Learn More about the Wild Seeds Retreat for Writers of Color


We are happy to announce that Jeffery Renard Allen (Fiction), N. Jamiyla Chisholm (Memoir), and Joanna Sit (Poetry) will join us as workshop leaders for the Wild Seeds Retreat for Writers of Color workshops (summer 2023). The dates are July 17 - 22, 2023 at SUNY Polytechnic Institute (Utica, NY). Aspiring writers (18 and over) are encouraged to apply.

About the Week

Wild Seeds Retreat (WSR) workshop fellows will engage in daily writing, reading, and sharing sessions with workshop leaders and cohorts. Fellows will also have an opportunity for one-on-one sessions with their workshop leader (who will tailor the sessions to their genre). A detailed itinerary will be provided to accepted fellows. A limited number of scholarships are available. A written rationale is required in the cover letter that is required in the application.

About the Lodging

Fellows and workshop leaders will stay at Mohawk Residence Hall. During the academic year, the hall functions as a coed facility that houses 180 upper-class and graduate students. It offers a townhouse-style living with four single bedrooms, and common living areas within each suite allowing each student to live with a smaller group of friends while still having ties to the larger community through lounge spaces, the dining halls, and student involvement. Learn more HERE.

About the Directions

SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica, NY is approximately a four-hour drive from New York City or a six-hour train ride. For Amtrak information, visit https://amtrakguide.com/routes/empire-service/

About the Deadline

The deadline to apply is FRIDAY, MAY 26, 2023 (by 11:59 pm ET). APPLY ONLINE. CLICK HERE.

The Writers Retreat Goal

The Wild Seeds Retreat strives to provide writers of color with an opportunity to meet other writers; to workshop their writing among peers; and to engage with published writers about concerns and issues related to writing and publishing. Through its writing workshops leaders, the Retreat provides the public with an opportunity to become knowledgeable about the range and diversity of the work produced by writers of color.

Our Background

The Wild Seeds Retreat for Writers of Color (formerly the North Country Institute & Retreat for Writers of Color), began in 2004 as a collaboration with the Center for Black Literature, the English Department at SUNY, Plattsburgh, and the Paden Institute and Retreat for Writers. Today it continues to provide a writing community where established and emerging writers can focus on the craft of writing and create cross-cultural conversations around the literature created by writers of the African diaspora.

Writing fellows have an opportunity to draw upon their experiences as writers in a racialized society; to become knowledgeable about the issues facing other writers of color; and to study with a professional in the genres of fiction, memoir, and poetry.

Recognizing that the Writers Retreat should not be limited to a specific geographical region, the Center renamed the Retreat in honor of Octavia E. Butler, a speculative fiction writer known globally for blending science fiction with African American spiritualism. Butler's writing crossed many boundaries and represented varying diverse voices.

A Look Back

The first Writers' Retreat, held in 2004, was highly successful and featured the internationally acclaimed poet Sonia Sanchez, author Tony Medina, and writer Indira Ganesan. The Retreat had alternated between the Valcour Educational and Conference Center in Plattsburgh, New York, and the campus of Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York. Venues are subject to change each year.

Previous Poetry, Fiction, and Playwriting Workshop Leaders

Jeffery Renard Allen, Mo Beasley, Kia Corthron, Martin Espada, Patrice Gaines, Indira Ganesan, Aracelis Girmay, Marita Golden, Tonya Cherie Hegamin, DaMaris B. Hill, Donna Hill, Major Jackson, Sandra Jackson-Opoku. Patricia Spears Jones. Victor LaValle, E. Ethelbert Miller, Bernice McFadden, Shaun Neblett, Greg Pardlo, Willie Perdomo, Ernesto Quiñonez, Sonia Sanchez, and Ravi Shankar

For more information, please contact Donna Hill, Interim Director of Literary Programs at (718) 804-8883 (leave a message) or via email: dohill [at] mec.cuny.edu


Last updated May 6, 2023

The Summer 2023 Workshops Are Here! Join Us July 17-22 in Utica, New York!

- Joanna Sit. Portrait 1

The Wild Seeds Retreat (Summer 2023) will offer workshops in fiction, memoir, and poetry with novelist Jeffery Renard Allen (top), storyteller N. Jamiyla Chisholm (middle), and poet Joanna Sit (bottom).

What Fellows Are Saying

Contact Us

Center for Black Literature
at Medgar Evers College, CUNY (CBL)
1534 Bedford Avenue, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, New York 11216

Main Phone: (718) 804-8883
Main Office: info@centerforblackliterature.org
PR Office: pr@centerforblackliterature.org

Donate to CBL Today!

To carry out our literary programs and special events, we depend on financial support from the public. Donations are welcome year-round. Click HERE to make a donation today. Thank you in advance!
The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College is supported in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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