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 this 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 this year, we are introducing a partnering program, the Macondo YOUNG Writers’ Workshop for local high school students. The young writers’ workshop will be 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.”
On Wednesday, July 13, all 2016 participating Macondistas, including Young Macondistas, will gather at the Guadalupe Theater for the 2016 Macondo Welcome Dinner & Fundraiser. Laurie Ann Guerrero will give the keynote address and our workshop leaders will offer a sampling of the festival of readings in the days following.
WHAT: Fundraiser/Welcome Dinner
w/ keynote address by Laurie Ann Guerrero
Where: The Historic Guadalupe Theater (1301 Guadalupe Street)
When: July 13, 2016 at 6:30pm
Price: $150-$250 per person
WHAT: Public Readings
July 14 at 7pm Alex Espinoza & Macondistas
July 15 at 7pm Tim Z. Hernandez & Macondistas
July 16 at 3pm Joe Jimenez & Young Macondistas
July 16 at 6pm Allison Hedge Coke & Macondistas
Where: The Historic Guadalupe Theater (1301 Guadalupe Street)
When: July 13-17, 2016
Price: Free with RSVP
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
THURSDAY, JULY 14 – 7PM: ALEX ESPINOZA & SELECTED MACONDISTAS
Alex Espinoza was born in Tijuana, Mexico to parents from the state of Michoacán and raised in suburban Los Angeles. In high school and afterwards, he worked a series of retail jobs, selling everything from eggs and milk to used appliances, custom furniture, rock T-shirts, and body jewelry. After graduating from the University of California-Riverside, he went on to earn an MFA from UC-Irvine’s Program in Writing. His first novel, Still Water Saints, was published by Random House in 2007 and was named a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. The book was released simultaneously in Spanish, under the title Los santos de Agua Mansa, California, translated by Lilliana Valenzuela.
His second novel, The Five Acts of Diego León, was published by Random House in March 2013. Alex’s fiction has appeared in several anthologies and journals, including Inlandia: A Literary Journey Through California’s Inland Empire, Latinos in Lotusland, Huizache, Silent Voices, The Southern California Review, and Flaunt. His essays have been published at Salon.com, in the New York Times Magazine, in The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity, in The Los Angeles Review of Books, and as part of the historic Chicano Chapbook Series. He has also reviewed books for the Los Angeles Times, the American Book Review, and NPR. His awards include a 2009 Margaret Bridgeman Fellowship in Fiction to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a 2014 Fellowship in Prose from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a 2014 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for The Five Acts of Diego León.
An active participant in Sandra Cisneros’ Macondo Workshop and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Alex serves on the board of Cal Humanities, a statewide non-profit whose aim is “to connect Californians to ideas and one another in order to understand our shared heritage and diverse cultures, inspire civic participation, and shape our future.” Alex is also deeply involved with the Puente Project, a program designed to help first-generation community college students make a successful transition to a university. A Puente student himself, he has since served as a Puente mentor and often visits Puente classes to talk with students and teachers about writing, literature, and the opportunities he gained through education. Currently, Alex is an associate professor of English at CSU-Fresno where he teaches literature and creative writing. As always, he is at work on his next book.
FRIDAY, JULY 15 – 7PM: TIM Z. HERNANDEZ & SELECTED MACONDISTAS
Tim Z. Hernandez is an award winning writer, research scholar, and performance artist, whose works have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, Public Radio International, and National Public Radio.
In 2006, his debut collection of poetry, Skin Tax (Heyday Books) received the American Book Award, and the James Duval Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation. His first novel, Breathing, In Dust (Texas Tech University Press) was awarded the 2010 Premio Aztlan Prize in fiction from the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and in 2011, the Poetry Society of America named him one of sixteen New American Poets. In 2013, he released his third collection of poetry, Natural Takeover of Small Things (University of Arizona Press), which went on to recieve the 2014 Colorado Book Award in Poetry. Also in 2013, he released an historical fiction novel, Mañana Means Heaven (University of Arizona Press), which is based on the life of Bea Franco, the real woman behind author Jack Kerouac’s “Mexican Girl” in his book On the Road. Based on Hernandez’s relentless search to locate the mysterious Bea Franco, the book is grounded in one-on-one interviews the author conducted with her before she died at the age of 92. Mañana Means Heaven garnered rave reviews from international critics, and went on to receive the 2014 International Latino Book Award. In 2014 he was also a finalist for the inaugural Split This Rock Freedom Plow Award for his work on locating the victims of the 1948 plane wreck at Los Gatos—the incident made famous by Woody Guthrie’s song of the same name. The result of this six year long investigative work is the basis for his highly anticipated forthcoming book, All They Will Call You (University of Arizona Press), and the accompanying documentary, Searching for the Plane Wreck at Los Gatos Canyon.
