From Roundtable to Writers’ Group

If you’re new to the Yukon or to the world of writing and would like to set up a writers’ group, one way to do it is go along to the Writers’ Roundtable meeting at the Whitehorse Public Library.

Even though it’s only held only twice a year, the Roundtable is a great place to meet and swap news with other writers.

That’s where Leonie Lemphers met Emilia Bodi, who, like her, wanted to be part of a writers’ group. To gather more members, Lemphers then posted a message on ArtsNet, an e-mail listing to which many artistically inclined Yukoners subscribe.

That’s how the other two members of the group, Anna Hamilton and Erin McMullan, got involved.

Some might argue it’s essential to have rules and a structure if a writers’ group is to succeed, but this group seems to be doing very nicely without them.

They’re flexible about where and when they meet, no one’s in charge and they don’t worry about following the same format for each meeting.

“I don’t think it’s like a formal group where we get together and then we have an agenda. I think we sort of create the agenda when we get together,” says Bodi who is working on a novel.

“I think it was the right four personalities who all had similar goals,” suggests McMullan, whose projects include a biography and two non-fiction novels.

“We’ve all got something quite long, like a novel or a script or a play, although we do other things like short stories. It’s kind of fluid in what we bring each time,” says McMullan, going on to explain how helpful it is to have the same people reading your work as it develops over time.

Lemphers, who is working on novels and short stories, says: “We want to support each other in the way that we need. The goal is for each of us to get what we need out of the group to pursue the project we’re working on. We also support each other between meetings, too.”

The group demonstrated this support recently at Brave New Words, the open-mic Spoken Word event held monthly at Baked Café.

Three of the members read from the play Hamilton is writing while the author looked on. “I listened and took notes,” says Hamilton, adding that it was nice to hear it and think, “Oh, did I write that?”

Bodi sums up why the group is so important to her: “Having the group, it sort of forces you to write. You have to make time because you know you’re going to be coming to the group.

“It’s an extra incentive to get done what I wanted to do anyway.”

Or, as Hamilton puts it: “Okay, now I have others with me. I’m not alone.”

The next Writers’ Roundtable (formerly the Writers’ Summit) is scheduled for April 6 at 7:30 p.m.

For confirmation and more details, call the Whitehorse Public Library at 667-5239. To find out more about ArtsNet, e-mail [email protected]

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