Groups for Writers Proliferate in Beacon


It’s a good time to be a writer in Beacon! If you are an aspiring wordsmith, an accomplished author, or looking to find a supportive literary community to help you work though a current project, there are so many resources for you right now. Here’s a rundown of some of what’s currently on tap.

Get Lit Beacon

This fabulous new literary salon, started by talented local author Julie Chibbaro (National Jewish Book Award winner for Deadly, a Junior Library Guild Selection for Into the Dangerous World, and American Book Award winner for Redemption), meets on the second Sunday of each month at Oak Vino Wine Bar at 389 Main St. You can find out more on the group's Facebook Page, but the idea is that it’s a casual gathering where published and aspiring adult writers of any genre can hang out, have a glass of wine and share their work. Feeling like expressing yourself? There’s a sign-up sheet at the door if you want to read aloud. Chibbaro reveals the genesis of the group: “I started this event because I often hear about other writers in my town, but since I’m a homebody, I don’t get to meet them. This is a way for me to invite them out and hear their work.”

There have been two Get Lit salon events so far, and they were both inspiring and well-attended. The next one, scheduled for Sunday, March 11, will feature a reading by novelist and children’s book author Jennifer Castle.

High School Writing Lab & Zine Club

Are you a teen and a writer? Beacon has you covered, too. The Howland Library has a writing group for teens designed to provide support, assistance, and encouragement for students in grades 9-12 who are working on school or creative writing projects and college essays. There’s also a Zine Club for writers, artists, and photographers (the next meeting is Friday, March 16, from 3 to 5 pm). More info about this and other great library offerings for teens can be found here on the Howland Public LIbrary's website (the top says February but it is March's events). In the past, the library has offered help sessions for writers in high school.

Other Goings-On for Writers at the Howland Public Library

Also at the library is an ongoing Book Club, an upcoming book launch for Judith Filc (Thursday, April 12). The Howland Library just hosted (on Saturday, March 3) a memoir-writing workshop for adults with Donna Minkowitz, the author of two memoirs, Ferocious Romance (a Lambda Literary Award winner) and Growing Up Golem (a finalist for both a Lambda Literary Award and the Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award). Donna became known for her coverage of gay and lesbian politics and culture in The Village Voice from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, for which she won a GLAAD Media Award. She is a former feature writer for the Village Voice, and has also written for New York magazine, Ms., The Collagist, The Advocate, and Newsday. She teaches with the New York Writers Workshop and independently - sometimes in Beacon!

The Artist’s Way – A Creative Cluster

For folks who want to reflect on their own creative process, or tap into something that needs unclogged, this Creative Cluster is an exciting and creative group that meets at A Little Beacon Space on Sundays. It loosely follows the classic book, The Artist's Way, created and written by Julia Cameron. The group is being “lightly led” by Katie Hellmuth Martin. According to the event page's description, this is a “gentle group, where people who are reading the book and going through their journey can share their thoughts and connect with others.” Artists, Non-Artists, Regular People, and People Who Want To Be An Artist But Think They Are Far From Being An Artist are welcome. This session runs from March to May and is full, but check back for info about the next session. Lots of answers to all of your questions about participating can be found here.

Classes, Readings and Book Clubs

Around town, several writing groups who would like to remain anonymous meet regularly at various watering holes and other locations. At their meetings, more active or professional writers workshop their projects and critique one another’s work. There's even a secret writers' group who won't reveal their details, but we can tell you that they meet inside of The Telephone Building, which is also the location of A Little Beacon Blog's office. They are so elusive and quiet as they hide behind their laptops, that we can only tell you that it’s for writers who have been published in national magazines and so forth.

If you are interested in small writers workshops or classes, poets Ruth Danon will soon be offering some in Beacon, while Jeffrey McDaniel offers workshops in Cold Spring. And Julie Chibbaro, of Get Lit Salon fame, also offers a writing workshop that is mostly for fiction and non-fiction writers.

On Facebook, there are a few Book Clubs, like The Beacon Book Club, and The Beacon Moms Book Club.

Finally, we can’t pass up a chance to big-up Binnacle Books at 321 Main St., Beacon, NY. They offer an impressive selection of books, a willingness to order anything we want as long as it’s available, and a number of great readings, events and book club meetings.

Plus, see here for the great lengths gone to by Beacon Reads, the little bookstore next to the Howland Public Library. Proceeds from their book sales (of donations and retired library books) go toward the Howland Public Library. In this photo below, a volunteer from Beacon Reads hand-delivered a copy of The Artist's Way to the first meeting of the creative cluster.

A volunteer from Beacon Reads (left) hand-delivered a copy of  The Artist's Way  to a study group participant, Martha P. Humphreys (right). Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

A volunteer from Beacon Reads (left) hand-delivered a copy of The Artist's Way to a study group participant, Martha P. Humphreys (right).
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin