Upcoming VONA Online Events



MIAMI, FL, JANUARY 1, 2020 - VONA/Voices invites writers-of-color to submit their application to its premier summer workshops to be held at the University of Miami: Week One - June 21 to June 27, Week Two - June 27 to July 4.

Their 21st year introduces exciting additions to the already impressive list of offerings: Journalism with Valerie Boyd, Flash Writing with Nathalie Handal, and TV &Screenwriting with Queen Sugar, season four, Co-Executive Producer/Writer, Valerie C. Woods. These new workshops are offered partly in response to a surge in the demand for more writers-of-color following the success of TV shows like Queen Sugar and movies such as Black Panther and Get Out. They highlight the powerful and educational impact of representation on audiences.

According to Interim Executive Director, Nivea Castro, “As the only multi-genre workshop for writers-of-color in the United States, VONA is grounded in social justice and the fostering of an inter/national community of writers of color. VONA cultivates the open and honest expression of personal and political writing that is too often marginalized. Each year we attract participants from all over the globe because we provide a space where emerging writers’ work is centralized, and where they can flourish with renowned writers-of-color in an environment that is safe, nurturing and supportive.”

VONA is pleased to offer a memoir workshop with newcomer Jaquira Díaz (Ordinary Girls), a poetry residency with the author of three collections of poetry and Miami native, Adrian Castro, LGBTQ Narratives by one of our inspiring alums and the author of Say Mirror, JP Howard, a poetry workshop with 2008 American Book Award winner, Jericho Brown. They also welcome back Staceyann Chin, (Crossfire: Litany for Survival) in Political Content, Mat Johnson, (Loving Day) in Fiction, and Daniel José Older (Leaving India) in Young Adult Literature and Shay Youngblood in Graphic Novel.

Returning Core Faculty are Reyna Grande in Memoir, Faith Adiele for Travel Writing, Tananarive Due in Speculative Fiction, David Mura in Prose Residency, Willie Perdomo in Poetry, and M. Evelina Galang in Fiction.

In their third year at the University of Miami, VONA has found a home where diversity is valued. The MFA Program in Creative Writing is among the most diverse in the country. In addition, Miami the city, is a vibrant confluence of native and immigrant cultures that intersect in meaningful ways. The support and sponsorship from the Departments of English, History, Philosophy, Modern Languages and Literatures, and Religious Studies have been a vital lifeline for VONA.

The VONA/Voice writing workshops have been life-changing for many of the 2400 writers who have attended in the past twenty years. For JP Howard, “Our stories, our narratives, and our voices are necessary and powerful. VONA’s impact on my own writing craft has been transformative, both as a black queer writer and as an educator; I encourage all those who I teach, including myself, to consistently bring all the unique, complicated and often hidden parts of ourselves to the page.”

Our programming expanded this past year with the introduction of the VONA ACROSS THE COUNTRY (VATC) workshops. Created by VONA co-founder and former Program Director Elmaz Abinader, VATC is designed to offer at a low cost, a one or two-day “taste of VONA.” These generative intensive workshops are located where writers live and are taught by members of our renowned Faculty. In 2019, 65 writers attended VATC across nine cities: New York, Santa Fe, Minneapolis, NOLA, Pasadena, Oakland, LA and Woodland, CA.

Interim Program Director, Wendy Angulo, applauded VATC workshops success. “Expanding our community and attending to writers-of-color needs is essential to the impact VONA will continue to have on the literary landscape and including the harder-to-reach communities is vital to the development of our organization and at the core of our mission.” More cities are being planned for 2020-2021.

For information on the Summer 2020 workshops, please go to VONA’s website at The application process is now open with a February 15, 2020 submission deadline.

For interviews and more information, contact: or


Feature Fridays: Week 1

Mat Johnson is the author of the novels Loving Day, Pym, Drop, and Hunting in Harlem, the nonfiction novella The Great Negro Plot, and the comic books Incognegro, Incognegro: Renaissance, Dark Rain and Right State. He is a recipient of the American Book Award, the United States Artist James Baldwin Fellowship, The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature. Mat Johnson is a Professor at the University of Oregon.

Mat returns to VONA this Summer to teach his Novel Boot Camp at the University of Miami, June 21-June 27, 2020.

Applications open January 1, 2020, on Submittable. For more information:

Valerie Boyd is the author of the critically acclaimed Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston. Formerly Arts Editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She is a professor of journalism and the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Georgia, where she founded and directs the low-residency MFA Program in Narrative Nonfiction. Boyd is currently curating and editing a collection of Alice Walker’s journals, which span more than 50 years. Simon & Schuster/37 Ink will publish Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker in 2020.

She joins our Summer 2020 Faculty at the University of Miami Week 1: June 21-June 27, 2020.


Introducing our New Series: Feature Fridays

On December 20,  we launched our new series: Feature Fridays.
Every Friday, we will introduce to you two members of our Summer 2020 Faculty.
Find out who they are (if you don’t know already) and the workshop they will be facilitating . Markdown your favorites and get ready to submit your application .
Remember, Applications open January 1, 2020! #vonasummer2020#featurefridays#faculty

VONA announces its Faculty for Summer 2020

We are excited to announce that the VONA Summer 2020 workshops will return to the University of Miami. We are quite proud to introduce our summer 2020 Faculty. Mark down your favorites and get ready to submit your application. Submission opens on January 1st and closes February 15th 2020.


Are you ready for this Summer?

Our renowned Summer Program returns!

We have a stellar Faculty and new workshops, stay tuned!

Applications open January 1, 2020.

Image of Asian woman wearing brown dress with brown hair and hand on podium

VONA is a community like no other...

VONA's Board President, M. Evelina Galang shares a passionate message with our community. Click here.

A Heartfelt Message to our Community from Interim Program Director, Wendy Angulo

Dear VONA Family,

From the bottom of my heart, I want to you for all the love and support during our Giving Tuesday Campaign, and throughout the year. We couldn't have gotten through this transitional year without you.

We had a successful first year of VONA ACROSS THE COUNTRY (VATC). We HI hit 9 cities and 5 states. A very special thanks to our wonderful Faculty for supporting VONA by donating their teaching time. We appreciate you!  Thank you to the Alums (returning and new) for attending the workshops!

Now, as this decade comes to an end, we are ready for our Summer 2020 Program. We have an INCREDIBLE Faculty and a variety of workshops that have made VONA the place every writer-of-color wants to attend.

In the words of Audre Lorde “Revolution is not a one-time event”. 

Sending you all Love & Warm Wishes for a New Year!

Wendy Angulo, 

 Alum & Interim Program Director

VONA's GIVING TUESDAY CAMPAIGN- A Message From the Interim Executive Director's desk

2019 was a make or break year for VONA. We’ll make it to 2020 and beyond thanks to everyone who donated their time and funds to help sustain our beloved VONA during this transitional year. From the Giving Tuesday and other fundraising campaigns, to faculty volunteering to teach for VONA Across the Country, to Alums consulting, donating their time and expertise, to friends of VONA chipping in where and when needed and to the Board and staff who took on a monumental and seemingly impossible task – all for the love of VONA. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I’m so very pleased to announce that VONA’s renowned summer workshops featuring our premier faculty are back!
Nívea Castro, J.D.
Alum & Interim Executive Director