Anya Achtenberg – Writing for Social change

On Thursday, Sept 20th, 2007 Tyler Tichelaar spoke with writer and advocate Anya Achtenberg about how to write with an eye for expressing the need for social change. Anya teaches Writing for Social Change: Re-Dream a Just World, a workshop for both new and experienced writers of poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction to learn effective techniques for presenting social and political viewpoints. She shared with us her philosophy and practice of how to reframe our ideas about writing. Specifically how to write about what moves us from a standpoint that educates and argues for justice without becoming a screed or manifesto. Recognizing who you are and how what you have to say makes a difference in the world
Anya Achtenberg, an award-winning fiction writer as well as poet, has seen her recently completed novel, More Than the Wind, excerpted in Harvard Review, and her novella The Stories of Devil-Girl released on CD. Her second book of poetry, The Stone of Language, was published in 2004 by West End Press (Albuquerque) after being finalist in 5 poetry competitions. Her stories have received awards from Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope: All-Story, New Letters, the Asheville Fiction Writers Workshop, the Raymond Carver Story Contest, and others. Her first book of poetry, I Know What the Small Girl Knew, was published by Holy Cow! Press (MN). She is at work on a novel centering in the experience of a Cambodian woman born of an African American father at the moment the bombing of Cambodia by U.S. forces began.

She has taught creative writing widely, including at New York University, School of Visual Arts in NY, Springfield College Boston, Hamline University, the University of Minnesota’s Split Rock Arts Program, the University of New Mexico’s Honors Program, and their summer conference in Taos; for organizations such as The International Women’s Writing Guild—at their yearly conference at Skidmore, at Scandinavia House in Manhattan, at Eleanor Roosevelt’s Cottage in Hyde Park, NY, and at the Santa Fe Women’s Club; at the Center for Contemporary Arts and for Word Harvest in Santa Fe; The Leaven Center—for the bringing together of the political and the spiritual, in Michigan; The Loft in Minnesota; and with drop-out youth, working adults, and through residencies in Minnesota and New York City public schools. She spent years writing curriculum for young people in and out of the public schools.

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