A three-day workshop was conducted by American authors Christopher Merrill, Caite Dolan-Leach, Douglas Manuel, and Zaina Arafat, which began with welcoming remarks and a first-time visit to the American Spaces in Asmara from the Eritrean Commissioner of Sport and Culture- Ambassador Zemede Tecle. The workshop not only provided access to American writers, but it also allowed the U.S. Embassy to engage with a previously underserved community of writers and to work closely with the Eritrean Ministry of Sports and Culture who selected the core group of 28 participating writers, representing writers at various points in their career, from well-respected writers from the Eritrean canon to young writers just beginning.
An extended two-week workshop followed the initial training led by Caite Dolan-Leach, where writers gained valuable feedback on their work from their peers. The biggest takeaway for many of the participants was a change in perspective of identifying as an international writer, not just as an Eritrean writer. The workshop not only gave them critical skills to be better writers, but the cultural exchange allowed them to see themselves as part of the greater international writing community. At the end of the workshop, many writers expressed interest in translating their writings into English and made concrete plans for publishing their work.