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Update: 2020 Literary Arts Festival Cancelled But Writing Competition Still On

Unfortunately, due to the ban on large gatherings in response to COVID-19, the 2020 Literary Arts Festival has been cancelled. We very much hope to reschedule for a future time and will provide updates if and when we do.

In the meantime, the LAF Writing Competition is still on. Submissions are closed, but authors of winning submissions will be notified by the end of March and the results announced on our OpenLab site.

Thank you to all of our volunteers, and the many people who were planning on participating in and were actively working to promote the Literary Arts Festival. We hope to be able to announce a new date for the event in the not so distant future.

Literary Arts Festival Writing Competition 2020

Submissions are now open for the 2020 City Tech Literary Arts Festival Writing Competition. The deadline for submissions is March 1st, 2020.

Submission Guidelines and Instructions are available here.

Winners will be announced by the end of March 2020.

Please save the date for the 39th Annual City Tech Literary Arts Festival on April 2nd, 2020 from 5:30 to 7:30 at the New Academic Complex Theater at 285 Jay Street.

José Olivarez’s “A Mexican Dreams of Heaven” and “My Family Never Finished Migrating, We Just Stopped”

Two poems by José Olivarez are featured in The Adroit Journal: “A Mexican Dreams of Heaven” and “My Family Never Finished Migrating, We Just Stopped”

Issue Twenty-Four: José Olivarez | The Adroit Journal

In this  Oct. 16,  2018 interview in the New York Times, Olivarez is joined by Latinx writers Julissa Arce and Jose Antonio Arce to discuss “immigration, belonging, and mental health: “3 Writers on the Emotional Toll of Being Undocumented.”


Essay by José Olivarez: “Maybe Poetry Could Save My Life”

In this essay published in The Medium in September 2018, José Olivarez discusses his shift in his understanding that education is related to power, his early reading of work by Latinx writers, and his beginning as new poet. He also discusses the role of mentoring newer poets and how that influences his current writing.

From the essay: “Maybe I could write the stories I was craving to read. Maybe I could save myself by writing.”





Interview with José Olivarez: The Paris Review

Jose Olivarez and his book-Citizen Illegal

Jose Olivarez-Paris Review

In this Paris Review interview, published in August 2018, José Olivarez discusses his poem, “There Are No White People in  Heaven,”  gentrification and the importance of writing poetry that speaks to his own generations. He states:

“A lot of the poems are about my family, my experience as a first generation Mexican-American Chicano, and I wanted to write poems that were not shameful, not ashamed. I wanted them to be poems that my brother wouldn’t be embarrassed to show his co-workers, that my mom could share with the family, with her co-workers, that my students would want to give to their friends. I didn’t want them to look at the poems and think wow, José is so ashamed of us, or, José is so sad to be a part of us. I am very proud of my people, where I come from, and my community. ”

The interview is titled after a poem by Olivarez, the first of two poems in The Adroit Journal, also featured on this OpenLab site.

The interview:

There Are No White People in Heaven: An Interview with José Olivarez