Somerville offers many opportunities for writers and other creative types. There are a plethora of writing groups and organizations where the aspiring poet and writer can hone their skills and network. But just beyond our borders, I found yet another place, the Newton Writing and Publishing Center. This nascent Center, has many writers on its board that I have worked with and know, such as Somerville's Timothy Gager, a stalwart of the literary community. Robin Stratton, whose poetry has appeared in the Lyrical Somerville column in The Somerville Times, is the founder of the said organization, and is a force of nature in the local writing community. In addition to publishing my new lyrical memoir Portrait of an Artist as a Young Poseur... through her affiliated Big Table Publishing press, the center will be awarding me their first Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, with a ceremony this August.
The Newton Writing and Publishing Center will be hosting a Grand Opening on Saturday, May 9 from 1:00 – 4:00. According to Robin Stratton, director and long-time writing coach in the Boston area, “We’ll be giving workshops and putting on special literary events, but we’re so much more than that. Our affiliation with Big Table Publishing Company and Boston Literary Magazine gives writers the opportunity to explore our publishing options, too.” Stratton says she came up with the idea for the center when she had trouble finding venues to promote her clients. “For a while I was booking open mic gigs at the new Whole Foods in Wellesley, and I kept thinking There has to be a better place.” She shrugs. “But there just wasn’t. So some of my colleagues – Timothy Gager, Christopher Reilley, and Michael C. Keith (all well known in the local writing community) and I decided to start one.” Writers and poets are welcome to contact the center to set up their own readings and book launches free of charge. “And they get to keep 100% of the profits of book sales,” Stratton adds. “That’s very important to us. We’re all writers, we’re all trying to sell our books, and we designed the center to be what we’d want–a place that wouldn’t charge us for the use of their space and wouldn’t take a percentage of sales.”
So how can they do this for free? By offering a variety of membership levels for those who wish to support the center, ranging from “The John Steinbeck” ($600 a year for free admission to all their workshops, free merchandise, and a year’s subscription to Boston Literary Magazine) to “The Jack Kerouac” ($120 a year for 25% discount on all workshops.)
For all the details, please visit www.newtonwritingandpublishingcenter.com