BFA Creative Writing Program
Co-hosts Virtual Reading Event with 30 BIPOC Women Writers
TSAILE, AZ — On Thursday, September 22, 2022, Diné College’s BFA in Creative Writing Program launched the 2022-2023 academic year with a virtual reading for a newly-released anthology, Nonwhite and Woman: 131 Micro-Essays on Being in the World (ISBN: 978-1-949116-69-4). The event was co-hosted with Woodhall Press and the anthology’s executive editor, Darien Hsu Gee, along with 30 of the writers who were contributors to the book. All contributors are women of color.
There were 117 registered online participants, including the panelists, who attended the two-hour event to listen to the authors read their work and answer questions about writing micro and the creative process. Each micro essay is 300 words or less—true stories that speak to otherness, familial relationships, impossible beauty standards, ancestral heritage, coming of age, and owning one’s place in the world.
“People asked us, why micro? For the past few years, I’ve been doing a lot of writing and teaching on micro narratives…it was even the topic of my MFA thesis. A lot of people are familiar with flash, which is around 750-1000 words, but micro is much more compact,” said Gee. “It’s a very precise, short form.”
Gee added during the online event, “Crafting a micro narrative, be it fiction, prose poetry, or a micro essay like the ones contained in our anthology, is about true decision making, about tuning in deliberately and with great focus and care to what is wanting to be said or shared in a moment. We wanted to include as many voices as possible in this book, and micro was the perfect fit.”
Shaina Nez, a second-year doctoral scholar and Creative Writing department faculty member, was also a contributor to the collection. “Writing micro was a learning a new process, unfolding these experiences during a pandemic required a liminal space. I reflected mostly on my day-to-day with my daughter and that was a metaphor to what I perceived as coloring within a white space. Using pieces of Diné Bizaad in my micro-essay, “Hazʼą́,” I was providing a space for my daughter, self, and the world looking at self-image what it will mean for my daughter’s future as a Diné and Bilagáana woman,” Nez said.
The Nonwhite and Woman anthology includes author commentaries, discussion questions for further exploration, resources for additional reading, and a guide to writing micro essays. Perfect for personal or classroom use; the anthology is available for purchase through the following websites:
Woodhall Press: https://bit.ly/nww-2022
A recording of this online event will be posted on the BFA Creative Writing, Diné College Facebook Page. Like and follow the page here: https://www.facebook.com/BFA-Creative-Writing-Din%C3%A9-College-108038488720958
Shaina A. Nez is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and English at Diné College. She is Táchii’nii born for Áshįįhi. She earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from IAIA in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Yellow Medicine Review, Chapter House Magazine, and Abalone Mountain Press, as well as the anthology, Nonwhite and Woman: 131 Micro Essays on Being in the World (Woodhall Press).She is an alum of Tin House and a recipient of the 2021 Open Door Career Advancement Grants for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) women writers.
Darien Hsu Gee is the author of five novels published by Penguin Random House that have been translated into eleven languages. In 2021, her collection of micro essays, Allegiance, received the Bronze IPPY award in the Essays category. In 2018, she received the Poetry Society of America’s Chapbook Fellowship award for Other Small Histories and the 2015 Hawai‘i Book Publishers’ Ka Palapala Poʻokela Award of Excellence for Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir.
Darien holds a B.A. from Rice University and an M.F.A. from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. She lives with her family on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, Darien currently serves on the Hawaiʻi Island Leadership Council for the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation. Past board positions include the Friends and Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library, ZYZZYVA, and the Kahilu Theatre.
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