Latinx Writing Center: Space to share stories


Cary Robbins

Claudia Nieves writes a story, answering am 10 minutes prompt about a tradition gone wrong.

The sounds of pencils scratching paper and fingers typing could be heard in the Latinx Cultural Center on Tuesday, Jan. 24, as the newly formed Latinx Writing Group met for their biweekly meeting. Everyone had 10 minutes to write about a family tradition that went terribly wrong, and everyone eagerly wrote down every detail they could in that time. 

The writing group was created last quarter by Maria Dorado, a graduate assistant for the writing center. Dorado wanted to establish a proper space where Latine students could share stories in a safe space.

“My main goals for the reading group are to help provide a space for Latine people to gather and be able to share their work,” Dorado said. “Then, to have a space where we can get specific feedback on our work without always having to worry about explaining cultural aspects of our writing.”

Seeing the creative responses to the same prompt is Dorado’s favorite part of being in the writing group. At the end of meetings, she tries to provide a writing prompt for everyone who wants to work on a story individually which they can share on the upcoming meetings.

Claudia Nieves, co-facilitator of the writing group, is excited that DePaul now has a space for Latine students to connect and grow through writing.

“Writing is a very reflective process,” Nieves said. “Having a space to connect with other like-minded individuals and to write together and to grow together is very meaningful.”

The meeting began with everyone discussing new books they have been reading and goals they set for the new year. Dorado shared a passage from one of her favorite books she has read recently, “Hola Papi!”, and provided space for everyone to share their opinion about the book. For the rest of the meeting, writers shared their stories from the prompts and gave each other feedback, taking the time to discuss improvements that could be made to help enhance storytelling. 

Having a creative space is what Richard Campos enjoys the most about the Latinx Writing Group, and the writing prompts given during the meetings have encouraged him to start writing more. One of his favorite prompts so far was thinking of what he was taught by others versus what he was not taught and learned on his own. He says it gives him a chance to reflect on his own story and share them with others.

“This [meeting] provides a lot of reflection, especially as that writing is very therapeutic,” Campos said.

Campos is in the counseling graduate program and encourages people to join if they would like to write about their own family and personal stories and share them with a group. He feels comfortable sharing his stories and enjoys providing and receiving feedback on his writing.

“Every time you come, you leave a bit more energized,” Campos said. “You leave with something that you’ve produced.”

At the end of the meeting, Dorado gave everyone a prompt to think about over the next two weeks and to create a story surrounding a card titled “justice.”

Dorado, Nieves and Campos are hoping to see the writing group grow. 

“It’s great for enriching your life, getting more perspectives on your cultural background and having fun,” Campos said.

Everyone is welcome to join and can sign up through the QR-code on their flyer, but people are encouraged to show up to the meetings without registration. The last two meetings of the quarter will be held on Feb. 7 and 21 from 11:30-12:30 a.m. at the Latinx Cultural Center, O’Connell Hall room 360.