DREAMing Out Loud is a paid, tuition-free creative writing workshop series for young immigrant 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 ($200) 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, in part, by public funds from the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME).
Read the Stories of Student DREAMers
PEN America has released a third volume of its groundbreaking anthology, DREAMing Out Loud: Voices of Migrant Writers, the first and only annual compilation of literary writing amplifying the experiences of undocumented writers in the United States. These 48 plays, personal essays, short stories, and poems announce loudly and proudly that our writers will not be silenced or ignored; they will speak up, act out, and fight back to demand the rights and recognition they and their families deserve. This newest edition features an introduction by program alumna and poet Donauta Watson, with cover art designed by alumna Yesica Balderrama.
All author names have been published with the consent of the authors. Some names have been changed.
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. 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
Cherry Lou Sy has been a teaching artist for DREAMing Out Loud since 2020. She is a Chinese Filipino writer, playwright, and performer originally from the Philippines. Her work has been developed/presented in La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, Rising Circle Theater Collective, Letter of Marque Theater Co., Brooklyn College, the Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts, Wild Project, The Brick, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Tank, and The Public Theater. She was a finalist/semifinalist for the The Public Theater’s 2020 Emerging Writers Group, 2020 Thomas Barbour Playwrights Award, 2020 Pipeline Theater’s PlaySpace program, 2020 Ars Nova Fellowship, the 2018 SPACE on Ryder Farm’s Working Farm residency, and the 2017 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and nominated for the 2018 Cherry Lane Theatre’s Mentor Project. She performed and devised in Ping Chong’s Undesirable Elements series and received her MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn College, where she is also a lecturer in the English and American Studies Departments. She is co-artistic director of the International Minor Feelings Trading Company (aka Trade Co).
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.
Victor I. Cazares
Victor I. Cazares is the newest teaching artist for DREAMing Out Loud as of 2021. They are a non-binary Poz Queer Indigenous Mexican Artist (Enby PQIMA for short) who has had stints at Yale University, Brown University, and other less prestigious centers of rehabilitation. Like any border child, they were born twice: once in El Paso, TX and another in San Lorenzo, Chihuahua. Cazares lives, forages, and produces their own social media telenovelas in Portland, OR. Their virtual plays, Pinching Pennies with Penny Marshall and Holiday Follies, premiered at the New York Theatre Workshop earlier this season where they are the Tow Playwright-in-Residence. Other plays include: American (Tele)Visions, Ramses contra los monstruos, We Were Eight Years in Powder, and When We Write With Ashes.
Hannah Kingsley-Ma has worked with Álvaro Enrigue as a teaching assistant for DREAMing Out Loud since 2019, and she is now running our first workshop dedicated to program alumni. She is a writer and radio producer. Her work has appeared in outlets like McSweeney’s, Literary Hub, Joyland Magazine, the CBC, KCRW, and KQED. As a graduate of New York University’s (NYU) MFA in Fiction, she received the Jan Gabrial Fellowship and taught undergraduate creative writing. She is the 2020-21 Axinn Foundation Writer-in-Residence at NYU.
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.