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Artistry in Action: The Fall 2019 Writing Program Open House

Join us on Friday, September 27th from 12-1:30PM for Artistry in Action, our Fall 2019 Open House! Come by to see how we cultivate artistry in our tutors to support fellow undergraduates in discovering their academic passions, taking ownership of their ideas, and tapping into their creativity to meet the rigor of writing at Cal.

Light refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP here

Fiat Luxicon

The Fiat Luxicon has been completed! Thank you so much to everyone who made a submission. Click here to view our 150 new words!

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In celebration of Berkeley’s 150th birthday and in the spirit of Fiat Lux, we are calling all Golden Bears to light up our linguistic landscape. Join us in creating a Fiat Luxicon: 150 new words that reflect Cal’s legacy of ingenuity and creativity! We’re asking faculty, staff, and students to submit original words that enhance our human language library. Through this initiaffair, we seek to celebrate the tradition of innovation that unites our global campus community. The first 150 entries that meet the criteria below will have their word added to our Fiat Luxicon installation in the VèVè Writing Lounge.



A new word of your own creation! The word must be original and can be in any language. It cannot exist in the dictionary or vernaculars of the language you seek to enhance.

 In creating your word, consider:

  • Combining existing words from any language;
  • Translating a concept that currently has no equivalent in your language;
  • Making a completely new word from scratch!
  • See more ideas here and here

Part of Speech:

A noun, verb, adjective, or adverb. Your word must not be an onomatopoeia or proper noun. Click here for more information on the parts of speech.


A guide for how to say your word written in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). See this resource for more information about IPA and pronunciation.


A concise and clear explanation of what the word means.


An explanation of how you created your word. To learn more about etymology and see examples, click here and here

Example Sentence:

One to two sample sentences using your word.

Entries must:
  • Be original;
  • Be creative;
  • Enhance our understanding of a phenomena, feeling, or idea.


Initiaffair (n)

Part of Speech: Noun

Pronunciation: i-ˈni-shə-ˈfer


  1. A project or endeavor by two parties that stems from, sparks, or solidifies a shared interest or passion
  2. A celebration of shared values and interests

Etymology: A lovechild of the words "initiative" and "affair," initiaffair--like its parents--has origins in Latin and bears traces of Anglo-French and Middle English.

Example Sentence: To mark Cal's 150th birthday, the Language Exchange Program and the Writing Program organized an initiaffair that included a new word contest, tapping Cal's spirit of playfulness and ingenuity to create a Berkeley vocabulary, the Fiat Luxicon.

Lumina Creative Writing Contest

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We’re concluding our celebration of Cal’s sesquicentennial anniversary with Lumina, our inaugural creative writing contest! In commemoration of Cal’s 150 years of brilliance, we invite you to send us your most luminous expression in 150 words.

We’re seeking work that uses “light” as an inspiration; submissions can be in the form of poetry or prose that incorporates at least one word from our community-generated Fiat Luxicon. Our goal is to compile work that sparks the reader’s imagination, electrifies with its use of language, and kindles deeper insight into the human experience. 

Authors of the top 8 entries will receive publication in our chapbook and perform at our final Sesquicentennial Celebration on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 from 12-2PM. In addition, the following prizes will be rewarded:

  • 1st place: $150 gift card
  • 2nd place: $75 gift card
  • 3rd place: $50 gift card
  • 4th place: $25 gift card

The contest is open to all current UC Berkeley undergraduates, graduates, staff, and faculty.

Entries will be reviewed by a committee of SLC Writing Program peer and professional staff.


  • Submit entries via Google Form by 11:59PM Tuesday, November 27, 2018.
  • Files should be uploaded as .doc, .docx, or PDF. Do not include any identifying information in the document.
  • Multiple entries are allowed, but each piece requires a new submission.
  • Entries must be exactly 150 words and may be in the form of poetry, narrative essay, or short story.
  • Entries must use "light" as an inspiration and incorporate at least 1 word from the Fiat Luxicon.
  • Entries must be the author’s original work and be previously unpublished.
  • Entries written in a language other than English must provide an English translation.
  • Do not include images or video in your submission; entries will be judged solely on the text.

Entries should...

  • Creatively use light as an inspiration

  • Incorporate the Fiat Luxicon word(s) in a meaningful way

  • Thoughtfully use form and language

  • Provide insight into an aspect of the human experience

History Adrift

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The SLC Language Exchange and Writing Programs are honored to host a conversation with author Namwali Serpell about her debut novel, The Old DriftJoin us on Friday, 5/3 from 12-2PM as she reads from her novel and provides insight into her writing process.To help us plan, please RSVP by Wednesday, 5/1.

About the Author

Namwali Serpell is an associate professor in the UC Berkeley department of English, specializing inthe relationship between aesthetic reception, affect, and ethics in contemporary fiction and film. Her previous works of fiction include “Muzungu,” which was selected for the 2009 The Best American Short Stories and “The Sack,” the winner the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing. Her debut novel, The Old Drift, was released in March 2019 to much critical acclaim. To learn more about her book, visit

Re-Home Your Books

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The SLC Language Exchange Program is excited to partner with the SLC Writing Program to launch our latest initiative: Re-Home Your Books! Through this endeavor, we aim to tap into the love of literature that exists on this campus to further cultivate a robust reading culture. Together, we believe in the power of the written word to foster greater understanding amongst our global community. We invite you to share the books you love to explore this power and help expand the written world!

This semester, we are looking to gather contemporary works of fiction to add to our growing collection. See below to learn how you can contribute your selections!​

Extended Deadline: we are now accepting books until May 3rd!