As a performer, Hernandez has collaborated with experimental theater troupes, Grammy Award winning composers, hip-hop, reggage, and Latin Rock artists, from universities and cultural institutions to black box theaters in New York City, from the Getty Center in Los Angeles to the migrant labor camps of central California. In 2001, he was commissioned by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to write and perform an original play on homelessness, and since 2007, he has worked with Poets & Writers Inc. and the California Center for the Book offering writing workshops to rural communities across the west coast.
Hernandez holds a B.A. in Writing & Literature from Naropa University, and an M.F.A. from Bennington College in Vermont. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas El Paso’s Bilingual M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing.
SATURDAY, JULY 16 – 3PM: JOE JIMENEZ & YOUNG MACONDISTAS
Joe Jiménez is the author of The Possibilities of Mud (Kórima 2014) and Bloodline, a young adult novel (Arte Público 2016). Jiménez is the recipient of the 2016 Letras Latinas/ Red Hen Press Poetry Prize and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. The short film “El Abuelo,” based on Jiménez’s poem, has been screened in Belgium, the Netherlands, Mexico, France, Argentina, Ireland, England, and the US. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, and is a member of the Macondo Workshops.
SATURDAY, JULY 16 – 7PM: ALLISON HEDGE COKE & SELECED MACONDISTAS
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke grew up in North Carolina, Texas, Canada, and the Great Plains region and is of Huron, Metis, French Canadian, Portuguese, English, Irish, Scot and mixed Southeastern Native heritage, poet, writer, and educator. Though she left school to work in the fields as a child, she later attended North Carolina State University, Estelle Harmon’s Actor’s Workshop, Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics Summer Writing Program, and earned an AFAW in creative writing from the Institute for American Indian Arts and an MFA from Vermont College. She is the author of the poetry chapbook Year of the Rat (1996); the full-length poetry collections Dog Road Woman (1997), Off-Season City Pipe (2005), Blood Run (2006 UK, 2007 US), and Streaming (2014); and the memoir Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer (2004, 2014).
Streaming comes with a full album recorded with her band Rd Klā. One inclusion was selected by Motion Poems and Pixel Farms to be made into an animated film and several of the poems in Streaming also influenced the film she is currently in-production directing, Red Dust.
Hedge Coke grew up listening to her father’s traditional stories. In Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer, she explores her Indigenous heritage and the experience of growing up with a schizophrenic mother, displacement, as well as her struggles in youth with alcoholism and abuse and her early life as a laborer in fields, factories, and on waters. In Blood Run, a verse play, Hedge Coke’s persona poems advocate the need to protect the Indigenous North American mound city Blood Run (she successfully lobbied for and the state park opened in 2013). The book, and its prosody, are mathematically encoded to match the Indigenous built site as noted in the Don D. Walker Award winning article written by Chadwick Allen, American Literature, Duke University, 2010.
Hedge Coke has worked as a mentor and teacher with Native Americans—on reservations, in urban areas, in juvenile facilities, mental institutions, and in prisons—and several other at-risk youth communities. She founded and directed a Y-Writers Voice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she created youth and labor outreach programs, and has worked as an artist in residence for numerous programs in the state and nationwide. She was named Mentor of the Year in 2001 by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers for her work in literary arts mentorship for incarcerated youth and won the Sioux Falls Mayor’s Award for Literary Excellence in 2003.
Hedge Coke has also edited numerous anthologies, including two of student writing: Coming to Life, poems for peace in response to 9-11 (2002) and They Wanted Children (2003). She has also edited It’s Not Quiet Anymore (1992); Voices of Thunder (1993); To Topos (2007); Effigies (2009), a collection of work by Inupiat and Hawaiian Native poets; Sing: Poetry From the Indigenous Americas (2011), named a Best Book of 2011 by National Books Critics Circle’s Critical Mass; and Effigies II (2014).
Dog Road Woman won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. She is a King-Chavez-Parks awardee, an IPPY Medalist, a Pen Southwest Book Award winner, and has won several state grant and community awards, twice received the Writer of the Year award for Poetry and twice received the Editor of the Year Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers who most recently awarded her their highest honor, Wordcrafter of the Year, 2015. In 2015 she was also awarded the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera selected her for a Witter Bynner fellowship in 2016. Hedge Coke held an NEH appointment at Hartwick College in 2004, and was a Reynolds Chair of Poetry and writing at the University of Nebraska where she co-directed the cohort MFA program and directed the Reynolds Series. She has taught for Naropa University, the University of California, Riverside, Northern Michigan University, was Visiting Artist at the University of Central Oklahoma, and served as Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa. She has directed the Literary Sandhill Cranefest Retreat since 2007, is a founding faculty member of the VCFA MFA in Writing and Publishing, and also currently teaches for the Red Earth MFA in Oklahoma City.