Wild Seeds Writers Retreat
for Writers of Color
[Formerly the North Country Institute and Retreat for Writers of Color]
Let Your Creativity Flow!
Retreat Dates: Tues. July 16, 2019 – Sat. July 20, 2019
Genres: Fiction and Poetry
The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, and the English Department at SUNY, Plattsburgh, presents the Wild Seeds Writers Retreat at the Valcour Inn and Boathouse on the picturesque western shore of Lake Champlain.
Application Deadline for this Retreat: May 15, 2019
Selected Fellows will be notified by June 15, 2019.
If you do not see your questions answered on this page, please contact the Center for Black Literature at 718-804-8883 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that all dates and instructors are subject to change.
Applicants’ submission materials must include:
- A cover letter indicating which genre you are submitting for FICTION or POETRY. Please include your name, telephone number, mailing address, and e-mail address.
- Expressing reasons for wanting to participate.
- How you would benefit from this experience?
- A brief description of the project you are presently working on, if applicable.
- Background information on you as a writer.
- A paginated writing sample. [See guidelines below. Submissions not in adherence to the parameters may be subject to disqualification.]
- Two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with their writing.
- A nonrefundable application fee of $25.
Highly Competitive – 6 slots available per workshop.
Tuition: $500 [inclusive of room and meals.]
Download Paper Application:
Applications will be reviewed as received until all spaces have been filled for each scheduled retreat. Retreats are held in the summer and winter. Scholarships are made available based on sponsorship.
Tuition fees vary based on location. Tuition fees include lodging based on double occupancy and meals at the Valcour Educational Conference Center. Please see the hotel and travel options if traveling from out of town for the Medgar Evers College location. To Plattsburgh, visit www.amtrak.com for schedules for trains (for example, trains leave NY Penn Station to Plattsburgh, N.Y. in the AM).
Poetry Faculty Workshop Leader
Patricia Spears Jones is an award-wining poet, writer, playwright, cultural critic, and winner of the 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers. She is the author of A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems (White Pine Press, 2015), which was a finalist for the PSA’s William Carlos Williams Prize and the Paterson Poetry Prize, and a featured Pushcart Prize winning poem. She has 10 additional publications: poetry books, chapbooks and featured in anthologies such as Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin; BAX: Best American Experimental Writing, 2016: 2017 Pushcart Prize XLI, Best of Small Presses; Truth to Power: Writers Respond to The Rhetoric of Hate and Fear; and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. Recent publications include The New Yorker, The Killens Review of Arts & Letters, and The Ocean State Review. She coedited Ordinary Women: An Anthology of New York City Women, one of the first multiracial, multiethnic women’s anthologies in 1978 and she edited THINK: Poems for Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Day Hat in 2009. She has written extensively on the visual arts, theater, film, and music. She was commissioned by Mabou Mines for two music theater collaborations, one with Carter Burwell, the second with Lisa Gutkin. She has performed with Jason Hwang, Luke Stewart and other improvisational musicians. She has led workshops at Poets House, the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church and for Brooklyn Poets and Cave Canem. In summer 2019, she teaches at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill and Wild Seeds Writers Institute organized by the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College.
She has received grants and awards from NYSCA, NEA, the Foundation for Contemporary Art, and the BAU Institute for residency at Camargo Foundation in France. She has been a fellow at Robert Rauschenberg Residency and at VCCA, Yaddo, and the Millay Colony. She is also a recipient of a Goethe Institute grant for travel in Germany in 1989 and curated “Words Sunday” at Calabar Imports, Bed-Stuy featuring Brooklyn-based poets and artists including Janice Lowe, Nicole Peyrafitte, Gregory Pardlo, Alexis DeVeaux, Nicole Hefner Callihan, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Ras Moshe Burnett, Tai Allen, and Michael Broder. She is a Black Earth Institute senior fellow emeritus and founder/organizer of the American Poets Congress. www.psjones.com
Fiction Faculty Workshop Leader
Tony Medina is a two-time winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People (DeShawn Days and I and I, Bob Marley) and the In the Margins Book Award (I Am Alfonso Jones and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy), as well as the recipient of The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Honor Award (Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy) and a Skipping Stones Honor Award (I Am Alfonso Jones). Medina’s poetry memoir My Old Man Was Always On the Lam and his graphic novel I Am Alfonso Jones were finalists for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Excellence in Graphic Literature Award, respectively. The first Professor of Creative Writing at Howard University, Medina earned a BA from Baruch College (CUNY) and an MA and PhD from Binghamton University (SUNY) where he received the Distinguished Dissertation Award, and is the author/editor of 23 books for adults and young readers. A Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, his most recent books are the police brutality anthology, Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky, and the forthcoming poetry collections My Skin Is a Target Study, Serious Trouble, and Death, with Occasional Smiling.
