For writers, “A clean, well-lighted place” no longer is simply the title of an acclaimed classic short story. It is the definition of the Fairfield County Story Lab in Westport—a new, welcoming and nurturing location in which to write your own story, novel, essay, poem or other piece.
Take it from one who has made great progress on his manuscript here: The Fairfield County Story Lab offers a unique combination of the quiet privacy you need to concentrate and the inspiring energy of fellow creative writers working nearby.
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Journalist Camila Vallejo Wins Inaugural Writer-In-Residence Award at the Fairfield County Story Lab
WESTPORT, CT (June 22, 2022) – Bilingual journalist and writer Camila Vallejo has been awarded the inaugural Writer-in-Residence prize at the Fairfield County Story Lab, a shared workspace in Saugatuck for writers and creatives.
Vallejo, who lives in Norwalk, covers housing and social justice issues for Connecticut Public and WNPR, and is a Corps Member of Report for America. She has been a part-time producer for All Things Considered (read and hear some of her stories here) and has written for Connecticut’s Food and Farm magazine.
The FC Story Lab’s Writer-in-Residence prize is for early-career writers.
“Camila is dedicated not only to telling stories of underrepresented communities, she is committed to bringing diverse voices to the American media landscape,” said FC Story Lab Co-founder Carol Dannhauser. “It is our privilege to welcome her to the Lab.”
Vallejo’s work takes her statewide, from Hartford to New Haven to Fairfield counties, as she gets the inside story on housing issues, often reporting on housing disparities in Fairfield County. She tends to file her stories from a closet at home, she said.
“Unfortunately, this isn’t unusual today. For a host of reasons, many media companies have trimmed their newsrooms and all but eliminated their bureaus. This means that young reporters, especially, can’t experience the alchemy that happens in a newsroom, where people bounce ideas off of each other and offer suggestions when stories hit a dead-end,” said Dannhauser, a veteran journalist.
Vallejo’s residency will enable her to work for free at the spacious Story Lab, whose membership includes a community of veteran journalists, as well as writers, producers, editors and creatives of many stripes. The Lab plans to install a new media suite on-site so that Vallejo can record her radio pieces there.
“I am looking forward to joining a writer’s community that supports productivity and truly understands the needs of a writer,” Vallejo said. “It’ll be a great co-working space to continue expanding my housing coverage in Fairfield County for Connecticut Public while connecting with others interested in newsgathering. As part of a larger community, I hope to be available not only to other members, but any emerging journalists curious about the life of a young reporter.”
During her six-month residency, Vallejo will host two events at the Fairfield County Story Lab for students and recent graduates interested in a career in journalism or media.
Vallejo, who was born in Columbia, graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. She recently won a Report for America local news award for her story “Landlord Wanted: As Afghan Refugees Arrive in Connecticut, Housing is an Issue.”
“Camila is committed to covering various aspects of housing, from housing policy to how those policies affect people,” said Eric Aasen, executive editor at Connecticut Public. “We’re excited that the Story Lab will help Camila make more connections in Fairfield County.”