Category Archives: Writing for Peace News

Exciting News: Things Are Looking Up!

First, I want to say thank you, dear Writers for Peace. On Saturday, the continual state of shock and outrage of the last four years was replaced with hope. I’m grateful to everyone of you who marched and spoke out against countless horrors and injustices. Though you may have despaired, you never gave up on the democratic process. And, though we know full well that there is still work to be done, we can finally breathe a sigh of relief.  For us, at Writing for Peace, this is an opportunity to take stock of what we’ve accomplished in over nine years of literary activism. Together, we’ve grown tremendously.

I’m very excited to tell you about our latest good news. Adviser Robert Kostuck has agreed to take the position of DoveTales Editor-in-Chief. Many of you know Robert from his role as Guest Editor for our February DoveTales, Gardens in the Desert: Cultivating Awareness (available in print on December 1st). Robert also served as Chief Associate Editor for our Resistance DoveTales. He is an excellent editor, and it’s been a pleasure working with him on these books.

As a long-time member of our Panel of Advisers, Robert Kostuck believes strongly in our mission. In his words, “I feel driven to participate more fully with WFP and to embody and act upon the words of the mission statement: ‘Through education and creative writing, Writing for Peace seeks to cultivate the empathy that allows minds to open to new cultural views, to value the differences as well as the hopes and dreams that unite all of humanity, to develop a spirit of leadership and peaceful activism.’ I’ve come to realize that convictions must be put into practice, otherwise they are not convictions, but merely wishful thinking.”

Stay tuned for more good news in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, don’t miss this Sunday’s Live Reading when Robert Wrigley joins host Brad Wetzler. Be sure to invite your friends and family to join us for this special night, Sunday, November 15th, at 8pm ET.

Robert Wrigley’s most recent book is Box (Penguin, 2017).  A collection of essays, mostly on poetry, Nemerov’s Door, will be published next spring by Tupelo Press.  Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Idaho, he lives in the woods of northern Idaho, with his wife, the writer Kim Barnes.

Stay safe and keep on writing,

Carmel Mawle
President and Founder,
Writing for Peace

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.





E. Ethelbert Miller Joins W4P, and Other Exciting News

E. Ethelbert Miller Joins Writing for Peace

“Peace is linked to harmony, our relationship between people as well as with nature. Peace might be linked to calm and stillness but it is also fluid. It is always something we should be moving towards. Peace is also the measurement of the heart and the capacity to love. Our desire but failure to find the ‘strength to love’ is often why peace is so difficult to maintain.”

~E. Ethelbert Miller, Writer, Literary Activist, Writing for Peace Adviser

Writing for Peace welcomes E. Ethelbert Miller to our Panel of Advisers. Mr. Miller is the Featured Writer in our current DoveTales Online, and brings a wealth of experience to our panel through a lifetime of literary activism.

E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the author of two memoirs and several books of poetry including The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, a comprehensive collection that represents over 40 years of his work. For 17 years Miller served as the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. His poetry has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. Miller is a two-time Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow to Israel. He holds an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from Emory and Henry College and has taught at several universities.

Miller is host of the weekly WPFW morning radio show On the Margin with E. Ethelbert Miller and host and producer of The Scholars on UDC-TV. In recent years, Miller has been inducted into the 2015 Washington DC Hall of Fame and awarded the 2016 AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature and the 2016 DCMayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor. In 2018, he was inducted into Gamma Xi Phi and appointed as an ambassador for the Authors Guild. Miller’s most recent book If God Invented Baseball, published by City Point Press, was awarded the 2019 Literary Award for poetry by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

In W4P other news~

Looking Ahead to Summer 2020 DoveTales

Brad Wetzler has agreed to be our Guest Editor for the Summer edition of DoveTales Online, published on August 1st. A former senior editor at Outside magazine, Brad Wetzler is a writer, journalist, and editor best known for his magazine feature stories and essays. His work has appeared in respected publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Wired, GQ, Men’s Journal, Best American Travel Writing, and Outside, where he is a current contributing editor. Stay tuned for more details!

