Current Certificate student Renata Khoshroo Louwers’ essay, “Renounce and Abjure All Allegiance” was included in the anthology, My Shadow Is My Skin: Voices from the Iranian Diaspora, published by the University of Texas Press in March 2020.
About her essay, Renata says, “I am American but lost my Iranian husband, Ahmad Khoshroo, to bladder cancer in 2014. Despite having lived in the United States for many years, he never became a citizen. My essay, explores the complexities of citizenship when your new country and your native country view each other as enemies.”
Of her experience in the Writers’ Program, she says, “I worked on this essay at different times for several years. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my UCLA Extension Creative Writing Certificate classes; they definitely helped me refine the essay. In Liz Stephens’ Memoir I class, I found her insights into structure and creating a story arc so helpful. In Judith Prager and Harry Youtt’s Creative Alchemy: Finding and Writing Life Stories You Were Meant to Tell, I loved how they team-taught and brought differing perspectives to my work. Their ideas for helping me explore the story I wanted to tell helped me focus the essay. In both courses, the supportive encouragement combined with constructive guidance spurred me on in my work.”
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