International Women's Writing Guild

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IWWG Online Events

IWWG has exciting online offerings, including writing workshops, open mics, free writes, and more.  Check back often to find the latest events.  We hope to see you online soon!

Upcoming Events

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    • Thursday, September 22, 2022
    • Thursday, October 13, 2022
    • 4 sessions
    • via Zoom
    • 0
    Registration is closed

    Workshop Series

    Uprooted: Refugees of the Heart and Home 

     "I believe one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one's skin..."  ~Maya Angelou 


    Have you ever been forced to leave your home? As thousands flee embattled streets of Ukraine, and others escape political strife and natural disasters, our writings will explore the myriad realms of displacement - leaving home, losing home and the hope of finding home again.  Our uprootedness journey will take us through immigrant pasts,  Afghanistan evacuations, Trail of Tears,  Japanese internment, Oklahoma's Black Wall Street , Syria, Somalia and Haiti, urban renewal and eminent domain.  While we express our longing  for home and the sense of it, we acknowledge others who seek the same. Our words can bear witness to a world of 84 million displaced people, 27 million of whom are refugees. 

    Inspirations: Suheir Hamad, Bonnie Raitt, Traci Kato-Kiriyama, Usha Akela,  the Beatles,  Elie Wiesel, Jacqueline Woodson, Warsan Shire, Juan Felipe Herrera and Edwidge Dandicat.

    Dorothy Randall Gray is author of the bestseller, Soul Between the Lines (Avon/Harper Collins), a recent volume of poetry Sharing the Same Sky, and numerous anthology selections.  Her other published works include Muse Blues, Woman, Family, The Passion Collection, and A Taste of Tamarinda. A two year LA Poet-in-Residence Dorothy's  "When I Was A Tree" poetry film was awarded Official Selection by the Film & Poetry Video  Symposium. Her work is also featured in the upcoming Eve Ensler/Aja Monet production, VOICES. She is a former board member of the International Women's Writing Guild, NPR commentator, and UNESCO delegate. Her workshops have inspired thousands throughout the US, China, Iceland, and India. They have served a variety of audiences including beginning and seasoned writers, graduate and high school students, creative aging groups, and incarcerated populations. A global activist Dorothy is a Hedgebrook Fellow who has shared the dais with the Dalai Lama, performed poetry in Iceland, danced with tribal boys in India, and boogied with James Baldwin in NYC.

    • Saturday, September 24, 2022
    • Saturday, November 12, 2022
    • 8 sessions
    • via Zoom
    • 0
    Registration is closed

    Imagination and Justice: Meditation and Free-Writing Circles

    with Lisa Freedman

    Every Saturday from 10 am to 12 pm from Sept. 24 through Nov. 12 for eight sessions

    An activist’s faith can never be unquestioning … can never oversimplify, as believers and activists are often tempted or pressured to do.   Adrienne Rich

    These freewriting circles are intimate and expansive. We hold space for the complexities of our own and each other’s stories. Each time we meet, we start with a few minutes of silence followed by a short guided free-write and share to check in. Then Lisa guides us in two more rounds of meditation, free-writing, and sharing. The sharing is always optional.

    Holding the silence together is a bonding activity, and as the weeks unfold, we connect more deeply through our writings. This is how we help each other take writerly risks to reveal our experiences and imaginings. And this is how we support each other as we dare to share our voices and visions with the world.

    Meditators, writers, dreamers, and activists at every level of experience are welcome. All genres are welcome. These circles are a place to write or re-write material that dwells (or wants to dwell) in the realm where the personal is political. You may already be working on a relevant project, or you may be starting a new one. Either way, you and your stories, your writings are welcome here.

    Participants receive the prompts and background materials each week. These come from many sources, including Ada Limon, Ross Gay, adrienne maree brown, and Ilya Kaminsky.

