Rooted & Written, the First Tuition-Free Professional Writing Conference and Workshop for Writers of Color, Launched in the US
Rooted & Written 2022 Online Conference for Writers of Color
Website home page screenshot of the 2022 Rooted & Written Conference for Writers of Color in San Francisco, California
This year, the Writers Grotto in San Francisco, California, will host Rooted & Written, the first fully-funded, tuition-free professional writing conference for writers of color in the country.
Forty-eight Rooted & Written Fellows have been selected to attend the hybrid conference from August 14-20, 2022. All Fellows are awarded full scholarships to the entire week-long conference and workshops.
"This is an unprecedented opportunity for talented, emerging writers of color in the San Francisco Bay Area to access invaluable mentoring and professional development, and to begin building their body of work in a supportive literary community," said Rooted & Written co-founder Susan Ito. "The conference not only includes workshops for the Fellows in the craft of writing, but also discussion panels of seasoned editors and agents in the literary industry to assist these emerging writers in advancing their careers."
"Our mantra is 'Your Words Matter,'" added Rooted & Written Director JD Beltran. "The literary landscape is a blanket of white. The New York Times' 2020 study of the literary industry discovered that 95% of the most read English-language fiction books were written by white authors — and not only are the heads of the 'big five' publishing houses white, so are 85% of the people who acquire and edit books! Yet approximately 40% of Americans are people of color. How and when do our stories get told?"
The Rooted & Written 2022 Keynotes will take place virtually during the lunch hour (12 noon-1 p.m. PDT) from Monday-Thursday and will be open to the public. Keynotes will feature literary luminaries Hector Tobar, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Victoria Chang, award-winning poet, writer, editor, and critic, and author of OBIT; Natalie Baszile, award-winning author and filmmaker, and the creator of the novel Queen Sugar, which inspired the TV drama of the same name; and Ingrid Rojas Contreras, author of the just-released 2022 memoir The Man Who Could Move Clouds, named a "Most Anticipated Book of the Year" by Time, Today, Entertainment Weekly, Bustle, Ms. Magazine, the Seattle Times, Electric Literature, and more. All are invited to join the Keynotes at https://zoom.us/my/rooted.written. In addition, from Monday-Friday, Fellows will attend craft classes in Fiction, Poetry, Memoir/Essay/Creative Nonfiction, and Screenwriting, along with invaluable panels presented by agents and editors of color for professional development.
The week will conclude on Saturday, August 20, with the "Words of Color" literary reading featuring all 48 Rooted & Written Fellows. The "Words of Color" event will be open to the public via Zoom https://zoom.us/my/rooted.written.
Beltran adds, "The top priority of Rooted & Written is affording access to emerging writers of color — access to strong mentoring, to professional networks, and to the tools for building a critical community of support in the creative process. We want to equip these writers with the means to get their voices out into the world — and to provide this means at no cost. One of our past Fellows participated in our mentorship program and wrote, edited, and completed his first book with the help of our writing community, secured his first agent, and then secured not one, but two book contracts. These kinds of thrilling successes are what Rooted & Written hopes to cultivate."
Rooted & Written was first conceptualized and founded in 2019 by Salvadoran writer Roberto Lovato as a free conference by the Writers Grotto for Bay Area-based brown and black voices, and has since evolved into a full-blown writing conference and curriculum featuring internationally renowned speakers, faculty, and seasoned professionals in the literary industry.
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