This thing we call VONA is more than just workshops. It is community building, people empowerment, consciousness raising. I came to write, but I came back home with so much more!!! —Participant, Poetry 2016
VONA, the only multi-genre workshop for writers of color in the nation, brings writers of color from the margins to a community where their work is centralized and honored. At VONA, developing writers find a place where they can:
• Explore their craft in an atmosphere of support and understanding
• Exchange ideas and inspirations with established writers
• Gain empowerment to move from VONA to a writer’s life with authority and confidence.
VONA amplifies the often-silenced voices of color bringing their writing forward in defining and contributing to our individual and collective experiences. Over 2,400 writers from around the globe have participated in VONA since 1999. More than 400 alums have published books. Many alums also establish presses, create anthologies, receive literary prizes, participate in fellowships, teach in academic programs and offer community workshops.
The Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) was founded by Elmaz Abinader, Junot Díaz, Victor Díaz and Diem Jones in 1999. Each envisioned an arts organization that could change the landscape of the literary world by supporting writers-of-color through workshops, mentorship, community building, and information sharing. Over 2,400 writers from around the globe have participated in VONA. Many have gone onto publish award-winning books, enter writing programs, teach and publish. For nineteen years, VONA has nurtured writers-of-color and have influenced change in our perception of whose voices can be heard.
VONA is back home in the Bay Area, CA and offers workshops in fiction, poetry, memoir, essay writing, speculative fiction, genre writing, political content in poetry-fiction-prose, graphic novel, travel writing, and residencies in prose & poetry. VONA also hosts a free faculty reading, supports alumni events in cities across the country, provides an online forum for literary opportunities and community writing programs and events.
I came to VONA for community and really, I feel like I got something more special than a family. The love and acceptance I felt, the safety, I didn’t realize how much I’d been starving for it, how much I was shrinking inside myself. I feel so full after VONA. I feel like I’m singing in a choir of angels. Genre Writing 2017