March 2016

Amherst Writers & Artists Newsletter
Browsing the Storefacebooktwitter

View Newsletters Online

March Newsletter Photo by Maureen Buchanan Jones
Image Credit: Maureen Buchanan Jones

Dear AWA Friends,

In response to writing prompts, our inner worlds are like an out-of-the-way shop filled with strange, inviting objects. But which item to choose? Which to explore? Which to invest in and claim as ours? We can spend time roaming the aisles, turning over this memory, examining that spark of an idea. But at what point do we begin to write? The trick is to take hold of the first image or phrase that catches us. It doesn’t matter how odd, how ordinary, how repeated, or how absurd; the idea appeared for a reason. Write it and trust that it will lead you to the next thing on the shelf and the next thing, until you arrive at what you most need to say. Our interior lives are like the best kind of shop: we can visit them over and over because they never close, and we won’t exhaust our memory or imagination. We get to take it all home.

May 3, 2016 is Valley Gives day! Valley Gives 2016 is based on the idea that “Together We Are Stronger.” This is a day in which local non-profits collectively ask for on-line donations. This is the third year that AWA has participated. We are proud to lend our reputation and inspiration to this exciting day. Valley Gives is accessible to all donors, not just those in Western Massachusetts. Every donation you make allows AWA to become eligible for hundreds of prize grants from the Community Foundation.

Peregrine submissions open March 31 – May 31, 2016. Peregrine accepts on-line poetry and prose submissions only and is open to everyone, not just AWA-trained workshop leaders or those who write in workshops led by AWA-trained leaders. Please send us your work! And spread the word to other writers, including those who have never been published.

The Sixth Annual Pat Schneider Poetry Contest will open May 1st – July 1st, 2016. This contest is also open to everyone with an $18.00 fee that includes up to 3 poems. The winner receives $1000 and publication in Peregrine. For full details, please visit the guidelines page on our website.

The AWA Training Program for 2016 is underway with a session in Malibu happening March 28 – April 1, followed by sessions in Wallingford, PA; Chicago, IL; and Albuquerque, NM. Please see below for more information and for complete details visit our website.

Don’t hesitate to accept what your internal storehouse offers you. It is varied and inexhaustible. Spend your riches on the page and come back for more.

With gratitude and respect,
Maureen Buchanan Jones
Executive Director


Training News: Accepting Applications

AWA Workshop Group Leadership Trainings in 2016

2016 Training in Malibu, CA

March 28 – April 1

Serra Retreat Center Malibu, CA

2016 Training in Philadelphia, PA

May 21 – 25

Pendle Hill Retreat Center Wallingford, PA

2016 Training in Chicago, IL

September 5 – 9

Cenacle Retreat Center Chicago, IL

2016 Training in Albuquerque, NM

November 15 – 17

Bosque Retreat Center Albuquerque, NM

Complete your AWA certification this year! We welcome you to apply online or print the 2016 Application and send it with a $300 deposit to: Amherst Writers & Artists, PO Box 1076, Amherst, MA 01004

Reach out with questions to We look forward to hearing from you!



Press News

AWA Press is pleased to announce that Travel by Night: Poems and Stories by Peggy Reber is available online at Amazon’s CreateSpace. This volume of creative work is not to be missed!

You can go directly to CreateSpace to purchase the book.


Founder’s News

For books, Pat’s blog, and a calendar of events, please visit:


Affiliate Classifieds


Join Gold Boat Journeys’ Bloomsday Meet Up in Dublin, Ireland. You don’t have to have read Ulysses or even be familiar with James Joyce to love this cultural romp in (& around) one of the world’s great cities of literature. Contact AWA Affiliate Ellen Girardeau Kempler now for reservations.

You’re invited to join AWA facilitator Lisa Colburn and SoulCollage® facilitator Karen Godfrey for a restorative weekend retreat in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. “Expressing Your Inner Wise Woman: A Writing & SoulCollage® Journey” will be held April 22-24, 2016, at Mountain Valley Retreat Center in Harrisonburg, VA. No experience with writing or SoulCollage® necessary. Come join the fun!

IRELAND – Summer 2016 – Inkslingers offers a writing workshop (with restorative yoga) in Ireland, August 6-14. Let the beauty and history of Ireland seep into your consciousness and writing. Nine days, eight nights, four-star hotels, fabulous experiences. Led by Sue Reynolds and two other skilled AWA facilitators. More at


“Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level. . . . A writer is someone who writes.”

–Pat Schneider


A Gift of Inspiration

Who is your favorite AWA writer? Someone in your workshop? Someone whose voice stays with you? Show appreciation to your favorite writer by donating $20 to AWA in her or his name. They will receive a card informing them of your donation and the knowledge that AWA continues its mission around the world.

To date, dozens of AWA writers have received this note of praise for their work. Choose your writer and let them know that they inspire you!