    While this is a generative, free-writing circle, participants are often surprised by the power of the words that land on the page. Those of us in the first Imagination & Justice Circle, which took place in the fall of 2021, are delighted to have our writings (with just a little bit of editing) collected by the IWWG in the anthology, Roots/Trunk/Sky, which you can read here:  Read Anthology

    Lisa Freedman is a writer, activist, and New School Writing Program faculty member. She founded Breathe/Read/Write as a contemplative response to the chaos of the U.S. elections in 2016. BRW combines meditation and freewriting so participants clear the static and astound themselves with the flow and clarity that comes when they set their pens on the page. As a practitioner of Shambhala Buddhism, Lisa knows how inspiring it can be to share the open space of silence. And she has a knack for choosing free-write prompts that connect writers to what they need to say. Lisa leads BRW circles for The NY Zendo, the International Women’s Writing Guild, The Poetry Barn, and the New School’s Social Justice Hub, among others. Her work with BRW earned a 2021 NYFA Community Artists Corp Grant. 

    Lisa holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School. Her creative work can be found in these anthologies: Resist Much, Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the ResistanceLiterature from the First 20 Years of Art & Understanding; and Grabbing the Apple: An Anthology of New York Women Poets. Her poetry and prose also appear in Satya Magazine, POZ, Poetry Ration, and others. For more info, see the Breathe/Read/Write Eventbrite page and Lisa’s Writing Coach website.

    • Sunday, October 02, 2022
    • Sunday, October 16, 2022
    • 2 sessions
    • via Zoom

    Workshop Series

    Write a Cozy Mystery  

    Are you a fan of Bree Baker’s Seaside Café Mysteries? What about the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries by Miranda James? Do you find yourself watching British detective shows like Father Brown and Midsomer Murders? Are you completely hooked on the new Jane Seymour series Harry Wild? If so, you are a fan of a mystery subgenre called a Cozy. 

    According to book sale statistics, romance is the best-selling genre of commercial fiction, followed by the crime/mystery genres. But what is a cozy mystery?

    In this two-part workshop, you’ll write a cozy mystery with best-selling author Abby VanDiver. Abby is the author of several popular cozy mysteries, like her Ice Cream Parlor series. She has the inside scoop (pun intended) for you and will take you through all the steps to getting your cozy mystery ready for publication. Here’s what Abby will cover in the workshop:

    • What exactly is the definition of a cozy?

    • What are the essential elements of any cozy mystery story?

    • What are the must-have conventions (called tropes) that cozy mystery readers want and expect?

    • How to identify and hide your clues and create some red herrings.

    • What is your hook?

    • How to create your amateur sleuth with depth.

    • How to build your cozy world and fun touches – hobbies, occupations, businesses and more

    As a special bonus Abby will show you how to format your manuscript from the beginning in MS WORD so it is ready to be self-published if that is your choice.

    Not only are cozies fun to read, but the sleuths in these stories are almost always educated, independent women who rely on their intuition to ferret out the criminal among the denizens of the cozy world they inhabit.


    WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author, Abby L. Vandiver, who also writes as Abby Collette, has always enjoyed writing. Combining that with her love of mystery she has published using a Hybrid approach, self-published and been traditionally published. Abby has penned more than twenty books and short stories. Her cozy mystery series, the Ice Cream Parlor series, is published with Penguin Berkley. Abby has authored her first Women’s Fiction novel, Where WildPeaches Grow, under the pen name Cade Bentley for Lake Union Publishing (coming August 2022). Abby resides in South Euclid, Ohio and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and facilitating self-publishing and writing classes online with Cleveland Literary and at her local library. Learn more at

    • Monday, October 03, 2022
    • Monday, November 21, 2022
    • 8 sessions
    • via Zoom

    Writing Circle: Making Your Poems from the Inside Out

    with Marj Hahne

    Consider this: A poem is a body of words, not a body of thoughts and feelings. Yes, our thoughts and feelings and experiences may catalyze our poems, but how we choreograph our words, how we make meaning (not what our words say or mean), is what moves a poem from self-expression to literary art. How do we make such poems, textual/subtextual bodies that enact and transform experience (rather than report or describe it) so that discovery or rediscovery is possible for both writer and reader?