Exciting Writing for Peace Book News

Congratulations to Writing for Peace Advisers Veronica Golos, Djelloul Marbrook, Wang Ping and Patricia Jabbeh Wesley on the publication of their latest books! These wonderful advisers continue to challenge and inspire us through their work. Watch here for coming reviews and please support their work by purchasing their books and/or asking your local librarians to make them available to their patrons.

Adviser Veronica Golos, Girl

“Once, several years ago, on the mesa between Tetilla peak and the Santa Fe River gorge, I saw what I believe to this day was a wolf running. I believed at the time the creature was male. Now I am certain there was a girl inside. This new conclusion because I have finished reading (and studying) Veronica Golos’s wonder, entitled GIRL from Andrea Watson’s 3: A Taos Press. No other poet inhabits persona as completely as does Veronica. GIRL is a masterpiece of shifting formal and free space and time. This is the creation of a master linguistic geographer. The space of the narrative defies topology. Time becomes rhythm becomes JAZZ. The music morphs from species to species. The lyric becomes prayer, becomes rant, becomes an evolutionary triptych. Every gender on the planet should go buy this book and read it, to each other, to their lovers, to their daughters, to their sons, to their parents, to their husbands, to their wives, to their friends, to their confessors, to their shamans, There are truths inside. “INSIDE EVERY WOLF IS A GIRL.”  ~Gary Worth Moody

Adviser Djelloul Marbrook: Lying Like Presidents, New & Selected Poems, 2001-2019

Governments are prone to becoming sinkholes of lies. Sometimes whole societies are swallowed by them. “Lying Like Presidents,” the title poem of prize-winning poet  Djelloul Marbrook’s new and collected poems, is a meditation in cantos on this horrific history. The work explores how our minds rewrite and invent memories to light our footsteps towards the kind of persons we aspire to be. The lies we tell ourselves, the poet says, can transfigure our lives—or the opposite.

Here is an opportunity to savor the breadth and depth of this surprising poet in one volume. No library should be without Lying Like Presidents.


Adviser Wang Ping, My Name is Immigrant

“Bleeding dreams and hungry ghosts move about Wang Ping’s latest collection, building up deposits of rage, shame and sometimes mercy. Her truth telling emerges from a deep well, describing the movement of people and the stories, the hope, and the desire they carry with them across deserts and oceans, over walls and through every barrier. The age-old question remains, with sharp clarity in these pages⁠—who among us decides who is allowed in, accepted, celebrated?” ~M.L. Smoker, Montana Co-Poet Laureate

Adviser Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Praise Song for My Children, New and Selected Poems

“Patricia Jabbeh Wesley is unequivocal about the uses of poetry, of her poetry—she is determined to trade in truth, in the power of experience, in the beauty of language to alarm and delight and in the challenge she willingly bears to be an instrument of witness and articulation for her people—for Africa, for women, for the lovers of poetry. In Praise Song for My Children, we encounter a poet at the height of her skills and at the height of her clarity about the world and what things must be spoken into it. But we are blessed to be given an insight into how she arrives at this place of power—it is a remarkable selection of some of the most urgent poems to emerge out of the wars of Liberia. Here is work of incredible joy, deepest lamentation, and necessary hope. It is a sure testament.” ~ Kwame Dawes

Dear readers and writers for peace, we encourage you to purchase all your books from Poetic Justice Books, a like-minded business that donates a portion of their proceeds to Writing for Peace. Thank you for supporting an Independent Book Seller and Writing for Peace, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Writing for Peace Employment Opportunity

Writing for Peace is looking for grant writers who have experience working with literary and youth organizations. For more information, please contact us at with the subject heading W4P Grant Writing.

Keep the faith, keep speaking out, and keep writing for peace!

Copyright © 2020 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

In The Printer’s Hands

The good news is our DoveTales print anthology is finished, and it’s beautiful240 pages of thought-provoking, enlightening, and inspiring poetry and prose, art and photography.  Our 2019 DoveTales Anthology, One World, One People, collects all the work published in August in our first online DoveTales.  Guest Edited by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Ph.D., the book includes advisers, Young Writers Contest Winners, Liberian Young Scholars, and prominent contributors from all across the globe.

