Chicago Latino Writing Initiative launching to cultivate Latino writers

Chicago Latino Writing Initiative launching to cultivate Latino writers

Proyecto Latina and Gozamos are partnering to launch a groundbreaking writing initiative to cultivate a new generation of Latino writers and help promote Chicago as a mecca of powerful Latino voices. The kick-off event will be March 3, 2014 at 7 p.m. at 1900 S. Carpenter, Chicago, IL 60608. Writers, editors, publishers, media and supporters of Latino literary arts are encouraged to attend this free event.

The unique partnership brings together two organizations in the community that value the power of stories told through a variety of traditional and innovative platforms. The initiative will be housed at the 1900 South in the Pilsen neighborhood, where the idea was conceived by writers and media makers Diana Pando( and Luz Chavez and Stephanie Manriquez(

While brainstorming programming for Latino writers, the trio realized there is a significant gap in writing initiatives in Latino communities. That is when they decided to join forces and create the Chicago Latino Writers Initiative (CLWI). “Our goal is to mobilize Chicago Latino writers to take ownership of their stories, generate new work, and create opportunities for themselves and others,” explains Diana Pando, Proyecto Latina. The initiative is also slated to expand to other writers in the Midwest.

“Chicago has corazón. We are the heartland after all. Yet we don’t get the credit we deserve for our contributions to Latino literature. Where do people think pioneering Latino writers like Sandra Cisneros, Achy Obejas, and Ana Castillo come from? Look at the Latino writers grabbing the national spotlight right now: Esther J. CepedaErika L. SanchezTanya Saracho, and Ray Salazar–all from Chicago,” says Luz Chavez, Tu Cultura Editor, Gozamos.

The goal of the initiative is two-fold: to cultivate and elevate the voices of Latino writers in Chicago through innovative writing workshops and resources such as a Latino writer’s directory that will be distributed to universities and other institutions. The directory will serve as the first database of Latino writers in Chicago and as a speakers bureau. “We’re ecstatic about helping to shine the spotlight on the Latino writing community in Chicago,” says Stephanie Manriquez.

Recently, writer and co-founder of Proyecto Latina Diana Pando led the first introductory CLWI workshop, Puro Cuento, for 15 emerging writers. The event reached capacity within 24 hours and resulted in a waiting list of 40 people. “When you create these types of spaces for writers it’s absolute magic because something inside of them clicks and they’re more compelled to generate new work. My vision by leading this workshop is to help these writers tell their stories  and contribute to the larger Latino narrative from a Chicago and Midwestern point of view that is lacking in mainstream media and the national Latino literary scene,” says Pando.

About the workshops

This March the first series of hands-on workshops will be facilitated by notable writers Erika L. Sánchez, Coya Paz, Libby Juliá Vásquez, and Hector Luis Alamo, Jr. The goal of the multi-genre series is to give writers new skills and tools to implement into their own writing projects.

About Proyecto Latina

Proyecto Latina is a multi-media project amplifying the success and impact of Latinas in our community. Our initiatives include a reading series and a website that allow us to create a culture of self-empowerment, spotlight emerging and established Latina talent, create safe spaces in under served communities, and provide a virtual platform to chronicle stories, share resources and to insert ourselves into larger mainstream narratives.

About Gozamos

Gozamos is a Chicago-based independent online magazine and community for culturally savvy Latinos and friends. Since its launch in March 2010, Gozamos has grown into a cutting-edge new media platform that inspires, educates and entertains readers across the United States. Gozadores write what they are passionate about and bring thoughtful, unorthodox approaches to Latino cultural coverage with original content created by a talented corps of bloggers, community leaders and journalists. At its core, Gozamos strives to be a platform for those voices often ignored by mainstream media.

Learn more about the initiative

To keep in touch like our Facebook Page and visit our site at

Media Contact: Diana Pando
312-498-4067 /


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