As a chapter of the Virginia Writers Club, we’ve had tremendous success, thanks to our active, vibrant members. Here are some of the highlights from 2013 until now.
· Chapter member June Forte launched the Prince William Poet Laureate Program, working with PWC Arts Council, Tackett’s Mill and the Clearwater Foundation. On June 14 at the Poetry & Jazz on the Lake event, two Poets Laureate were named to a two-year term: Robert Scott and Zan Hailey.
· The 2014 VWC Scholarship winner and 8 of 10 Teen Golden Nib Contest Winners 2014 were students from Prince William County Public Schools
· Chapter member Pete Pazmino received the Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund award by the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community ($2,100 for a month-long residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, Virginia)
· Chapter hosted a one-day Rising Writers Workshop for teens and young adults on March 29 using a grant from Prince William County. Presenters included Sara Robinson, Sarah Crossland, Robert Scott, Matt Iden, Katherine Gotthardt, Stacy Shaw, Kelly Harmon, Nick and Stacia Kelly and students and alumni of WSHS’s Center for the Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA) Creative Writing Program.
· Chapter led workshops, gallery readings and book sales at Arts Alive! May 3, 2014 – Prince William County Arts Council at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.
· Chapter members Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine led two workshops, “The Hybrid Author: Combining Traditional and Self-Publishing” and a master class on social media at the at James River Writers March Writing Show in Richmond on March 27-28, 2014. Pip Ballantine presented “Women in Steampunk” at the Library of Congress in April 2014.
· Chapter president Cindy Brookshire received a VWC Special Achievement Award
· Chapter member Patricia Daly-Lipe won the 2013 VWC Summer Shorts Contest (first place, nonfiction, for her essay, “A Journey into the Heart of Creativity”)
· Chapter member June Forte participated in the Woodbridge Writers Retreat
· Chapter hosted a Write by the Rails “Endless Possibilities” Blog Tour for 8 weeks; 16 members participated; a followup podcast outprocessed the experience.
· Monthly chapter meetings averaged 20 to 25 in attendance and featured a guest speaker, from “Couples Who Collaborate” with Tee Morris & Philippa Ballantine (steampunk) and Nick & Stacia Kelly (urban fantasy) to “Inspirational Writing” with Deborah Tompkins Johnson, author of How Did They Do That?
· Chapter’s open group on Facebook increased from 160 to 257 members; website and chapter news on Virginia Writers Club website were maintained and updated with current information on about open mic nights and readings, manuscript groups, opportunities through Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University; chapter’s gmail account was monitored and queries were responded to; a regular enews was distributed and 1,000 business cards were shared with members.
· Chapter built community partnerships through active membership and participation in the Prince William County Arts Council (Author Nancy Kyme is council treasurer; poet Katherine Gotthardt served on the board two years and has been succeeded by freelance writer Jasmyn Oliver), the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and the Inter-Service Club Council of Greater Manassas.
· Community outreach included hosting weekly meet and greets at local coffee shops and restaurants in Manassas, Gainesville, Occoquan, Lake Ridge, Woodbridge and Haymarket; reading works in historic downtown Manassas at the Harris Pavilion and The Things I Love, leading a children’s journaling project at The Manassas Museum during the Manassas Civil War Weekend, talking to students about writing at the “Welcome Week Community Corner” day at George Mason University’s Prince William Campus, reading and talking about writing to children in schools during National Young Readers Day or at the afterschool literary club at Featherstone Elementary School in Woodbridge or in ESL class at Elizabeth Vaughan Elementary School in Woodbridge; teaching a one-day writing class to members of the Lifelong Learning Institute- Manassas at the Boys and Girls Club in Manassas; participating in a panel during the “You CAN Do Anything Too” Symposium! sponsored by the Neville Empowerment Network Inc.; helping to judge portfolios at the annual 4-H Presentation Night; leading a poetry workshop during National Poetry Month, participating in the Second Annual Local Author Fair at Bull Run Regional Library, and donating baskets of books to be auctioned to benefit local charities like the Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Center and the American Red Cross.by