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Partnership aims to take Chippewa Valley writing scene to new level

| Judy Berthiaume

When B.J. Hollars gives a talk later this month at the V1 Gallery in downtown Eau Claire, he will be kicking off a series of events that are designed to help local writers enhance their craft while also giving them new opportunities to share their work.

The newly formed Chippewa Valley Writer’s Guild — a partnership among local writers, university faculty and staff, the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council and the UW-Eau Claire Foundation — is the brainchild of Hollars, an assistant professor of English at UW-Eau Claire. Hollars said he has received emails from writers in the region looking for a writing group that fits their needs.

"The problem was that here was no one place to direct these folks," Hollars said. "It soon became clear that people weren't just after a writing group, what they wanted was a writing community."

Among the CVWG’s initiatives is a series of monthly talks featuring some of the area’s most prominent writers, including Hollars and Blugold alumni Michael Perry and Patti See.

Hollars will kick off the series with a 7 p.m. Feb. 25 talk called “Jump Off The Cliff And Build Your Wings On The Way Down: A Welcome and Look Forward.” Future CVWG events will include open reads, co-sponsored with UW-Eau Claire publication NOTA. The first open read will be held March 10 in The Cabin.

This summer, the group will offer three-day writing residencies at a lodge near Fall Creek, where participants will have opportunities to interact with editors, book agents and well-known writers including Max Garland, a UW-Eau Claire English professor and 2013-14 Wisconsin poet laureate.

Read more about the Chippewa Valley Writer’s Guild in Volume One.

Photo caption: B.J. Hollars (in blue shirt) speaking with UW-Eau Claire colleagues.