News from the Neighborhood Writing Alliance

Dear friends of NWA,

What a delight to see the snow starting to melt! Join the Neighborhood Writing Alliance in saying “farewell” to the season with this sneak peak of “Whistle Talk,” our Winter 2010 issue of the Journal of Ordinary Thought! For this issue, NWA writers wrote about where they’re from…geographically, emotionally, historically, and more. Subscribe now to ensure you receive this fabulous issue!

an excerpt

My family’s origins are in the
Caribbean Islands. We spoke
English with an accent, as some
people say, but what made us
seem different was that we also
communicated through what we
called “Whistle Talk.” Other
Caribbean families used this mode
of communication as well. It
seemed to me that it was a sort of
secret language that was distinct to
each family. Each whistle consisted
of various tones, which translated
into specific meanings, similar to
the beats of the talking drum. To the
outsider it would have sounded like
a simple tune, but to us children it
meant much more.

Phyllis E. Roker
King Branch Library Workshop

For this issue, we are honored to feature an introduction by acclaimed arts educator Ronne Hartfield. We are also excited to introduce the work of local photographer David Schalliol to JOT readers. “Whistle Talk” was guest edited by Deborah Epstein, Annie Knepler, and Lenora Warren, dear members of the NWA community. Thank you to everyone, especially our writers, who contributed to the Winter 2010 issue!

The release party for “Whistle Talk,” will take place on March 31. Listen to NWA writers reading their pieces and stick around to mingle with our wonderful community. We’ll be meeting from 6:00–8:00 p.m. at Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St., in the Chicago Authors Room on the 7th floor. There, you can meet…

Evin Rayford, NWA’s new Program Director/Associate Editor! Evin comes to the Neighborhood Writing Alliance with a range of artistic and educational experiences. Having over eight years of workshop facilitation experience with underserved populations and non-native English speakers, she approaches her new position with perspective and enthusiasm. Evin has coordinated a variety of artistic expositions featuring poets, actors, vocalists, dancers, and visual artists. The Chicago native is a playwright, poet, theater director, and producer. We’re so excited to have Evin on our team!

Finally, mark your calendars for NWA’s screening of “Food, Inc.,” a documentary based on the work of writers such as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma), exploring the origins of the food we eat, the relationship of government and the corporate food industry, and how these topics affect our health and environment. Ken Dunn, founder and president of the Resource Center, will lead a discussion and “Q & A” following the film. This event, open to the public, will take place April 7 from 6:00–8:30 p.m. at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Residents Dining Hall (800 S. Halsted). Please RSVP to the NWA office at (773) 684-2742 or

We look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events! And don’t forget to subscribe today, so you won’t miss out on our fabulous Winter 2010 issue!

Warm thoughts,

The Neighborhood Writing Alliance


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