Medina, whose poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in more than 100 journals and anthologies, has presented his work extensively throughout the United States as well as Germany, France, Poland, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the Netherlands. His most recent television and radio appearances were on the philanthropic reality show GIVE (NBC), Good Day Washington (CBS), and Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live. An advisory editor for Nikki Giovanni’s anthology Hip Hop Speaks to Children, Medina’s recent fiction, poetry and nonfiction can be found in the anthologies We, Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices; Furious Flower: Seeding the Future; Revisiting the Elegy in the Black Lives Matter Era; and Ishmael Reed’s Black Hollywood Unchained. Born and raised in the Bronx and a longtime resident of Harlem, Medina is a veteran of the United States Army and was recently selected by the Mayor of the District of Columbia to serve as a commissioner to appoint the Poet Laureate of Washington, D.C. Medina is affiliated with the nonprofit literacy and literary organizations and institutions Behind the Book, Say It Loud, the Highlights Foundation, PEN American, the Caribbean Cultural Center in Harlem, Medgar Evers College’s The Center for Black Literature, the Furious Flower Poetry Center, and the American Poetry Museum in Washington, D.C.
Please paginate all submissions. Upon selection, be prepared to work on a particular project.
Submissions not in adherence to the parameters may be subject to disqualification. DO NOT SUBMIT FULL MANUSCRIPTS.
Poetry: Up to five (5) poems.
Fiction: Submit one (1) chapter of the book you intend to work on or one (1) short story.
Please submit to only one category at a time: Fiction OR Poetry.
Submit electronically to:
e-mail email@example.com / Cc: CReynolds@mec.cuny.edu with “Wild Seeds Submission- YOUR NAME- Genre” in your subject heading.
Hard copies – mail to:
Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY
1650 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11225
RE: Wild Seeds Retreat
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can students apply? Students at the upper level of high school and above may apply. If in high school, they should be exceptional in the genre of writing for which they are submitting an application.
- Do I have to be a professional writer? Anyone with an interest to hone their craft may apply.
- How are Fellows selected? Fellows are selected by a committee that includes writing instructors, writers and other qualified individuals for the genre. All recommendations for potential writing Fellows and sample writings are reviewed.
- Do I have to submit my references with the application? No. References may be submitted separately via mail or Internet to firstname.lastname@example.org your name and “Wild Seeds Writers Retreat” in the subject heading. References must be received at least two to three weeks prior to the first day of the scheduled retreat.
Note: Applications received without the $25 application fee will be considered incomplete until the payment is received by the Center for Black Literature.
- Application – you can include the eventbrite.com ticket/receipt when mailing your sample as proof of payment when paying on-line.
- Cover Letter
- Registration Fee– Checks should be made out to “Medgar Evers College” w/ a note that reads “Center for Black Literature Retreat” (see note for “Application” for electronic payments.)
- Writing Sample
- Two References
Payment plans are available. All payments must be made BEFORE the first day of the retreat.
Wild Seeds Writers Retreat
The Wild Seeds Writers Retreat (formally The North Country Institute & Retreat for Writers of Color), a collaboration with the Center for Black Literature, the English Department at SUNY, Plattsburgh, and the Paden Institute and Retreat for Writers, provides a writing community where established as well as newly discovered writers of color can focus on the craft of writing and create cross-cultural conversations around the literature created by writers of the African Diaspora. Writing fellows have an opportunity to draw upon their experiences as writers in a racialized society; to become knowledgeable about the issues and concerns facing writers of color; and to study with a professional in the genres of fiction, memoir, and poetry. The first Writers Retreat, held in 2004, was highly successful and featured poet Sonia Sanchez, author Tony Medina, and writer Indira Ganesan. Subsequent faculty workshop leaders have been nonfiction writer Patrice Gaines, poets Martin Espada, E. Ethelbert Miller, and Aracelis Girmay; and writers Jeffrey Renard Allen, Marita Golden, Victor LaValle, and Bernice McFadden among many others. The Writers Retreat alternates between the Valcour Educational and Conference Center in Plattsburgh, New York, and the campus of Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn, New York.
Recognizing that the Writers Retreat should not be limited to a specific geographical region, the Center renamed the Retreat in honor of Octavia E. Butler, a speculative fiction writer known for blending science fiction with African American spiritualism. Butler was a writer whose writing crossed many boundaries and represented varying diverse voices. the Wild Seeds Writers Retreat strives to provide writers of color an opportunity to meet other writers; to workshop their writing among peers; and engage with published writers about concerns and issues related to writing and publishing in a creative, nurturing, and intellectually stimulating environments. Overall, the Wild Seeds Writers Retreat aims to provide the broader New York State area with an opportunity to become knowledgeable about works being produced by writers of color and the challenges they face.
Past Faculty Workshop Leaders
Jeffrey Renard Allen, Martin Espada, Bernice McFadden, Major Jackson, Indira Ganesan, Aracelis Girmay, Marita Golden, Patrice Gaines, Ravi Shankar, Tonya Cherie Hegamin, Sandra Jackson-Opoku, Victor LaValle, E. Ethelbert Miller, Greg Pardlo, Ernesto Quiñonez, and Sonia Sanchez.