By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 15, 2023.
A new writers group has formed in Lethbridge for ambitious writers hoping to get published.
The group first formed starting back in September at the Library event Word on the Street.
It was at Word on the Street where two community residents who were both members of the Alexandra Writers Centre Society talked with a representative at Alexandra and planned together on creating a writing group here.
Shayne Dahl, one of the original writing members, explained how the group began.
“We started talking about the possibility of writer’s group in Lethbridge. And wouldn’t it be great if it was hosted in the beautiful Analog bookstore. And from there, we just asked Alexandria Writing Group Center if they would be interested in sort of like facilitating the group, through their organization. They agreed and Analog Books agreed.”
Alexandra Writers Centre Society program director Precious de Leon talked about the purpose behind Alexandra writing groups and the programming the centre offers to writers in and out of the province.
“We have a little over 500 adult members, close to 100 youth members, that’s all around mostly in Calgary, mostly in Alberta, but also in other provinces like Ontario, B.C., Saskatchewan. A lot of our programming is shaped, not just with what’s trending, but with what our writers are looking for, what kind of support they need,” said de Leon.
Scott Warris, co-owner of Analog Books, described the request made to Analog Books and the availability Analog Books does for authors and writers.
“They came to us and asked us for the space. We try to make the space available to groups, book clubs and authors and to create events,” said Warris.
Dahl voiced the goal behind the writer’s group and hopes of working together in improving writing skills.
“For me, the main goal that I had set for the group was to get works in progress to publication. That was the main intent of creating the group,” said Dahl.
de Leon said Alexandra Writers Centre Society puts in effort creating writing groups to support writers and they didn’t realize how much it would grow.
“We kind of started with our members in Lethbridge coming together. And we promoted it to people – we had no idea how much traction it was going to have. We just want to lead, trying different things and see where they go, and listening to what groups of our writer’s needs. We were able to do it that way. And it kind of grew from there,” said de Leon.
Warris noted how exceptional the people in the Lethbridge writers’ group are and emphasized the group is not a book club.
“These guys are kind of special because they’re writers. So it’s a writer’s group, more so than a book club,” said Warris.
He added reading has an influence on making a good writer.
“A lot of these writers of course, are readers because good readers make great writers,” said Warris.
de Leon said the writer’s group will be also holding a “writers unplugged open mic night” once a month at Analog Books for writers to read and share some of their works in progress.
“Our main goal is to support writers with the intention of hopefully all of them being able to see the benefit of being a member of our writer’s centre. Right now, it is open to all writers in Lethbridge and the facilitators that we have there,” said de Leon.
Dahl said the writing styles vary throughout the group and members share their respect for each other’s works.
“We have this wonderful group. There’s people with very, very different writing projects. But we all respect each other’s writing projects and enjoy that sort of diverse range of creative works that we share, and hopefully get to publication,” said Dahl.