Sixty years ago, Ernest Hemingway witnessed Cuba moving toward revolution. The country’s transformative energy fueled several of his most famous books, including The Old Man and the Sea, A Moveable Feast, and Islands in the Stream.
Today, as the winds of change once again sweep through the island nation, Cuba is experiencing another revolution of sorts. Join esteemed writer, editor, and teacher Lee Gutkind and, as Hemingway did years ago, tap into the vital energy of evolving Cuba to ignite the inspiration to write creative nonfiction pieces that speak of your discoveries and experiences on this people-to-people cultural exchange.
Cuba is one of the most fascinating and beguiling countries in the world, a vibrant and complex blend of history, people, and contemporary culture. Political tensions have all but hidden the enchanting Cuban culture and people from most Americans until recently. This new educational program offers a rare opportunity to engage with the Cuban people and discover and explore the country’s cultural diversity and her physical beauty with words as our tool of discovery.
Turning ideas, observations, and experiences into informative and compelling stories is Lee’s mission and focus during this unique week in Cuba. Lee, the go-to expert for all things creative nonfiction, connects participants with the real world through capturing and writing what Lee calls “the literature of reality”—the fastest growing genre in the publishing world. Techniques of memoir and personal essay fall under the creative nonfiction umbrella.
In between and around our daily people-to-people cultural exchanges, Lee offers lessons to review craft and structure, refining these essential building blocks into dramatic scenes, while combining a writer’s personal experience with in-depth, “fly on the wall” immersion techniques.
To enable you to become a better writer and truly begin to understand this enigmatic country, the spirited and gracious Cuban people are the focus of this program. Each day, we venture out to experience the sensational culture of Cuba, visiting markets, dance companies, artist studios, sporting events, street festivals, and musical performances. We make a special visit to Finca Vigía (Lookout Farm)—Hemingway’s plantation home just outside of Havana, where he wrote The Old Man and the Sea—and then travel the short distance to Cojimar, the fishing village where the novel is set. These rich personal experiences in Cuba are transformed into scenes and stories in our generative writing.
Our home for the week is Convento Santa Brigida, a beautifully restored convent in the heart of Old Havana, one block from Plaza Vieja. Featuring simple but comfortable accommodations with private bathrooms, light-filled group meeting spaces, a breakfast room, a library, a chapel, and Italian nuns as our lovely hosts, the convent is a serene base to return to after our daily adventures in bustling Havana and the nearby countryside.
Our extraordinary experiences with the Cuban people and subsequent writing lead us to a deeper and richer understanding of Cuba and the changes that are taking the world’s breath away. Join Lee on this rich people-to-people cultural exchange and—with the written word as your center and guide—bear witness to this dramatic change in Cuba.
True to the requirements of a people-to-people General License with U.S. Treasury Department, our programs in Cuba focus on educational exchanges with the Cuban people and learning about their fascinating lives.