115 Empire St
Providence, RI 02903
4th Annual Rhode Island Writers Colony
Welcomes New Class of Wordsmiths
WARREN, RHODE ISLAND, August 13, 2017—For a fourth consecutive year, the Rhode Island Writers Colony is giving literary artists of color far more than a “room of one’s own”. 2017 Writers-in-Residence Elizabeth Acevedo, Johnalynn Holland, Christine Patrick, and Te Smith will enjoy rooms of cozy corners flooded with natural light to both contemplate and create, mingle sessions with publishing industry professionals, a public stage to share their work, and a community of support that will last far longer than the two week residency.
Artistic Director Jason Reynolds, recipient of the 2015 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award, likens the experience to “a modern-day Algonquin Roundtable.” Recounting his time at the Colony in 2014 and 2015, Reynolds writes for the Colony website: “To know that I could get up, work and work and work (and cry), and then decompress with other brilliant writers who would quickly become family, as we shared meals and ideas, backstories and plans, was nothing short of a marvel.”
This is exactly what brothers Brook and John Stephenson had in mind when they started the Colony as part of their non-profit Third Floor Studios. Co-founded in homage to their father, retired high school art teacher and visual artist James C. Stephenson, and his attic studio, their mission was to provide a solace artists of color don’t often get: a safe space to create away from day-to-day demands, agnostic of genre and style.
A writer, editor, and staunch supporter of literary artists, Brook Stephenson was at work on his own novel when he passed away suddenly in August 2015, at 41—just a week after leading the successful reading of the Colony’s 2015 class at the Danny Simmons Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn. John Stephenson continues the legacy of his father and brother, more committed than ever to seeing the vision of the Rhode Island Writers Colony through.
“The Colony is a labor of love on multiple levels,” notes Stephenson who nurtures his avid reading habit between planning programming for the residents, including the Colony’s hallmark reading in Rhode Island. “I get to give talented writers a platform and expose local residents to topics they might not ever engage with if not for our reading.”
This year, the reading, which is open to the public, will take place on August 19th. “I’m thrilled to bring this year’s public reading to AS220” Stephenson adds of the exhibition and performance space in Providence, Rhode Island. “They’re as focused as we are on breaking barriers that make it difficult or impossible for artists to share their work.”
Instagram: riwriterscolony | Facebook: Rhode Island Writers Colony