margins video transcript

Viniyanka Prasad:

Hello everyone, my name is VIniyanka Prasad. I am the executive director of The Word, A Storytelling Sanctuary, coming to you in this new world from my home in Denver, Colorado.

Suzi Q. Smith: 

Hello everyone, my name is Suzi Q. Smith, and I am a writer, artist, activist, educator, also coming to you from my home in Denver, Colorado.

Viniyanka Prasad:

We are glad that we get to be here together. It’s a beautiful day that even in this crazy, strange, changed times we are still here connecting with each other, and we are still building together this thing that we believe in that we know that you believe in: a place where we can gather and provide a platform for voices from the margins that come from beyond any cultural, social, political, or economic barrier.

Suzi Q. Smith:

We definitely still believe in building a healthy community of writers. We also believe it’s time for us to be heard. In 2020, as turbulently as it continues, it’s still a year for our stories, and maybe more now than ever. Two things that are definitely still true for us: one, none of us should forget to take care of ourselves first; and two, art and opportunities for artists are core to our ability to thrive, and from these truths comes Margins 2.0, which is a virtual conference.

Viniyanka Prasad:

We recognize that August is a long road from here, and we don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like. But here’s something that is probably true. We’re probably not coming together for large physical gatherings, but we don’t want to lose our ability to be connected. We can find a different way to do all of those things, maybe than the one that we originally thought was going to happen. That other place, that place where we get to be in the same halls together and feed off of each other’s energy, that place will still happen when we can make that happen.

Suzi Q. Smith: 

What you should know about the virtual conference is the heart is definitely still going to be community-building. We’re working on more than just livestreamed talks. We’re planning smaller Q&A sessions. We’ll have some sub-cohort meetings, one-on-one feedback sessions on manuscripts and writing to make sure that we’re connecting and building valuable relationships. Also we’re going to continue to create programming, so this programming is going to be centering your writing career, your writing voice, and no travel and lodging is going to actually help us manage a smaller budget and do more with less.

Viniyanka Prasad:

We’re also going to make sure that this is a space that really recognizes where we are right now.  There are a lot of us who are having to think about some pretty basic deeds, and so we want to be able to share as much as we can with everyone. So this conference is going to include a whole slate of free programming. While some of the programming will require registration, there’s also a lot that we’re just going to share with the community, as much as we can.

Suzi Q. Smith:

And I do want to make it clear that our Saturday night dance party is still in the works. So more than just building Margins, we’re spending the next couple of months creating literary events for free for all of us. We can’t stress this enough, but the whole point is to build up all of our communities, right? So throughout the next couple of months, we’re going to host some virtual Q&As with editors and agents who have volunteered to support Margins, and we’re collaborating with an indie bookstore to bring author events, supporting debut authors. And we know that a lot of this is going to be valuable to the community. So if you’re able to support us, we deeply, deeply appreciate your contribution.

Viniyanka Prasad:

Margins is a space where the dream of an inclusive literary future is made into a reality. It’s a space where we remember that art is the thing that helps us thrive. It is a space where we value and show our value of the people who create that art. Please join us August 1st and 2nd for this space. We cannot wait to connect with you.

Suzi Q. Smith:

Thank you everyone!

Viniyanka Prasad:

Thank you!