In Press Play we converse with people that work and participate actively with NYXT’s content partners. In this opportunity we talked with Rosalind Black, a mentor for Girls Write Now - a program that matches young female writers with professional female writers and includes portfolios, readings, and publications. They are located in Midtown, and you can check out their video content at http://nyxt.nyc/gwn/
How did you start working with Girls Write Now?
My colleague recommended that I apply, so I did. I had just started an entry-level job in publishing that was light on editorial work, and Girls Write Now seemed like a perfect way to be involved with the writing and editing community while making a difference in someone's life. It has been nothing short of delightful.
How do your personal goals and passions merge with Girls Write Now's vision?
Girls Write Now envisions a world where girls and the women they become are in charge; where women embrace their own power and speak up with confidence. I fully believe that the more our girls become awakened to their agency, the more our world will be a better place. Girls Write Now goes to great lengths to make girls feel special and like their words matter, emphasizing one-on-one relationships along with organization-wide programming and resources. When my mentee reads her work--to me, but especially when there's a bit of a crowd--she lights up and can't stop smiling. That attention Girls Write Now pays to her words and her voice is priceless. I think a lot of girls (and women like myself) can feel defeated and unworthy before they even attempt something challenging like writing. Girls Write Now works hard to quiet that line of thinking, drowning it in a sea of love and unconditional support.
What are some great books by female authors that you would recommend?
There are SO MANY! Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is a heartbreaking multi-generational about a Korean family from the 1900s through the 1980s. Fates and Furies by Lauren Goff is a beautiful, raw depiction of a marriage shown from the disparate perspectives of husband and wife. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie follows the circuitous love of two Nigerian ex-pats who reunite in their homeland after years apart in which they experienced the racially tense lives of immigrants in the U.S. and the U.K. I also recently read Just Kids by Patti Smith, about her life with Robert Mapplethorpe and it blew my mind.
Other than Girls Write Now, what organizations here in NYC do you support?
I think A Fair Shake for Youth is doing great work. They facilitate middle school kids from lower-income neighborhoods working with therapy dogs to build self esteem and empathy. Inkluded and The Dramatic Question Theatre, both co-founded by my colleague and friend Michael Mejias, promote diversity in publishing and the theater world, respectively. They host fundraisers all the time, they're always a blast!
What is next for Girls Write Now and how can people get involved?
Our most recent anthology, Generation F, has just been published with the help of the fabulous team at Dutton. Buying and reading our anthology (available in Amazon!) is an extremely easy and direct way to get involved and support the community. And, who knows, you might even get inspired! Besides that, it seems to me that Girls Write Now is constantly looking to grow (sustainably) to serve as many girls as possible. The staff are always looking for ways to support the mentees and mentors, and see girls succeed in the program and after! The counseling and college application resources are so important, but besides that, Girls Write Now successfully makes writing an eye-opening experience for many.
You can get involved by applying to be a mentor, or giving a gift (https://www.girlswritenow.org/givewritenow/). I would also encourage you to attend our CHAPTERS and QWERTY events, which are our spring presentations--the girls work so hard and are so proud of what they do, it's a real pleasure to see. I go to as many as I can! Follow Girls Write Now on social media, and share our content! Or if you are a writer but can't commit to mentoring the full year, share Girls Write Now with your network or offer to give a craft talk at one of the monthly workshops.
We really appreciate your support!
You can read the privius Press Play, with Calpulli Mexican Dance Company. Stay tuned!
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