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ThursdayNovember 2018

Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Logo

 

It’s November, which means that we are in the midst of a big publishing season at 826michigan. Each fall, we honor the collective voices of our students by publishing their words and stories—fiction, nonfiction, poems, letters, and essays—in the 826michigan OMNIBUS. This year, we are especially excited to unveil the TENTH EDITION of this anthology, which has been funded in part by the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) for the past four years.

We’ve said it before and we will continue to say it because it’s true—the MCACA makes quite an impact all over the state of Michigan, crafting policy designed to promote arts and culture, and leading state efforts to enrich the arts environment through grant-making. We are pleased to still over FREE, INNOVATIVE creative writing programming to students across Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Detroit because of their investment in our work.

In a special look back on this first decade of students who were published in the 826michigan OMNIBUS, we have conducted brief interviews with students and teachers who participated in our writing programs. Thanks to funding support from MCACA, we highlight one such conversation between 826michigan and 826michigan alumna Hanel Bajeva here. Hanel was originally published just a few years ago. We are grateful to the MCACA for helping us contribute to the lives of powerful young adults like Hanel and the important voices of young people in southeast Michigan writing after her.

Hanel Bajeva
The Glass Delusion: A Series of Monologues
Originally printed in OMNIBUS V
Republished on page 172 of OMNIBUS X

Q: What are you up to these days (education, career, general life updates)?
After graduating from Harvard this year, I moved to NYC to work for a venture capital company.  I spend most of my time sourcing fast-growing software and internet companies across the US and Europe, meeting with inspiring entrepreneurs and hearing the stories of their businesses.  Outside of work, I’m enjoying the NYC literary and bookstore scene and hunting for the best chocolate chip cookie in the city.

Q: What does writing look like in your life now?
I’m still navigating how to carve out time to write in a way that feels substantive — for now, I try and read every night before bed (my office has a book club, too!) and spend time on weekend mornings writing and reading at a local bookstore.  I have some longer projects from college that I intend to get back to as well—maybe as winter approaches and the city gets quieter.

Q: How did your involvement with 826michigan shape you as a writer?
So many fundamental ways— it was where I first discovered a writing community of people my age and had people validate my work and worth as a creative writer.  It was and continues to be such a positive force in my life.

Q: What do you wish your younger self at 826 knew?
There is an unimaginably wide network of young people who are reading and writing and the world is so big—it just takes time to find them but 826michigan is a great place to start!

Q: What did you learn at 826 that you carry with you now?
I learned that stories matter—and the people who write them.  Particularly in today’s current political climate, that’s something I hold onto deeply.

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