Producing and circulating participants’ writing in an artfully produced magazine or booklet is a crucial facet of the CWP.
We consider the writing as part of a larger flow of popular art from the communities where the writers live and work. In addition, the publication affords the opportunity for the writers’ stories to become part of the public discussion about issues that matter to them.
After the editing process is complete, the teacher takes the final writings and creates a publication containing the stories and accompanying author and group photos (or arranges for the community organization to create the publication). It should be noted that writers who do not want to include their photos, or prefer to appear as anonymous, may always do so.
The teacher may choose to write an introduction to the magazine issue, or co-write an introduction with a representative of the partnering community group. In some cases, after a writing group has been in existence for some time, the writers may choose to jointly write the introduction themselves.
The number of magazines that are produced depends on resources available. As a minimum, authors should receive a few copies so that they can distribute magazines to friends and family, and there should be enough to distribute at public readings and within the community. We have produced anywhere from 100 to 1,500 magazines. They always run out!
Hosting a Reading
Writers know from the time they start the writing workshops that they will have at least one opportunity to share their writing with family, friends, and the wider community through a public reading. The partnering community organization holds a public celebration where writing group members can read their pieces, answer questions about their stories, and discuss their experience in the writing workshop if they so choose. In many cases writers have additional opportunities to read their writings. Past writers have read at public forums or arts events in their communities, to classes at colleges and universities interested in the work they do, and to other writers when writing exchanges have been arranged.