Retreats for Writers of Color

By Amanda Huynh

The MFA Communities are trying to become more diverse with faculty, but being able to draw diverse students has been a constant struggle. While I have not had the chance to attend a retreat dedicated to supporting Latino/a writers, I understand the importance of having a community of Latino/a (Asian American, African American) peers.

When I read alongside other Latino/a writers in Austin, Texas, the atmosphere was entirely difference from readings I have done in Virginia. I saw my family, my home, my friends embedded in the poems and stories read.

While summer is six months away, the deadlines for three writers’ retreats are quickly approaching. Cave Canem and CantoMundo are geared toward poets while Kundiman offers a retreat for fiction writers and poets. Whether you are currently in an MFA Program or contemplating about applying, I encourage you to attend one of these wonderful retreats.

Cave Canem

Deadline: December 4, 2015

Cave Canem 2016 will be held June 12-19, 2016 at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The faculty will include Cornelius Eady, Willie Perdomo, Amber Flora Thomas & Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon. This year the Guest Poet will be Major Jackson.

Cave Canem was founded in 1996 by Toi Derricottee and Cornelius Eady. Cave Canem’s mission statement: “Cave Canem is home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.”

Each year, the Cave Canem committee selects 24 new participants to attend the retreat (must be 21 and over to apply). In addition, 30 fellows will return for their second or third time.

Click here for more information/application:


Deadline: December 31, 2015

Kundiman 2016 will be held June 15-19, 2016 at Fordham University, Rose Hill New York City.

The poetry faculty will include Kimiko Hahn, Lee Herrick, and Jaswinder Bolina. The fiction faculty will include R. Zamora Linmark, Bich Minh Nguyen, and the third fiction faculty is still to be decided.

Kundiman was founded in 2004 by Sarah Gambito and Joseph Legaspi. The retreat caters to Asian American writers, poetry and fiction, who are encouraged to explore and grow within the Asian American community of writers. Kundiman’s mission statement: “Kundiman is dedicated to the creation and cultivation of Asian American literature.”

The retreat has had more than 170 writers attend the Kundiman Retreat. Many of the fellows have gone on to be published in respected journals, accepted into MFA and doctoral programs, and have had books/chapbooks published.

For more information:


Deadline: December 31, 2015

CantoMundo 2016 will take place July 21-24, 2016 at the University of Texas at Austin. This year the faculty will include the current U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Texas Poet Laureate, Dr. Carmen Tafolla. The featured Guest Lecturer will be the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey.

CantoMundo was inspired by Cave Canem and Kundiman, and founded in 2009 by Norma E. Cantú, Celeste Mendoza, Pablo Miguel Martínez, Deborah Paredez, and Carmen Tafolla. The purpose of the annual poetry workshop is to help support and grow the Latino/a community of poets.

Each year, the CantoMundo committee selects 10 -12 new fellows to attend and return to the writing retreat up to three times.

For more information/application:

Best of luck!

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