Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA) was founded by Elmaz Abinader, Junot Díaz, Victor Díaz and Diem Jones in 1999. Each envisioned an arts organization that could change the landscape for writers of color by supporting individual writer growth, creating a platform for community engagement and providing a workshop and mentor focus to expand writing opportunities. Over 2,000 writers from around the globe have participated in VONA. Dismantle is an anthology of creative work from VONA alumni and its award-winning teachers including: Chris Abani, Nikky Finney, Maaza Mengiste, Minal Hajratwala, Justin Torres, Cristina Garcia, Mat Johnson, Laila Lalami, Mitchell Jackson and many more.
Dismantle: An Anthology of Writing from the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop
with an introduction by Junot Díaz
Edited by: Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela, Andrea Walls, Adriana E. Ramirez, Camille Acker, and Marco Fernando Navarro (Thread Makes Blanket Press, May 2014)
Chris Abani, Elmaz Abinader, Faith Adiele, Kimberly Alidio, Hari Alluri, LiYun Alvarado, Anna Alves, Vibiana Aparicio-Chamberlin, Adam Balm, Oscar Bermeo, Tara Betts, Amalia B. Bueno, jewel bush, Ching-In Chen, Sharline Chiang, Monét Cooper, William Copeland, Jennifer De Leon, Junot Diaz, Gail M. Dottin, teri elam, M.J.Fievre, Nikky Finney, Cristina Garcia, Minal Hajratwala, Tatiana Richards Hanebutte, Scott Hernandez, Sasha Hom, Ashaki M. Jackson, Mitchell S. Jackson, Mat Johnson, Diem Jones, Jourdan Imani Keith, Mũthoni Kiarie, Alan King, Laila Lalami, Alberto Ledesma, Kenji C. Liu, David S. Maduli, Mia Ayumi Malhotra, Vanessa Mártir, Maaza Mengiste, Rajiv Mohabir, Janine Mogannam, David Mura, Cynthia Dewi Oka, Rae Paris, Mai Perkins, Roopa Ramamoorthi, Jo Reyes-Boitel, Linda Maria Rodriguez Guglielmoni, Leah Silvieus, Anastacia Tolbert, Justin Torres, Sevé Torres, Ky-Phong Tran, Torrie Valentine, Norma Liliana Valdez, and thandiwe Dee Watts-Jones
Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA) was founded by Elmaz Abinader, Junot Díaz, Victor Díaz and Diem Jones in 1999. Each envisioned an arts organization that could change the landscape for writers of color by supporting individual writer growth, creating a platform for community engagement and providing a workshop and mentor focus to expand writing opportunities. Over 2,000 writers from around the globe have participated in VONA.
More about the book:
The first ever VONA/Voices anthology, Dismantle, includes creative work from established and new authors who have either taught at VONA, or are alumni of the program. Over 55 prose and poetry writers are included in an attempt to capture the range of VONA voices. Keeping with the community spirit of VONA, work from Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners is next to work from authors who have never been published before
Trade paperback, 288 pages
May 1, 2014 release
features cover art by Damon Locks
list price $19.95
The Publisher’s Website: www.threadmakesblanket.com
Distribution by: www.akpress.org
More about Dismantle contributors:
“Searing, sometimes hilarious, and always disarming … Readers will remember why everyone wants to write like Díaz, bring him home, or both.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“First-time novelist Justin Torres unleashes We the Animals (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a gorgeous, howling coming-of-age novel that will devour your heart.”
About Maaza Mengiste’s Beneath the Lion’s Gaze: “The real marvel of this tender novel is its coiled plotting, in which coincidence manages to evoke the colossal emotional toll of the revolution.” — The New Yorker
“Nikky Finney has been a fine poet much too long to say that this latest treasure is her promise coming into being. She exploded with so much talent with On Wings Made of Gauze and beautifully matured with Rice, yet Head Off & Split takes the promise of youth with the control of adulthood to bring her greatest exploration. Honest, searing, searching. We all, especially now, need this book of poems; we all, especially now, need this poet.”
— Nikki Giovanni, author of Bicycles
About Mat Johnson’s Pym: “[A] romp that surprises on every page. Funny, insightful, racially important, Pym is a death-defying adventure and a probing examination of notions of race, even at the farthest ends of the earth.” – Booklist
“[Mitchell] Jackson’s prose has a spoken-word cadence, the language flying off the page with percussive energy…There is warmth and wit, and a hard-won wisdom about the intersection of race and poverty in America.” —The New York Times
Quotes from the book:
We founded the Voices of Our Nation Workshop because all the founders…were haunted one way or another by “what might have beens.” And because we saw a deep need for a space where writers of color from all backgrounds could gather to develop their art in a safe supportive environment. We saw the need for a space where, as writers of color, our
ideas, critiques, concerns, our craft and, above all, our experiences would be privileged rather than marginalized; encouraged rather than trivialized; discussed intelligently rather than exoticized; a space where the stories we tell (and how we choose tell them) are considered cornerstones to the project of literature. We saw a need for a decolonial space where writers of color could deliberate critically on matters of race, ethnicity, self-hate, colorism, ______ (etc) freely and without fear. From its inception Voices has aspired to be the kind of space where all the above would be possible—all the above and more. We founders
conceived the workshop as a revolution.
—Junot Diaz, from the introduction
True writing, being a writer, is the struggle to wring meaning, to wring value to redeem even the most unredeemable thing, to find transformation in even the most heinous moments, to prove, through a very complex sophisticated telling, that every life can and does and in fact must have value. There is nothing else.
—Chris Abani, from his included essay, Painting a Body of Loss and Love in the Proximity of an Aesthetic
Advanced praise for the book:
“VONA has been an astonishingly rich source of great talent and brilliant work. This anthology bursts from that deep well. It is essential work from important writers.”
–Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Into the Beautiful North, The Devil’s Highway, The Hummingbird’s Daughter and other books.