The workshops will be held at Barnard Hall on the Barnard Campus, 117th Street & Broadway. Signs will direct you to your workshop location. 

–Free of Charge, RSVP to RSVP not required on the day of–



Day 3 — March 1, 2015

Barnard Hall | 116th & Amsterdam


10:00 AM       Michael Muhammad Knight


12:00 PM       Coming of Faith Part I – Pitch Perfect: The Written Edition

Laila Alawa & Najira Ahmed

Being able to write and be heard by mainstream media outlets is integral for ethnic and faith minority communities – but many times, the chance to pitch is shrouded in misinformation and mystery. Unsure of whether you have authority to write? Getting ready to approach the media but nervous about what to say? Worried if your pitch is right for the publications you’re approaching? This hands-on workshop will take you through the steps of identifying your voice, figuring out how to pitch and tailor your words for the right publication. Along the way, we’ll talk about what most annoys editors, how to avoid that, what to write in order to grab attention, and how to follow up with those you’re trying to be placed with. You’ll leave with the tools to get your voice and story out there, and it’ll be (almost) painless.


1:00 PM          Coming of Faith Part II – Writing My Revolution

Najira Ahmed & Rubayya Hoque

Exploring the relationship between self and revolution (because there is no doubt now, the revolution is happening), this workshop offers a number of techniques to writers developing or experimenting with voice. Particularly, we seek a voice that engages the theme of social change, engages other voices having the same conversation, and understands shared and unique experiences. Participants will leave knowing the power of interpretive transformation and the experience of having begun by applying it where it must first be applied – to the self.


2:00 PM          Muslim Writers Workshop – Free Write Workshops

Journalism: Juli Chiaet

Haris Durrani: Literary Fiction

Shahana Hanif: First Person Narratives

Each session will be 30 minutes, consisting of 20 minutes of free writing guided by a prompt and 10 minutes of discussion. The last 30 minutes will be open for broad discussion.


4:00 PM          DOORS CLOSE



Coming of Faith

Laila Alawa is the CEO and President of Coming of Faith, a media startup giving space and voice to women of color. She is the owner of Lilla Stjarna Jewelry, and co-founder of The Modish Box. Laila also works on nonprofit and government communications, and serves as the Lead Marketing Strategist for PushBrand Marketing. She writes regularly for, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Mic and DAME Magazine, among others. Alawa is also an associate editor at The Islamic Monthly. She previously worked at Princeton University, conducting a study on Muslim American perceptions of belonging.

Najira Ahmed is the Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of Coming of Faith, a media startup giving space and voice to women of color. She is a graduate from Wellesley College, with a degree in Religion, focusing on the impact of religion on political structures, rhetoric, and power in the Unites States and South Asia. Her research areas include modern day religious diversity in New York City as well as religious influence on colonial voting patterns in the United States. In addition to her work at Coming of Faith, she currently serves as a Leasing Manager at a major New York City real estate management company.

Rubayya Hoque likes to build things. She has a B.A. in English Literature from St. John’s University, with a focus on postcolonial literary analysis. For her M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she studied grassroots communication and data driven, multi-media storytelling. She is the CFO of Coming of Faith, a media startup dedicated to amplifying the voices and stories of women of color.