Remezcla Article: This Conference Aims to Give Writers the Tools They Need to Navigate the Publishing Industry

Written by  Stacy Fernández.

Dominicanish. It’s how many people of Dominican heritage – those who have wondered if they’re Dominican enough – feel. The word is the central focus of an upcoming writers conference aimed at demystifying the publishing process for this community. Behind this new event is a group of powerhouse women, who hope to build community for writers who feel Dominicanish.

Inspired by Josefina Baez’s performance text, Dominicanish, the inaugural conference will honor the actress, writer, and director and will be aimed at those who live their lives between two cultures, who know what it’s like to be “ni de aquí, ni de allá.”

A group of eight writers put the Dominican Writers Conference together, but they quickly shouted out Angela Abreu, a Dominican American writer and founder of the Dominican Writers Association, as the driving force behind the May 4 conference. Abreu has long worked to create opportunities and community for writers, particularly Dominican Americans. 

“In Dominican writer spaces, there is a divide between the older generation of Dominican writers who only write in Spanish and Dominican American writers who are made to feel less than because we have adopted a second language,” Abreu says.

Though the conference is mainly focused on the Dominican diaspora, the organizers welcome writers of all backgrounds. And with nearly 30 workshops and panels, there’s something for everyone. The event will explore different genres and topics, such as nonfiction, fiction, memoir, essay, performance, arts, publishing, and media.

Some panels are more universal, like a workshop titled, “Calladita te Ves Más Bonita: Writing Rage” will help women write about their anger and unpopular opinions, or “Escribiendo en Español: Desde Santo Domingo a Nueva York” is a panel about the importance of maintaining our language in our writing. Others are more identity and genre specific, such as the panel about queer writers and discourse within the Dominican diaspora, a workshop for parents and caregivers to learn how to support their child’s writing, and the panel on how Dominicans are reshaping newsrooms.