Love Jawns: A Writers Room

Curated by Yolanda Wisher

love jawns writers standing in a row

Love Jawns: A Mixtape I (LJAM) took the form of a spoken word and music podcast curated by Yolanda Wisher for Philadelphia Contemporary from 2018 to 2020. In fall of 2020, Wisher convened an Advisory Circle of community members to reflect on the first two seasons of LJAM and to envision a future iteration. Love Jawns: A Writers Room was created in response to the insights and ideas shared by the LJAM Advisory Circle. 

Wisher convened an intergenerational Writers Room from April to June 2023. The Writers Room sessions were attended by the five emerging women writers selected to participate in the process: Bianca Davies, Sabree Johnson, Carol Richardson McCullough, Imani Palmer, and Keyssh Watts. Each session was led by one of four mentors/professional poets: Trapeta B. Mayson, Tracie Morris, Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, and Ursula Rucker. Each of the mentor poets led customized, generative writing workshops to inspire the women’s writing and thinking about their personal and collective journeys.

Through the writers room process, the tender, authentic connections between the women–both the writers and their mentor--became the storyline of a short film, directed by Rashid Zakat with cinematographer Wren Rene. The film, currently in production, will be anchored by a score produced by V. Shayne Frederick that will integrate a voiceover co-written by the women writers in response to Ursula Rucker’s writing prompt “How are you feeling today?”

Photo features members of the LJAM II Writers Room project (left to right): Imani Palmer, Carol Richardson McCullough, Vernon Jordan III, Katy Bagli, Tracie Morris, Yolanda Wisher, Bianca Davies, Keyssh Watts, Sabree Johnson. Photo credit: Wren Rene.