The Writing Sangha

from Sanskrit saṃgha ‘community.’
The Writing Sangha brings together a group of mindful women, dedicated to finding their own voices as steps toward starting a bigger & louder feminist dialogue. By using Buddhist meditation principles as tools for writing memoir, these women commit themselves and one another to remaining open, honest, and clear-sighted in their work, even when – especially when – the material gets dark and heavy. Never passing judgment, the Sangha encourages its members through compassion, recognizing the raw beauty in stories that have been too long silenced.
Founded in January 2015 as part of a creative dissertation, The Writing Sangha began as a college women’s writing workshop. Based on Buddhist meditation philosophy and practice, the workshop originally aimed to provide young women with a present state of mind to ease the stress and confusion of college life. In addition to this, however, the principles and foundation of the workshop built a safe space where women were able to objectively consider the difficult material in their lives – where they sat through discomfort in order to cross over to the other side of their suffering. Very quickly, The Writing Sangha allowed these women to build a dialogue around topics they couldn’t discuss in other circles, such as campus sexual assault, mental health, substance abuse, relationships, and more. They were breaking the barriers of what they could and could not openly and honestly express.
For two years, The Writing Sangha met in the Kelly Writers House on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Now, as a nonprofit entity backed by the CultureTrust of Greater Philadelphia, The Writing Sangha seeks to offer its programming to college campuses and community spaces across Philadelphia. Its permanent home is at The Common Room, where continuous workshops are held for women in the community.

About the Writer

Chelsey Everest is a creative writer and teacher from Portland, Maine. She moved to Philadelphia in 2013 in search of a new start. Since then she’s waitressed, bartended, and freelanced her way through living “down the Shore,” graduating with her MFA, getting published (twice), and getting married. She’s now the founding Project Director of The Writing Sangha, as well as the Executive Director of The Common Room. She is working on her first book about the premise of the workshop so that it can be replicated by women around the country. She has also completed a feminist chapbook of poetry.


“Women’s March,” Such an Ugly Time, Rat’s Ass Review, 2017

“Write It Down,” Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It, Riverhead Books, 2016

Though originally designed as a college women’s writing workshop, The Writing Sangha can emerge wherever a mindful group of compassionate people are present. Its framework and premise has been presented in numerous states, including Bowdoin College in Maine and Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

While workshops can vary in length in duration, The Writing Sangha is currently taking place monthly at The Common Room for two-hour sessions. No prior knowledge of meditation or creative writing is required. Participants will be provided with all necessary materials, and introduced to meditative writing practice.

On occasion, we also conduct lectures, seminars, and presentations for customized offerings. Please contact us for more information.