[Flushing, NY, May 19, 2022]
This spring, a group of eight writers gathered at the Lewis Latimer House Museum to explore the topics of race and immigration in a memoir writing workshop series taught by writer Abeer Hoque. “I’ve been teaching this workshop (Memoir and Autobiographical Writing: Race & Immigration) since 2019. One of my favorite things about it, and I have many, is how it showcases the incredible and diverse borough that Queens is. Our current cohort hails from at least eight countries around the world,” said Hoque,” I think personal stories are one way to change the world, the act of witness through art. It’s a privilege and a gift to hear their stories and nurture their writing.”
Ahalia Persaud was one of the eight participants selected to receive a full scholarship from Lewis Latimer House Museum to take part in the workshop series. “During the pandemic, I felt like I missed out on community, but with this opportunity, I was able to join an intimate group of writers of color who have a lot to say about our experiences related to immigration,” explained Persaud, “The most rewarding aspect of this workshop was reading stories so similar to mine that unfortunately are not in the dominant media.”
Participant Marlena Matute said she gained more confidence in her writing style, thanks to the feedback received from the rest of the class and the instructor. “From my first draft to the latest, there is clear growth to be seen and I am so proud of that! I can’t wait to see how far I can go now with everything that I’ve learned.”
Many of the workshop participants hope to publish their finished pieces. “I wrote this for a Queens audience and I hope that it can live somewhere that caters to people from the borough,” said Roxanne L. Scott “I think this approach is one of many ways to contribute to the literary and artistic landscape of Queens.”
The Lewis Latimer House Museum will celebrate the culmination of the workshop series with readings by the participants, and they invite the public to attend and hear the incredible stories these talented writers have to tell. The event will be facilitated by Hoque and will be held Saturday June 4, 2022 from 2:30pm-4:30pm at the Lewis Latimer House Museum, 34-41 137th St, Flushing, NY 11354. Free tickets are available to the public at https://public-memoir-reading.eventbrite.com
The Writing on Race & Immigration Series is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
For more information, please visit: https://www.lewislatimerhouse.org/events/public-reading
For photos and additional quotes, please visit: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1y1gcOu6Atii-EVrb1dVhfpL_IshTgS5U?usp=sharing
About the Instructor:
Abeer Hoque is a Nigerian-born Bangladeshi American writer and photographer. Her books include a travel photography and poetry monograph (The Long Way Home, 2013), a linked collection of stories, poems, and photographs (The Lovers and the Leavers, 2015), and a memoir (Olive Witch, 2017). She has won fellowships from the NEA, Queens Council on the Arts, NYFA, and the Fulbright Foundation, and holds BS and MA degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and an MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco. See more at olivewitch.com.
About Lewis Latimer House Museum:
A New York City Landmark, the historic house of African American inventor, self-taught Renaissance man, and son of fugitive slaves Lewis H. Latimer, the Lewis Latimer House Museum calls attention to Latimer’s and other African Americans’ contributions to science, technology, arts, poetry, and American life, through innovative tours, exhibits, public and educational programs in the above areas. See more at https://www.lewislatimerhouse.org/about