March 25, 2019

Ottawa Creative Writers’ Group in its 25th Year

It’s hard to believe that the WG, as it’s affectionately known, is now in its 25th year. The brainchild of Larry Rowdon, Bruce Filson, and Linda O’Neil, soon followed by David Erickson, Jim Desson and Jack McLean, the WG first started in the summer of 1993 at a rented storefront and was then held at the Crichton St. Bahá’í Centre for a few years before moving on to holding its meetings in private homes.

Members read either their finished product or work-in-progress such as excerpts from a novel, poems, short stories, plays, haiku and children’s literature among other genres, each receiving constructive gentle feedback from all. Every second year or so a beautiful chapbook showcasing members’ work is published, followed by a poetry evening held at the Bahá’í Centre, both of which are currently in the works for this year.

The WG has nurtured some other fine published and unpublished writers, including Damian Firth, Peter Brady, Don Bourque, Heather Cardin, Paul Touesnard, Michael Harris, Joyce Loeffelholtz, Chuck Rae, J.P. Quinn, Jeannette Lajoie, Barbara Pope, Anne Chadwick, Margaret Malloch Zielinski, Stephen Thirlwall and Barbara Rager. Here’s some of what honorary and current members have to say about the WG:

David Erickson: The WG was an amazing achievement within the Bahá'í community and open to writers who were not Bahá'ís, which I thought was very good for the WG's dynamic (diversity).

Jack McLean: Our group has helped us to deepen our friendships, while we get feedback on our literary skills. It serves for all of us who are still there as encouragement and stimulus.

Maryl Weatherburn: The WG has meant a lot to me over the years as a safe and welcoming place to share my writing, which tends to be about spiritual and personal growth.

Linda O’Neil: What I’ve appreciated most about the WG is that it got me writing, and then the feedback and encouragement made me want to stick with it.

Paul Touesnard: When I joined in late 2006, I was just starting to write again after a long hiatus and it proved very helpful to have the support and encouragement of the group.

Carol Gravelle: For me, the WG is a cocoon for nurturing the styling of each of the writer’s respective pen; it’s an opportunity to share spirituality for its veracity and transformative power.

Jim Desson: The fact that there has always been a group of writers willing to listen and offer suggestions has been a tremendous support for me.

Sylvie Nantais: Nothing has been more heartwarming and encouraging for my own work than a community of writers supporting each other’s works and projects.

Are you a writer looking for a place to present your work? Are you interested in receiving feedback from seasoned writers? Young and not-so-young are most welcome to join! Come add your special voice to our group. We are always enriched by different perspectives, so help us to ensure another 25 years of great writing!


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