The not-so-good news is we have to wait a little longer before the anthology is available for purchase. It’s in the printer’s hands and we hope it will be ready by the end of the week. Unfortunately, it may not make it to your holiday wrapping table in time to be included with your other wonderful gifts. We will let you know as soon as the books can be ordered. Until then, feel free to print and include the above image in a gift card with the promise of the anthology to come. We’re sorry the books weren’t ready sooner, but they are definitely worth the wait!

Wishing you all a glorious holiday season, and hoping the winter weather and current events are conducive to words on the page. Keep on writing for peace.

Carmel, and all of us at Writing for Peace

Carmel Mawle is founder of the nonprofit literary organization, Writing for Peace, and has served as Editor-in-Chief of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, since 2013. A Pushcart Nominee, her short stories, essays and poetry have been published in literary journals and anthologies, including Smokelong Quarterly and Shake the Tree Anthology.

Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.


Become Your Own Writing Friend, A Writing Exercise By Victoria Hanley

When you are a friend to yourself, you can trust that friend with anything and everything. That friend is always there for you, no matter what you’re going through. To get started making friends with your inner writer, bring to mind something you’ve wanted to say but haven’t said. Maybe you’ve felt the need to spare someone’s feelings, or maybe the consequences of speaking would be too great and so you’ve decided to keep quiet, or maybe it’s another reason entirely. Whatever the reason, you’ve wanted to speak up, but you haven’t done so.

For this exercise, use a piece of paper and pencil or pen. Only use a computer if it has a shredder program. Write down exactly what you want to say. When you’ve finished, feed the piece of paper you’ve written on into a shredder machine or tear it up into tiny pieces. (If your computer has a shredder program, delete what you’ve written and then shred it.)

Why write and then get rid of what you’ve written? Because the inner writer can be quite shy and needs to feel safe. Sometimes that means creating a space where what you write is truly personal to you and there isn’t any chance of someone else reading it unless you want them to read it. Doing this exercise every day for a week will encourage your inner writer to come out and play.

Victoria Hanley, Writing for Peace AdviserVictoria Hanley spent years preparing for a writing career by holding as many contrasting jobs as possible, from baking bread to teaching anatomy and hosting radio shows.  Victoria’s novels have been published in 12 languages, won many honors and awards at home and abroad, and inspired two nonfiction writing books: Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write, and Wild Ink: Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market. She teaches writing at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver and at Northern Colorado Writers in Fort Collins. Learn more about Victoria’s books, read her blog, download a free chapter of Wild Ink, and watch Victoria in action at

Writing for Peace News

September 17th, 2019

Online Youth Summit

Our Youth Summit has been postponed until Spring of 2020.

Young Writers Contest: One Grand Prize winner will be awarded $200

Our 2020 Young Writers Contest is officially open!  Writing for Peace challenges young writers (ages 13-19) to expand their empathy skills by researching an unfamiliar culture and writing from the point-of-view of a character within that new world, while exploring social, political, and environmental pressures, and universal themes. There is no fee for participation. Writers, ages 13-19, may submit in one of three categories – poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. Check out our Submission Guidelines here.

Teachers, we invite you to make our contest a regular part of your writing curriculum. Contact us at for information on how to develop empathy through creative writing.

Now Reading for February Issue of DoveTales Online

The reading period for our next DoveTales Online, Guest Edited by Writing for Peace Adviser, Robert Kostuck is now open. He has themed our February issue, “Gardens in the Desert: Cultivating Awareness.” Check submission guidelines for details.

DoveTales Online

Check out Summer Edition of DoveTales at DoveTales Online, One World, One People. Find work from our panel of advisers, emerging, and award-winning writers and artists, as well as the winning stories, poems and essays from our 2019 Young Writers Contest.

Grant Writer Opportunity

Writing for Peace is looking for a grant writer with experience with writing literary and youth advocacy grants. We are a 501c3 nonprofit. Please contact us at

Writing for Peace Adviser Events

Christ Church Poetry Series

 Hosted by Writing for Peace Adviser Djelloul Marbrook

The second reading in this series, in honor of the late poet John Ashbery, features poets Gretchen Primack, Karen Schoemer and Vladimir Nahitchevansky. It is held in conjunction with the church’s highly regarded periodic book sales. A preview of the book sale and reception is scheduled for 6 p.m. The poetry reading, hosted by Djelloul Marbrook, is at 7 p.m. Christ Church, 431 Union St, Hudson, NY 12534-2426, United States.


Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.


Writing for Peace News, August 5th, 2019

Writing for Peace News

DoveTales Online

DoveTales Online, One World, One People went live on August 1st. Find work from our panel of advisers, emerging, and award-winning writers and artists, as well as the winning stories, poems and essays from our 2019 Young Writers Contest. Stats confirm we’re reaching a much broader audience online. We’re also sharing DoveTales pieces on our Facebook page, so keep and eye out for them!

Now Reading for February Issue of DoveTales Online

The reading period for our next DoveTales Online, Guest Edited by Writing for Peace Adviser, Robert Kostuck is now open. He has themed our February issue, “Gardens in the Desert: Cultivating Awareness.”

In a world where mass shootings have become commonplace, where  politicians and their supporters revel in violent and divisive rhetoric, where television sets and the internet spew hate-filled propaganda, awareness can seem like an oasis in the desert. How will we cultivate gardens of empathy, compassion, and common sense in these barren deserts?

2019 Writing for Peace Online Youth Summit

Now accepting submissions for the Youth Summit here.

Theme: Day By Day, Hand in Hand: Seeing & Creating Peace in Daily Action

This year’s summit will focus on the power of individual, community,  and grassroots activism, exploring what we as individuals can do in our day to day lives to work toward the peace we all desire and deserve.

Join young artists, writers, and activists from around the world in conversation about the matters you care about in this online gathering. Our keynotes, young people making significant change in the world, and submitted creative work from participants, invite open and caring conversations about peace and activism in our troubled times.

Young Writers Contest

Our 2020 Young Writers Contest will begin accepting entries on September 1st. We invite teachers to make our contest a part of your regular writing curriculum. Contact us at

Now accepting applications to our Panel of Advisers

Among our panel members are poets, novelists, memoirists, and essayists – artists who have achieved a level of personal integrity in their work that inspires each of us to search for our own truth. Some panel members inspire us through their life choices, perhaps recognizing a calling toward peace after they were already well established in other careers. They show us that it is never too late to find personal fulfillment in working toward a greater good.

Advisers will be asked to contribute periodically to our blog and DoveTales Online Journal, and help with the local promotion of Writing for Peace events, publications, and readings.

Please send resumes and letters of intent to

Keep the faith and keep on writing!

Poetry       Fiction       Nonfiction       Art & Photography       Young Writers    About DoveTales      Submissions    

Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Small Bites: Regional Chapters of Writing for Peace, by Mary Carroll-Hackett

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Small (Local) Bites: Creating Regional Chapters of Writing for Peace

By Mary Carroll-Hackett

I’ve had the privilege of working with the national organization Writing for Peace for the last four years, an organization dedicated to employing the skills, talents, and energy of writers toward the goals of promoting empathy and peaceful activism. The dream of one woman, Writing for Peace was started in Colorado by our founder Carmel Mawle, with its initial goal of particularly reaching out to young writers, through an annual Young Writers’ Contest. The dedication of this organization, to writing, to working to create real social change, to the belief that art can be and is a powerful tool for changing hearts and minds, and especially the organization’s dedication to young people, mirror in nearly every way the beliefs that drive my own writing, my own teaching, so I was thrilled when asked by Carmel to join the team of Writing for Peace advisers.

Writing for Peace continues to grow under the direction of our new President, Andrea Slack Doray, and an excellent board, all committed to the mission Carmel first set out years ago.

I introduced the organization and its mission to my own students, young poets, essayists, and fiction writers, in the classes I teach at Longwood University, and they loved it. They loved how the goals aligned with their own desire and passion for activism and social justice, loved that it embodied what they saw as the vital role of artists in creating real change in the world. From this initial introduction, we created the Online Youth Summit, an educational venture featuring keynotes from young activists from all over the world, creating a safe space for young people to engage, and fostering discussions of social justice and change, as well as celebrating their own creative work.