Re-Homing Instructions

If you would like to help expand the written world of our global community, books can be delivered to room 136 of the Cesar Chavez Student Centerduring the following times each week, until Wednesday, May 3rd:

  • Wednesdays, 2 - 4pm
  • Thursdays, 10am - 12pm

Book Criteria:

  • Books you have loved and enjoyed!
  • Contemporary works of fiction, originally published in 1989 or after
  • Written in English
  • Written for college or adult audiences
  • Readable, with minimal writing and highlight marks
  • Clean and functional with no mold, water damage, or missing pages

Please fill out this form if you would like to be included in our list of contributors or if you would like to complete a book review.

Book Review Instructions

Submit a book review to let others know the impact your chosen text has had on you, and why they should read it next! Reviews will accompany books on our VèVè Community Bookshelf during our Book Party, so it’s the perfect chance to share with our global community how your given text has shaped your world, and how it can expand ours in turn. 

Each review must include…

  • The book’s title and author
  • Three words that describe the book
  • A quote from the book that left a lasting impression on you
  • How the book has impacted you and why you believe it should be read by others

Participants who submit reviews are also eligible to win special prizes and recognition at our Book Party, so be sure to check out the below “Awards and Recognition” and “Save the Date” tabs for more details!

Awards and Recognition

As a thank you to those who contribute to our goal of connecting our global community through literature, participants who fill out this form will be included in our list of contributors and honored at our Book Party! The participant who gives the most books will also receive our LEP Global Book Club prize package, which includes our Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 reads.

In addition, each participant who accompanies their contribution with a book review will be automatically entered into a raffle to win our grand prize--an Amazon Kindle! Earn additional raffle entries by giving 5 or more books, or by writing additional Reviews (limit of up to 3 per participant).

Book Party!

All participants who give books to our Re-Homing initiative will be recognized at our Book Party! Join us to see our replenished VèVè Community Bookshelf, check out the book reviews of our collection contributors, and grab your new favorite read! Date and time TBA.

#FacultyasWriters Series

A World Alight: Tools of Illumination

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A World Alight: Tools of Illumination
November 2 | 12-1:30PM | 242 Chávez Student Center 


Alison Post | Associate Professor | Political Science and Global Metropolitan Studies
Damon Young | Assistant Professor | French and Film & Media
Grace Lavery | Assistant Professor | English
Hertha Sweet Wong | Professor | English
Kathleen Donegan | Associate Professor | English
Lok Siu | Associate Professor | Ethnic Studies and Asian American & Asian Diaspora Studies

In celebration of Berkeley’s 150th birthday and in the spirit of Fiat Lux, this faculty panel focuses on the role of writing in bringing new knowledge to light. Panelists will share the writing practices and tools they use to shape academic discourse and create meaningful scholarship.

Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to help us plan.

About the #FacultyasWriters Series
Every semester, the SLC Writing Program brings together faculty from across disciplines to discuss the role of writing in the discovery process. Geared towards undergraduates, the series seeks to demystify academic writing at the research university and expose student writers to diverse approaches and strategies for effective engagement. By promoting a writing culture that embraces process, the series seeks to embolden student writers to own their voice and hone their ability to contribute to the academic discourse at Cal and beyond.

Dialogues & Debate

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The Nexus Between Scholarship & Creativity

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Creative Writing Events

Lumina: Creative Expressions

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Lumina: Creative Expressions
December 5 | 12-2PM | 113 Chávez Student Center| Brochure

This reading culminates our celebration of Berkeley’s 150th year with a spotlight on Cal writers. Readers will share work exploring joy, resistance, and our collective humanity. Join us for performances from featured writers and Lumina contest winners, with an open mic to follow!

About the Features

Chiyuma Elliott is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. A former Stegner Fellow, Chiyuma’s poems have appeared in the African American ReviewCallaloo, the Notre Dame Review, the PN Review, and other journals. She has received fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, Cave Canem, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Vermont Studio Center. Chiyuma is the author of two books of poems: California Winter League(2015) and Vigil (2017).

Jade Cho is a writer and educator from Oakland, CA. She is the author of In the Tongue of Ghosts (First Word Press, 2016) and her poems have appeared in Hot Metal BridgeThe Offing, and elsewhere. She is a co-founder of Ghostlines Collective and The Root Slam, which was named Best Poetry Slam 2018 in the East Bay Express. She holds a BA in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley and currently serves as a Writing Program Coordinator at the Student Learning Center.

최 Lindsay is the author of Transverse (Futurepoem, 2020), and a chapbook, Matrices(speCt! books, 2017). More of their writing can be found in OmniVerseApogeeThe FeltBettering American Poetry Vol. 2, and elsewhere, including the Berkeley Art Museum's recent exhibit, Way Bay. They are a Kundiman fellow and a Ph.D. student in English literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Recent projects include a creative manuscript in and out of translation on the colonial history of leprosy in Korea.

#WriteBack Poetry Reading

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We culminated Fall 2016 with an evening of poetry featuring Cal writers. Readers included Leslie Valencia, Ricky Santuario, Shivani Narang, and our very own SLC poet-in-residence, Jade Cho, reading from her new book, In the Tongue of Ghosts. The event also spotlighted brand new work from SLC student staff Abigail Zhong, Bri'Unia Stock, Marnie Lowe, Max Lopez, and Parker Kjellin-Elder, and an open mic for undergraduate readers.

Mid-Semester Reception

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On October 21, 2016, we hosted our first ever reception for writing instructors & graduate student instructors! Thank you for visiting our lounge to meet our student writers, tutors, and staff, and share best practices for supporting undergraduate writing. See some of the event footage above!