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"Working with Anya has forever changed my relationship to writing, pulling it from deep in my unconscious up into the light of inquiry." -- Annie Lewis

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Fiction Writer; Poet; Teacher of Creative Writing; Manuscript Consultant; Writing Coach; Founder of the Writing for Social Change: Re-Dream a Just World Workshops; Writing Workshop Leader.

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Notes on my Intermedia Arts Mentorship; a few interviews; and the Smashing Albuquerque Cultural Conference that filled this last Labor Day weekend.

September 26, 2007

Dear Friends,

I am, as they say, back in town. I will be writing a longer post within a day or so, but I want to, had to, get out some information on some things I have done recently and would love you to look at or listen to.

A quick note for people in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area of Minnesota, I will be mentoring a small group of emerging writers in fiction and creative nonfiction for Intermedia Arts’ Writer-to-Writer Adult Mentorship Program. Information and an application can be found at http://www.intermediaarts.org/Pages/Programs/literary/wtw.php

The specifics on my group, Power, Possibility, and Polish: Essential Elements of Story Craft (fiction/creative nonfiction) can be found at http://www.intermediaarts.org/Pages/Programs/literary/wtw_mentors.php#achtenberg

All I can say about this is: Hurry!

Now, for some news on some very recent interviews:

First of all, please go to Fiesta, the cultural section of Foreign Policy in Focus, a publication of the Institute for Policy Studies, to read an excerpt of an interview that Ethelbert Miller did with me on my novel-in-progress, about a Cambodian woman born at the moment the U.S. bombing of Cambodia began in 1970. Part of the discussion hits on the oldie but goodie: how does a writer work with a character of a different ethnic or racial perspective?

My interview with Foreign Policy in Focus can be accessed at http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4520

[A list of the articles in the cultural section can be found at http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/?sort=format ]

Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) is a ‘Think Tank Without Walls’ connecting the research and action of more than 600 scholars, advocates, and activists seeking to make the United States a more responsible global partner. It is a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.” There are many informative articles on urgent issues at www.fpif.org so please check that out.

Next, after racing back home through a monster storm, through flooding on Lake Street and wild thunder and lightning, hailstones and threats of tornados everywhere, with exactly 2 minutes to spare, I did an interview by phone with Authors Access (www.authorsaccess.com — “where authors get published and published authors get successful”) about my Writing For Social Change: Re-Dream a Just World Workshops.

This is the news from Authors Access: “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.”

Please give a listen to the free podcast of my interview for Authors Access at http://authorsaccess.com/archives/81 or,
RSS podcast feed:
http://authorsaccess.com/tinc?key=kBapKfgp

The 3rd interview I would like to mention is one that I did at the end of August with Elaine Baumgartel, the Morning Edition Host at KUNM Radio in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 89.9FM.

Listen to this KUNM interview at:

http://anyaachtenberg.com/anya/audio/070831_kunm.mp3

Part of what we discussed was the very amazing cultural conference in Albuquerque over the Labor Day weekend — Dreaming Big: Cultural Activism, Writing, Education, and the Arts in the New Century.

Main organizers for this conference included John Crawford of West End Press, and writers and cultural organizers including Pat Smith, Leslie Clark, and Levi Romero. Other presenters in attendance from New Mexico and throughout the country included Renny Golden, Cherrie Moraga, Mike Henson, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Danny Solis, Sara Ortiz, Margaret Randall, Bryce Milligan (Wings Press), Julia Stein, and so many others.

I was privileged to present some notes from the Otherland at a panel on Cultural Memory led by Cherrie Moraga, concerned in part with the struggle against the erasure of cultural memory in society. I also led a panel called Politics, Culture, and the New: New Forms to Meet New Challenges; did a workshop on Writing for Social Change; and participated in one of the absolutely stunning readings that proved the range in age, form and approach of writers urgent about working for justice.

For more information about the 2007 Albuquerque Cultural Conference or the conferences and related activities to come, please drop a note to John Crawford or Leslie Clark at: ABQconference2007@yahoo.com

Okay, a creative post tomorrow with a few thoughts about working with “heinous” characters.

Peace, and here’s to a very productive and powerful autumn.

Anya Achtenberg

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