Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Newsletter of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami Dade College

Non-credit creative writing classes resume in February 2009. For more information on workshops and instructors, including costs, times and days, please visit www.flcenterlitarts or contact Claudia Forestieri at 305-237-3940 or mailto:lclaudia.forestieri at (Registration begins in January, 2009 but if there’s an aspiring writer in your life, and a creative writing workshop seems like a perfect holiday gift, call Lissette Mendez at 305-237-3298.) Here’s a sneak peek at the line-up:

Diaspora Tales: Capturing the Immigrant Experience with Liz Balmaseda. For fiction and nonfiction writers seeking to explore the common threads of the immigrant experience. Balmaseda is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who writes for The Palm Beach Post. Her first novel, Sweet Mary, will be published in July, 2009.

Discovering Contemporary Poetry with Emma Trelles. Beginning writers are introduced to chapbooks, mini-collections of poems valued by poets for their tight focus on subject, detail, and voice. Trelles, a Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry, is the author of the chapbook Little Spells. She was the editor of MiPOesias Magazine's American-Cuban issue and a series editor for the Tigertail poetry annuals.

Writing and Performance Workshop with Alexis Caputo. Capture the muted voice in this interdisciplinary workshop that fuses literary, interpretive arts (theatre), activist theatre techniques (theatre games and practices), and media images. Caputo is a Performance Artist/Poet/Writer/Activist.

Mining Your Life for Fiction with Norma Watkins. Turn the untellable truth of your life (and the lives of your mother, sister, best friends, ex-spouse, rich uncle) into fiction. Watkins has been awarded a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship. Her personal essays appear regularly in the St. Petersburg Times.

Breaking into Magazines with Claudia Forestieri. Learn strategies for starting and maintaining a career as a freelance magazine writer, including how to pitch ideas that work and finding the right markets. Forestieri, a former television news reporter, is a freelance writer whose stories appear regularly in AARP Segunda Juventud, Latina Social Affairs, Latina Style and other publications.

Writing a Novel the TV Way with Anjanette Delgado. Learn to think like TV producers and writers and get your novel written! Delgado is an Emmy award-winning writer and multimedia producer and the author of The Heartbreak Pill.

Writing Children’s Literature with Lucia Gonzalez. Learn the basics behind crafting bilingual picture books while exploring elements of first voice and cultural authenticity. The workshop features in-class writing and storyboarding exercises. Gonzalez is the author The Bossy Gallito (selected for New York Times' Top 20 All Time Favorite Children’s Books), Señor Cat’s Romance, and The Storyteller’s Candle/La velita de los cuentos.

In Spanish. Advanced Creative Writing Workshop with Chely Lima. Where does inspiration come from? What are the building blocks of creating a successful narrative? Discover the writer within in this advanced Spanish-language writing workshop with acclaimed novelist and playwright Chely Lima.

In Spanish. Creating Characters with Emilio de Armas. This workshop explores the art of bringing your characters to life. De Armas, a journalist, editor and professor of literature, is the author of several books of poetry.

Save the Date!

Writer’s Institute, May 6-9, 2009. Get ready for readings, manuscript consultations with literary agents and intensive writing workshops at the much anticipated 2009 Writer’s Institute. Notable authors expected: Steve Almond, Lynne Barrett, Pete Collins, Chitra Divakaruni, Percival Everett, Esmeralda Santiago and 2008 National Book Award winner in poetry, Mark Doty. Check the FCLA website,, for more info in 2009.

Azar Nafisi, Things I've Been Silent About (Random House), 8 p.m., January 30, 2009, Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Nafisi, the author of the international bestseller Reading Lolita in Tehran, tells her story of growing up in Iran against the background of a country’s political revolution at a time her mother served in the Iranian Parliament while her father, once the mayor of Tehran, was in jail. Things I’ve Been Silent About has been called an “unforgettable portrait of a woman, a family, and a troubled homeland” from an author considered the modern master of the memoir.

FCLA co-presents author readings with Books and Books bookstore. Details on this and future readings,


This month’s recommended readings carry on themes explored during FCLA’s fall semester: environment and nature, graphic novels and Egyptian literature.

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (St. Martin’s Press). Weisman’s tour of a post-human earth has been called a “fascinating nonfiction eco-thriller” by the Washington Post. He draws on the expertise of engineers, atmospheric scientists, zoologists and even religious leaders, to help describe what the planet would have looked like if not for humans and what it will return to when we disappear. From collapsing infrastructure to the wilding of farms, Weisman’s book reveals Earth’s tremendous capacity for self-healing. Related link:

Aya and Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet & Clement Oubrerie (Drawn and Quarterly). These two graphic novels explore an Africa of hope and miracles told through the eyes of Aya, a spirited 19-year-old from the Ivory Coast. Aya won the 2006 award for Best First Album at the Angouleme International Comic Festival. Aya of Yop City continues the story with a lively cast of characters. Related link:

The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany (Harper Perennial). Aswany explores a world of political corruption, sexual repression, religious extremism and hope in modern Egypt in this controversial novel. The stories are told through the prism of the characters who inhabit the Yacoubian Building, a once glorious and elegant Art Deco building in downtown Cairo that is slowly decaying. The book has been described as a “window on to the experience of loss and love in the Arab world.” Related link:


Children, 3-7, and a parent or guardian can create their own picture book as part of the Story Time! family literacy series presented by FCLA and ArtCenter/South Florida. The next session, featuring Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton, takes place from 2 to 4 p.m., December 13 at the Doral Branch of the Miami Public Library, 10785 NW 58th Street, Miami. To rsvp, contact Tammy Key at or 305-674-8278. Check the FCLA website, for the 2009 Story Time! schedule.


Become a book reviewer. Tell other library patrons what you like to read and why you like it on the “Reading Ratings” link of the Miami Dade Public Library’s catalogue page. Details,

Prelude to FCLA’s Spring Children’s Literature class: join the Florida Chapter of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, an organization of writers and illustrators of picture books, middle grade readers and young adult novels for children and teens. In January, the group holds its Florida Regional Conference in Miami. For more info,

Enjoyed the “Green” programs at the Miami Book Fair? Continue the quest with the Miami Beach Botanical Garden’s Literary Society, which meets monthly at the garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach. January’s book selection is Unbowed, A Memoir by Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya which has planted over 20 million trees across Kenya. Unbowed, the story of Maathai’s contributions to women’s rights in post colonial Kenya and a chronicle of her environmental activism, was an FCLA First Year In College reading selection in 2007.


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