    We build them from the inside out, which requires relating to language primarily as material, as our artistic medium (and secondarily as meaning). For each session of this 8-session writing circle, we will examine, via the interrogation and discussion of model poems, one of multiple local or global strategies that make a poem poetry, followed by a generative or revision exercise to practice that strategy.
    This Writing Circle is for you if you’re seeking:

    • a breakthrough in, or jumpstart to, your poem-making
    • practical, immediately applicable craft strategies for drafting and revising
    • a structure for learning and practicing in digestible pieces
    • fresh distinctions for interrogating and illuminating your poems

    Marj Hahne is a freelance editor, writer, and writing teacher, and a 2015 MFA graduate from the Rainier Writing Workshop, with a concentration in poetry. She has performed and taught at over 100 venues around the country, as well as been featured on public radio and television programs. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, anthologies, art exhibits, and dance performances. Committed to making poetry hospitable for everyone, she launched a YouTube channel featuring videos in which she reads poems to dogs (BARK & BARD) and pairs poems with craft beers (MASH), craft spirits (DISTILL), and coffee (PO-JOE).


    • Friday, October 07, 2022
    • 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
    • via Zoom


    Free Write 
    Mathangi Subramanian

    Writing Sizzling Sentences

    How do the lengths and structures of our sentences influence the way our writing works? In this workshop, we'll use the work of Sandra Cisneros and exercises developed by Ursula LeGuinn to learn how to make our sentences work for us. We'll also discuss sentence-based revision strategies developed by Felicia Rose Chavez that we can use while revisiting our work. Appropriate for all levels of writing. 

    Mathangi Subramanian, Ed.D. is a South Asian novelist, essayist, and educator. Her middle grades book Dear Mrs. Naidu won the South Asia Book Award and was shortlisted for the Hindu Goodbooks prize. Her novel A People's History of Heaven was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and was longlisted for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, among other honors. Her work has appeared in Harper's Bazaar, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Washington Post, and Kweli Journal, and has been anthologized in books like Denver NoirThe Best Women's Travel Writing Vol 12, and Click! When We Knew We Were Feminists. She earned her doctorate in education at Columbia Teachers College, and has been teaching for over 20 years. 

    • Wednesday, October 12, 2022
    • Wednesday, October 19, 2022
    • 2 sessions
    • via Zoom

    Workshop Series

    "Sound, Setting, and Syntax: Recipe For a Southern Writing Revival": making your writing as savory and flavorful as Southern gumbo  

    Jambalaya and Gumbo are essentially mixtures of lots of flavors that compliment each other to make the tastiest meal-- much like the craft od writing. In this workshop, we'll use the Southern writing tradition as an example of how all the best ingredients should work together. Ever had a meal that made you feel like you'd had a spiritual experience? That hit you on a physical and soul level? Well that's what writing should do. Ignite our senses! 

    In this workshop, Khalisa will guide the class on what we need to make your writing sound, look, and feel like a revival and a soul meal. To stir the spirit, shake the soul, and awaken something that had been dormant. 

    The recipe: sound, setting, and syntax that reads like scripture. This workshop will cover Southern sounds, the importance of setting, and language/jargon/syntax will look at the Southern writers Paul Lawrence Dunbar, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and other writers.


    Khalisa Rae is an award-winning poet, educator, and journalist in Durham, NC. She is the author of the debut poetry collection, Ghost in a Black Girl's Throat (Red Hen Press 2021), and Contributing Writer for Kindred. Her essays are featured in Autostraddle, Catapult, LitHub, as well as articles in Jezebel, Blavity, B*tch Media, NBC-BLK, and others. Her poetry appears in Southern Humanities Review, Gravy, Frontier Poetry, Florida Review, Rust & Moth, PANK, HOBART, among countless others. She is the winner of the Appy Award, Vulgar Genius, Bright Wings Poetry contest, the Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, among other prizes. As a former Winter Tangerine, Frost Place and Watering Hole fellow, she is currently the EIC of Think in Ink BIPOC collective and the Writers of Color Speak/"Uncomposed" reading series. Her YA novel in verse, Unlearning Eden, is forthcoming. 

