Suze Baron who published a very serious (and gripping) tale: Take Vladimir, He’s Good Company. Suze Baron is Haitian-American. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.
And now, here comes April, my birthday month, with O, Miami and all its goodies!
I want to end this post with some special words to author Fabienne Sylvia Josaphat who’s celebrating her birthday today. She’s my godsister, and a very talented writer. She’s also a new mother!
Fabienne, je t’aime beaucoup.