Misunderstood: Inverting the Workshop Model

Saturday, June 17th, from 3:00-5:00pm
Arts at the Armory
See Map
Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
33 seats max

Has your writing about POC, LGBTQ, or immigrant issues been misunderstood in the workshop? Has your gender neutral multiracial Jamaican-American/ Cuban-American/ X-American protagonist been referred to as "too specific" or confusing? Has the "cone of silence" or "gag rule" meant that your precious workshop time has been mispent while your peers misinterpret your intentions? Have you been asked to make your narrator/speaker explain something cultural to readers that they would never (have to) explain within their own community?

If so, this is the event for you! Part workshop and part story share, participants are invited to bring excerpts of their poems, essays, fiction, anecdotes, and oral histories that have been—or that participants fear will be—misread, misinterpreted, or outright rejected due to cultural differences between the author/teller and the reader/recipient of these stories.

In this story share, the owner of the story will lead their own “workshop” by sharing their work and intentions, helping listeners locate where past misunderstandings might have taken place. Through this exchange of stories and ideas, we will help validate the storytellers' marginalized narratives, while teaching listeners/ readers to better interpret stories with which they are less familiar. The event will begin with host Jonathan Escoffery giving a short reading and lecture on how his story went from being misread in workshop to being selected for a story prize. The event will conclude with short readings from a selection of participants. Participants should bring 1-5 copies of their 1-2 page excerpts to share in small groups.

*Please note that this free event takes place at the Arts at the Armory Cafe, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143. This event is free and open to the public thanks to grant support from the Somerville Arts Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Seating is limited and registration is required.

**For information about the venue, please visit the Arts at the Armory Cafe's contact page.

  • -


grubstreet Image
Jonathan Escoffery
See Bio


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction
  • Book-Length Memoir
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry

Commitment Level