Everyone has a journey with their own language/s. It could be our experiences living across countries or traveling, or our stories about immigration or learning a new language. Languages are ways we see this world, and it is especially important that we write about our relationship with them, using our own spoken and emotional languages.
So how do we write about our personal journeys with languages? How do we let people see that understanding one another, especially one another’s stories about languages, really matters?
In this six-week writing workshop, we’ll be exploring different forms of writings that are centering around languages, translation, and immigration. We’ll read works from writers who are multilingual or have written about their relationships with their languages. We’ll also be discussing politics that circle around preserving dialects, disappearing languages, and accents and how to make these topics more visible. We’ll be writing together in our class, reading closely and critically, and discussing what we can do to make our voices heard.
This class is open only to those who identify as a writer of color. The workshop aims to build a safe space without judgments. While we work on our writings, we’ll be exploring resources that help us gain inspiration and enjoy our writing process. The workshop will address how to pitch our works, as well as how to take care of ourselves when writing about trauma.
*No class on Mar. 8
One full-ride scholarship will be awarded for this class. To apply, please send [email protected] your bio and a brief (100-word) statement on why taking this class is important to you by January 20, with the subject line "Jenna Tang Workshop Scholarship".
Our class platform works best on laptop or desktop computers. Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility.
Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities. Note that you will not be able to view recordings of your class meetings if you miss them. For more information, please review our FAQ.
- Familiarity with various forms of essays that are centering around languages, translation, or their politics.
- Space and time to generate new personal essay ideas, feedback from workshop peers and the instructor.
- A safe place and community for you to grow as a writer.
- How to put together pitches for our personal essays, and where to pitch.
- A 30-minute one-on-one online meeting with the instructor
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
This is a generative workshop, and every student will get a chance to submit their personal essay (up to 12 double-spaces pages), poetry (up to 5 poems), short story (page limits will be discussed), or hybrid works (page limits will be discussed) once, getting oral feedback from peers and the instructor. The writing project can be something you've already started working on or something you're inspired to write during the class. Every week, prior to class, we’ll be reading 1-2 readings for in-class discussions. Writing exercises will be provided for writers to generate new ideas for new works.
This is a safe space to share your writing and projects. This is also a community where you don’t need to overly explain yourself. Let’s enjoy reading personal essays together, and think about our next steps pitching our works!
Week 1: Introduction: Writing About Our Languages
Week 2: Languages, Politics, and Translation
Week 3: Lyrical/ Personal Essays About Languages
Week 4: Travel, Music, and Languages
Week 5: Writing About Dialects and Disappearing Languages
Week 6: Pitching Essays about Languages
Jenna Tang is a literary translator based in New York. She translates from Chinese, French and Spanish. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Her translations and essays are published in Restless Books, Latin American Literature Today, AAWW, McSweeney's, Catapult and elsewhere. Her interviews are at World Literature Today and Words Without Borders. She is a selected translator for the 2021 ALTA Emerging Translators Mentorship with a focus on Taiwanese prose.
"Jenna Tang is doing incredible and important work as a translator and writer. She is so generous and always opens the door for others. Her work challenges the status quo and creates a space for resonant stories and writers to find many audiences and communities across languages and borders. She helps us see what is possible in the literary world and how to find our way toward it. I can't think of anyone I'd rather learn from more!"
“Jenna Tang works tirelessly and generously to promote literature in translation and to build community within the translation sphere. As a translator from Taiwan now based in the US, she moves fluidly between the cultures she translates from and to, probing the bounds of the English language and seeking out voices who have hitherto not received sufficient attention.”
“As a translator, Jenna is fundamentally a community builder. A bridge-builder on the page and within groups she crafts with sensitivity and nuance, translating not only between languages but complex identities and beliefs. Her work supports shared understanding through a profound respect for cultures and individuals.”
“Jenna is a thoughtful translator and creative spirit who works from multiple lineages and myriad inspirations, toggling between the minutest of details and big-picture issues in a text with ease. Warm and inquisitive, she's committed to community in all senses and brings passion and energy to every one of her endeavors.”
“Jenna made each one of us feel valued and comfortable during class. She was a fantastic teacher, genuinely enthusiastic about the subject. Her thoughtfully-prepared class discussions were directly applicable to my translation practice, and I am now a better translator because of it.”
"Jenna is a fantastic instructor! Her workshop was so engaging. She expertly mixed questions of languages, poetic, inspiration, and translation. That’s something I had been looking for a long time in a workshop. I learned new tools to write about languages. Jenna’s constructive feedback encouraged me to keep writing about languages and exploring migration in organic ways. The discussions resonated throughout my week outside the online meeting: I kept feeling engaged, researching, and writing."