Write on the DOT, a literary platform that connects UMASS Boston writers to the wider Dorchester community, is currently seeking submissions for its 6th annual book of local writing. A decade after being founded by a group of MFA students at UMass Boston, Write on the DOT organizes live readings of creative writing and publishes a yearly volume of pieces by MFA students and other Dorchester residents.
According to co-founder Aaron Devine, “The vision for the series was to create a space for writers and neighbors to come together and share stories and build community. I believe that writers and neighbors feed off each other. We need writers to spur our imagination and record stories of our places and writers need their communities to be inspired by, to learn from, to grow from. We started Write on the DOT as a reading series to bring people together to share work, but then we also saw the value in creating books, which are like neighborhoods of pages where our stories live together with a plurality of voices and stories.”
That initial vision has led to a new local tradition. On Dorchester Day, which falls on Sunday, June 6th this year, Write on the DOT plans to distribute free copies of its 2021 book at outdoor locations to members of the public and to local schools and libraries. Printing costs are offset by local sponsors, including Bale Banh Mi, Dorchester Historical Society, DJs Polish Market The Daily Market, Cappy's Convenience, EagleLiquors, UMass Boston MFA program, Chill on Park, H Levenbaum Insurance, and the Greater Boston Arts & Business Council.
According to Devine, creative writing has taken on new relevance amongst the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This year was an especially challenging one, so we came into this year knowing that creative writing has tools for recording, and translating, and in some ways surviving the most extraordinary of times,” Devine said. “Throughout this past year, on our website and social media spaces, we were posting writing prompts that were provided either by members of the Dorchester writer community or the UMASS Boston community to try and inspire people to take up creative writing as a tool and as an outlet through the pandemic, [and] one way to create a space for connection even though we were feeling disconnected in our homes.”
Burgeoning Dorchester writers have the chance to share their work by submitting prose, poetry, essays, flash fiction, authorized translations, memoirs, and artwork to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 3, 2021. Submission guidelines can be found at Write on the DOT – Reading series and literary platform in Dorchester, MA.
Writers with or without prior publications are encouraged to submit.
“Something that’s special about the series to me is that there’s a real equality of opportunity both in our live readings and in our books,” Devine said. “Some writers are neighbors that are writing for the first time, and alongside them are published poets and people with books to their name. It’s a really inspiring place to be.”