• Home

[VIRTUAL] DREAMing Out Loud: Virtual Reading & Book Release

PEN America is proud to present this summer’s reading with the rising stars from DREAMing Out Loud, our tuition-free workshop series for young undocumented writers in New York City.

Since the program’s founding in 2016, DREAMing Out Loud has served over 125 emerging writers. Our students are primarily first-generation immigrants who came to the United States as children. As rhetoric flies, politics grind, and heat increases along all our borders, the experiences of these writers—who have risked their lives to cross land and oceans into the United States—must be heard.

This reading celebrates the courageous new voices in this year’s anthology release with readings from our students and stories from our teaching artists Álvaro Enrigue, Cherry Lou Sy, and Hannah Kingsley-Ma, and special guests Karla Cornejo Villavicencio (The Undocumented Americans, 2020), Sonia Guiñansaca (Nostalgia & Borders, 2016), Martyna Majok (Sanctuary City, 2020), Javier Zamora (Unaccompanied, 2017), and Jenny Zhang (My Baby First Birthday, 2020).


Please help make DREAMing Out Loud possible in 2021 with a donation today. The time-limited grant that supported this program from 2018-2020 has ended. Public support is crucial for the program to continue offering workshops in 2021.

Any donations are considered 100 percent tax-deductible and support DREAMing Out Loud’s mission to defend young undocumented writers and immigrants’ free expression at a time of unprecedented need. Here are some of features of the program that your donation could help us fund:

  • $10 – a free anthology for a student writer
  • $50 – a paid volunteer copyeditor
  • $100 – lunch or dinner for students in one of our workshop sessions
  • $150 – a guest speaker’s honorarium
  • $200 – an hour of workshop facilitation
  • $400 – a student stipend to offset costs of living while participating in the program
  • $2,000 – a teaching assistant’s stipend
  • $3,200 – a teaching artist’s stipend

Please contact Nicole Gervasio at [email protected] for any additional questions or concerns.

This event was a co-production of the New York Immigration Coalition and the PEN World Voices Festival. DREAMing Out Loud has been supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), with special thanks to the Vilcek Foundation and the CUNY Mexican Studies Institute for their support. Thanks go to Roxanna Allen for graphic design.

Jenny ZhangJenny Zhang is the author of the books Sour Heart and My Baby First Birthday. She’s currently adapting Sour Heart into a feature-length film for A24.

Sonia Guiñansaca

Sonia Guiñansaca is an international award-winning queer migrant poet, cultural organizer, and social justice activist. As a writer and performer, they create narrative poems and essays on migration, queerness, and nostalgia, often collaborating with filmmakers and visual artists. They emerged as a national leader in the migrant artistic and political communities, where they coordinated and participated in groundbreaking civil disobedience actions. Guiñansaca co-founded some of the largest undocumented organizations in the United States, including some of the first artistic projects by and for undocumented writers and artists. Guiñansaca has worked for over a decade in both policy and cultural efforts building equitable infrastructures for migrant artists. They have been awarded residencies and fellowships from the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation, Poetry Foundation, British Council, and the Hemispheric Institute for Performance & Politics. Guiñansaca has performed at the Met, the NYC Public Theater, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, and has been featured on PEN America: A Journal for Readers & Writers, Interview Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Teen Vogue, Diva Magazine UK, CNN, NBC, and PBS. Their migration and cultural equity work has also taken them to London and Mexico City to advise on migrant policy and arts programming. They serve as the national advisory Board Member of the Laundromat Project in New York City. Guiñansaca self-published their debut chapbook Nostalgia and Borders in 2016. They are a contributor for the new edition of the anthologies Colonize This! (2019, Seal Press) and This is Not a Gun (2020, Sming Sming Books/Candor Arts). They are also featured in Stop Telling Women to Smile (2020, Seal Press). For more information, go to SoniaGuinansaca.com and follow them on Instagram and Twitter @TheSoniaG. Photo Credit: Quil Lemons

Martyna MajokMartyna Majok is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, born in Poland. Plays include Sanctuary City, Queens, Cost of Living, and Ironbound. Honors include Lucille Lortel Outstanding Play Award, ATCA Francesca Primus Prize, Lanford Wilson Award, Stacey Mindich Prize, Greenfield Prize (first female recipient in drama), NYC Champions of Change Award, Helen Merrill Playwright Award, Charles MacArthur Award, Jean Kennedy Smith Award, David Calicchio Prize, Global Age Project Prize, Smith Prize for Political Playwriting, two Jane Chambers Feminist Playwriting Prizes, and the Merage Foundation Fellowship for the American Dream. Majok was the 2015–16 Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellow and a 2018–19 Hodder Fellow at Princeton.

Javier Zamora

Javier Zamora was born in El Salvador and migrated to the United States when he was nine. He was a 2018–2019 Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard and has been granted fellowships from Colgate University, the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and the Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, among others. Unaccompanied (Copper Canyon Press, 2017) is his first collection. He lives in Harlem, where he’s working on a memoir. More info at javierzamora.netPhoto Credit: Brittany Cronin

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio has written about immigration, music, beauty, and mental illness for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Glamour, Elle, Vogue, n+1, and The New Inquiry, among others. She lives in New Haven with her partner and their dog. The Undocumented Americans (One World, 2020) is her first book. Photo Credit: Talya Zemach Bersin

Álvaro Enrigue

Álvaro Enrigue is the director and founder of PEN America’s DREAMing Out Loud program. He was a Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library and a member of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores of 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 and Riverhead in English. His novel Sudden Death, first published in Spain as Muerte súbita in 2013, was awarded the prestigious Herralde Prize 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 is a Chinese-Filipino writer/performer originally from the Philippines. Her work has been developed/presented in La Mama Experiments, Rising Circle Theater Collective, The Letter of Marque, Brooklyn College, Primary Stages’ ESPA, The Wild Project, The Brick, the Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Tank, and The Public Theater. She was a finalist/semifinalist for the 2020 Barbour Playwrights Award, 2020 Pipeline Theater’s PlaySpace Fellowship, 2020 Ars Nova Fellowship, the 2018 Space on Ryder Farm Working Farm, and the 2017 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and nominated for the 2018 Cherry Lane 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.

Hannah Kingsley-Ma

Hannah Kingsley-Ma is a writer and radio producer. Her work has appeared in outlets like McSweeney’s, Literary Hub, Joyland Magazine, the CBC, KCRW and KQED Public Radio. As a graduate of New York University’s MFA in Fiction, she received the Jan Gabrial Fellowship and taught undergraduate creative writing. She is the 2020-21 Axinn NYU Writer-in-Residence.