Sarabande Writing Labs is an arts education initiative created by Louisville-based nonprofit publisher, Sarabande Books. This program reinforces Sarabande's mission to connect new audiences with literature by reaching out to under-resourced communities through free writing workshops and literary events.


  • REACH communities facing barriers to arts access. SWL workshops have been held in detention centers, homeless shelters, transitional living facilities, libraries, and community centers.

  • TEACH from within each community. SWL strives to hire artists and teachers within the communities we serve.

  • CREATE art. SWL participants create original poems, essays, stories, and more in a supportive environment.

  • PROMOTE traditionally silenced voices. SWL publishes over thirty new writers each year. Writers have shared their work at literary events and via local radio and print media.

What’s New

Now entering its sixth season in 2019, Sarabande Writing Labs has partnered with organizations serving people living with displacement, homelessness, addiction, disability, and mental illness as well as survivors of domestic abuse and at-risk youth. Thanks to the generosity of the Louisville Metro Government and Fund for the Arts, The Arthur K. Smith Foundation, The Hazel and Walter T. Bales Foundation, and dozens of individual donors, writers, teachers, and volunteers, Sarabande Writing Labs extends a platform to the city's most vulnerable and traditionally silenced individuals.   

2017-18 Program Report: