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Lupercal Announces Latin Novella Writing Month

Updated: Jul 16, 2020

By Hannah Perkins and Nisha Vishag

Lupercal is hosting its very first Latin Novella Writing Month (LaNoWriMo). You can write your very own Latin Novella, and have a chance of your work being published! The month will start in July of 2020, so be on the look-out for resources, events, and other opportunities. The first batch of resources should be out on the 29th of June. 

Up until the start date, when guides and activities will be released in more detail, feel free to register for these free resources and workshops where you can talk to experienced writers and get information, tips, tricks, and more as you begin to write your novel. The deadline for signing up is June 22nd. We aim to put easily-accessible resources into your hands so that your writing process can be as seamless and straightforward as possible. You can apply these resources anywhere: in your Google document, Word document, a favorite journal, or even the ‘Notes’ app on your phone. Resources provided during this month can be found on the Lupercal website, but we’d also like to shout out Bene Narras! a YouTube channel sharing tips and tricks that can be really helpful to your writing process.

And once you have these resources, what’s next? Well, all great stories start with a plot. Will you put a modern spin on an age-old fairy tale, but then bring it back with Latin? Will you write a sci-fi piece about female empowerment and the power of friendship? Will you opt for no genre at all? There are so many possibilities! After you have devised a topic and plotline, you can begin to do your research. There will be resources provided to guide you, but, because everybody’s stories are different, most of the research will be done by you. Some possible topics of research include the time period and location of your story, cultures, jobs, name ideas, and symbolic ideas or events. Finally, you will be ready to begin writing your novel.

The plan is to begin brainstorming at the end of June so that the drafting and editing processes will run smoothly throughout the month of July. In July, workshops will be held weekly to track progress and share advice. At the end of the month, there will be discussions about publishing the work you’ve created.

Emma Vanderpool, the writer of five published Latin novellas so far, is planning to lead these free workshops weekly for those members who are interested. These are coupled with weekly resources and instructions that will be sent straight to your inbox. Her goal, as she explained, is “to create a structured, supportive space for female and gender non-binary Latinists to write Latin novellas.”

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is generally held in November in the United States, with the hopes that everyone participating in the online platform writes fifty thousand words in one month. Lupercal, passionate about both gender equity and Latin, has come up with a creative spin for the traditional project. Hence, Latin Novella Writing Month was born.

The Lupercal team, a group of people consisting of its founder, Skye Shirley, as well as Alex Cleveland, Emma Vanderpool, Jenn Jarnagin, Karuna Sinha, Kirsten Crooks, and Lyla Cerulli, and other local chapter leaders welcome you to take part in NaLaNoWriMo. Some other people who help to make this event special include the Lupercal Interns, as well as former Latin novella writers and budding writers taking a shot at writing a novel or two! Jenn Jarnagin, the Dallas Lupercal leader, Latin teacher extraordinaire, and wrangler of interns, shared her thoughts. “I am absolutely thrilled that Emma is lending her expertise to LaNoWriMo and I cannot wait to see the variety of novellas that will come from this.”

Lupercal aims to help budding female and gender-nonbinary writers as they attempt to put their thoughts down on paper and write a novella. The leader of this project, Emma Vanderpool said it best: “Novellas that are currently published are primarily written by men... and for so long, the field has been dominated by white, male voices, who have decided what students are reading.”

Nearly two-thirds of all published novellas in Latin are written by men! There is also no data about published Latin novellas by nonbinary Latinists.

Jenn Jarnagin added, “I'm also hopeful that LaNoWriMo will help close the gender gap in novellas by encouraging people from under-represented or marginalized genders to create Latin novellas that I can not only enjoy but also share with my students.”

While Lupercal’s events are specifically for female, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary people, Lupercal also invites allies to uplift and support the folks talking part and for others to write novellas in July as well. Consider donating to Lupercal, encouraging the women/gender-nonbinary people around you, or checking out Bene Narras!, the YouTube channel linked above.

Along the way, we hope to spark engagement in this project with the hashtag #nalanowrimo. Please use to it to share where you are along the journey, and to find others working toward their own Latin novella writing goals!

Good luck, writers!

About the Writers of this Blog Post:

Hannah Perkins:

Coming into Lupercal as an intern straight from Lupercal founder Skye Shirley’s "Women Writing Latin Course," this project hits very close to home. Within that course, I have learned the value of women writers of Latin throughout history and in the present day. Over the past three years, I have had the pleasure of taking part in the mainstream National Novel Writing Month. Cramming my days full of word counts, trips to local cafés, and competitions with my close friends have been some of my favorite memories. Along with writing, Latin & classical civilizations are some of my greatest fascinations. Lupercal has come up with a way to combine all of my passions, and I could not be more excited to champion this project. When writing my own novels, I wish I had had the resources provided in this event. My experience may have been rewarding, but I cannot imagine how fruitful a guided experience, such as this one, would have been. I could not recommend it more.

Nisha Vishag:

As a high school student who has taken three years of Latin, I have developed a love for the language. This is my first year in Lupercal, and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it so far. Writing stories is one of my greatest pleasures, and I am thrilled that I now have a chance to do so in Latin Novella Writing Month. I have written a Latin Novella with a friend before, and it was an extremely rewarding experience for me. I loved planning out plot-points, translating from English to Latin, deciding character traits, and finally, seeing the finished product and remembering the hard work that went into it. I think that this event is an excellent opportunity to put your thoughts on paper and share your creativity with others. Although I have had experience in writing, this will be my first time taking part in an event like this. I am so excited to be a part of it, and take advantage of the wonderful resources that are going to be provided in Lupercal’s Latin Novella Writing Month. I really encourage any readers of this post to consider participating in Lupercal’s first LaNoWriMo!

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