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Workshop with writer Nylsa Morón.

Inspiration at the Latino and Latin American Writers Conference

Inspiration is abundant at Mount Saint Mary’s University, and our annual conferences are among the many places where members of the Mount community can find their muse. The University’s MFA in Creative Writing program encouraged just that when it hosted the Latino and Latin American Writers Conference at the Doheny Campus on Oct. 1 and 2. 

The two-day event was held to bring together acclaimed and emerging Latino and Latin American writers and filmmakers from – or in relation to – Los Angeles and in an effort to create a community between students, faculty, alums and surrounding neighborhoods. Speakers, including celebrated writers Rocío Cerón, Daniel Olivas and Jorge Ortega shared their writing trajectory and helped attendees enhance their writing skills through workshops, live readings, and writing panels.  

 Writer Roberto Castillo Udiarte read thought-provoking poems and Nylsa Martínez Morón offered a workshop on how to get ideas for stories. Our very own Professor Marcos McPeek Villatoro, Fletcher Jones Endowed Chair in Writing, led a discussion on what it means to be a Latino writer and posed the question, “Why do you write?” Moved by the conversation, Jessica Flores ’17 said she writes “to teach others. As a journalist, not everyone will like what you say, but we are here to inform.” And attendee Celia Viramontes said she writes “to reclaim stories and history.”  

 Rocío Cerón ended on a great note when asked what advice she could offer to novice writers. She shared that the first thing writers should do is to “grab a pen and paper” and remember that “the page is a field and it’s the first field where you can imagine the possibilities.”  

 The speakers and participants concluded a weekend’s worth of inspiration with a networking session over dinner catered by Chichén Itza while Latin band Kimera provided entertainment.  

Next year, the MFA in Creative Writing program will host the writer’s conference with a new theme, “To Live and Write in L.A.” Visit Latino & Latin American Writers Conference  for a complete list of this year’s speakers and their bios. You can also look at photos from the event at the Mount’s Facebook album.

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