Ready, Set, Go: Creating a Platform that Works for You and Your Community

Diagram of interconnected purple books on top of a darker purple background. Text on the left, in yellow, reads: “Ready, Set, Go”

This event is part of You Are A Writer, a series of free online workshops on the business of writing. Inspired by beloved components of the Emerging Voices Fellowship, the series will provide an introduction to four topics that are foundational to launching a literary career.

In a crowded landscape, building an audience for your work and literary community is more important than ever. Join PEN America for a free workshop on developing a platform as a writer. This hands-on session will look at what a platform is and the foundational components of the writer’s toolkit, from readings to websites. ASL interpretation is provided by Pro Bono ASL.

This digital event will start at 5pm PT / 7pm CT / 8pm ET.


In order to ensure an optimal experience for our speakers and all participants, please be advised that You Are A Writer: A Career & Craft Workshop Series is limited to 1,000 registrants per workshop. Unfortunately, recordings will not be available following the event. However, please return to for information regarding future workshops and events, or fill out this form to stay connected.

Uli Beutter Cohen headshot: Uli has medium-length brown hair. She is wearing a beige jacket over a white button-up shirt.Uli Beutter Cohen (she/her) is a New York City-based documentarian and the creator of Subway Book Review. New York Magazine, Esquire, Vogue and The Guardian among others have featured her work. Uli is currently working on her first book Between The Lines: Stories from the Underground (Simon & Schuster, 2021). @theubc @subwaybookreview

Eloisa Amezcua headshot: Eloisa sits on a white chair and drapes her arms over the backrest. She has dark short hair and is facing toward the right. She is wearing rings and bracelets on her hands.Eloisa Amezcua (she/her) is from Arizona. Her debut collection, From the Inside Quietly, is the inaugural winner of the Shelterbelt Poetry Prize selected by Ada Limón. A MacDowell Fellow, Amezcua is the founder of Costura Creative. Her second collection of poems, Fighting is Like a Wife, is forthcoming from Coffee House Press.

Sonia Guiñansaca headshot: Sonia is sitting resting their chin on their hand at a table with an open notebook, a pen, and a mug. They have short black hair and a tattoo on their right wrist.Sonia Guiñansaca (they/them) is an international award 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 Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics. Guiñansaca has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Public Theater in New York City, and Lehmann Maupin gallery; toured campuses across the country; and has been featured on PEN America, Interview Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Teen Vogue, Diva Magazine (UK), CNN, NBC, and PBS to name a few. 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 NYC. Guiñansaca self-published their debut chapbook, Nostalgia and Borders, in 2016. They are a contributor for the new edition of ColonizeThis! (Seal Press, 2019) and This is Not a Gun (Sming Sming Books/Candor Arts, 2020). They are also featured on Stop Telling Women to Smile (Seal Press, 2020). They are the co-editor of the forthcoming anthology Somewhere We Are Human (HarperCollins, 2021). Guiñansaca is launching Alegria Press, a publishing house for undocumented writers in Spring 2021. Instagram/Twitter: @TheSoniag

Ashley Jones headshot: Ashley is looking intently at the camera, wearing a leather jacket, and in front of a deep blue background.Ashley M. Jones (she/her) holds an MFA in poetry from Florida International University, and she is the author of Magic City Gospel (Hub City Press, 2017), dark // thing (Pleiades Press, 2019), and Reparations Now! (Hub City Press, 2021). Her poetry has earned several awards, including the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the silver medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards, the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry, a literature fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award. She was a finalist for the Ruth Lilly Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship in 2020. Her poems and essays appear in or are forthcoming at CNN, Poetry Magazine, Oxford American, Origins Journal, The Quarry by Split This Rock, Obsidian, and many others. She teaches at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, co-directs PEN Birmingham, and is the founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival.

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