In 2019, Humanities Guåhan presented “I Come From Here: Portraying Place, Community and History,” a series of creative writing and journalism workshops and readings featuring writer Inara Verzemnieks. 

While visiting Guam, Verzemnieks taught two public high school creative nonfiction workshops, two college-level feature writing workshops, and two master classes for journalists and other writers. She read from her work during a Presidential Lecture at the University of Guam and at an “Evening with the Author” event at the Hyatt Regency Guam. The aim of “I Come From Here: Portraying Place, Community and History” is to inspire members of Guam’s community to think deeply and creatively about their own complex connections to Guam.

List of workshops and readings:

Immersion Writing on Deadline: Quick Yet Effective Strategies for Developing Rich, Evocative Features Even When You’re Up Against Deadline

Feature Writing Master Class for Journalists and Other Writers

Origin Stories: (Re)Writing Our Histories

High School Creative Nonfiction Workshops

Place as Character

A Creative Nonfiction Workshop

Workshop for Journalists and Other Writers 

The Fundamentals of Feature Writing: How to Report and Write Compelling Portraits of People and Place

College Workshop, Part I

One Morning in Guam: A Site-Based, Hands-On Immersive Reporting and Writing Workshop

College Workshop, Part II

The Many Words For Home: Writing to Capture the Complexities of Place, Identity & Family

Presidential Lecture, University of Guam

More information: click here | Watch the lecture here

Mapping Our Histories: Writing A Memoir of Place

An Evening with the Author, Hyatt Regency Guam

Writing workshop participants focused on place-based writing about the island or region while reviewing elements of the craft of literary nonfiction and journalistic feature writing, engaging in immersive and generative writing exercises, and receiving feedback in a workshop setting. 


Inara Verzemnieks has been celebrated for her place-based writing, as author of the acclaimed memoir, Among the Living and the Dead: A Tale of Exile and Homecoming on the War Roads of Europe, and is a 2007 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Feature Writing for her work in the Oregonian. Verzenmieks’ memoir, which is centered on her family’s home in Latvia and the brutal separation of her grandparents’ family from that home in the midst of war, has been critically acclaimed. Booklist called it “Spellbinding and poetic, this is a moving tribute to the enduring promise of home.”


This program is part of the nationwide “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” initiative that was funded by a grant awarded to Humanities Guåhan from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in partnership with the Pulitzer Prizes and the Federation of State Humanities Councils.