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DREAMing Out Loud is a paid, tuition-free creative writing workshop series for migrant writers, primarily those who are undocumented, DACA recipients, and/or DREAMers who came to the United States when they were children. By providing community and professional support to the next generation of immigrant writers, the program seeks to counter anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. and to amplify the voices of many living in this country who are marginalized because of their immigration status.

In workshops led by established writers from immigrant backgrounds, 40 participants are provided a modest stipend to develop original fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and plays to perform at public readings and to publish in various print and digital formats, including our annual anthology. The program also helps build a pipeline to publishing and theatre industries in New York City, empowering DREAMers to develop their own unique artistic voice and craft to ensure that any future literary canon will include their stories, perspectives, and lived experiences. Participants receive access to resources tailored for immigrant artists, including at least one author-led talkback about writing and publishing each year.


To learn more about the program, including how to enroll or make a donation, email the program director, Jared Jackson ([email protected]).

DREAMing Out Loud is supported by Karen Pritzker, RJ Julia Booksellers, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, CUNY Mexican Institute, New York Theater Workshop and National Queer Theater. It is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.


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DREAMing Out Loud: An Anthology of Migrant Writers tugs at the essence of migrant life in New York City and introduces us to often overlooked narratives. This annual collection of art features original writing and drawings from DREAMing Out Loud, PEN America’s tuition-free writing workshop series for migrant writers in New York City founded by the award-winning Mexican novelist Álvaro Enrigue in 2016. Through writing that is a testament to hope, bravery, and sheer will, these voices, these lives, are celebrated, uplifted, and commemorated.  

The fifth volume in this anthology series includes new plays, short stories, poems, essays, and, for the first time, children’s book writing complete with illustrations, by writers from Mexico to Nigeria, Kazakhstan to Honduras, Brazil to Jamaica, South Africa to Bangladesh, and beyond. Featuring an introduction by Ecuadorian-American writer Stephan Sebastian Herrera, who has taught and assisted DREAMing Out Loud workshops alongside writer and program founder Álvaro Enrigue, writer Charlie Vázquez, writer and playwright Cherry Lou Sy, writer and illustrator Claudia Rueda, and playwright Victor I. Cazares, DREAMing Out Loud: An Anthology of Migrant Writers invites you to celebrate emerging migrant writers.

All author names have been published with the consent of the authors. Some names have been changed.

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Teaching Artists

Álvaro Enrigue, Photo Credit: Daniel Mordzinski

Álvaro Enrigue

Álvaro Enrigue is the director and founder of PEN America’s DREAMing Out Loud Program since 2016. He was a Cullman Center Fellow at The New York Public Library and a member of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte in Mexico. His work has appeared in The New York Times, El País, The Believer, Letras Libres, The New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books, among others. He is the author of five novels, two books of short stories, and one book of literary criticism, published by Anagrama in Spanish and Dalkey Archive Press and Riverhead Books in English. His novel Sudden Death, first published in Spain as Muerte súbita in 2013, was awarded the prestigious Premio Herralde award in Spain, the Elena Poniatowska International Novel Award in Mexico, and the Barcelona Prize for Fiction. His forthcoming novel, You Dream of Empires, will be published in English in January 2024. He currently serves on the faculty of the MFA in Creative Writing for Writers of Spanish program at Hofstra University. Enrigue was born in Mexico and lives in New York City. Photo Credit: Daniel Mordzinski

Cherry Lou Sy Portrait-2022

Cherry Lou Sy

CHERRY LOU SY is a writer & playwright originally from the Philippines of Chinese and Filipino heritage. Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, she received her BA at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and attended Brooklyn College’s MA in English Literature as well as the MFA in Playwriting program under Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney. She’s a recipient of fellowships and residencies from VONA and Tin House. Publication credits include: Massachusetts Review, Shenandoah, jmww, cheappop, Harpy Hybrid Review, etc. Her debut novel Love Can't Fee You will be published in Fall 2024 through Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Charlie Vázquez

Charlie Vázquez

Charlie Vázquez has been a DREAMing Out Loud teaching artist since 2018. He is the author of the novels Buzz and Israel (2005, Fireking Press) and Contraband (2010, Rebel Satori Press) as well as Fantasmas: Puerto Rican Tales of the Dead (Carlos Vazquez, 2020), a short story collection inspired by family folklore. His writing also appears in the graphic novel collection Ricanstruction (Somos Arte, 2018), which donates proceeds to hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. Vázquez’s work was also included in Crashing Cathedrals (ITNA, 2019), an anthology featuring essays written by authors on their favorite Edmund White books. He’s the former New York City coordinator for Puerto Rico’s Festival de la Palabra and was awarded a Commendation from the City of New York in 2014 for his contributions to Latino literary heritage. Currently, he’s developing a portfolio of feature-length screenplays, treatments, and short films adapted from his fiction. He lives in the Bronx.

Claudia Rueda

Claudia Rueda

Claudia Rueda is a Colombian author and a New York Times bestselling illustrator of over thirty picture books for children. Rueda's books have been published in the United States, Mexico, and Spain and have been translated into fifteen different languages for Asia and Europe. She’s a 2016 Hans Christian Andersen and Astrid Lindgren Awards nominee. Claudia went to Law and Art school and worked as a political cartoonist in Colombia. She also studied Children’s Book Illustration at UC Berkeley and she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University at Cambridge, MA. Claudia frequently presents at international Children’s Book conferences and teaches a course on Picture Book Writing at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Past Events

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PEN America X Vice Media Present: DREAM To Tell

How do our stories live in our bodies?

In this visual project, student DREAMers explore this question’s inherent possibilities, using their own creative writing as a template.

Developed as part of PEN America’s DREAMing Out Loud writing workshops, DREAM to Tell seeks to elevate the voices of young aspiring writers from New York City who are undocumented and have been marginalized due to their immigration status, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or for being perceived as “other.”

As a collaborative venture, DREAM to Tell takes an experimental approach to visual representation, as participants work actively with storytelling and film professionals to translate their stories onscreen.

Watch the DREAM to Tell videos »

2020 DREAMing Out Loud Virtual Reading & Book Release

Watch student DREAMers perform their work »

DREAMing Out Loud at the 2018 World Voices Festival

Watch student DREAMers perform their work at the 2018 World Voices Festival »