Sarabande Writing Labs



We're proud to present Who is Still Here?, the latest Sarabande Writing Labs anthology. This hand-bound anthology features original work by young writers in our summer 2017 session held in partnership with Americana Community Center. 

The anthologies are lovingly handmade by volunteers and given to all Sarabande Writing Labs participants free of charge. They are also available for purchase here. Proceeds from anthology sales support the continuation of the program.

Sarabande Writing Labs is an arts education program promoting writers in under-resourced communities through writing workshops and literary events. 

About our partner: Americana Community Center is a nonprofit organization in Louisville's South End that provides a spectrum of services to the diverse individuals and families of the Metro Area, including refugees, immigrants, and those born in the U.S. 

From the Intern Desk, Interns, Sarabande in Education

Recommended Reading from Sarabande's Summer 2017 Intern Team

The interns this summer have been reading titles from the Sarabande bookshelf like it's their job and they've picked their favorites to share. 

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Him, Me, Muhammad Ali

"This collection took every expectation I had and completely flipped it on its head. Jarrar perfectly captures the idea of 'accidental transients'—migratory birds who have strayed from their route—to make a statement about survival in the face of displacement. These provocative stories of Arab women, some less grounded in reality than others, are told with honesty, vulnerability, and biting humor. There's never a bad time to think sensitively of experiences outside of your own, but for me this book holds a special importance in today's political climate. I can't recommend it enough!" —Anne, editorial intern

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You Should Pity Us Instead

"The worlds that Amy Gustine explores in her collection of short stories You Should Pity Us Instead soothe as they wander through everyday themes... and throttle when the trapdoor opens and the reader falls upon a grandiose barb of emotion. Something always hides beneath the facades of these stories. And, like most unexpected, hidden things, when we stumble upon them our reaction is to be thrilled, devastated, spooked, to laugh hysterically as our hearts race. The frankness with which Amy Gustine navigates these surprises stabilizes the reader and allows them to witness these very human realities which encompass both the mundane and the astonishing." —Justin, development intern

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On Imagination

"Mary Ruefle's essay On Imagination is a beautiful, brilliant exploration of 'all the things that live in the same house, the house of the head.' It is a winding meander through Ruefle's thinking and her imagination, which, she argues, are one and the same. She shows how imagination resides along with rationality, not just with magical thinking—as well as the complexity, darkness, and limits of imagining. This essay is a fresh yet sage thicket of thoughts—full of bruises and blooms, and even, a little white goat." —Hannah Rose, programming intern

Featured Authors, News



A book-length essay on the mime Marcel Marceau, informed by interviews with his students, closely observed performances, and archival research. Remarkably innovative in structure and style, the book employs lists, prose poems, syllabi, a travel itinerary, a catalog of his possessions, and more. A Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause is a celebration of Marceau's transcendent creation.

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photo credit Jana Ašenbrennerová

photo credit Jana Ašenbrennerová

Shawn Wen is a writer, radio producer, and multimedia artist. Her writing has appeared in The New Inquiry, Seneca Review, Iowa Review, White Review, and the anthology City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis (Faber and Faber, 2015). Her radio work has broadcast on This American Life, Freakonomics Radio, and Marketplace, and she is currently a producer at Youth Radio. Her video work has screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the Camden International Film Festival, and the Carpenter Center at Harvard University. She holds a BA from Brown University and is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including the Ford Foundation Professional Journalism Training Fellowship and the Royce Fellowship. Wen was born in Beijing, raised in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, and currently resides in San Francisco.

A unique, poetic critical appreciation of Marcel Marceau. . . . A fascinating book. . . . Readers will marvel not only at Marceau, but at the book itself, which displays such command of the material and such perfect pitch.
Kirkus Review, starred review
Effectively pays homage to both the history of mime and its solitary master, Marcel Marceau. . . . Wen crafts diamond-cut paragraphs that place the reader in Marceau’s enthralled audiences. . . . These invaluable descriptions by a writer versed in the tradition of making the nonvisible vibrant should be read slowly and with the same seemingly effortless focus Marceau gave to his art.
Booklist, starred review
[Shawn] Wen’s whimsical ode to Marcel Marceau showcases the performer’s determination to ‘fill the blank spaces’ with a silence that stirs.
O, The Oprah Magazine, "10 Titles to Pick Up Now"
[Shawn] Wen’s whimsical ode to Marcel Marceau showcases the performer’s determination to ‘fill the blank spaces’ with a silence that stirs.
The Men's Journal, "The Seven Best Books of July"


Announcing the winner of the 2017 Mary McCarthy Prize

We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2017 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction judged by Paul Yoon is Tiny Heroes, Tiny Villains by Robert Yune. 

What he has built here, and what we enter, from the first sentence of Tiny Heroes, Tiny Villains, is an achingly beautiful, many-roomed house, not only peopled with all of us, now, but the ghosts that have shaped us and the ones that help propel us into the future.
— Paul Yoon

As a Navy brat, Robert Yune moved 11 times by the time he turned 18. In 2012, he was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award and was one of five finalists for the Prairie Schooner Book Prize. His fiction has appeared in the Green Mountains Review, the Kenyon Review, and Los Angeles Review, among others.

In the summer of 2012, he worked as a stand-in for George Takei and has worked as an extra in movies such as The Dark Knight RisesMe and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Father and Daughters

Currently, he teaches at DePauw University, located in beautiful Greencastle, Indiana.  His novel Eighty Days of Sunlight was nominated for the 2017 International DUBLIN Literary Award; other nominees included Viet Thanh Nguyen, Margaret Atwood, and Salman Rushdie.

How to Make Your Mother Cry by Sejal Shah
We Are a Teeming Wilderness by Shena McAuliffe
Quotidian Prayers by Carol LaHines

Jillian in the Borderlands: tales & provenances by Beth Alvarado
Last Time Around by Will Clattenburg; Birdtown by Alison Moore
Pretenders by Leslie Bazzett


Announcing the Winner of the 2017 Kathryn A. Morton Prize

We are pleased to announce Rowan Ricardo Phillips has selected Pamela Hart's Mothers Over Nangarhar as the winner of the 2017 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry. 

Pamela Hart is writer in residence at the Katonah Museum of Art where she teaches and manages an arts-in-education program called Thinking Through the Arts. She was awarded an NEA poetry fellowship in 2013. She recently received the Brian Turner Literary Arts prize for poetry. Her poems have been published in a variety of journals including the Southern Humanities Review, Bellevue Literary Review and Drunken Boat. Toadlily Press published her chapbook, The End of the Body. She is poetry editor and mentor for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project.

photo credit Steve Rago

photo credit Steve Rago

The Spinning Place by Chelsea Wagenaar
Extinction Theory by Kien Lam
In My Heart Is the Heart of My Heart by Sarah Blackman

Record Winter by Jordan Potter
Signs of Danger by Erica Ehrenberg
Go Because I Love You by Jared Harél
Charge Number One by Emily Yoon
Hypocrite Shoe by Ryan Black
Relic and the Plum by Molly Spencer
You Are a House, You are a Hammer, You're the Momentum of the Nail by Saara Myrene Raappana