Prairie Quills Writers' Group hosting a reading event in Swift Current
The members of the Prairie Quills Writers' Group found inspiration for their upcoming public reading during a nostalgic journey on an old train.
They will take their audience on a literary train ride during their railthemed reading Whistle Stops at the Swift Current Branch Library, Oct. 19.
The members of the group visited Ogema during their fall retreat for a trip on the Southern Prairie Railway's tourist train and they have been preparing their pieces for the reading.
“Each member is writing something about the train ride or anything to do with trains,” Prairie Quills Writers' Group President Tina-Marie Letwiniuk said. “I don't think we've really shared much between each other with our different ideas for stories. So it will be interesting to see what we all come up with.”
She felt the observations and experiences during the train ride were useful to the members of the group when they started to write their stories.
“I think each of us were hoping to get inspired in some way and just hearing what the other ladies were talking about, it does sound like they gathered railroad information from the trip,” she said. “We started in Ogema and ended up in Horizon. So it was about a two hour train ride, there and back, which was pretty cool.”
The Prairie Quills is an active group of writers. They have produced six anthologies and they also sharpen their writing skills through themed reading events.
“We try to come up with ideas that are local, whether it be Swift Current or whether it be Saskatchewan or Canadian,” she said. “As a retreat, it just unfolded that way that our train ride became the topic for our reading this year.”
The reading event is an opportunity for group members to apply their creativity to a common theme, but their stories are still distinctive and it will reflect each person's unique style.
“Each one of them writes in a different style,” she said. “We have a children's writer, we have a dramatic writer, we've got a graphic artist writer now. So it is going to be interesting to see the different flavours of stories.”
According to Letwiniuk the reading will be a fun evening for anyone who wants to listen to local writing talent.
“It's fun to listen to local authors,” she said. “Any local talent that we have in Swift Current always amazes me, whether it's artists, musicians or writers. We have just such an incredible talent that it's fun for people to come and experience the different creativity that we have in little Swift Current. We're just this dot on the map, but we are so full of talent.”
She hopes the event will also be an inspiration for some who want to explore their own creativity through writing.
“I'm hoping that when they see the diversity of stories that come out of our group that they will perhaps be inspired to take up writing in their own way,” she said.
She has been a member of the group since 2015 and her own writing has benefitted from interacting with other writers.
“There are published authors and they have just a wealth of information,” she said. “It's scary to come into a group as a newbie and wanting to write, but not confident in the ability to write, and then these women are just so accepting and encouraging. It would be awesome if we could get some men to join our group, just to have that diversity as well. ... As president it's one of my goals to try and reach out to as many people in Swift Current as possible and surrounding areas. We're trying to get some kind of teleconferencing going so that we can get people from small towns and have them join our meetings.”
The Prairie Quills Writers' Group currently has 10 members, including a few who joined recently.
“That's exciting, because we're always looking for new members,” she said.
The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month in the meeting room at Pharmasave in Swift Current.
“We have changed the format of our meetings now so that we are actually doing less business and more writing,” she said.
During the meeting a member of the group will provide a short workshop on a particular topic, for example how to incorporate conversation into a story, and thereafter they will spend time on their individual writing projects.
“The creative energy around the table with all the other members just really inspires and motivates us to actually spend 90 minutes on writing,” she said.
Their activities take place from September to May, with a break in December for the festive season.
“So it's a seasonal kind of group, and then we pick up again in the fall with a retreat of some sort to get the ball rolling for the new year,” she said.
Anyone who wants to develop their writing skills or who wants to become a more active writer is welcome to attend a monthly meeting of the group.
“Writing is fun,” she said. “It's exciting and it's creative and it has just been the best thing that I've done for myself in many years. I really encourage anybody who thinks that they've got a story to tell to just come and see what we're all about, and maybe we can get them going on telling their own stories.”
The Whistle Stops literary evening takes place at the Swift Current Branch Library on Oct. 19, starting at 7 p.m. There will be refreshments and works by members of the group will be on sale.