Who We Are and How We Got Started
WIM, as we informally call ourselves, began in 1992 when Shelley A. Barre offered a course in Journal Writing. From this original group of eight participants, present day enrollment has reached over four hundred students. Today we offer a variety of creative writing workshops year round: creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, playwriting, memoir as well as business writing, and illustration.
Over the past two decades the organization has grown significantly to attract writers from all backgrounds, all ages and levels of experience, writing in all genres and styles. The past three years in particular have marked a significant growth in terms of outreach and variety of programs. At first WIM served the towns of Roxbury, Andes and Margaretville. Nowadays the organization serves communities as far as Walton, Delhi, Oneonta, Albany, Woodstock, Boiceville, Shandaken, Kingston, New Paltz, and many other places. The quality of our workshops and their affordability attract a wide range of participants. In 2012 we launched a new website, and implemented a robust social media strategy to reach out to new constituencies.
Over the past three years our programs have diversified. In 2013 we introduced a Self-Publishing and Book Marketing workshop – the first WIM workshop that involved digital technology. In 2014 we introduced a Nature Writing workshop with Leslie T. Sharpe, a retired professor from Columbia University. Leslie also teaches for MediaBistro. Our Nature Writing workshop continues the tradition of naturalist writer John Burroughs, a Roxbury native. Also in 2014 we introduced an immensely popular Creative Non-Fiction workshop taught by esteemed Anique Taylor. Creative Non-Fiction encompasses personal essay, memoir, autobiography, biography, profile, narrative nonfiction, and cultural criticism.
Our resident instructors are all talented and experienced writers. Most have been published nationally and others in local publications. They all bring their own unique perspective and leadership to the workshops they lead. Throughout the year we invite writers in various genres, and publishing experts to lead weekend intensives or to conduct one-day seminars in their area of expertise.
Workshop participants include an eclectic mix of the Catskills’ population ranging from native-born residents to the summer visitors who migrate to the Catskills from all over the world.
In addition to a broad range of workshops and seminars, in 2012 WIM launched an essay contest for middle and high school students in Delaware County. The essay contest is meant to encourage and nurture the love for the written word, and augment collaboration with schools in Delaware County. The program is valued by students, parents and teachers.
Additionally, in 2014 WIM ventured into yet another arena: in April 2014 we launched a book festival for authors and publishers in the Catskills and Hudson Valley area. In 2016 “Meet the Authors” book festival will take place on April 24 at the Union Grove Distillery in Arkville. It will include a poetry moment in celebration of the National Poetry month; a publishing panel; and an illustrator’s program. A raffle for the general public as well as a cover contest for authors will add to the fun. This year the keynote speaker is Rosie Schaap, author of the celebrated memoir Drinking with Men as well as the “Drink” column for The New York Times magazine.
Writers in the Mountains is a (501) ( c ) (3) not-for-profit organization.