Update: Twelve Literary Arts Announces International Recipients of Barbara Smith Writer-in-Residence Program

click to enlarge Barbara Smith - Courtesy of Twelve Literary Arts
Courtesy of Twelve Literary Arts
Barbara Smith
Update: Earlier today, Twelve Literary Arts announced that Canadian poet Adebe DeRango-Adem and Pittsburgh-based writer and educator Elizabeth de Souza have been named the first international Barbara Smith Writers-in-Residence. The two writers will spend three months completing major literary works in progress.

They will each be provided a $5,000 stipend, an apartment and several opportunities to share their works-in-progress with local audiences.

Hailed as “one of Canada’s most important young Canadian poets,” DeRango-Adem is a recipient of a Toronto Poetry Prize and is the co-editor of Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out. DeRango-Adem will begin her residency in December and will work to bring her fourth collection of poetry, Vox, to completion.

“I foresee this Writer-in-Residence program as allowing me to engage with the infinite variety of the human voice, in states both free and under siege,” explains DeRango-Adem in a press release. “It is one of several goals of mine — to write directly from a place of political necessity, of a resolute need to bridge craft to climate.”

De Souza will begin her three-month residency in March 2020. During her residency period, she will work on her forthcoming book, Sleeping in the Fire: The Black Artist in America. A blend of long-form journalism, memoir and art history, Sleeping in the Fire explores the “mystifying link between art, culture and mental health particularly among artists of the African Diaspora.” Drawing from the life and work of de Souza’s late father, Sleeping in the Fire will feature stories about African-American visual artists of the past and present.

Previous Post 4/1/2019:
Earlier today, Twelve Literary Arts announced the first Northeast Ohio recipients of the Barbara Smith Writer-in-Residence program for poets and writers of color. Playwright, actress, and theater director Nina Domingue-Glover and poet Quartez Harris will both receive the first local Barbara Smith Writers-in-Residence. The two writers will spend three months completing major literary works in progress. They'll receive a $5,000 stipend and a workspace. They’ll also have several opportunities to share their works-in-progress with local audiences.

During her residency period, Domingue-Glover will finish her musical theatre adaptation of Ruby Booker and the Booker Boys by children’s book author Derrick Barnes. “I was a theatre artist who found inspiration while reading the book with my children,” explains Domingue-Glover in a press release. “There are not many works for Black youth that did not involve slavery, the police state or something historical which is also linked to life-altering trauma. [So] I immediately asked Derrick for permission to adapt the book, and he granted it.”

During the residency period, Harris, a poet and schoolteacher in the East Cleveland Public School system, will complete a poetry collection about “the plight of black and brown students in urban public schools coupled with personal accounts of teaching in an urban public school district.”

Later this year, Twelve Literary Arts will announce two national/international writers for the program.

Original Post 2/13/2019: A renowned feminist, social justice activist and LGBTQ advocate, Cleveland native Barbara Smith [pictured], the co-founder of the Combahee River Collective and the Kitchen Table Press, has published works such as Rosario Morales' This Bridge Called My Back.

As a way of acknowledging her significance, the locally based Twelve Literary Arts (TLA) has formed the Barbara Smith Writers-in-Residence Program for poets and writers of color from Northeast Ohio and beyond. Four writers (poets, playwrights, fiction writers, journalists, and essayists) will each receive three-month residencies to complete literary works that are in progress.  Organizers will select two writers from Northeast Ohio and two from outside of Ohio. The residency is one of the few of its kind to provide resources and funding to writers of color in the United States.

“Twelve Literary Arts is proud to do our part in helping poets and writers of color bring important literary works to completion,” says Daniel Gray-Kontar, Executive Artistic Director of Twelve Literary Arts, in a press release about the program. “We are also proud to do our part in making sure that Cleveland enters the conversation as one of the literary arts capitals in this nation.”

All writers will receive a $5,000 stipend and work space at Twelve Literary Arts. Visiting writers will receive lodging and transportation. Writers must have completed graduate or undergraduate studies by the time of the residency and have a literary work they are seeking to finish.

Twelve Literary Arts began taking applications today. Applications will continue to be accepted until March 8.

The two Northeast Ohio writers-in-residence positions will be announced on April 1. An independent panel of five judges from across the state of Ohio will pick the winners.