Nneka's Transatlantic Writing Journey to Oxford
Organized by: Nneka Okona
Last December I applied for a creative writing workshop led by Callaloo, a premier literary journal of literature, arts and culture of the African Diaspora based at Texas A&M, to take place at Oxford University in July 2016 (http://callaloo.tamu.edu/node/240). It seemed super intriguing and after a very tumultuous and emotionally draining November and equally draining start to the last month of 2015, I needed some light to possibly look forward to. I compiled my application (I submitted a manuscript I completed years ago in grad school on my blended Nigerian and Black American heritage I've long wanted to revisit and get published) applied and thought nothing of it. I’ve applied for dozens of residences, writing contests and writing workshops and had either typically gotten zero response or a no. I was proud of myself mostly for taking the leap to even apply in the first place.
The third week in March I heard back. It was a no. I was told I'd been placed on the waitlist in case a slot opened up. I shrugged it off, not in the least disappointed or dismayed, but again proud I'd even tried and applied.
Then, the last week of April, I got another email. This time telling me a slot had opened up and the editor wanted me to come. I was stupefied. But giddily excited. Exuberant even.
For those of you who may or may not know my relationship with the United Kingdom, most specifically London, I tried in 2015 to get to London. I'd been admitted to a school to earn my PhD. With no funding whatsoever available for financing a three year program in the very expensive city of London, I had to let that dream go. It crushed me. More than going to school, I wanted to move back abroad again.
But as I'm discovering, and have discovered by acceptance to this writing workshop, there is more than one way to claim your freedom, to live freely and to follow your calling. It just never dawned me that writing, the core of who I am, could be the vehicle.
Here's where you come in: I found out that I'd been accepted to attend this workshop two weeks before the registration deadline. Now, I have since called the school and asked for four weeks to corral all my resources. Unfortunately, no funding or scholarships are provided to workshop participants and we are asked to fund ourselves the program registration fee, airfare, on ground transportation to and from Oxford University and room and board for the week of the workshop.
I’m a freelance writer currently with barely there savings. I simply don’t have the resources to make this happen on my own, at least not with this short of notice, since I need to at least submit the registration fee and secure housing by May 27. Which is why I’m humbly asking for your help to step more into my calling to work for a week at this creative writing workshop on further refining the manuscript I submitted with my application.
Here's a breakdown of what I'm asking for:
- $300 registration fee for writing workshop
- $500 for one-way ticket to London [I have family in London and am leaving myself open to booking a return ticket home later and not immediately after the workshop ends]
- $500 for one week stay at Oxford
- $200 for on ground transportation & meals while at Oxford
Thank you for your love, support, encouragement and helping me to dream. To see some of my writing, you can view my portfolio here: https://nnekaokona.contently.com/.