Spotlight on the Adirondack Center for Writing

Holly Spinelli, June 2024
Adirondack Center for Writing

As the summer season approaches, it opens its arms and greets us with warmer days, longer stretches of sunlight, and the possibility for more time to read and write. How often do we get to experience the joy that comes with these activities in community with others? Sometimes, reading and writing can feel isolating. We can curl up in our usual spot and read the book that’s been in our “to be read” pile, but with whom can we discuss the parts that surprise us, frustrate us, or even confuse us? Maybe there is a special place where writing comes naturally, but lately, the ideas haven’t been flowing as readily. This is where reading and writing in community with others can help break us away from our routines, and help us find new ways to engage with the texts and writings we seek to learn and create.

The Adirondack Center for Writing is a wonderful nonprofit organization that is celebrating its 25th year of offering a plethora of opportunities for readers and writers to engage with one another, and to find new pathways for crafting and sharing their stories. Their Kick Ass Writers Festival, which will be held on June 7th and 8th in Saranac Lake, is one such opportunity that sounds thrilling for anyone interested in storytelling and writing. The festival features readings, workshops, and panel discussions, as well as one-on-one manuscript critiques from agents and editors. There will be publishing programs, special performances, and yes, A BOOK FAIR! Their Women’s Writing Weekend is a weekend where women can gather in community with one another to engage in a variety of workshops and experiential activities to inspire their writing. It’s an event that is “dedicated to the memory of Anne LaBastille, whose passion for the Adirondacks led to her writing the landmark series of ‘Woodswoman’ books documenting her experiences and observations of the natural world.”

They have excellent programming for young writers, too. Last year’s Retreat for Highschoolers was a fantastic opportunity for young writers to participate in workshops, catch engaging performances, and meet fellow high school writers at a two-day event held at Paul Smith’s College. On July 8th, 10th, and 12th, a Creating Fictional Worlds workshop for teens will focus on creating “compelling fictional worlds”– sounds like a must-attend event for young writers!

On June 29th, the Adirondack Writing Center is hosting some excellent Pride events to celebrate and honor the LGBTQIA+ community. The Queer Nature: A Writing Workshop with Elliot Pecora will offer participants a chance to interact with a multitude of poems, engage in collaging, remixing, blackout poetry, and more! The Every Queer Story Starts Somewhere: A Live Storytelling Workshop will honor and celebrate storytelling of the LGBTQIA+ community, while focusing on crafting compelling slam-style poetry. This event will be led by author and organizer of Potsdam Pride and the annual Queer Tales story slam, Rebecca Donnelly. The evening will round out the day with an exciting Pride Open Mic event where anyone can share up to five minutes of their writing. All are welcome!

Anyone who visits the Saranac Lake area will find the surrounding environment friendly, refreshing, and inspiring. Imagine writing amidst the gorgeous high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains, or reading a much anticipated text while catching a calm breeze along the shores of a clear mountain lake. Take a hike with a group of folks after attending a panel discussion and let the wilderness and good company take storytelling and writing somewhere new.

The possibilities and networking opportunities for readers and writers are boundless, and the Adirondack Writing Center is one of New York State’s gems for writers. They host programs year-round, and each one sounds brilliantly curated and exciting.

To learn more about the Adirondack Center for Writing, visit their website to see what piques your interest. Happy writing!

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