NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Randy O'Brien) -- In a twist on the Southern tradition of sitting with elders on the porch and listening to family history, a new book highlights Nashville’s growing diversity.
Entitled “Words are Windows: An Anthology of Immigrant and Refugee Voices,” the work contains pieces by mid-state authors who hail from 22 countries. The anthology grew out of a writing workshop led by local author Anna Silverstein.
“My grandparents were immigrants, and I’m very aware of the barriers that stood in the way of their getting to share their stories the way they would have liked to.”
The workshop originated after Silverstein graduated and was looking for a writing project helping immigrants find their voices.
“As a fiction writer and memoir writer, I feel that reading is one of the essential things a writer can do. For the lessons for this workshop, I made sure to bring in many immigrant writers for us to read collectively as a class.”
Silverstein says her class drew upon the shared experiences of moving to a new place where you may not know the language or the traditions of the locals.
“I think it’s very helpful to hear from people who have been through similar experiences for each writer. What are the experiences they don’t see reflected in other people’s writing and that they want to tell from their own unique experience?”
She says she found the creation of a sense of community arose. “This is the most diverse group of people I’ve ever had the honor of sitting with. We have folks from every continent, and it’s so exciting to be in that space.”
You’ll find just about every kind of genre of fiction and memoir in the book, and you can order a copy of “Words are Windows” on the website of Nashville’s The Porch Writing Collective. porchtn.org.