Congratulations on being selected as the Creative Fellow Scholarship recipient of the 2021 Writers Conference. To comply with social distancing efforts, we are conducting this year’s conference online. As such, we’re able to admit every applicant in need at a discounted price, so no, you’re not as special as you thought.
Our event will be held on a virtual platform allowing all of our attendees to network. We have created chat rooms for Fiction Writers, Non-Fiction Writers, Poets, Memoir Writers, etc. Some of our attendees will create chat rooms for MFA Programs, Self-Publishing, Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Literary Publications, and so forth. We’ll even have attendees create rooms that label the type of scholarships we’ve awarded this year: The White Fellowship with a white guy’s name that anyone can apply for but will most likely be awarded to a white writer, The Black Fellowship named after a Black writer, and the Asian Fellowship…you get where we’re going with this.
You’ll be able to see how active each chat room is by the red number above each label. This number indicates how many unread messages you have for that chat room. Because each virtual room is selective for every attendee, you are not required to read every single unread message.
What we won’t be prepared for is the perpetual uptick of unread messages in the Black Fellowship’s chat room. The conversations there will be non-stop, even during workshop sessions. They will chat and joke as if they are family without having met one another prior to this event. Still, you will find candid feedback in every workshop session that will hurt some of our instructor’s feelings.
You’ll also find an unprecedented amount of support in this chat room. If a Black Fellow attendee is reading, and another likes what he or she is saying, they’ll let others know through their chat group who and where to go. This will sometimes result in a mass exodus from some workshops and an incredulous increase in attendance in others. The good news is this will leave room for attendees in the least populated workshops to read more of their work. Unfortunately, not every attendee will take advantage of this opportunity which will result in some workshop sessions ending early; and that’ll be a shame.
We’ll also be unprepared for the onslaught of screenshots our white attendees will take of the Black Fellowship chats. While everyone is welcome in any chat room, we will not be able to fathom why you’ll feel the need to spy on the Black Fellowship chat when networking opportunities in other virtual rooms are just a click away. Not every Black attendee will engage in our HBCU chat room because not all of them will have attended an HBCU. As such, the room won’t apply to them…
We will, however, be able to answer one of the burning questions you’ll ask: Is it safe for a conservative to be here? While it’ll be unclear how unsafe you’ll feel at a virtual conference as no one will make or even hint at threats against a people or organization, we will answer your question with an eye-roll typing: Yes. Of course. We do, however, understand your concern will come from the written works shared by our Black attendees inspired by our workshops along with the disturbing events of the past year.
To appease this egregious offense of accepting a large number of bright and talented Black writers, we will reorganize the final night of this virtual conference at the last minute. While creating several virtual open mic rooms with different themes throughout the week won’t be good enough for you, we will create another virtual open mic room specifically for our Black writers. This way, you will not be intimidated by their talent or the Black experience.
Our organization is adapting to create a safe space for writers. Our goal has always been to bring writers together from every walk of life, to learn from one another, and enrich each other’s writing. We look forward to seeing your face online—even if we have to segregate a few.
Please send your discounted deposit via Venmo, PayPal, Cash App, or Zelle. Contact our coordinator if you insist on sending a check.
Once again, congratulations!
A Writing Conference
That Must Deal
with White Fragility
and Insecurity Because
They, Not you,
Certainly Not You,
Can Afford to Enroll
Every Year at Full Price.
Zorina Exie Frey is an essayist, screenwriter, spoken word poet, content writer and digital designer. She is an English Instructor at Converse University and a writing instructor for Writing Class Radio. She’s the Editor-in-Chief for 45 Magazine Journal and Poetry Editor for South 85 Journal.
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