The Cuba Writers Program: May 2-10, 2019 Click here to learn how to apply
The Cuba Writers Program offers a writers writing in English an 8-day journey to Cuba in the spring of 2019. The program combines writing workshops with ethical travel, conversations with Cuban writers and artists, 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 writers Tim Weed and Alden Jones in 2016. Tim and Alden first worked together teaching creative writing and directing a program for American students in Cuba in 2001, and have worked and traveled in Cuba for almost twenty years. They bring a deep understanding to a complex culture, and the contacts they have nurtured and activities they design encourage participants to consider Cuba from a thoughtful angle.
For the first half of the week, Cuba Writers Program students participate in a mixed genre (fiction/nonfiction) prose workshop or a poetry workshop. Workshops meet for an hour and a half in informal classroom settings, workshopping stories, essays or poems that have been submitted before the program begins. For the second half of the week, we meet as one large group to do generative exercises based on the rich sensory experience of our daily activities. There will be time to write built into each day.
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, which may include 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 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 recent policy rollbacks of the Trump administration will not affect the Cuba Writers Program.
The Cuba Writers Program is open to all serious writers. We expect that you have some workshop experience.