The Cuba Writers Program offers a writers writing in English an 8-day journey to Cuba in the spring of 2017. The program combines writing workshops with ethical travel, conversations with Cuban writers, lectures on the history of Cuba and elements of its literary history, and visits to art collections, paladares, Hemingway’s home, and sites of political, aesthetic, and historical interest.
The Cuba Writers Program was founded by Tim Weed and Alden Jones, two writers who first worked together teaching creative writing and directing a program for American students in Cuba in 2001. Both Tim and Alden have have continued to travel to Cuba and to direct programs in Cuba over the past fifteen years. They are excited to share some of their contacts, out-of-the-ordinary knowledge, and travel experience with an intimate group of writers who like to travel and travelers who like to write.
Cuba Writers Program students participate in a mixed genre (fiction/nonfiction) workshop led by Ann Hood or Alden Jones. Each day, we will spend an hour and a half in informal classroom settings, workshopping stories or essays that have been submitted before the program begins.
There will be time to write built into each day, with writing prompts from the instructors based on the rich sensory experience of our daily activities. Beyond the writing and the workshops, our activities will highlight Cuba’s cultural scene, featuring informal daily encounters with Cuban writers, artists, musicians, students, and entrepreneurs. Drop by artists’ studios and galleries; explore historic sites, synagogues, and Santería temples; hear street music and performances; and take advantage of nightly opportunities to discover local music and dance. Our itinerary includes Havana and several locations in the island’s interior. We will visit many of Havana’s fascinating and some lesser-known sites, including an urban organic farm, the Caribbean’s largest colonial fortress, one of the world’s greatest cemeteries, a cigar factory, and legendary Finca Vigía, where Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote for more than two decades.
Our accommodations in and outside of Havana will either be in casas particulares, which function much like B&Bs, or at centrally located hotels.
About travel in Cuba: US citizens are now permitted to travel to Cuba under a license granted by the US Department of Treasury that allows legal “people to people” cultural education travel in Cuba. What this means is that participants are required to engage in a full time schedule of two-way interactions every day with Cuban citizens not affiliated with the country’s government. Fortunately, “people to people” is easy to do in Cuba, and informal interaction with Cuban citizens is the highlight of any trip. In addition to encouraging access to local industries, it also includes the kinds of spontaneous interactions with Cubans on the street that is part of the delight of traveling through the country.
The Cuba Writers Program is open to all serious writers. We expect that you have some workshop experience.