In 2002, after publishing her first novel, Maurya’s Seed –Why Hope Lives Behind Project Walls, author Cathie Wright-Lewis met Ms. Patricia Dean, the former director of the Brownsville Heritage House during an interview. After the two reminisced about their childhoods in Brownsville and their love for the community, she promised to return and volunteer to “give back” to the Heritage House. Unfortunately, once she retired from teaching in 2013 and returned to offer her services to Ms. Dean, she learned that the dearly beloved director had transitioned.
During an interview for a documentary about Brownsville, the producer introduced her to the new executive director, Miriam Robertson to whom she pitched the concept for, “Power in the Pen Writing Workshop”- a writing space where unsung community writers can receive free instruction for honing their craft and publishing stories about African- American culture. As a member of the Louis Reyes Rivera Writing Workshop, Cathie knew the benefits of offering literacy, history, and culture to the community like her late mentor poet, historian and professor Louis Rivera, a giant in the literary world who made an impact in the Black Arts Movement and Civil Rights Movement in New York City. Ms. Robertson agreed to host the community-based workshop and the two launched a revival of African Oral Tradition in Brownsville.
The fourth year, she met a community-based organization called Black Space headed by Ms. Emma Osore who offered to support the first annual showcase by publishing the first Power in the Pen anthology. As a result, for seven years, over 35 authors of every genre have joined the Saturday workshops. Today, Power in the Pen has published three authors’ novels: Forever Isn’t Long Enough to Love You, by D. M. DaCosta, Maurya’s Seed – Why Hope Lives Behind Project Walls 20th Anniversary Edition, by Cathie Wright-Lewis, and 22 and 6, Born on 11/26 a memoir by Katonya Trent.
Ms. Wright-Lewis and PIPWW continues to compile author stories into annual anthologies every summer. The newest and fourth anthology entitled, What’s Goin’ On?, is just another sample of the genius that graces the doors of Power in the Pen Writing Workshop.