Sunday, July 31, 2016

Growing Together...

In September, the Seven Bridge Writers' Collaborative will begin its sixth season. Having started in 2010 with a single writers' group, we are proud and excited to see how much we have grown as a community and as an organization. With mulitiple writers' groups, critique groups, classes, workshops, and two author series, SBWC has served as a meetinghouse, offering fellowship, support, and educational opportunities to local writers working in all genres and at all levels of experience. 

Our writing groups, led by SBWC founders, Paula Castner, Ann Frantz, Winona Wendth, and our newest facilitator, local writer Lucinda Bowen, meet weekly, giving writers the chance to practice prompt-based writing in the tradition of the Amherst Method, and to examine craft, supporting each other as they explore the elements of good writing, from word choice to story arc, that inspires and hones creative work. 

Critique groups serve writers working on short stories, novels, poetry, and creative non-fiction, encouraging writers in the process of both critiquing and self-editing. Clear-eyed, dispassionate assessment is critical to the writing process, and there is no better support for the working writer than a well-tuned, dedicated, respectful circle of writers willing to read and discuss sometimes fledgling works-in-progress. SBWC acts as a clearinghouse, connecting writers looking for mutural support and encouragment in the form of critique. 

From the very beginning, it was part of the SBWC vision to provide educational programming for new and experienced writers. The Seven Bridge Sessions, held on the third Saturday of the month, give local writers access to hands-on workshops, classes, lectures and panel discussions that explore all aspects of the writer's craft, as well as the writer-editor relationship, publishing options, free-lancing, business skills for writers, and living the writer's life. These monthly sessions invite a wide variety of skilled presenters to share their knowledge and experience, and have become a valued resource for the local writing community and the greater central Massachusetts region.

Now in its second season, the Bridging Writers Author Series, welcomes published authors to read and discuss their work on the first Monday of the month, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Held at the Thayer Memorial Library, in Lancaster, Massachusetts, the Bridging Writers Author Series hosts writers working in all genres, giving local writers and readers a chance to engage with talented authors and support their work, with book sales and signings after the readings.

And, in partnership with Common Stories, SBWC recently welcomed  award winning young adult authors, Nancy Werlin, Kristin Cashore, and Annie Hartnett to the first of a new series celebrating the work of emerging and established writers from the New England region and beyond. Held Upstairs @ The General, in Harvard, Massachusetts, Common Stories invites authors and readers to come together in a historic, cultural venue for literary evenings, featuring readings, discussions, food and friends.  

We have come a long way, and as we begin the new season, SBWC continues to evolve by creating a new interactive website, finalizing our status as a non-profit, expanding community outreach with new Open Mics venues and continuing to work with the local schools in support of young writers with our annual Poetry Contest. 

The SBWC programs for 2016 -2017are varied, constructive, and most of all, fun! In addition to our workshops on memoir, voice, flash fiction and many others, we have an exciting line-up of visiting authors, a ten-week Fiction Writing course, beginning in September, and seven-week Guide to Novel Writing, beginning in February. And, in May of 2017, we will partner with the Worcester Art Museum with a special workshop on The Art of Looking, with Christian McEwen.

Explore our new schedule, under the headings above, and please join us! And we're always happy to hear your thoughts or to answer questions at

We are grateful to the Thayer Memorial Library for supporting our mission in every way possible, and to the First Church for opening their doors to new programming and events. As writers and people we grow best together, and we welcome your participation, support, and input, as we continue to grow a thriving writers' community that inspires and enriches us all. 

Hollis Shore
President and Program Director