In 2013, the Macondo Writers’ Workshop was gifted to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center to ensure its continuation and service to writers. Twenty years after it began at the kitchen table of award-winning writer, Sandra Cisneros, poet laureate of Texas and native San Antonian, Laurie Ann Guerrero, was chosen to lead Macondo into its next phase.
In its twenty-one years, the Macondo Writers’ Workshop has grown to serve hundreds of writers, or “Macondistas,” from all over the country. The workshop has been hosted at Our Lady of the Lake University, Trinity University, the Esperanza Peach & Justice Center, and has now found its home at the historic Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.
Through a rigorous application process aimed at professional writers of all genres, the mission of the five-day workshop is to support and unite writers who view their work and talents as part of a larger task of community-building and non-violent social change. While Latino/a writers have traditionally made up the majority of the Macondistas, its goal is to cultivate community among writers who identify with any group that has been historically marginalized—people of color, women, LGBTQ, etc.—and the multitude of intersections. And so, the workshop is open to any writer whose work, both on and off the page, parallels its mission. We are proud to say that last year’s number of applicants rose over 1000% from last year; the new 2016 Macondistas range from champion spoken-word artists to NEA award winners to organizers of other national writing festivals and conferences and are coming to us from all over the country and Central America. We are a diverse group, representing various genres & experiences, and we are very excited about the work ahead.
Also last year, we introduced a partnering program, the Macondo YOUNG Writers’ Workshop for local high school students. The young writers’ workshop was held concurrently alongside its parent program in order to provide local young writers access to mentors who can provide guidance and experience writing within and without borders.
The Macondo YOUNG Writers’ Workshop is a free workshop that will be led by local Macondistas who are donating their time in support of the initiative. Of the workshop, Guerrero says the following:
“I have modeled the Macondo Young Writers’ Workshop after its parent workshop and a week-long young writers’ workshop I attended as a high school student at Duke University. At 16, through the effort of family, community members, educators, and local council people, we raised the $1000 tuition plus airfare so that I could attend. The experience was both humbling and life changing. In my 30 years of writing, I credit this experience with giving me the courage to move into spaces I may not feel totally welcomed, the ability to be limitless in my dreaming, and to affirm that my voice is, indeed, an important one. I have always known that I wanted to create something similar for the young writers in my city who might not otherwise have the chance I had. Here, I hope to grow the kind of space that offers limitlessness, affirmation, empowerment for young writers who are collecting and naming themselves and our history.”
SPECIAL THANKS to the following organizations and individuals who helped make the 2016 Macondo Writers’ Workshop possible:
Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation
Southwest School of Arts
Allison Hedge Coke
Diana Marie Delgado
Juan Luis Guzman
Tim Z. Hernandez
Norma Valdez Jimenez
Jorge H. Martin
Celeste Guzman Mendoza
Carmen Gimenez Smith