Getting Involved With The Queens Literary Scene

New York is known as the literary center of the country. With publishing houses, independent bookstores, workshops, and readings, the city attracts many professional and aspiring writers who inspire the community. This year, check out and maybe participate in Queens’ growing literary scene. With readings and creative writing workshops held throughout the borough, you will get a chance to be exposed to unique voices.

If you are interested in polishing your own writing, try attending a writing workshop. Workshops are a great experience because they offer a chance to share your writing and receive valuable feedback from fellow writers. If you have writer’s block, workshops can also be great for inspiration, as some will give prompts. While not free, Q.E.D. Astoria offers writing classes. Upcoming is Write That F*cking Pilot on February 2. Queens Library branches often also hold workshops every week open to writers of all experience levels and genres. NY Writers Coalition is running biweekly workshops in the Broadway branch until February 23. For anyone interested in specifically writing poetry, the Hollis branch is holding poetry writing workshops through January 24. The Astoria branch will hold an unconventional series of workshops with their Writing Circle and Performance Workshop held every two weeks. The Jackson Heights branch presents New York as a Character: A Fiction-Writing Class with author Radha Vatsal with the Newtown Literary Alliance on February 2. The Maspeth branch will hold an eight week workshop starting February 9 led by Dr. Maxine Fisher, a published children’s and young adult author who has taught writing for many years at Queens College. Visit your local Queens Library to learn more about available programs near you, or visit www.queenslibrary.org.

Those looking to share their writing or just hear other writers’ work might want to visit an open mic event. Open mics are great for sharing your writing with a larger audience. You can examine how the audience responds to your writing and figure out what works and what does not. Open mics also help you build confidence in your work and connect you to other writers in your community. Q.E.D. Astoria and Queens Library branches both hold open mic events. In addition, you can visit the Queens Poetic Alchemy Collective which holds weekly poetry and spoken word open mics. You can visit their Facebook page for more information. If you prefer to avoid the stage, you can still attend open mics and reading events to hear other writers. The LIC Reading Series holds an event on the second Tuesday of every month. Their events are always free and are held at the LIC Bar, located at 45-58 Vernon Boulevard. The next reading event will be on February 12. Visit www.licreadingevents.com for more information.

Another way to share your work is through publication. It can be tempting to start submitting to big publishing companies and literary journals, but if you are a new writer, it is best to start small. Newtown Literary was founded in Queens in 2012 and is dedicated to representing the diverse local voices of the borough. They publish poetry and prose in their semiannual journal. Even if you do not plan on submitting, consider subscribing. The publication is published by the Newtown Literary Alliance, a nonprofit organization supporting writers in Queens. Visit www.newtownliterary.org to learn more about the journal and their submission guidelines.

Finally, the best way to get involved with the Queens literary scene is to support your local bookstores and libraries. As more people turn to e-books and online ordering for their reading, bookstores and libraries have become somewhat overlooked in our communities. Visit a bookstore or library to attend events, inspire your children to read, and pick up a new book for yourself to read, or as a thoughtful gift. We recommend Astoria Bookshop, which has author visits, storytimes, workshops, reading clubs and more (astoriabookshop.com). Getting involved with the literary scene is a great way to start off 2019.—Sneeha Bose

  
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2019-01-01 digital edition