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Felicia Rose Chavez Wants You to Commit to the Work
Ruth Joffre interviews Felicia Rose Chavez about ‘The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop,’ what led her to develop these principles, and why anti-racism is important—in the classroom and beyond.
The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom
The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop
Ruth Joffre: was published almost two years ago, in January 2021. What has your experience of publishing it been like?
RJ: Since the book’s publication, you have visited many organizations to talk about it and to discuss how to implement anti-racist practices in workshops. What questions come up the most in these sessions, and what do you say in response?
RJ: In the book, you combine memoir and instruction, weaving how-to information, lesson plans, and other educational material into recollections of your experiences of racism as a student and your journey toward being an award-winning educator. How did you develop this format? Did the structure change as you drafted?
RJ: The personal narratives in the book also offer fellow instructors a clear view of how your pedagogy changed over time and was refined over years of dedication in the classroom. Why was it important to you to talk about how you changed as a teacher, and what do you hope other teachers will learn from your journey?
RJ: Though you focus specifically on anti-racist writing workshops, many of the lessons and guidelines in the book (such as decentering the instructor and questioning the “canon”) could also apply to any literature classroom. How might instructors begin to implement some of these practices outside of the writing workshop?
RJ: The past two years have seen some good strides in implementing anti-racist practices and strategies in education spaces, but they have also seen setbacks, performative declarations of allyship, and a lot of racist legislation. What, if anything, gives you hope in this moment about the future of writing workshops and education in this country?
RJ: What other books about writing and the teaching of writing would you recommend for those hoping to improve their practice?
What It IsCraft in the Real WorldrightA
RJ: What is fueling your creativity now?
New York Times
Ruth Joffre is the author of the story collection Night Beast. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Lightspeed, Nightmare, Pleiades, khōréō, The Florida Review Online, Wigleaf, Baffling Magazine, and the anthologies Best Microfiction 2021 & 2022, Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness, and Evergreen: Grim Tales & Verses from the Gloomy Northwest. She co-organized the performance series Fight for Our Lives and served as the 2020-2022 Prose Writer-in-Residence at Hugo House. In 2023, she will be a visiting writer at University of Washington Bothell.
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