Here's my luck. I was selected as a Kimbilio Fellow during its inaugural year in 2013. Since then, I've participated in two of their summer retreats for African American fiction writers. Two weeks of blissful sleeping, eating, chatting and drinking WRITING!!!!
I'm going to be honest. Not a lot of writing got done either year, especially if you measure it by page count. But if you measure it by gathering ideas; making friends and connections; (re)learning things like sentence structure, narrative arc, characters and dialogue; and deep conversations about gender, race and class in stories--then the time spent was some of the most productive in my life. Here's a little story about Kimbilio which doesn't capture the flavor, but gives you the facts. The pictures at the bottom tell more of the story.
But you had to be there! (Keep an eye out on the web page, kimbiliofiction.com, to apply!)
SMU helps black writers hone their craft at New Mexico retreat
Southern Methodist University is building a supportive relationship between black fiction writers and an SMU sister campus in Taos, N.M.
Black fiction writers are encouraged to consider attending future sessions of the Kimbilio Retreat at the SMU-in-Taos campus. Participants are winding up this year’s retreat, which began Sunday and ends Saturday. The campus, bearing low, adobe-colored buildings, is in Ranchos de Taos, about 10 miles south of Taos.
SMU creative writing director David Haynes began Kimbilio Retreat two years ago, drawing inspiration from Cave Canem, a similar retreat for black poets that has met in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Columbia, S.C. Kimbilio is Swahili for “refuge.”
“This is an ideal place to get away and just focus on writing,” Haynes says of Taos in promotional materials.
At the current retreat, 19 fiction writing fellows are focusing on refining their manuscripts. The fellows draw support from each other, get quiet time to write and receive guidance from published writers and faculty, including Haynes.
“Sometimes you just need to sit and think, and SMU-in-Taos is ideal for doing that,” Haynes says in the materials.
To learn more, visit kimbiliofiction.com/kimbilo or call 214-768-2945.