LaVonne Elaine Roberts

Lavonne Roberts, the author of published stories and personal essays, is completing a memoir titled "On My Terms" and a creative writing MFA at The New School. She is the founder of WRITE ON!, a Bard College funded initiative that provides literature and free creative writing workshops in shelters for female victims of violence and adults experiencing homelessness. Building on a decade of experience as the founder of a digital Internet 1.0 social platform, and as a female leader in digital marketing, she writes, edits, and produces brand successes.


New York Times "This is 18" Prompt

What does it mean to be an 18-year-old girl around the world? The New York Times asked young women photographers this question. The result was “This Is 18,” a portrait of girlhood across six continents and twelve time zones. The Times asked our program — in 150 words or less, tell us, what does (or did) it mean to you to be an 18-year-old girl? Here are the selections, which include current students from our Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Writing for Children and Young Adults genres.

"Interview with Helon Habila" by LaVonne Roberts

Helon Habila‘s fourth novel, Travelers, is a novel about African Diaspora in Europe. Told through a series of interlinking narratives, an unnamed Nigerian scholar’s experiences with migrants in transit, the real question Travelers asks is: what is home? Originally from Nigeria, Habila lives and teaches creative writing in the US at George Mason University and is the author of Waiting for an Angel, Measuring Time, Oil on Water, and a nonfiction book, The Chibok Girls.

"Travelers" by LaVonne Roberts

What is it like to be a refugee? Around the world, 70.8 million people have been forcibly displaced. It’s hard to fathom the terrible extent of the refugee crisis, but Habila captures the humanity of his characters in a way that newspapers can’t. Travelers comes at a time when Americans are being forced to reckon with what our country is becoming, what values we truly hold dear. Habila’s stories parallel anti-immigrant narratives being espoused in the U.S. and globally today. Helon Habila start

Why Writers Love New York City

LaVonne Roberts discusses what inspired her love of New York City. There is a phenomenon many of us seem to get swept up in: feeling that our relationship to the city is as alive and intimate as that of fiery, fateful lovers. What is it about New York that compels us to believe the city is a human entity unto itself: one capable of offering earth-shattering sex, endlessly stimulating conversation, and eventual transcendence, too? Falling in love with New York City is like your first love affair...

My Mother, My Monster by LaVonne Roberts

As I sat in the backseat of a Pontiac station wagon in 1974, fear was in my throat. I felt nauseous and I needed to pee. I was only 12, and my question, “Where are we going?” was met by a cold silence that I knew all too well. “Mother, Can we please stop?” Even though I knew what the answer would be, I still held on to that twelve-year-old’s innocent hope that my mother would respond differently this time or that she would respond, period. But she did not. I saw her eyes in the rear view mirror...

Essay: Host or Hostage

Somerset Maugham called the Côte d’Azur “a sunny place for shady people.” With a history as colourful as its sapphire sea, it’s home to a hodgepodge of nationalities, celebrities, gypsies, and nouveau riche expatriates…like me, it’s a melting pot of extremes. I miss the golden awakening of morning and the mixed blessing of sunrise solitude. But for me, the French Riviera will always be about the insomniac hours before sunrise when the magic and moonlight of the glittering coast holds me hostage.

Rising Up: Baked with Love | Claverack, New York

Last week I learned that one of the women in my writers workshop for victims of violence was relocated to Denver because her husband, a Lithuanian mob boss had a hit on her and kids. When I bake, I remember the smell of fresh bread in my grandmother’s kitchen. Her table was polished smooth from kneading the dough. There was always a jar of homemade jam and a crock of margarine to slather on the pillow-soft crusty slices. My grandmother didn’t know about cholesterol back then and I hadn’t...

Home-The Journey Within : Dan's Papers Literary Prize 2018

Sometimes when you have it all, the only thing left to discover is what you need. After a dotcom IPO windfall, marriage, ​and two children, I embodied the American dream. When I filed for divorce seven years ago, many whispered that I was crazy. For a girl from Duncanville, Texas, whose father gave her up for adoption and her mother dropped off at a bible college with one suitcase and a note saying you can’t come home and we can’t pay, I had defied my Dickensian story beyond society’s expectations...

“Montgomery C. Smith Elementary school pre-k sends holiday cheer to a soldier | Hudson, New York

While students count down the days toward their school holiday break, students in Maureen McDonald’s pre-k class at Montgomery C. Smith bustled with the holiday spirit as they created artwork and discussed their appreciation by creating care packages for Adopt-A-Soldier. The overarching theme was a sense of gratitude to the deployed soldiers for their commitment and dedication to serve. “We are on the receiving end of being chosen as a class to receive hats/mittens from Pine Haven Nursing Home

Another Take On Why The New Yorker’s “Cat Person” Went Viral

Another Take On Why The New Yorker’s “Cat Person” Went Viral Write Right — notes from an MFA candidate The New Yorker’s “Cat Person” went viral overnight signaling something everyone wanted to quantify. It was timely. The #Me Too movement took off shortly after the story went viral and jumped on the bandwagon. Maybe what hit a chord with readers was the author’s voice, which spoke to what many women don’t like to admit — the frequency with which they have sex when they don’t want to...

Sigrid Nunez’s “Chang” and “Christa”

Write Right — notes from an MFA candidate To read Sigrid Nunez’s “Christa” and “Chang” feels like the theme of identity has taken seed and is germinating. The narrator’s German mother, Christa, always wanted to go back home, although finally, she said she couldn’t go back, that Germany was no longer her home. At first, I felt Sigrid took so many turns in her storytelling that I couldn’t find a thread to connect because I look for an arc without knowing I do. Once I let go and gave myself the f

Beneath The Surface – The Truth Lies : Dan's Papers Literary Prize 2018

Below The Surface – The Truth Lies One unusually warm July afternoon in East Hampton, I was reminded that we never know what truth lies below the surface. “Momma, did you get divorced because you stopped loving dad?” asked my eleven-year-old​ daughter. I thought for a moment. What could I say and be honest? Should I talk about the day-to-day suffocating feeling I tried to suppress because I didn’t like the person I became? Should I take the easy route and mention the affair with the nanny? “


LaVonne Roberts: Coming Home – The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

As a girl who's​ more Texan out of Texas than in, I’m known as Gotham City Cowgirl in parts out East and as the girl with the Texas is larger than France t-shirt in France Mostly, I’m known for takin’ my roots wherever I go and a stand by your girlfriend whoop ass tude. Thank you for the opportunity to submit and for celebrating and supporting writers like me. “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Rumi Zoloft, Zanax, Zyprexa – the three Z’s...

Lucky Man – Lavonne Roberts –

Rabbi Joe was on a mission. His wife Ruth asked him to stop by their local market to pick up some broccoli for her signature knishes. It was a personal joke between them, ever since Ruth served him his favorite dish wearing a garter belt, silk stockings, and his Brooks Brothers shirt. She was a vixen, making him watch her cook, taunting him, all because he said he didn’t believe in luck. He could hear her words, “Now do you believe in luck Joe?” He stopped in the middle of the street, shocked b

Lawn Boy - Greener Grass

They say that if a house is on fire and a woman has to choose between her child and another – her husband, her lover – she will choose the child. What if I told you I would choose differently? What do you think of me now? What if I told you that I am the mother of the neighbor lawn boy who was a terrorist? I love my son that I nearly died giving birth to, but hate the people who kidnapped my son’s mind. And what about the fertilizer I found in his closet and their God who promised him greener grass...