But Colorado’s a long way from the rolling rural farmland of central Virginia, and while we share so much in common, no matter where we live, every community and region faces its own unique needs and challenges. One question that kept arising among my students was How do we bring what matters about Writing For Peace home?

So, as is my habit, to promote and make space for autonomy and ownership, (and because I learn as much from them as I’ll ever teach them), I answered my students’ question with a question. I sent a message through an online thread to a list of twenty or so of my current students and alums, asking, “How do you see us bringing Writing for Peace here to Virginia? What would a regional chapter of WFP look like to you?”

The thread exploded, with the energy and enthusiasm and wisdom young people can bring, and the idea of WFP Regional Chapters began to grow, including community activists in our area, and supporters of the arts, as we developed the proposal, sought board approval, and began the steps to making a first chapter of Writing for Peace a reality here in Central Virginia.

This past Sunday, using the magic of online video conferencing, we gathered, a small group of like-minded collaborators, for the first meeting of the Central Virginia Chapter of Writing for Peace.

Writers of all backgrounds and ages, supporters of the arts, community activists, we, as a chapter, along with anyone who wants to join our efforts, have come together to do what we can and use the skills we have to make our own communities and region better, stronger, more peaceful places for all who live here. We believe, too, that one of the most effective roles we can play is in acknowledging, assisting, and providing support to other activists and organizations already doing good work on the ground where we are.

We envision the work we will do together arising from three primary goals:

Awareness. Education. Action.

In every day real-world terms, we envision chapters affecting change through projects we develop as a group, through the support we extend to efforts already in place in our communities, and through our own writing, using our voices right where we are.

I tell my students when they’re overwhelmed, as so many of us are these days:

Take small bites. We can’t run to the UN and create world peace all by ourselves. But we can, each day, in our daily conversations, promote peace and be willing to listen, even to those with whom we don’t agree. We can’t run to the White House and single-handedly stop the onslaught against the civil rights of American citizens. But we can show up for our own neighbors, our colleagues and peers, doing whatever we can to defend and protect their rights, and to let those in endangered populations, through real presence and action, know that we stand ready as allies, that we are truly there for and with them. We can’t cure world hunger, or solve homelessness, or rescue every child caught in domestic violence or fostercare. But we can work at food banks, distribute coats and blankets to the homeless, or come together to raise funds in support of domestic violence shelters.

I recently opened a small food bank in my office, so that any student who struggles with hunger on our campus can come in and be helped. When they show up in my office for food, I don’t ask their politics, don’t ask how they voted. In that moment, in my community, on the local level, politics don’t matter. In that moment, in my community, on the local level, I can make a real-world difference. And in that small act, both of us, the student helped, and I, can move a little more peacefully through the rest of our day.

Doing what we can, where we are, with what we have, to help—that’s what matters.

This is the heart of Writing for Peace, at the national and international level, and now, at the community level as well. So Writing for Peace chapters were born.

For anyone who is interested, or wants guidance, in starting a chapter, the Central Virginia Chapter stands ready to help in any way we can. For more information, check out our page on how to start a chapter here.

We hope that this inaugural chapter will inspire others to do the same, to come together to create Writing for Peace chapters across the country, across our beautiful planet.

This, we believe, is how real change happens. This is how we work together, boots on the ground, to make the world safer, kinder, more peaceful for all of us.

Mary Carroll-Hackett
Member, Central Virginia Chapter
Regional Chapter Liaison
Board Member, Writing for Peace

Mary Carroll-Hackett, Writing for Peace Adviser2Mary Carroll-Hackett is the author of The Real Politics of LipstickAnimal Soul, If We Could Know Our Bones, The Night I Heard Everything, Trailer Park Oracle, and A Little Blood, A Little Rain. Her newest collection of prose poems, Death for Beginners, will be out from Kelsey Books in September 2017. Learn more about Writing for Peace Adviser Mary Carroll-Hackett and her work here.

Small Writing for Peace logoWriting for Peace News

Take Advantage of Our Donation Match Offer:

An anonymous donor has generously offered to match all donations up to $2500 during the month of December. This, coupled with our holiday Fundraising Special (below), means your contribution will go further and supplement more libraries than ever before!

