For the Herald
CHILLICOTHE — Southern Ohio Writers and Readers’ Collaborative will host will host a Christmas poetry reading from 7-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11. The event, which will include refreshments, is free and open to the public. It will celebrate the publication of the group’s holiday anthology, “The Gift.”
An open microphone will be provided for all who wish to read. Performers are limited to two minutes and all works must be family-friendly.
Members of the Southern Ohio Writers and Readers Collaborative (SOwriters) will perform their works as well. The group meets monthly at the Pump House to pursue publication of members’ works and connect with readers. Members include award winning published mystery, romantic suspense and poetry authors.
A link for “The Gift,” the group’s free Christmas e-book, will be given to those attending as well. Available on iTunes, “The Gift” is a collection of short stories, essays and poetry.
SOWriters has been in existence since July 2013 when Mary McFarland, of Otway, Ohio, believed there was a lot of untapped writing talent in Southern Ohio—all they needed was someplace to congregate, someone to read their words and give them guidance on how to make it better.
McFarland, a former technical writer and instructor at Southern State Community College, also wanted to welcome those folks who are interested in discovering new books to read.
To that end, she formed the Southern Ohio Writers and Readers Collaborative. The group began meeting at local restaurants, bookstores and the Ross County Library until volunteers at the Pump House Center for the Arts approached SOWriters in mid-2015 to hold their meetings there.
SOWriters, which is now led by Enon Resident Debra Gaskill, a childhood Chillicothe resident and former newspaper editor, draws its membership from nine Southern Ohio counties, as far north as Columbus and as far west as Yellow Springs. Members come from a number of different backgrounds and work in a number of different genres, including mystery, romance, science fiction, poetry, essays, fantasy and fan fiction. While some are published, both in traditional and independent ways, some write strictly for their own enjoyment.
“We deeply appreciate the support Director Ted Fickison, and the Pump House board of directors have given us,” Gaskill said. “The poetry reading, as well as the free eBook is our way of giving back.”
“The Gift” is the group’s way of saying thanks to the community that accepted and welcomed them. These stories run the gamut from a parallel universe where a strange red light comes to a small town to laugh-out-loud poems and memories of how Christmas used to be. Some stories and essays speak to the difficult times and loss we experience at Christmas and how the holidays aren’t always so happy for everyone.
For more information on SOWriters, visit their website at www.meetup.com/Southern-Ohio-Writer-Reader-Collaborative. To register for the event, please contact the Pump House at 740-772-4783. Organizers will need the performer’s name, type of work performed and the title. Deadline for registration is Nov. 30.