    • Sunday, October 16, 2022
    • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
    • via Zoom



    Sarah Nnenna Loveth Nwafor

    Sarah Nnenna Loveth Nwafor (They/Them)  is a queer Igbo-American Poet, Educator, and Facilitator who descends of a powerful ancestry. They believe that storytelling is magick, and they speak to practice traditions of Igbo orature. When they witness, their forebears are pleased. Sarah has been writing for a minute and is learning something new about their voice each year, but one thing they’re proud to share is that they have a chapbook with Game Over Books! When Sarah's not writing; they’re probably sitting under a tree, reading about Love, dancing with friends or cooking a bomb-ass meal like the true Taurus they are. They can be found on instagram (@sarahnwafor) or on their

    • Sunday, October 23, 2022
    • Sunday, November 27, 2022
    • 6 sessions
    • via Zoom
    • 15

    Writing Circle

    MultiGenre Creative WRITING CIRCLE

    with Carmen Bugan

    In this multi-genre writing circle, we will cover the following topics: the writer's voice across several genres; poetry; short story; essay; memoir; and the novel. Writers will write about turning points in their lives by using the conventions of each genre. We will reflect on how the subject of the story/ the content is illuminated by these changes in language patterns and emphasis. It will be a deep engagement with the oldest technical consideration of subject matter and style as we explore the writing voice. Examples from literature will show how other writers handled this question of finding the best way to tell their stories.

    Carmen Bugan, George Orwell Prize Fellow, is the author of five poetry collections, among which Lilies from America: New and Selected Poems (a PBS Special Commendation). Her memoir, Burying the Typewriter: Childhood Under the Eye of the Secret Police, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and her monograph on Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile has received wide recognition. Her book, Poetry and the Language of Oppression: Essays on Politics and Poetics (Oxford University Press, 2021), was named "an essential book for writers" by Poets & Writers; her new book of poems, Time Being, was praised by the Irish Times poetry editor for its "disciplined precision".. Bugan was a Creative Arts Fellow in Literature at Wolfson College, Oxford University, a Hawthornden Fellow, the Helen DeRoy Professor in Honors at the University of Michigan, and has also taught at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. She has a doctorate in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford. Dr Bugan is on the faculty at the Gotham Writers' Workshop in Manhattan, The Poetry School in London, the Oxford Writing Mentors, serves on the Advisory Board of the Geneva Writers' Group, and teaches creative writing worldwide.

    • Sunday, October 23, 2022
    • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
    • via Zoom



    Anya Achtenberg Sefara-Rabi

    ANYA ACHTENBERG SEFARA-RABI is an award-winning fiction writer and poet whose publications include the novel Blue Earth; novella The Stories of Devil-Girl; poetry collections The Stone of Language, and, I Know What the Small Girl Knew. Individual pieces are published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, including Gargoyle Magazine; Harvard Review; DC’s Beltway Poetry Quarterly; Tupelo Quarterly; Journal of Feminist Studies in     Religion; Malpais Review; and Poet Lore. Writing awards and distinctions have come from Southern Poetry Review; Another Chicago Magazine;Coppola’s Zoetrope: All-Story; New Letters; the Raymond Carver Story Contest; the Minnesota State Arts Board, and others. Her novel History Artist, multivocal and genre-bending,with an ensemble cast of characters centered around a young Cambodian woman born at the moment the U.S. invasion began, is 5 minutes away from completion in novelist time;and, close, too, is a poetry and unprose collection, Matadors at the Crossing. Her occasional blog Writing in Upheaval explores Anya’s organic approach to writing craft that expands creativity; counters historical amnesia; and examines how trauma and narration connect, and how history sits in us. Anya teaches two series of fiction, memoir, and multi-genre creative writing courses, Writing for Social Change: Re-Dream a Just World Workshops; and, The Disobedient Writer Workshops; consults with writers of fiction and nonfiction, prose and poetry, in English and in Spanish; and is blown away by the brilliant, original, diverse and urgent work of engaged writers, women and others, who have found their way to her, and to each other. See

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