5 books 2

Holiday Fundraising Special!
During the month of December, we will donate a complete five-volume set of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts to the public school library of your choice for every tax-deductible donation of $75 or more!

Our administration is board operated, and all members, board and advisers, work on a volunteer basis. 100% of contributions go to support our mission. Writing for Peace is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation, Federal Tax ID Number, 45-2968027.

Ours is a simple mission with profound affect on the lives of our young writers:

Through education and creative writing, Writing for Peace seeks to cultivate the empathy that allows minds to open to new cultural views, to value the differences as well as the hopes and dreams that unite all of humanity, to develop a spirit of leadership and peaceful activism.

Donate now to take advantage of our special library offer and see your contribution doubled!

Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

New Board Members

Writing for Peace celebrates the addition of four new members to our Board of Directors,  Mary Carroll-Hackett, Jody Rein, Azfar Rizvi, and Brad Wetzler.

The range of experience and knowledge these Directors bring to Writing for Peace is vast, and we’re excited by their many ideas for growth. We’ll keep you posted on new developments in our blog.

Mary Carroll-Hackett, Writing for Peace Adviser2

Mary Carroll-Hackett’s poetry and fiction have appeared in more than a hundred journals. She is the author of  The Real Politics of Lipstick, Animal Soul, If We Could Know Our Bones, The Night I Heard Everything, Trailer Park Oracle, and A Little Blood, A Little Rain. Her newest collection of prose poems, Death for Beginners, will be out from Kelsey Books in September 2017.  She is a Writing for Peace Adviser. Learn more here.

jody reinFormerly an executive editor with imprints of the Big Five publishers in New York, Jody Rein runs the boutique literary agency Jody Rein Books, Inc. and the consulting company, Agency projects, primarily nonfiction, include bestseller and film The Big Year by Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Obmascik (Simon & Schuster); bestseller and sitcom 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter by W. Bruce Cameron (Workman); and the forthcoming Crazy Horse Weeps by Joseph M. Marshall III (Fulcrum). Jody has facilitated the publication of hundreds of worthy books variously as acquiring editor, agent, consultant, publisher or ghost writer. Learn more here.

Azfar Ali Rizvi, Writing for Peace Adviser2Azfar Rizvi is a proponent of social justice, and a driving force behind interfaith, cross-cultural and pedagogic initiatives across three continents. He is a Toronto based documentary filmmaker, Photographer, an academic and a cross-platform communications strategist. Originally from Karachi, Azfar experienced extremism in his early years after surviving violent ethnic cleansing first hand. The incidents shook him to the core and he started exploring reasons behind extremism through this writing; something that evolved from local dailies to covering systemic national issues for news and current affairs publications across Pakistan. Before transitioning into television news and documentaries, he took to presenting radio with the country’s first English radio network at the time. Learn more here.

Brad WetzlerA former senior editor at Outside magazine, Brad Wetzler is a writer, journalist, and editor best known for his magazine feature stories and essays. His work has appeared in respected publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Wired, GQ, Men’s Journal, Best American Travel Writing, and Outside, where he is a current contributing editor. His work typically combines travel narrative with in-depth original reporting. He’s traveled to dozens of countries to report on stories about politics, the environment, travel, religion, and sport. He’s writing a nonfiction book about his travels in Israel and Palestine. Equal parts memoir, travelogue, and history, Chasing Messiahs is the story of the human craving to be saved—and of the saviors we place our faith in. Learn more here.

Welcome to all our new Directors, and thank you for your commitment to Writing for Peace!


Copyright © 2017 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

2016 Young Writers Contest Begins!

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Writing for Peace News

 The 2016 Young Writers Contest Is Open!

2016JudgesSince we first started our contest in the fall of 2011, we’ve received stories, essays, and poetry from students in over 24 countries. And now our 5th annual Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest is up and running.  Due to the late start, the deadline has been extended to April 15th, 2016. You’ll find our guidelines online here.

