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Collaboratorium 2021: Create & Connect

The Creative Writing Collaboratorium 2021: Create & Connect will bring together writers from UC Merced, our surrounding communities and around the country for two days of learning, inspiration and connection in a fully online conference. All writers are welcome! See the schedule and registration links below. We look forward to writing with you!


Event Details:

Friday & Saturday, February 19-20, 2021 
All events will be held online.  Events are free and open to the public.

Friday, February 19, 2021 @6:00pm 

Keynote Address with Benjamin Garcia & Casandra Lopez

About our Keynote Speakers:


Benjamin Garcia’s first collection, Thrown in the Throat (Milkweed Editions), was selected by Kazim Ali for the 2019 National Poetry Series. He works as a sexual health and harm reduction educator in New York’s Finger Lakes region, where he received the Jill Gonzalez Health Educator Award recognizing contributions to HIV treatment and prevention. A CantoMundo and Lambda Literary fellow, he serves as faculty at Alma College’s low-residency MFA program. His poems and essays have recently appeared or are forthcoming in: AGNI, American Poetry Review, Best New Poets 2020, Kenyon Review, and New England Review. Find him at and @bengarciapoet.





Casandra López is a California Indian (Cahuilla/Tongva/Luiseño) and Chicana writer who has received support from CantoMundo, Bread Loaf, and Tin House.  She’s the author of the poetry collection, Brother Bullet, and has been selected for residencies with the School of Advanced Research, Storyknife, Hedgebrook, and Headlands Center for the Arts. Her memoir-in-progress, A Few Notes on Grief was granted a 2019 James W. Ray Venture Project Award. She’s a founding editor of As/Us and teaches at Northwest Indian College.



Saturday, February 20, 2021

10 a.m. Check-in, welcome, announcements, info, introductions, etc. 

Creative Writing Workshops 

Please see FULL PROGRAM for workshop descriptions and to learn more about our workshop facilitators.

10:30-11:30: Workshop session 1*

  • "Straight to the Drama: Writing the 10-Minute Play" with Carissa Atallah
  • "Writing the Anthropause" with Andrea Mele
  • "Poetic Technique & Memory: Translating Past into Present" with Ben Garcia & Casandra López

11:30-12:30: Workshop session 2*

  • "Low-Budget and Low-Risk: How Crafting a Screenplay Around Money and Covid Restrictions Can Elevate the Story" with Erin Enberg
  • "Playing at the Intersection of Professional and Creative Writing" with Christa Fraser
  • "Letters from Hell: Epistolary Poems & Anger Management" with Sam Pierstorff

1:30-2:30: Workshop session 3*

  • "Taking a Breath: Using English-Language Haiku to Center Ourselves in an Off-Center World" with Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco
  • "An Audience of One: Writing for Podcasts" with Andrew Burkum
  • "Writing Dialogue that Sings (and Stings)" with Paula Treick DeBoard

Participant Open Mic

2:30 p.m. - Participant Open Mic


Sponsored by:

This free event is generously sponsored by the Merritt Writing Program, UC Merced’s Center for the and the school of Social Studies, Humanities and Arts (SSHA) at UC Merced. 

For more information, please contact Paula DeBoard of the Merritt Writing Program at