“Another Way to Enter an Apple”: A panel discussion

A man sits on a bench on the campus of the Pacific School of Religion is seen in Berkeley, Calif. on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)

“Another Way to Enter an Apple”: Using AWA to subvert traditional writing group methods & bring brilliant words to life.

Keynote panel conversation

July 11, 2015
Second Annual Festival of Writing
Bade Museum, Pacific School of Religion
1798 Scenic Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
Free and open to the public!

Pat Schneider’s poem, “There Is Another Way,” begins: “There is another way to enter an apple: /a worm’s way.” In this keynote panel, local AWA workshop facilitators will engage in spirited conversation about taking another way into powerful, risky writing and creative community — not via the notoriously competitive MFA workshop, nor through the red-ink of the English class, but by way of the Amherst Writers & Artists method. Panelists will describe their journeys with the AWA method, respond to questions from the moderator and one another, and take questions from the audience!

After a day of creative writing workshops, this afternoon reception, free and open to the public, will open with a virtual welcome from AWA founder and acclaimed author and playwright (and PSR Alumna) Pat Schneider, followed by a our engaged and opinionated discussion with local AWA facilitators Cary Tennis, Peggy Simmons, Mary Tuchscherer (with Chikondi Lunguzi of VoiceFlame Malawi), moderated by Jen Cross.

Panelist Bios:

Cary Tennis is best known as the writer of Salon.com‘s “Since You Asked” advice column, but he is also a fiction writer, poet, and Amherst Writers and Artists workshop leader. He started leading AWA workshops after studying with AWA founder Pat Schneider in 2007 and now leads workshops in his San Francisco home and around the world. He studied literature and journalism at the University of Miami and creative writing at San Francisco State, and is currently hard at work finishing his novel. carytennis.com

Peggy Simmons has spent over ten years in nonprofit social justice organizations designing and facilitating creative and communications workshops for children and adults of different backgrounds, including working in some of the poorest neighborhoods of New York, Paris, and London. She has worked extensively alongside and training low-literacy youth and adults in retail establishments and in human rights anti-poverty projects. Peggy is a certified Amherst Writers and Artists Writing Group Leader and a published creative writer. greenwindowswriters.org

Mary Tuchscherer, MA, is the founder and CEO of VoiceFlame, a non-profit organization that is illuminating the voices of girls and women through writing and education. Since childhood Mary knew the key to her own self-empowerment was through the authentic use of her own voice. Mary is certified as an Amherst Writers and Artists workshop facilitator and trainer and is adjunct faculty at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA. She is passionate about teaching, mentoring, visioning and sharing the stories of VoiceFlame. voiceflame.org

Chikondi Lunguzi, MA, is a goal-oriented woman with broad knowledge of marketing and sales management. She possesses excellent communication and interpersonal skills and is passionate about working with young girls and women. She is the founder and Director of El-Shaddai Preschool in Lilongwe, Malawi, Africa, a member of the VoiceFlame board of directors and coordinates development programs for Dedza East Trust in Malawi. Chikondi understands the importance of education for women and dedicates herself to strengthening reading and writing skills by encouraging girls to embrace writing as an important means to self and community empowerment. In 2014 Chikondi was trained by VoiceFlame to become an AWA writing facilitator and leads successful writing groups for girls in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Jen Cross is a writer, performer, and writing workshop facilitator; her organization, Writing Ourselves Whole, focuses primarily on sexuality writing workshops and writing with survivors of sexual trauma. Jen is the co-editor of the award-winning anthology Sex Still Spoken Here, and her creative nonfiction and short fiction appear in more than thirty anthologies and periodicals, including The Healing Art of Writing, Nobody Passes, Visible: A Femmethology, Best Sex Writing 2008, and make/shift.  writingourselveswhole.org

Learn more about the Festival of Writing here:

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