Bethesda Magazine's 2017 Best of Bethesda Editors' Pick for "Best Place for Literary Inspiration"
Over the last ten years at The Writer's Center, Glen Finland has taken workshops with Bob Bausch, Ellen Herbert, Leslie Pietrzyk, Richard McCann, Barbara Esstman, Alex MacLennan, and others. After one of her pieces was published in the Washington Post Magazine, a New York agent sent her a simple but life-changing e-mail: “Would you consider writing a book proposal?”
"Yes," she wrote back without hesitation. But to figure out just how to do that she turned to The Writer’s Center and its dedicated community of writers. Three months and a book proposal workshop later (with Shannon O'Neill), the agent sold her idea to Putnam. Now, in 2012, her book, Next Stop, will publish.
"Writing," she says, "is hard work often done in seclusion, but never underestimate how being present in other writers’ lives enriches your own." Read Glen's story at First Person Plural.
For Alan Orloff, "the yen to write fiction hid deep inside, dormant like a defective daffodil bulb, for forty-odd years." But he didn't know where to begin. So he joined The Writer's Center, and took a workshop with veteran workshop leader Ann McLaughlin. That first workshop exposed him to a wide variety of writers with a wide variety of interests: SF, memoir, fantasy, experimental, cozy, historical.
After that eye-opening workshop experience, he was hungry for more, so he signed up for Noreen Wald's mystery writing workshop. From the first moment of the first workshop class, he realized he was "home." Says Alan: "Mystery writers to the right, mystery writers to the left, mystery writers hiding in the closet with a lead pipe."
Alan has come a long way from those days of discovery. Today, he's the author of two mystery novels: Diamonds for the Dead (nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel) and Killer Routine: A Last Laff Mystery. Kirkus Review writes of his second novel: "Orloff generates considerable suspense en route to a conclusion most readers won't see coming. Good-hearted characters...make this premiere of the Last Laff series a winner." No doubt. And with a killer tagline like this, how can you go wrong? "Even in the cynical world of stand-up comedy, murder is no laughing matter." Read Alan's story at First Person Plural.
When Patricia McArdle was retiring from the Department of State in 2006, she learned of The Writer’s Center at a seminar for retirees. Just as she was putting the finishing touches on her first novel, a friend sent her a course catalog. Though she lives in Virginia, Tammy Greenwood’s revision workshop was the right workshop at the right time, and she decided to make the trek to Bethesda.
“I’m so glad I did,” she says. Between Tammy’s lectures and classmate comments during the workshopping of her first three chapters, Patricia garnered a wealth of valuable information that helped her shape her novel. She entered it in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest—and won. Thanks to that prize, Penguin will publish that first novel, Farishta, in June of 2011. Though much of her time these days is spent promoting solar cooking technology around the globe, she thinks there’s another novel in the offing. Let’s hope so.
A. Van Jordan
In the mid-90s, a young A. Van Jordan came to The Writer’s Center, eager to learn. He registered for one of Rose Solari’s poetry workshops. “At that early stage,” he writes now, looking back, “when I was just embarking on the journey to learn this craft, having a workshop that took my early poems seriously meant the world to me; indeed, having Rose's workshop then gave me confidence to continue my journey.”
That journey has led him many places. Today he is a Professor of English at the University of Michigan. And when he’s not teaching and guiding other would-be young writers, he is busy working on his poetry. He is the author of the collections Rise, MacNolia, and Quantum Lyrics. About MacNolia, his re-imagining of the life of MacNolia Cox, the first black finalist in the National Spelling Bee Competition, Edward Hirsch writes: [It] is a deeply humane and highly imaginative sequence that combines the tragic poignancy of the blue with the cinematic sweep of a documentary. It is a necessary work.”