We’re very excited to announce our prestigious panel of judges:

Meg Pokrass, Fiction

Meg Pokrass is the author of “Damn Sure Right” (Press 53, 2011) “Bird Envy” and a novella-in-flash “Here, Where We Live” one of five novellas-in-flash in the award-winning anthology “My Very End of the Universe – Five Novellas-in-Flash and a Study of the Form” (Rose Metal Press, 2014). Read more about Meg Pokrass and her work here.

E. Ethelbert Miller, Poetry

E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a progressive think tank located in Washington, D.C. For ten years he has been the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. In 1996, he delivered the commencement address at Emory and Henry College and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature. Mr. Miller has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist Program Fellow to Israel in 2004 and 2012. In February 2006 he was the keynote speaker at the 50th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Israel, at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. Read More about E. Ethelbert Miller and his work here.

Rebekah Presson Mosby, Nonfiction. 

Rebekah Presson Mosby is a Grammy nominee and Audie award winner known for her work in poetry audio, for arts reporting on National Public Radio and for interviews with writers and artists. Read more about Rebekah Presson Mosby and her work here.

Special Note:

Writers for Peace, with this late start we’ll need your help more than ever to get the word out. As always we’re happy to mail you free bookmarks to hand out in classrooms and workshops. Contact us at Thank you so much for your help and support. It really does make a difference. Happy writing!


Copyright © 2016 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.

Staunching Wounds, By Richard Krawiec


antonio-rotta-helping-hands-approximate-original-size-24x30Staunching Wounds

By Richard Krawiec


Recently I met with a group of women who had suffered terrible transgressions and losses in their lives from an early age. Deaths of loved ones, violent rape and abuse, humiliations by friends and abandonment to strangers.

We all know the clichéd responses to this, right? When life gives you lemons…put it behind you and move on…etc.etc.

But I think there is something ultimately dismissive in failing to recognize that sometimes we suffer damage we can’t get beyond. Sometimes we suffer damage that creates a wound so deep it will not heal. We can learn to live through it, we can try to accommodate it, to go forward despite the wound – but the wound remains. It’s what is meant by the term ‘survivor’ I think. The person who knows what happened can’t be ignored, or changed, but has found a way to live past without denying the damage.

Many of us have things happen to us that are difficult to move on from. I had a girlfriend who was haunted by the memory of watching her father die on their kitchen floor, begging God not to take him from his family. I can’t seem to get past my best friend as a child growing into an estranged teenager who blew his brains out with a shotgun; I’m still haunted by memories of the time I walked out of a Juvenile Court in Pittsburgh without the 5-year-old girl who was returned, by the courts, to her sexually abusive father.

I know these incidents pale in comparison to what others have to deal with. I didn’t survive the concentration camps. I wasn’t a child growing up in war-torn Gaza. No gang of soldiers raped me in a tent. I wasn’t that girl, that friend.

So it always feels childish, whiny to admit these things still create a profound sorrow in me when I think about them. But we don’t choose our damage, and to a large extent we don’t choose, at least initially, our ability, or inability, to deal with the traumas of our lives. Aren’t our ways of response to at least some extent conditioned by those around us, especially those around us when we were growing up?

On another thread a woman speaks about visiting her father in the hospital and holding his hand, like she used to when she was a child. I can’t remember ever holding my father’s hand. He wasn’t a cruel or abusive man, but he wasn’t attentive in that way.

When friends died in high school – from hanging, drug overdose, leukemia – I don’t remember any of our parents offering support, advice, condolences or ways to deal with the loss to those of us who remained.

When you don’t have a way to deal with a wound, it remains unstaunched. People find different ways, not so much to move forward as to cover it up, to bandage pain with sex, drugs, violence. Because they don’t know how, or aren’t allowed, to look at it. Just put it aside, we’re counseled, forget about it, so you can become a productive member of society again. It’s a type of cultural denial, isn’t it? But what do people do when they can’t. Well there is the previously mentioned trinity –drugs, sex, violence. But there are other ways for people who can’t articulate but somehow know their concerns aren’t being addressed.

Some people turn to writing, others to song, painting, dance. Because nothing offers a better path into the interior, a more honest and unflinching way to look at what has happened, as well as a better vision of new paths out of that darkness, than art. I think it was Springsteen who once said the best part of him existed in his songs. In real life he could be a mess. I know that feeling. God, do I know it.

