GrubStreet hosts first ‘Write-In’ at the Boston Public Library

Media Contact for Facing History and Ourselves: Valerie Linson
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Media Contact for GrubStreet
Sonya Bonczek

GrubStreet hosts first ‘Write-In’ at the Boston Public Library

The nation’s largest writing center, in partnership with the Boston Public Library and Facing History and Ourselves, invites the public to participate in civic action in response to rising hatred

BOSTON, Massachusetts (May 10, 2017)  - GrubStreet, the nation's largest and leading creative writing center, is partnering with the Boston Public Library and Facing History and Ourselves to host a Write-In in solidarity with recent refugees, immigrants and all people in Boston on Friday, May 19 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Write-In will take place on the front steps of the Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square located at 230 Dartmouth Street, and will include iconic typewriters and an open mic for the public to write and share their stories.

Much like sit-ins, where people take up public space to protest and make the case for change, the Write-In will bring people together using a medium that is proven to foster greater understanding.  

“Sharing stories is a uniquely powerful way to see and feel from different perspectives, to build empathy and connection,” said Eve Bridburg, founder and executive director of GrubStreet. “Given the climate of rising hate and intolerance in the world today, it feels important to bring the promise of the narrative arts out into the public square and to stand in solidarity with recent immigrants and refugees who are under attack.  From our work in our classrooms, we know first-hand, the power of individual stories to help us recognize our equal humanity and our common dignity.”

Co-sponsoring the event are the William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences at UMass Boston, the City of Boston’s Office of Immigrant Advancement and Office of Arts and Culture, WriteBoston, The Drum Literary Magazine and the International Institute of New England. 

Facing History and Ourselves will be bringing a group of students, mostly refugees and immigrants, from Boston Public Schools to take part in the event. 

Following the writing portion of the program, there will be an open mic held at the Library's Civic Table for all participants to share their stories, poems and thoughts and ideas. With permission from storytellers, stories and video from the Write-In will be shared on social media and broadcast on WGBH Radio. 

Keynotes will be given by Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston and Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor At-Large. 

"The City of Boston is home to people of all cultural backgrounds and nations of origin. The arts are an important tool that allow people to share their thoughts, opinions and differing perspectives, opening the doors of communications and bringing these perspectives to the forefront," said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. "I'm honored to join GrubStreet for a day of writing in unity with recent refugees, immigrants and all Bostonians."

"Storytelling is vital to democracy, and it is the foundation of progress," said Ayanna Pressley, Boston's City Councilor. "The Boston Write-In is about empowering new voices - those that need to be heard today, that have been silenced, disenfranchised and ignored - in order lay the groundwork for a better, more democratic future."  

Speakers also include Eve Bridburg, founder and executive director of GrubStreet; Boyah Farah, a Somali refugee and writer; and Gazmend Kapllani, an Albanian-born journalist and author of A Short Border Handbook. 

"As an immigrant and a storyteller, I feel the artistic and moral obligation to speak out for both,” says Gazmend Kapllani. “Storytelling is the art of human existence, and oftentimes of human resistance too."

About GrubStreet
Founded in 1997, GrubStreet has grown into the nation's largest independent creative writing centers. By rigorously developing voices of every type and talent and by removing barriers to entry, GrubStreet fosters the creation of meaningful stories and ensures that excellent writing remains vital and relevant. The Muse and the Marketplace by GrubStreet has been recently named “the #1 writing conference in North America” by The Writer Magazine, and attracts more than 800 attendees every year in Boston for three days of interactive sessions, meetings, event, including a panel on the black experience in Boston to be moderated by Boston Globe associate editor and columnist Renee Graham. For more information, please visit and

About Boston Public Library
Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit

About Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves was founded in 1976 by educators who believed that instilling intellectual vigor and curiosity goes hand-in-hand with teaching facts and figures. From the disturbing lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides to struggles for civil rights from Birmingham to South Africa, we trust students to wrestle with complex moments in human history, and work to help them understand the range of human behavior. These students learn to connect the dots between the ethical choices they’ll face in life and the positive outcomes they can create in their community and the world. Visit for more information.



Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 1:30pm

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