Open Mic monthly meeting – September 21st

Write Now is back after a lovely summer break. For the first time ever we offered a summer workshop, and a children’s workshop and we will definitely be doing both again! But for those of you who we didn’t see over the lazy hazy days of summer, we would like to welcome you to the first meeting of our new season. We are very excited to expand our open mic to include stand up comedians and songwriters so if you have some material you want to test out on a fantastic crowd, don’t hesitate!

Come along and meet other creative people, take the stage, or simply sit back and enjoy the performances.

This event is run in collaboration with Creative Cafe, Austria

With guest poet, Neil McCarthy

The open mic will be open for the following performances:

· poetry (max 5 minutes reading time)

· short story (max 2000 words)

· novel excerpt (max 1500 words)

· song (max 5 minutes)

· stand-up comedy (max 5 minutes)

The evening includes up to around 1,5 hours of performance with a break between.

Location: Café Korb, Brandstätte 9, 1010 Vienna ( 2 minute walk from Stephansplatz)

Date: Thursday 21st September

Time: 7.00pm to around 9.30pm

Cost: We kindly ask for between €5 and €10 contribution to cover the venue hire

For performers:

If you would like to perform on the night, please arrive at 6.45pm to put your name on the list. Please keep in mind the time / word count for performances.

We look forward to seeing you!

Two August Workshops with Kirstin Zhang!

Dear Writers, greetings from Canada.

Normally Write Now goes on a summer break but the amazing Kirstin Zhang wrote to me and said she would be in Vienna at the end of August. She proposed two wonderful workshops so I figured, why not, summer is an ideal time to get together and learn about the craft of writing. So be sure to mark August 19th on your calendar.

What’s especially exciting is that one of these workshops is for children – aged 9-12. This is our first children’s workshop and we can’t wait. Kirstin also works at the Steiner School in Edinburgh so we have no doubt that she will be a wonderful teacher to inspire this age group.

Both workshops will explore a sense of place in writing. As writers, we know it is essential to create a world on the pages that draws in the reader. Easier said than done, right? Through discussion and exercises Kirstin will unveil the mysteries of creating a world on the page.

Join us on Saturday August 19th at a lovely little workshop in the 18th district. You’ll be sure to come away with some tips and techniques, meet some like-minded writers, and afterwards you can take a stroll through the nearby Turkenschanz park or have a drink at the trendy Aumann Cafe.

If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me an email at kirsten.writenow@gmail.com

For more details on the workshops click here

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Time Change for May 5th Reading with Novelist Ardashir Vakil

Hi Everyone,

If you are planning to attend the book reading with Ardashir Vakil next Friday May 5th at the Cafe Korb, please note that the start time has changed to 9 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience but he’s flying in from London to Vienna late in the afternoon.

The event is free of charge and is sure to be an interesting evening, so do come along!

We still have one space left for his two-day workshop on Sat/Sun May 6/7,so if you are interested drop us a mail at office.writenow@gmail.com

Have a great weekend and hope to see you there

April 20th Monthly Meeting

Hi Everyone!

For our April monthly meeting we thought we would try something a little bit different. Instead of the usual open mic session we have decided to host an organization called Fear&Fail

Three participants will take to the stage and share their story of overcoming fear and failure, be it personal, or in business and what they learned from the experience.

Writers are constantly challenged by fears and fails of different types – fear of sharing their work, fear of not ever finishing their book, attempting a to write a book several times and just not getting to the end, fear of exposing themselves in the writing process…

Come out and listen to these brave storytellers and go away inspired!

More information about the participants will be available soon so stay tuned!

Start time is 7 pm at the Cafe Korb (downstairs). The storytelling should be done by 8:30 to be followed by socializing.

Door fee is €5 to cover the venue cost.

Regular open mic will return at the May meeting.

Get Ready for 2017!

Writers! Write Now is back in action after a bit of an organizational break. We apologize for being quiet for so long, but we were busy getting things ready for 2017.

Join us on ThursdayJanuary 19, 2017, 19:00 at the Cafe Korb (downstairs) for the return of our monthly meetings. This will be the new location for our monthly meetings and many of our events. It’s cosy, with lots of seating, a small stage for the Open Mic hour of our meetings, and it is perfect for readings and all the exciting things we have planned.

Just a teaser of what’s to come! 2017 is going to be all about Storytelling. Everyone has a story to tell. The question is, how to tell it? Through our events and workshops we will introduce you to various methods and forms of expression from poetry to improv acting, to flash fiction, travel memoir, writing your own experiences into your novel and short stories, to traditional verbal storytelling.

What’s Your Story? This is our tagline for 2017!

So keep your eye on the website, and send us your email address (office.writenow@gmail.com) so we can keep you up to date.

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to some of our newest instructors, posting information about some super fun events, and announcing a writing retreat in Edinburgh!

