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Writers group resumes in-person meetings

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A group of local wordsmiths have returned to face-to-face meetings after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County held its first meeting since 2020 in early January. The group’s secretary said they were thrilled to be back.

“We made it a hybrid gathering because we have several people who have joined us online through COVID who are not local,” explained Mandy Barnett, secretary of the Strathcona County Writers Foundation.

Interest has expanded beyond the county boundaries as the group added a member from BC and another from Ontario.

“Obviously we wanted to give them the opportunity to continue to be with us and obviously when the weather is bad here people have the option to be online instead of driving,” she said.

At in-person meetings at the Strathcona County Library, Barnett said group members missed the interaction of being together.

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Although the group had a lower turnout, just five members in person, Barnett said three more had joined online and they expect more to return to meetings in the coming months.

“We still have about 50 members, which isn’t too bad. We have a core and then we have people coming in and out, but it’s hovering around 50 or so,” Barnett said.

The authors’ circle takes place every first Tuesday of the month and participation is free of charge.

Barnett hopes the return to in-person monthly meetings will attract new members.

“The Birch Room is a very good room because there is a very long table and we can accommodate more than 27 people,” she said. “I hope we have more personal people for February 7 because the house writer is coming as a special guest.”

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Barnett said that coming together encourages creativity and gives people to share ideas with.

“The meetings themselves are a way to engage with members, but you don’t have to be a member to attend and we talk about what we’re writing, exchange ideas to get constructive criticism, do writing exercises, sometimes we have the presentations on certain aspects of the writing and then we have a homework assignment that is shared at the following meeting.”

If you are interested, you can register for a meeting at wfscsherwoodpark.com.

“It is open to every author. You don’t have to write fiction or nonfiction, it can be a journal or a memoir. We don’t have a specific genre that we focus on, and it’s open to any writer from a young adult upwards,” Barnett said.

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