MOUNT VERNON — The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County launches a number of new Literary & Writing Programs in January 2020. Writers of all ages are invited to participate in a variety of activities, from casual meet-ups to formal workshops, online writing challenges to poetry potlucks.

“Our goal is to offer a little something for everyone,” says Jamie Lyn Smith-Fletcher, Manager of Literary and Writing Programs. “We had a lot of wonderful feedback from our program participants and tailored our 2020 activities in response to a number of patron requests.”

The first program of the new year is WinterWords, which challenges writers to kick-start a new writing project or finish an existing project by composing 30,000 words between Jan. 2 — Feb. 2. WinterWords is entirely online, although participants are encouraged to stop by the newly formed Authors Anonymous meetings to network with peers and encourage each other.

Authors Anonymous meets on Tuesday nights from 7-8 p.m. through late February. Authors Anonymous is craft meeting for writers in a casual setting, where writers can test out ideas, talk about their projects and cheer each other on. Snacks and writing exercises provided; register by emailing

For writers seeking a more structured environment, the KnoxWrites Revision Workshop offers writers at 18 and older a testing ground for work-in-progress. In this group, participants bring in writing for formal workshop evaluation. Writers of all experience levels and genres are welcome to share poetry, prose, screen/stageplays. The KnoxWrites Revision Workshop has two meeting times available, and patrons can attend a day session of the workshop on Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m. or the Thursday evening session from 7-8 p.m. A course textbook is provided free of charge to all participants.

The library partners with The Brown Family Environmental Center and The Kenyon Review to offer a monthly Poetry Potluck at the BFEC. Hosted by Centerburg Poetry Society founder James Borders and Kenyon Review Associate Sophia Fornwalt, poetry potlucks are held one Sunday per month, from 4-6 p.m. at the Brown Family Environmental Center at 9781 Laymon Road in Gambier. Each potluck will offer a workshop and reading by a featured poet, followed by a community meal and open mic. All writers age 18 and older are invited to bring 1-3 poems and a dish to share. The first Poetry Potluck is Jan. 26, and features guest poet Cait Weiss Orcutt (Kenyon ’05).

The Library’s Saturday Writers Series begins Jan. 25, with Writing 101: Publishing Your Work. In this workshop, participants will learn the basics of literary publishing; discover how and where to submit work for publication; learn how to establish a social media presence and web marketing plan; and review best practices for evaluating potential publishing opportunities. The workshop is held 1-4 p.m. in the A/B meeting room. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet, since there will be a number of hands-on exercises and activities for writers that require web access.

The library’s Teen Writing Program continues its collaboration with The Kenyon Review in the New Year. TWP’s weekly meetings starting Thursday, Jan. 16. Teens write in a variety of genres: Poetry, playwriting, memoir, fiction and comics. This spring, the TWP will take a field trip to the Ohioana Book Festival in April. Snacks, notebooks, and prizes provided. All young writers age 13-18 are welcome.

In addition to the Library’s Literary & Writing Program, community member J. Traveler Pelton leads the Knox County Writers Group. They resume meetings one Thursday a month starting Jan. 16. This is an open workshop that includes many homeschool families and published writers from central Ohio, and it is open to new members of all interests and ages.

All library programs are free and open to the public, although registration is sometimes required. Visit or email for more information; you may also inquire about programs by calling 740-392-BOOK, ext. 224.


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