Talent on the Greene! Lit fest brings together pros and proteges

Talent on the Greene! Lit fest brings together pros and proteges
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Move over Richard Wright and Walt Whitman — a new generation of literary stars are coming to claim Fort Greene Park.

For the past six weeks, Brooklyn youngsters have been participating in creative writing workshops inside the park. And on Aug. 23, their hard work will pay off when the budding scribes give a public reading at the Fort Greene Park Summer Literary Festival, alongside local literary luminaries including “Def Poetry Jam” co-creator Danny Simmons and author and poet Willie Perdomo.

One longtime workshop student said she is looking forward to reading and sharing the spotlight with such well-known figures.

“I’m definitely a little nervous, but I’m more excited,” said Anjelika Amog, 17, of Kensington. “That feeling of your heart beating quickly, trying not to squint at the sun, it doesn’t really go away.”

A rising senior at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, Amog began the workshops about a year after she and her family had moved to Brooklyn from the Philippines when she was nine. Since then, it has become a staple of her summers.

Amog said her first experience of touching an audience with her work came after reading a piece about hearing gunshots near her old home in Brownsville.

“It was amazing to hear that people are moved by what I had written and hearing exactly which part,” she said.

This year marks the 10th year of the festival, which the New York Writers Coalition organizes to showcase local talent, inspire their young students, and to give the kids a taste of what it is like to share their work with an audience.

One festival organizer said the summer workshop programming and the festival go hand-in-hand, and despite the big names present, the kids are the stars of the show.

“The workshop students are really the meat of the festival,” said Rose Gorman of the New York Writers Coalition. “The mission is to create opportunities for people to share and create, and also to be heard by a larger audience.”

The Writers Coalition also provides other workshops around the city for people whose voices are often left out of traditional media and writing, including prisoners, people with disabilities, and the homeless.

“We don’t hear from kids often enough,” said Gorman. “There used to be very little summer programming in Fort Greene, so we started these workshops to bring out storytelling in a fun way.”

Summer Literary Festival at Fort Greene Park (Myrtle Avenue between St. Edwards Street and Washington Park in Fort Greene, www.nywriterscoalition.org); in case of rain, the festival will be held at Bric House Ballroom (647 Fulton St. between Rockwell and Ashland places in Fort Greene). Aug. 23 at 2 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Authors al fresco: Young writers sprawl out in Fort Greene Park. Many participants of these weekly workshops will read at the Summer Literary Festival at the park on Aug. 23.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham