Explore the Art of StorytellingCreative writing workshops, a short story contest and live storytelling awaken the writer in all of us

StorySLAM 2015 at the Miami Book Fair, Miami Dade College

Everyone has a story. It’s what you do with your story that makes a difference. Some people like to keep it to themselves. Others want to share. That’s where MDC comes in.

Over the next few weeks, Miami Book Fair is offering a series of events that aim to coax that story out of participants by providing a range of platforms for their creative expression. The actual book fair is in November, but community programming is ongoing. Creative Writing Classes, Storypalooza! and #6WordsMiami, are just some of the ways that people can explore various storytelling mediums and engage in professional, high-quality programming offered to the entire community by MDC and Miami Book Fair.

“Stories are foundational to building community, and exploring new outlets for the imagination. They are a natural part of a shared human experience.” said Marci Cancio-Bello, program coordinator for Miami Book Fair’s Creative Writing Classes.

“We want people to know that Miami Book Fair offers creative writing workshops that support your needs, whether you’re pursuing a grand artistic vision or delving into personal exploration, we’re here for you. We pay close attention to feedback from workshop participants, and try to provide an ever-changing range of classes, from tried-and-true favorites to brand-new but often-requested topics.”

The workshops range in duration from a day to several weeks and are taught at Wolfson Campus or at MDC’s Koubek Center where workshops for those who write in Spanish are being taught in collaboration with Miami Book Fair’s programming partner Festival Escribe Aqui. Whether you’re into telling your story with humor, wanting to conquer the fear of facing a blank page or interested in learning how to submit to literary magazines, there is something for you in the new roster of classes being offered this fall. Other topics include fast-tracking your book project by writing a draft in seven weeks and writing historical fiction.

“Past participants have remarked that the creative writing classes encouraged them to try something new or breathe new life into ongoing projects.” said Cancio-Bello. “One class has kept in touch for the past year, having created their own supportive writing community. Several participants have gone on to publish work generated in these classes. Most people keep coming back.”

I Got Miamied!

Ah, Miami. A city pulsating with it’s own brand of life. A place where the word “mojo” not only describes the elusive inspiration of a magic spell, it’s also, more practically, a garlicky, lemony substance you dribble on pork. Miami is a city where people have been heard to say, often with a mixture of both admiration and indignation, “Only in Miami!”

To celebrate the quirky nature of our chosen place of residence and give everyone an opportunity to “work their mojo,” Lip Service is presenting the live storytelling event Storypalooza! – the “I Got Miamied” edition on September 10 from 7. P.m. to 8:30 p.m. at MDC Live Arts Lab at Wolfson Campus.

Writer/filmmaker and Founder of Mermaid Films, Italome Ohikhuare, performed her story The Mermaid, at a Lip Service stage show this past spring. “My story came together after days of workshopping and re-writing it with (Esther Martinez and Nick Garnett, co-producers of Lip Service). They really encouraged me to find the deeper meaning of it—like why this experience was so pivotal in shaping my life today. In fact, one of the main reasons I recently moved to L.A. was because I realized this experience set me on the path towards what I truly believe is my life’s purpose — to be a storyteller.”

Drop your story in a hat and you might be selected to be one of twelve storytellers who get to tell their tale and maybe re-purpose a life. Readers will receive feedback from a panel of editors including co-producers Esther Martinez and Nicholas Garnett, and Lip Service founder and producer of the podcast Writing Class Radio, Andrea Askowitz. The event is free and open to all.

Say it All in Six Words

This is the medium for those who like short stories. Very short stories. #6WordsMiami is a collaboration between WLRN and Miami Book Fair where the public is asked to submit stories comprised of only six word words. The stories may be in English, Spanish or Creole and cover the subjects of humidity, our mango season and how you’re so “South Florida.”

Selected storytellers will be invited to read at the 2016 Miami Book Fair or may be chosen as the inspiration for an improv comedy skit performed by Villain Theater during the Book Fair. Selected stories will also air on WLRN beginning in October.

What’s a six word story look like? Here are some examples from previous years:

Palm trees
sway while
cortaditos brew.
– Daisy Cabrera

I never knew
we were poor.
– Madelyn Lorber

Tie that
mattress down
good, bro.
– Alex Cabrera

You can submit as often as you like. Share your story using the online form at WLRN.org, or on Twitter and Facebook using #6WordsMiami.