Fifty Hmong women from Minnesota will convene in southeastern Minnesota for the first ever Hmong women writers’ conference on September 9-11, 2011 at Villa Maria Retreat Center, 29847 Co. 2 Blvd., Frontenac, MN 55026.
The Hmong Women Write Now retreat is being hosted by Hnub Tshiab: Hmong Women Achieving Together, a nonprofit that acts as a catalyst to improve the lives of Hmong women and girls. The conference is being hosted in collaboration with St. Paul-based Hmong Arts Connection (HArC), an arts organization that nurtures and promotes the literary arts in the Hmong community.
The experience of conference attendees are expected to range from non-writers who do oral storytelling or want to learn how to write to those who are published novelists. Conference organizers intend to recruit high school students as well as elder Hmong women.
At Hmong Women Write Now, a lineup of mostly Hmong and women literary artists including Ka Vang and Mai Neng Moua will lead workshops on bookbinding, spoken word, paj ntaub (Hmong story cloth), magic realism and journalism, among other topics.
A plenary session will highlight a panel of local publishers, and opening and closing remarks will come from accomplished Hmong women writers.
The conference is the first to bring together, and focus on developing, Hmong women writers. May Lee-Yang, interim executive director of HArC, said, “Hmong women and girls have been at the forefront of the Hmong American literary arts movement. We’ve used literature as a vehicle to tell our stories, educate others and build community. Now it’s time to develop a new generation of writers and artists.”
The two-and-a-half day conference will take place at Villa Maria Retreat and Conference Center in Frontenac, Minn.
Hmong Women Write Now is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The fund is part of the Legacy amendment, passed by the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008. The grant will provide scholarships for a majority of the retreat participants from Minnesota.
Registration will soon be available, along with further information, online at www.hmongwomenachieve.org.
Hnub Tshiab: Hmong Women Achieving Together mobilizes Hmong women and girls to actively engage and participate in their families and communities to elevate the status of Hmong women and to shape their own lives. Founded in 1998, Hnub Tshiab’s mission is to be a catalyst for lasting cultural, institutional and social change to improve the lives of Hmong women. For more information, go online to www.hmongwomenachieve.org.
Hmong Arts Connection (HArC) is an arts organization with a mission to promote and inspire artistic expressions of Hmong culture. It was formerly the Hmong American Institute for Learning (HAIL), which was established in 2003 to house Paj Ntaub Voice, the longest-running Hmong literary journal in the world. To date, the journal has nurtured, promoted and created a network of over 200 Hmong writers and artists nationally and internationally. In 2002, the first anthology entitledBamboo Among the Oaks: Contemporary Writings by Hmong Americans, was compiled from Paj Ntaub Voice by Mai Neng Moua and published by Borealis Press. For more information, go online to www.hmonghail.org.
Hmong Women Write Now Retreat
Hnub Tshiab, in partnership with myself and Hmong Arts Connection, will be hosting Hmong Women Write Now, the first-ever Hmong women writer’s retreat on September 9-11, 2011 at Villa Maria Retreat Center, 29847 Co. 2 Blvd., Frontenac, MN 55026.
The Keynote address will be delivered by Mai Neng Moua, hailed as the “midwife of the Hmong literary arts movement” by the New York Times.
Other presentations include Introduction to Poetry by Saymoukda “MoOks” Vongsay; Trials, Tribulations, & the Truth About Being a Journalist by Boa Lee, Boua Xiong, and Ka Vang; Simple Bookbinding and 3D Bookbinding by Aki Shibata; What A Character Wants and How to Create It by Katie Leo; Spoken Word 101 with 2-Time National Poetry Slam Champion Guante; Magic Realism by Ka Vang; How to Start Your Own Teen Magazine by Hmoob Teen Magazine; How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Rough by May Lee-Yang; Stories from the Paj Ntaub by Mai Vang.
If you are a Hmong woman/girl writer, aspiring writer, as well individuals who may just want to experience writing and self-expression for the first time, this is for you.
Priority deadline for scholarships is August 20. Registration will go until August 31, 2011. If you are a woman or girl from a marginalized Asian American community and would like to participate, please contact May Lee-Yang by phone at 651-587-1208 or by e-mail at [email protected], or visit www.hmongwomenachieve.org for more information.
There is free bussing from St. Paul to retreat site available. If you have childcare needs, please contact May Lee-Yang, Interim Executive Director of Hmong Arts Connection (HArC)
The retreat is made possible through the generosity of the Minnesota State Arts Board Partners in Art Participation Grant. Scholarships for the 50 participants available.
Hmong Women Write Now is a 3-day retreat that provides an opportunity for 50 Hmong women and girls to tell their stories through the art of writing. The retreat is ideal for aspiring and experienced writers but it’s also a great introduction to anyone wanting to try their hand at writing for the first time.
The retreat offers interactive workshops, networking opportunities with established writers, and an opportunity for you to have your work published in a special anthology by Hnub Tshiab to celebrate the voices of Hmong women and girls.
Hmong Women Write Now is a collaborative project of Hnub Tshiab: Hmong Women Achieving Together, a nonprofit whose mission is to be a catalyst for lasting cultural, institutional, and social change to improve the lives of Hmong women and May Lee-Yang, a Hmong woman writer and performance artist as well as Hmong Arts Connection, a nonprofit whose mission is to promote and inspire artistic expressions of the Hmong culture.