An online benefit & fiesta



and special guests




FRIDAY, DECEMBER  11  –  5 pm PST,  7 pm MEX/CST,  8 pm EST

Join us to support our next generation of writers.


Your gift is your ticket!

For eight days before Christmas, in fiestas known as POSADAS…

…villagers across Mexico reenact José and María’s search for shelter. Their nightly processions celebrate the importance of sharing and symbolize the importance of opening one’s door to those in need. To the sound of church bells and mariachi music, neighbors gather in excitement as clay pots and basic staples such as corn and oranges are distributed to everyone in the community.  No posada would be complete without a final piñata filled with candy for the local children.

As 2020 draws to a close, Under the Volcano is hosting our own festive version of the Posada. We too are seeking generosity in the face of adversity. At the same time, we are offering the warm embrace of our wonderful literary community. We welcome guests from around the world as we celebrate the strength and beauty of the written word and the power of art to open doors.

Our Literary Posada features renowned novelist Isabel Allende (House of the Spirits) in conversation with Under the Volcano Director Magda Bogin, Irish poet Paul Muldoon, who brings us a mini-version of his famed Muldoon’s Picnic, and Mexican singer Magos Herrera & composer Paola Prestini, co-founder and artistic director of Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, with an exclusive preview from their forthcoming album Con Alma. Opening with a virtual toast hosted by journalism powerhouse David Barstow and award-winning poet Cyrus Cassells, the evening includes live music, a literary piñata and appearances by members of the Under the Volcano family.


 Our December fundraising campaign culminates on Giving Tuesday, which falls this year on December 1st. 

The Under the Volcano Board and a select group of other donors have generously offered to match all contributions up to $10,000. 

As a special gift to contributors, your Giving Tuesday donation of $100 or more is your ticket to an evening filled with inspiration and imagination. You’ll receive an email confirmation and Zoom link well in advance, along with an exclusive Mexican cocktail recipe by the legendary Betty Fussell that you can prepare at home and bring to the event.  Your ticket will also be entered into a surprise raffle with prizes to be drawn from our literary piñata.

All contributions to this event are 100% tax-deductible.


What is the program for the December 11th event?  

Our fiesta begins with a special Mexican cocktail (a recipe will be sent to all ticket holders in advance) where we can all greet each other as we raise a glass to a better world and the power of words. When the lights dim we’ll zoom out into three curated moments with our featured artists—offering a blend of readings, dialogue and song. The event culminates with a literary piñata filled with downloadable raffle prizes and a live mariachi trio direct from La Sombra del Sabino, our partner bookstore in Tepoztlán. We’ll end with a final toast that brings all guests together again as we say goodnight on screen.

How long will the Posada last?

The core event will last a generous hour. The VIP after-party immediately follows.



Based in Tepoztlán, Mexico and incorporated as a not-for profit (501c3) in the State of New York, Under the Volcano is an incubator of literary talent and a catalyst for writers with works in progress in both English and Spanish.

Now in our 18th year, we convene an annual program of writing master classes and an optional follow-up residency in Tepoztlán, Mexico, a historic village just over an hour south of Mexico City in the foothills of the great volcanoes. Our reach is global as we promote international understanding across cultures, languages, generations, genres and communities.

The program actively recruits a diverse group of emerging and accomplished poets, novelists, short story writers, journalists and writers of literary non-fiction for the opportunity to work with master practitioners of those same forms. As a space free from the usual constraints of work and home, Under the Volcano has inspired dozens of published books and courageous investigative pieces that have appeared under prestigious imprints in Mexico and across the English-speaking world. Program participants form enduring friendships and remain connected via a global network of alumni.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion makes this a community that spans languages, nationalities, generations and identities.  We offer financial support to half our participants and will continue to do so even though the pandemic has cut into our revenue and led us to reduce our tuition by half. Earlier in 2020, in response to the murder of George Floyd and the tide of protest against systemic racism in the US, we launched our Black Writers Matter Fund, a dedicated initiative to encourage more applications from Black writers.

By migrating from our village to Zoom, we’ve reconceived our program for cyberspace, expanding it from one to three weeks to create more breathing room and bringing scientists into the mix of writers and thinkers we’ve invited to help us think our way towards becoming a true community of the imagination. Your donation provides vital funding to sustain this work.



$100:  admits one to our Literary Posada on December 11. You will also receive a special cocktail recipe along with the Zoom link to the event.

$250 in addition to the above, you’ll receive a surprise gift from UTV.

$500:  In addition to the above, you’ll receive an exclusive pre-release world premiere download from the forthcoming album Con Alma, by Paola Prestini and Magos Herrera, as well as an invitation to our VIP after-party.

$1000: all the above, plus your name as an event sponsor on our webpage and streamed during the event, plus signed copies of two faculty books

$5000: In addition to the above, dedicate a song by our mariachi trio to someone you admire or love and receive a video clip of the performance.

How your donation will be used:

$100 adds much needed support to our general scholarship fund

$250 Provides partial financial aid to a gifted emerging writer to attend our program.

$500 covers half the tuition for an emerging or financially endangered writer to attend one of our master classes in April 2021

$1000 covers full tuition for an emerging or financially endangered writer or journalist to attend one of our master classes in April 2021

$5000 provides full tuition for five deserving writers to attend one of our master classes in April 2021.

If you would like to establish a named scholarship in honor of a favorite writer or beloved family member or if you have any questions about making a major gift or bequest to Under the Volcano, please contact Gabriela Damián at gabriela@underthevolcano.org.

Governing Board

Kristina Bicher, Carol Davis, Elizabeth Madigan, Alan Towbin, John D. Werner

Benefit Committee

(List in formation)

Lisa Barlow, David Barstow, Kristina Bicher, Janet Dawson, Betty Fussell,
Reyna Grande, Jonathan Levi, Elizabeth Madigan Jost, Paul Muldoon,
Gobi Stromberg, Luisa Valenzuela

Leadership Patrons

Kristina Bicher,  Elizabeth Madigan Jost, John J. Moore, Susan Plum, Alan Towbin

With deep, joyful gratitude to owners Susan & Tomás Cajiga for opening the doors of their wonderful bookstore to this event and so many that preceded it.

We are grateful to Paola Prestini & Magos Herrera
of the Con Alma Project for their solidarity and delighted to join forces with them in promoting our shared community of the imagination.

©2020 Under the Volcano International
All rights reserved.

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