Til then, keep writing! And don’t forget to mark your calendar for January 19th.

Never forget who you are – and never forget where you are

People from England, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, the Philippines, Nigeria and Scotland who ended up in Vienna talk about exactly what it’s like.

As part of this year’s Wir sind Wien festival, Write Now has organised eight readings by migrants to Vienna, describing their experiences and cultural journeys since arriving in the city. The readings will be held next Friday, June 10th at the Ankerbrotfabrik, Absberggasse 27, 1100 Wien.

How does it feel to migrate? How does it change your attitude to your new home, and the place you left? How do you retain an identity while becoming part of somewhere totally new? Do you need to, or should you just mix in? How do things like the job you do, the colour of your skin or your religion, get in the way?

Migration has changed hugely compared to movement from Africa, the Caribbean, the Subcontinent and Turkey into the big European economies in the 1950s and ‘60s. In many countries, such as the UK, two or three generations down the line, with people from all over the world having grown up in the same classrooms and workplaces, many of the questions have been answered, and the population at large feels that generally, the country is the stronger for having absorbed new people from around the world.

In many countries, though, it’s far less simple. As people continue to set out across the Mediterranean, how do those already in Europe and its new arrivals need to adapt to one another’s needs avoid to losing an entire generation of people to radicalism at both extremes?

As the literary partner of the Wir sind Wien event in the city’s 10th District, Favoriten, Write Now has brought together a group of eight ordinary people, from a range of different jobs and origins, to talk about their experiences of starting life elsewhere in the world and eventually landing up in Vienna, and where they really view as home.

The writers are a great mix: they started out in England, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, the Philippines, Nigeria and Scotland. They will read their respective pieces to the crowd at Magda’s Kantine, a café at the Ankerbrotfabrik arts centre site; there will be no stage, and the atmosphere will be informal; people will read their work, then open things up to the audience for questions. The readings will happen in two groups of four people, one at 4.00 pm and one at 6.30 pm. Other events (music, an artists’ initiative, etc.) will be held in the course of the afternoon.

The talks will also be backdropped by an exhibition of art by a Syrian refugee who contacted Write Now with his paintings. Highly professional, hauntingly memorable stuff. The talks will be humorous and insightful, there’s a performance by the superar orchestra, art happenings on the site and more – so come along on 10 June for a great afternoon!

 

Whiskey and Poetry Salon

Some very beautiful words spoken last night (St. Patrick’s Day!) at our Whiskey and Poetry Salon. A huge thank you to Neil McCarthy, the whiskey expert, and David Duffy the amazing man with a fiddle. Also thanks to the Irish Embassy and the University of Vienna for their contributions.

Don’t miss out next time! Neil will be doing another Salon on April 1, 2016 at Verein 08

And stay tuned for some video footage …

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The WriteNow Whiskey and Poetry Salon

WriteNow celebrates all things Irish…

Looking forward in so many ways to the Whiskey and Poetry Salon coming up soon! The evening of candlelit wit, wisdom and words will be hosted by Neil McCarthy, a published Irish poet and all-round raconteur based in Vienna, and held – as is only natural – on St. Patrick’s Day!

And this time around, the popular event will be co-hosted by Write Now, the Embassy of Ireland in Austria, and the Irish Studies Department at Vienna University.

On the evening, Neil will bring along four high-quality Irish whiskies, invite his guests and new friends to enjoy the fine tipples with him, along with Irish finger food such as sour dough bread, cheeses, salmon and more.

As each whiskey is opened, Neil will talk briefly about the history of the distillery in question, offer a description of each, while weaving in some of his own witty and wise poetry. He will be accompanied throughout by David, an Irish fiddler also based in Vienna, to warm the evening up further still.

In between each new whiskey, four or five guests will also be invited at random to share with the group a piece of poetry they themselves have written, or simply read and enjoyed somewhere along the way! So don’t come empty handed!

It all adds up to a quintessentially Irish way to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day with some beautiful whiskies and refined words. Look forward to seeing you there!

Where: Palais Palffy, Josefsplatz 6, 1010 Wien (30 seconds’ walk from the Albertina)

When: Thursday 17 March 2016, 8.00 – 11.00 pm

Cost: €12.00 a ticket (in advance only, via Eventbrite)

 

 

Songwriting Workshop

na2008024_Renee Benson_Head ShotsInterview with Renee ‘Raie’ Benson

“Thank you Renee, for teaching me how to turn my broken heart into a song.” 

Ghislaine, Visual Artist, commenting on Introduction to Songwriting, January 2015

On 23 and 24 January 2016, New York soul singer (and much else besides) Renee ‘Raie’ Benson will be hosting a Write Now workshop, Beyond the Basics of Songwriting. The workshop will build on Introduction to Songwriting, which she ran in January 2015. This workshop will look more closely at the technical and emotional aspects of songwriting, focusing on the art of arranging music, using and understanding chord progressions, and developing strong musical intent.