But the point is, art offers us the potential to examine the past and an array of paths – spiritual, moral, ethical, philosophical, psychological – that can lead to a future full of what, in another context, David Brooks calls “the eulogy virtues”.

I never thought I’d say Conservative columnist David Brooks wrote a probing piece -but there it is. In today’s NYT, Brooks talks about something that resonates with what I’m thinking about here. He discusses how we live in an age of self-absorption; we are told to be individualists, “be true to yourself…follow your own path.” It’s easy, Brooks says, “to slip into self-satisfied moral mediocrity.”

And he contrasts this with those whose lives had followed a pattern of “defeat, recognition, redemption. They have moments of pain and suffering. But they turn those moments into occasions of radical self-understanding…The people on this road see the moments of suffering as pieces of a larger narrative.”

What’s the connection with this and damage? I guess that what I’m trying to say is this – the culture that says take an anti-depressant when your loved one dies so you can obscure your pain is not a culture that accepts damage. Damage is distasteful, unpleasant, not something we want to discuss. Let’s all get beyond it as quickly as possible so we can go out and have fun.

And if you don’t? Why isn’t there something wrong with you?

Because if we really, truly looked closely at the damage people endured, and it’s long-lasting effect on them, wouldn’t we have to do something to help?


About Writing for Peace Adviser Richard Krawiec

Richard KrawiecRichard Krawiec is the founder of Jacar Press, A Community active Press dedicated to paying writers and working in under-served communities and has worked extensively with people in homeless shelters, women’s shelters, prisons, literacy classes, and community sites, teaching writing. Richard’s second book of poems, She Hands me the Razor, (title poem nominated for a Pushcart Prize) was published by Press 53. It was one of 17 finalists for a SIBA Award. His latest collection is Women Who Loved Me Despite (Press 53).  To learn more about Richard Krawiec, check out his page here.

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Meet Malaka Mohammed, Writing for Peace Young Adviser

Malaka Mohammed, Writing for Peace AdviserAs a Palestinian, peace for me is the the end of Israeli policies of the occupation of our historical lands, ethnic cleansing, colonization, and racial discrimination that have been continuously condemned by human rights and international law organizations, yet Israel chooses to ignore all these calls with full impunity. Peace is by putting so much pressure on this settler colonial state to abide by human rights and international law. Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is one of the tactics that has proved its success to tell Israel that you’re no more impune; the world is watching and looking for a peaceful Globe. I use writing as a way to raise awareness and to express myself. It is good to have approachable platforms that one can use to reach a large number of audience around the world.

~Malaka Mohammed, Writing for Peace Young Adviser

Malaka Mohammed is a Palestinian activist, freelance writer living in Sheffield, and our newest member of the Writing for Peace Young Adviser’s Panel. A powerful voice for peace and justice, Malaka graduated with a BA in English literature from the Islamic University of Gaza and a MA in global politics and law from the University of Sheffield in Britain. Read Malaka’s articles on Huffington post here.

Activism Update From Adviser Dr. Margaret Flowers:

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Writing for Peace AdviserBeyond Extreme Energy: Uniting to Retire Fossil Fuels

Clearing the FOG speaks with activists from Washington State to Washington, DC who are taking on Big Energy to say “no” to more fossil fuel infrastructure. We begin with four organizers who walked across the United States last year to raise awareness about the climate crisis. They visited front line communities along the way. When they arrived in Washington, DC, they spent a week protesting the little known Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as part of the Beyond Extreme Energy coalition. Now they are planning more resistance. In Washington State, the “SHell No” campaign is organizing a Flotilla to keep Shell Oil out of the Port of Seattle. We’ll discuss why direct action is the necessary tactic to end fossil fuels and move to renewable energy sources.

Writing for Peace May Day Events

  • 2015 DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts “Nature” Edition Book Release! Watch for news of the latest DoveTales, a truly extraordinary and beautiful edition of our annual journal.
  • 2015 Young Writer Winners Announcements! Find out what our prestigious judges (Antonya Nelson, Fiction; Steve Almond, Nonfiction; and Stephen Kuusisto, Poetry) have to say about our talented young writers!


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