Amherst Writers & Artists


May 2016

Amherst Writers & Artists Newsletter
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May Newsletter Photo by Maureen Buchanan Jones
Image Credit: Maureen Buchanan Jones

Dear AWA Friends,

We all have ideas about what it means to be a “real writer.” One idea is that a real writer creates perfect poems or stories straight from memory or imagination. Real writers spell perfectly, their grammar is immediately correct, and their ideas flow flawlessly. The photo on the left is of Percy Byshe Shelley’s notebook. He was a famous poet in the late 1800s. See the lines he has crossed out? See the words he has added to replace the ones he first chose? See how wonderfully messy his pages are? His notebook looks like our notebooks! He was a real writer! We are real writers too. We make messes, experiment and explore what we want to say. These pages are beautiful because they show a mind fully engaged with finding its way. Your pages are beautiful too. Real writers scribble and wander. Real writers find their way.

At AWA we are working through the rich material that makes up Amherst Writers & Artists. The Training Schedule is well under way, having just completed the session at Pendle Hill, Pennsylvania. Two more sessions are on the calendar: Chicago, Illinois in September and Albuquerque, New Mexico in November. Please join us if you would like to become certified as an AWA Workshop Leader, or pass the word if you know someone else who is a likely candidate to be trained.

The Pat Schneider Poetry Contest is underway, so send in your poems! The prize is $1,000 with publication in Peregrine. This prize as well as all submissions to Peregrine are open to the public. We look forward to receiving your work!

AWA Affiliates around the world offering workshops, retreats, readings, and manuscript reviews. Our classifieds are a window into what is available to writers everywhere.

Finally, we ask you to Save The Date! AWA will host a Fund-Raising Writing Marathon: Write Around the World on October 22nd and 23rd. We will post details as the weeks unfold. For everyone who has been trained, this is an opportunity for free advertising on the AWA website and to join the fun.
Writers everywhere join in workshops to support AWA. Imagine the world writing together!

As Spring leads us into Summer, it’s a time for retreats, traveling, visiting family and friends. Collect the stories, the images and put the on your page. Make a mess and love your notebooks.

With gratitude and respect,
Maureen Buchanan Jones
Executive Director


Training News: PA Complete, Chicago in September

Seven new workshop leaders were trained last week at Pendle Hill Retreat Center in Wallingford, PA. The trainees pictured below came from all over the East Coast and are sure to return to their local writing communities with valuable learning. We’re excited to include them in our community as AWA Affiliates!

From left to right: Julie Mariouw; Maureen Buchanan Jones, Instructor; Kate Madara; Beverly Sce; Erin Hedinger; Alexandra Kedrock; and Shelley Carey.


AWA Workshop Group Leadership Trainings in 2016

September 5 – 92015 Training in Chicago, IL

Cenacle Retreat
Chicago, IL

November 13 – 172015 Training in Loranger, LA

Bosque 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: Peregrine Launched, Sixth Annual Contest

The latest issue of Peregrine journal is available now. The issue includes prize-winning poems from the Fourth and Fifth Annual Pat Schneider Poetry Contests as well as fiction and poetry solicited during our open reading period. Huge thanks to Rachelle Parker, Milo Muise, Karen Buchinsky, and Pat Schneider for their work as editors. If you’d like to own a copy, you can order one online.

The Sixth Annual Pat Schneider Poetry Contest is open for submissions! Please consider offering your work to win the First Prize of $1000 and publication in Peregrine. This year, we are accepting poems both on- and off-line. For print submission guidelines, visit our website and to send us your work online visit our Submittable page.


Founder’s News

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


Affiliate Classifieds


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



Original Voices is a moving anthology of homeless and formerly homeless women’s writings written by the women at Mary’s Place day shelter in Seattle. Pat Schneider, in the foreword calls the book “revolutionary… daring to value voices that have been excluded.” Editor, Julie Gardner, AWA affiliate has led a weekly workshop with the women for over five years.

In The Luminous In-Between, Cynthia Leslie-Bole‘s lyrical poems invite us to experience the radiance of one woman’s evolution through marriage, motherhood, spiritual individuation, and kinship with nature. This collection celebrates our innate capacity to create, heal, and perceive what lies beyond the ordinary in ‘the luminous in-between.’


“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!


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