Tim Martinz-Lywood spoke to Renee about what writers can learn from the process of writing a song, what she does in her spare time to help her musical creativity, and what advice she would give a young singer starting out on her career…

Hi Renee, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us! What have you been up to in the past year since Introduction to Songwriting?

It’s been quite a year, Tim! Since the last workshop with Write Now, I’ve performed in New Orleans (always a dream of mine), taught in the NorthWest Territories of Canada (teaching songwriting and singing with First Nations youth), flown an eight-seater passenger plane, taught and led an arts programme for young women in the South Bronx of NY, started writing my first solo album, and worked as the Musical Director for Caravan Stage Theater Co (in New York). I’ve also just finished a Gospel tour throughout Austria. So a busy year, all told.

How did you meet the musicians you’re working with currently?

The members of No Home for Johnny came together through horn player Julian Prueschl. He had an idea for a project combining jazz and hip hop with a singer who could sing intricate jazz lines and rap (and most importantly write her own music).

The group’s killer rhythm section, Raphael Prueschl and Michael Prozwanik, was Julian’s first choice (and not just because he grew up with Raphael!) The group was originally the brainchild of Julian and Vincent Pongracz, but Peter Rom of Jazzwerkstatt joined us after Vincent left. Peter brought sounds and melodies to our music we’d never even dreamt of.

Meaghan and I, of Cheating on New York, met here in Vienna, although we are both New Yorkers. We instantly found each other’s wild and quirky energies charming, and have worked together ever since.

Where can people see you performing in Vienna in the near future?

Well, my time here is coming to an end, as I will soon be off to work on my youth programmes in North America. But for Nina Simone fans, I am doing a tribute at the Albertina Passage in Vienna, at 10.00 pm on 21 January.

What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your musicality?

Nothing. Music is everywhere in life. Every moment contributes to my music. I am a writer. Even flying a plane has its own melody.

What are some typical mistakes people make when trying to write a song, do you think?

Overwriting! So many songs have too many words, too many images and too many metaphors in them. There is no space for the listener to breathe, capture the moment, pack their bags and take a trip with you. I think many songwriters want their audience to understand their music, and strange as it may sound, this is not necessary. Interpretation is important. Your listener will always apply the music to their life in the way they need. It is vital for a writer to understand when their music is for the people, because at that moment it no longer belongs to you.

How does writing a song differ from writing a short story, or a poem?

It doesn’t. I write short stories and poems all the time. In fact, I am thinking of publishing my own poetry book in 2017 since I have so much material. All the rules apply. That’s why some short stories sound great with a soundtrack in the background.

What might a budding writer of other styles take from your creative process to make their own stories more readable?

Trust. I never appreciated how lucky I have been as an artist to be raised by a community that always allowed me to be myself. My mother never punished me for my grades, but would ask what I needed to do better with my studies. My dance teacher never told me to lose weight, so I happily twirled through numerous dance competitions through my youth winning awards with thick thighs and a big smile. Because I never had to conform, I never did. Working with me means I’m working with you. My style is mindful and always based on what my student needs and who they are. I mean, it’s their life, right? Why would I ask them to write MY story?

You’re sitting in a bar alone after a gig. A young woman sits down next to you, orders a drink and tells you she’s about to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter. What should she do – and what should she be sure not to do?

I would laugh and say, “Do it! The world needs music! They need love and most importantly, the world needs you. Oh, and I’m teaching a workshop with Write Now you need to attend.”

On the second point: I never tell people not to do anything. Our journeys are important to travel alone. I provide resources, not advice. In fact, I tell people to trust their bad decisions because you can write about those as well.

What should people expect to take away with them from Beyond the Basics of Songwriting?

I want my writers to leave after two days feeling like they have begun a song they have been trying to write all of their lives. This time, they will think about what the band plays, where they want the song to be heard (venue, radio, recording), and whether they want to perform it themselves or have another singer do so. Most importantly, I want my writers to let their music live on its own (without judgements or emotional ties).

Inspiration should be the big take away. The inspiration to do what you have to to have your music heard or just complete the song (because we all have different goals and intentions when we write).


Renee Benson, aka Raie, is a singer, songwriter, emcee, writer, educator and arts education advocate.  Her voice has taken her to Eurovision, PopFest, FM4 and to headline at events throughout Europe. She is the lead singer of No Home for Johnny, an experimental jazz and hip hop collective and a member of Freudian cabaret duo Cheating on New York.  She has taught for GirlsRock, What’sYourStory, InMyWords and of course Write Now, and run workshops for a wide range of universities, charities and other organisations. 

https://www.facebook.com/reneebensonmusic/?ref=hl

To find out more about joining Renee’s workshop, Beyond the Basics of Songwriting, just go to www.writenow.at now!