The International Women's Writing Guild






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News from the IWWG

September 2016





                   In this issue:

  • One-Day Flagship City Creative Writing and Poetry Conference
  • Help sponsor a one-day IWWG retreat in your local area 
  • Board and Advisory Circle convene to plan the future of the Guild
  • Operations Manager Kristin Rath moves on to new adventures 



Your Latest Page News



One-Day Regional Conference in Erie, PA

Flagship City Creative Writing and Poetry Conference

Saturday, November 5, 2016 / Erie, PA

Thanks to the organizational efforts of Guild member Marisa Moks-Unger, recently named Poet Laureate of Erie County, Pennsylvania, The Guild will be offering a one-day regional Flagship City Creative Writing and Poetry Conference on Saturday, November 5, from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM, at the Erie Art Museum.

The event will feature two workshops directed by poet and memoirist Myra Shapiro, and poet and essayist Marj Hahne, both longtime instructors at The Guild's annual summer conference. The workshops are appropriate for all skill levels of women 18 and older. 

Myra Shapiro, born in the Bronx, returned to New York City after 45 years in Georgia and Tennessee, where she married, raised two daughters, and worked as a librarian and English teacher. She is the author of three collections of poetry: I’ll See You Thursday, In Greenwich Village We Talk of Love, and 12 Floors Above the Earth. She has also written a memoir, Four Sublets: Becoming a Poet in New York. Myra was awarded the New School’s Dylan Thomas Poetry Award, named a finalist for the Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner Memorial Award, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She serves on the Board of Directors at Poets House.

Marj Hahne is a freelance editor and writing teacher from Longmont, Colorado. A 2015 MFA graduate from the Rainier Writing Workshop, she has performed and taught at over 100 venues around the country, as well as been featured on public radio and television programs. Her poems have been published in Paterson Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mad Poets Review, and Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, as well as in the anthologies The Doll Collection, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, An Eye For An Eye Makes The Whole World Blind: Poets On 9/11, and Off the Cuffs: Poetry by and about the Police. Marj’s poems have also appeared in several art exhibits, as well as been incorporated in the work of visual artists and dancers. She has a poetry CD titled notspeak.

The event is $95 for non-members, $75 for members, and $45 for students, and includes a luncheon catered by Make It Fabulous. In addition, IWWG members can participate in a book fair to be held during lunchtime. Attendees will also have the opportunity to share the work created at that day’s workshops at a late afternoon open mic reading.

Register at beginning September 28. Seating is limited.

Questions? Contact Marisa Moks-Unger, IWWG Area Representative, at (814) 450-1964.


Think an IWWG one-day event should be held in your area, and want to help sponsor it? Let us know! 

So what does it take to help sponsor a regional retreat or conference where you live? Here’s what we look for:

  • An established writing community in the region. This doesn’t mean a formal association—just enough writers living around and near to make it possible to attract twenty or more people.
  • A few Guild members who can assist in organizing the event. This may include offering to host the event or assisting us in locating an alternative venue (e.g., a private home, a church basement, a library room, a classroom), finding a reasonable caterer for lunch, and so forth. You may even be able to find a local business sponsor or philanthropic group willing to help underwrite some of the costs of the event. For example, Antioch University, in Los Angeles, provides the venue for California Dreaming each winter.
  • Onsite assistance the day of the event. While we provide sign-in sheets, name badges, evaluations, and all necessary materials, we need someone local to receive these materials and handle registration.
  • A clear vision of what is of topical interest in your local community and your best thinking regarding which of our wonderful workshop leaders you would like to have us invite on your behalf. Generally, we limit the number of workshop leaders at a first-time event to two. While we are willing to cover a reasonable travel budget, we encourage you to identify workshop leaders who reside in your part of the country.

We work hard to keep costs down, especially for a first-time venue, so that we can keep registration reasonable and attract a minimum number of participants. We also hold your hand throughout the process—and depending on where you are located, you may find our Executive Director, Board President, or other members of the Board in attendance to help out! (Any excuse for a writing party!)

Questions? Definitely interested in bringing The Guild to your area? Contact Dixie King at (661) 619-2735, or email at

The Convening: Charting the IWWG's Shining Future

From Friday evening, September 9, through Sunday afternoon, September 11, eleven members of the IWWG Board and Advisory Circle convened at the Cape Cod home of Board President Judy Huge and worked intensely to imagine and plan The Guild and her future. That future means honoring the guiding principles that have kept us human and strong for over forty years, while expanding the ways we will support women writers across the country, around the world, throughout the whole year.

Working under the guiding hand of member and strategic planner Laura Kieley, each woman led discussion and action planning for one of the sessions: branding to vision to finance, staffing, international bridge-building, marketing to communication. The group spent considerable energy on identifying what The Guild offers uniquely and how to translate this most vividly through a website and online presence.

By defining the IWWG as a unique home for women writers, the group realized we are defined by both our traditional face-to-face conferences and our print materials, and can come to be distinguished, as well, by expanded online support and connection to members throughout the year, in places near and far, rural and urban, local and international.

Some of the ideas we are exploring:

  • Making our summer conferences even more focused on the needs expressed by our members in reviews and conversations.
  • Developing more virtual writers’ groups based on genre and other special interests.
  • Using member ambassadors already working with women artists and writers in other countries to open connections with those writers and share mutual support.
  • Creating a more robust, attractive, easy-to-maneuver, and interactive website that invites more creative connection among members.
  • Offering more regional conferences and support for local writers’ circles.
  • Providing greater access for our members to agents, editors, and publishing options.

From start to finish, women of The Guild contributed their time and energy, working together in the inclusive, open, collaborative spirit that has marked our shared journey. In this process, we have identified, and are now adding details on, how to put into practice even more ways The Guild will continue to empower women’s words to come out of our souls and into the world.


Change of Staff at The Guild

For the last five years, Kristin Rath has been an integral part of the IWWG as our Operations Manager. Kristin's has been the warm, personable, skilled voice at the other end of the phone or email to address membership questions, conference registration woes, and writer's block. She saw us through a difficult phase as The Guild negotiated internal growing pains and recreated itself. She has been part of the glue that's held us together, representing what's best about us: our energy, our commitment to making our voices heard through the written word, and our support for each other. Her own poet's voice has grown and blossomed during that period, and we've watched and applauded as she has made a name for herself through her poetry.

Kristin is now undertaking a new adventure, having entered the master's program in Strategic Communication at Columbia University. Her commitment to academic excellence affords little time for much else, so she is leaving her role as Operations Manager for The Guild, effective September 30. Kristin tells us:

"It has been an honor to serve the organization that helped unleash my true voice and encouraged my exuberant growth as a writer and woman. I offer gratitude for what each of you has contributed to our community, as well as to my own experience."

Another poet, our own Marj Hahne, will be taking over Kristin's responsibilities over the nextfew months, as the Board and Advisory Circle engage in restructuring our administration and programming. (For a hint of coming attractions, check out the description of The Convening held September 9―11 at the home of Board President Judy Huge, this issue.) 

In the meantime, please join us in sending our gratitude and best wishes to Kristin for an exciting and fruitful period of personal and professional growth. We look forward to watching her star rise. Thanks, Kristin!

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