Before the office closes for the holidays, I wanted to let you know what’s been happening with the Guild. (This message was also sent by email December 20, 2018.)
First of all, please note that the Manitoba Writers’ Guild office will be closed December 21, 2018 until Tuesday, January 8, 2019. I will also be away from the office the last two weeks of January, as I will be partaking in a family vacation – something I have not done in over 12 years! I hope to have people in place during that time to check emails and answer phone messages while I’m gone.
Over the past couple of months, our new board has been busy thinking about programs for the coming year and ways to bring in more money to help us with these programs. We still provide the monthly Writers Circle critique group, free to our members ($5.00 for non-member drop-ins), although we will not have a meeting in December, for obvious reasons. The next meeting will be in the ArtSpace Boardroom (room 424), here at 100 Arthur Street on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 7:00 pm. Anyone interested in attending, please call or email the Guild office to book your place, as space is limited.
By the end of November, we had received six applications to the Sheldon Oberman Mentorship Program. A jury is currently reviewing these applications, narrowing them down to one lucky writer who will receive the attention of an established writer to help them with a work in progress. We will make an announcement early in the New Year, once an apprentice has been chosen.
In addition, some of us from the Writers’ Guild and the AMBP (Association of Manitoba Book Publishers) have been working on a committee in preparation of the 2019 Manitoba Book Awards. The book submissions were completed by November 23, 2018 and those of us involved in the process have been busy confirming eligibility, looking for jurors and packing up the books to be sent to them. We are still looking for jurors, too, so if any of you is interested in receiving a box full of wonderful books to read and evaluate, please notify the Guild office by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You get to keep the books and will receive a small stipend for your effort! If you can read French or Cree, this would definitely be an asset.
I am sorry we have not been able to get a newsletter compiled and sent to you. Our previous newsletter writer is no longer able to help us and we have yet to find someone to do this job for us. You can keep apprised of writing news, if you have a Facebook account. I have been posting information there as it comes our way regarding writing contests, markets and other opportunities for writers.
For those of you who have been trying to renew memberships, I apologize for the state of the website. Our designer is busy trying to fix the malfunction, as well as working on a new site that will be easier for mobile devices to access. We still accept mailed-in memberships, paid for by cheque, if this is something you are willing to do. When applying by mail and/or can’t print off the membership form from the website, please provide us with your name, mailing address, phone number, email address and whether you are a Beginning, Developing, Emerging or Established writer and what your writing preferences are (Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, Play/Screen writing, YA/Children’s &/or other).
Also, please let us know if you would like to take part in volunteer activities for the Guild. In addition to Book Awards jurors, we currently need a number of Committee Members. You don’t have to be a Board Member to be on the committees for Program and Membership, Resource Development (fundraising/grant applications), Finance or Nominations and Governance. Commitments to any of these would only take up a few hours a month and would go a long way to helping the Guild and Board Members accomplish great things. Many hands make light work, as they say.
There are other volunteer jobs that come up throughout the year for which we could use your help as well, especially when the Book Awards Gala approaches, or when we are able to get a table at a local convention, where we promote the Guild and boost memberships, so if you want to help, please put your name forward.
At this time of year, our hearts and minds are full of the holiday spirit. It’s a time when pocketbooks open and generosity abounds. If you are so inclined, please consider a donation to the Manitoba Writers’ Guild. Any donation goes a long way to ensure that we will be around awhile longer, providing writers with resources, programs and advice. We are a recognized charitable organization and can provide tax receipts for all donations.
In closing, I want to wish you all the best of the season. May you create happy memories that inspire wonderful stories.
(Past President of the MWG Board)