When a book goes out into the world, it’s in the middle of
its life, not the beginning and certainly not the end. Before publication came
inspiration, reflection, awareness, connection and community. While writing may
seem like a solitary act, thousands of fingerprints cover a book. Teachers,
friends, writing groups, family, mentors; agents have touched it, contributed
to the journey.
For writers-of-color, even in the midst of a crowd, the
process may be alone. They often find themselves in isolation, finding those
around them may not be able to address the qualities of their writing, can’t
have the important conversations about the work and what its life has been and
The Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) has been,
for thirteen years, nurturing over 1,000 developing writers of color, escorting
many on part of their journey toward publication. Our faculty and staff
dedicate time and energy into creating the environment and community where the
writer of color can engage with other writers, with their mentors and with
We are proud of our writers who have gone on to publish
books-- more than forty. We are behind those who are still discovering their
voices and their craft. We are grateful to our core faculty: Chris Abani, Faith
Adiele, Junot Diaz, Ruth Forman, M. Evelina Galang, Suheir Hammad, David Mura,
Willie Perdomo, Elmaz Abinader and to over 25 other distinguished faculty members who transition in and out bringing their dedication and energy to this project.
We have provided this important opportunity to as many
potential writers as possible, since our humble beginnings. Costs of producing our workshop have
skyrocketed, requests for scholarship assistance have increased and the
contributions have dwindled. Our core support staff have moved on and we find
ourselves at a crossroads.
The financial health of VONA reflects much of the rest of
the country. Without new and strong contributions, the workshops are threatened
and our ability to keep the teaching alive, the conversation going, the
community engaged will be extremely difficult.
So my question to you is: what books do you want to see
there? What authors would you like to have included? Imagine the works of writers of color not on
When you give to VONA, you help us grow the legacy of our
writers and the universes they impact through their writing, teaching, advocacy
and citizenry. Keep the workshops going by contributing anything from the price
of a single book ($25) to a more significant amount that will allow us to
develop strong and healthy and know we have a future.
What books would you like to read?
Please contribute to VONA by either sending your tax-deductible
345 Pine Street, Suite 700
San Francisco, CA 94104
Or via our online portal at Community Initiatives
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Happy New Year!
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