An ambitious project from the Bronx Writers Center, which collected more than 50 Bronxites’ short memoirs into an anthology, was released in early December.
The Bronx Memoir Project, Volume 1, features personal stories developed during 25 free writing workshops offered by the center throughout the spring, said Bronx Writers Center director Charlie Vazquez.
The stories included in the book represent the unique population of the Bronx, Vazquez said. The collection features writers young and old, long time residents and recent immigrants, from a wide range of backgrounds.
The memoirs describe experiences from World War II to the present, offering a range of emotions with both love stories and stories of loss.
“It’s a very diverse mix of stories,” said Vazquez.
But one unifying theme in many of the stories is one of culture, said Vazquez.
Very few of th book’s contributors had ever been published before, he said.
“These are unpublished voices sharing their stories,” he said.
Vazquez hopes Bronxites read and relate to their neighbors’ stories, and think about participating in the project the next time around.
“It gives them an opportunity to tell their stories in their own words,” he said.
Vazquez also hopes the collection finds an audience outside the Bronx, where it could bring positive attention to the often misunderstood borough.
“A lot of people outside the Bronx decide what the Bronx is or isn’t,” said Vazquez.
“What we’re hoping is, by reading Bronxites’ first-hand accounts, the terrible way the media used to portray this borough will be eradicated,” he said.
The book will be of value to anyone interested in the history of the area, said Vazquez, although it makes a great gift for the casual reader as well.
“There’s a lot of amazing stories here,” said Vazquez.
The proceeds from the book go back to the Bronx Council on the Arts to support their programming.
The paperback book can be ordered from Amazon.com, and the e-book is available for Kindle and Nook e-readers. For more information about the project or the Bronx Writers Center, visit www.bronxarts.org.