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Saturday, March 14 • 3:45pm - 5:00pm
VONA Workshop reading

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The VONA/Voices Writing Workshop, founded by Elmaz Abinader, Junot Díaz, Victor 
Díaz, and Diem Jones in 1999, is the only workshop in the U.S. dedicated to the 
aesthetics of writers of color. In 2014, Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela of Thread Makes 
Blanket Press published Dismantle: An Anthology of Writing from the VONA/Voices 
Writing Workshop. Dismantle brings together voices of writers of color from VONA 
workshops across the years, alumni and faculty. Join us as we read writing from the 
anthology, and as we talk about the important role of Thread Makes Blanket Press in 

The first ever VONA/Voices anthology, Dismantle, includes creative work from 
established and new authors who have either taught at VONA, or are alumni of the 
program. In spring 2014 the New York Times re-published a version of Junot Díaz’s 
introduction in Dismantle in which he discusses his experience in his predominantly 
White MFA program. While many of us have been having conversations about the 
overwhelming Whiteness of MFA programs (faculty, students, curriculum), Díaz’s essay 
encouraged a larger conversation about the overall lack of racial and ethnic diversity in 
these programs. Dismantle’s importance in bringing together the voices of writers of 
color, and in highlighting the work of VONA/Voices of Our Nation and Thread Makes 
Blanket Press cannot be underestimated.


Rae Paris

Rae Paris’s fiction and poetry appear or are forthcoming in Guernica, What Matters, Dismantle (VONA), So to Speak, Indiana Review, and elsewhere. Her work has been supported by the NEA, the Hambidge Center, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Hedgebrook, and Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA). She’s Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Michigan State University. |


Tara Betts

Tara Betts (www.tarabetts.net) is the author of Arc & Hue and the libretto THE GREATEST!: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali. Tara recently received her Ph.D in English at SUNY-Binghamton University. Her work has appeared in Essence, Obsidian, HBO's Def Poetry Jam, and Jessica Care Moore's SPOKEN.
avatar for Ching-In Chen

Ching-In Chen

Ching-In Chen is author of The Heart's Traffic and co-editor of The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities. A Kundiman, Lambda and Callaloo Fellow, they are part of Macondo and Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation writing communities, and was a participant in Sharon Bridgforth's Theatrical Jazz Institute. They have been awarded fellowships and residencies from Soul Mountain Retreat... Read More →
avatar for Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela

Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela

and Thread Makes Blanket Press, Community College of Philadelphia
*Professor at the Community College of Philadelphia, which includes teaching college courses in Philadelphia jails and organizing to support undocumented students | *Founder of Thread Makes Blanket press which recently released Dismantle, the VONA anthology | *Fiction Editor at APIARY magazine | *Organizer of Still Untitled, a quarterly literary salon in West Philadelphia | *Member of the Rogue Poetry Workshop | *VONA alum... Read More →
avatar for Kenji Liu

Kenji Liu

Poet, Essayist, Graphic Designer
Kenji C. Liu's writing appears in The Los Angeles Review, Asian American Literary Review, Barrow Street Journal, CURA, RHINO Poetry, Split This Rock's poem of the week series, and the anthologies Dismantle (Thread Makes Blanket Press) and Orangelandia (Inlandia Institute). Liu's poetry chapbook You Left Without Your Shoes (Finishing Line Press) was nominated for a 2009 California Book Award. A recipient of fellowships from VONA/Voices, Djerassi... Read More →

Saturday March 14, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm
UC 333

Attendees (10)