Emerging Writers Fellowship Program Virtual Launch
June 3 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Straw Dog Writers Guild
Emerging Writers Fellowship Program Virtual Launch Event
Meet Amina Jordan-Mendez, 2020 Fellow
Wednesday, June 3 @ 7 p.m.
Join Straw Dog Writers Guild as we celebrate the inaugural year of our Emerging Writers Fellowship Program! The event will feature a conversation with Amina Jordan-Mendez, 2020 Fellow, and Dr. Diana Alvarez, who serves as one of Amina’s mentors.
To donate to SDWG’s Emerging Writers Fellowship Fund, please visit:
Amina Jordan-Mendez, Poet Performer
Writing poetry since childhood and called to perform by community, family, and their ancestors, Amina Nia “illypsis” Jordan-Mendez lives for passion & healing. Born and raised in a predominantly white college town of western MA, Amina grew up a rebel: Black, fat, queer and existing. Inviting the challenge, she chose to live out loud—swim with her hair out, throw her weight around, question and confront. Now a focused poet performer, their hands are busy rooting themselves in intergenerational healing of their lineage, embracing the pain, hostility, pleasure and pride of blossoming into a poet she can look up to. Amina Nia “illypsis” Jordan-Mendez is tender, grateful, angry, loving and growing. They are currently attending workshops as they come and fitting art within their busy schedule of work and self-care, addressing mental health and traumas. Born to a first-generation Panamanian mother, and an “army brat” southern Black American father, she is exploring and defining ‘home’ in her body, in her life and in this world.
Dr. Diana Alvarez
Dr. Diana Alvarez is a singer-songwriter, poet, composer, filmmaker, educator, and scholar whose fierce Xicana Xingona voice creates a gripping atmosphere that audiences call “transcendent.” Alvarez’s soulful, Spanglish songs exalt queer love and liberation, and are drawn from her origins in the borderlands of South Texas, where she grew up singing to the Gulf of Mexico.
In her music, Alvarez grapples with her solo migration to the Northeast as a means to shift the tides of oppression in her family and beyond. Her songs are offerings for chosen familia, and honor the “in-between-ness” of culture, identity, and language.
Dr. Alvarez is the composer and filmmaker behind the multimedia performance, Quiero Volver: A Xicanx Ritual Opera. Described by the press as “a visually and acoustically stunning performance meant to honor women, non-binary and genderqueer people of color,” Quiero Volver features Alvarez’s original music, sonic text scores, a poem-script for ensemble performance, and documentary video portraits of Sharon Bridgforth, Magdalena Gómez, Vick Quezada, and Nicole M. Young. In 2018, Quiero Volver was produced at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, MA by grassroots organizers and Smith College, and raised over $10,000 to support immigrant justice initiatives.
About the Emerging Writers Fellowship Program
Straw Dog Writers Guild’s Emerging Writers Fellowship is intended to support women and gender nonbinary writers of color based in Western Massachusetts at the early stages of their career. Hosted biennially, this program was created to help emerging writers negotiate barriers that often prevent them from pursuing publication and public access to their work. The Emerging Writers Fellowship Program was created by local performance poet and playwright, Nicole M. Young, with generous support from members of Straw Dog Writers Guild and our Pioneer Valley community.