The Writers Circle Turns Six Years Old...
In January 2016, The Writers Circle celebrates its sixth anniversary. Here we recount our journey so far, some accomplishments we're proud of, and our hopes for the future.
TWC Original Postcard, circa 2010 |
TWC Postcard 2012 |
TWC Postcard 2014
Dates that Matter
In January, 2010, Judith Lindbergh founded TWC with three classes and 17 students. A couple of classes were held in her living room!
Some of Judith's original - and current! - students.
In late 2010, TWC began offering after-school enrichment classes. Since then, we've also provided off-site classes for at-home groups, home schoolers, and as part of in-school curricula.
Writing at Mosaic Freeschool in Bedminster, NJ
In March 2011, Michelle Cameron joined Judith and opened a new location in Madison, NJ.
Classes & Events at Sages Pages, Madison
TWC hosted its first Speaker Series event in Fall 2011. Since then, we’ve offered four to eight Speaker Series events annually, offering workshops and talks with authors and industry professionals. Among our speakers have been NY Times bestseller Christina Baker Kline, Algonquin editor Amy Gash, The Book Doctors, literary agents Marietta B. Zacker, Tamar Rydzinski, and Liza Dawson, literary publicist Claire McKinney, Brendan Deneen of Macmillan Entertainment, as well as writers of historical fiction, kidlit, and memoir. In 2016, we will add social events and open mic evenings to accommodate our lively and growing literary community.
Michelle moved to MONDO-Summit in Summer 2012 and TWC's offerings quickly doubled.
TWC published its first hard-copy literary journal in the Winter 2012. It continues to publish student work in The Writers Circle Journal Online.
The Writers Circle Journal
Issue 1 - Hardcover
The Writers Circle Journal Online
The Writers Circle Journal Online
Issue 4 - Summer Intensive Issue
We received some nice commendations, including a letter for Governor Christie acknowledging our work on National Summer Learning Day, and a grand thank you to Judith from The South Orange-Maplewood Adult School where she taught for many years.
Commendations from Governor Christie and The South Orange-Maplewood Adult School
We held our first Summer Creative Writing Intensives in Summer 2013, and immediately knew we had a hit on our hands! That first program lasted two weeks, and we increased it to three in Summer 2014, drawing 75 young writers for some wildly imaginative and laugh-out-loud weeks of writing.
In Fall 2013, TWC asked instructor Amanda Zoe to recreate some of our original brand
images, leading to the birth of Amelia Braveheart, Professor Maurice, and Sir Felix, TWC's wacky, iconic characters.
Ameilai Braveheart |
Professor Maurice |
Using these characters, TWC produced its first Story Magic Inspiration Sparking Idea Decks in late Fall 2013. Our children's classes have prompted more awesome games and tools that we're currently working to develop.
Story Magic Decks
TWC's youth writers have won accolades and awards, including our first national gold medal winner in the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards!
Scholastic Gold Medal 2014
TWC held its first weekend writing retreat in Fall 2014 at the Mendham Retreat House. Sixteen writers joined us, finding space and time to move their works-in-progress forward in a tranquil and inspiring setting.
Entrance to the Mendham Retreat House |
Beautiful grounds to write and contemplate |
Time and space to focus on work in progress
As of Winter 2015, TWC has 21 author-instructors on staff. We offer 27 workshops and are currently working with more than 240 students in three locations. (And a handful of our original students are still in our workshops!)
In January 2015, The Writers Circle celebrated its fifth anniversary.
TWC Director Judith Lindbergh receives
a moving anniversary gift!
We're still growing, with new locations opened in 2015 in Ridgewood and Montclair and, starting in 2016, in Morristown, NJ. Everywhere we go, we'll will bring more authors and aspiring writers together to learn, create, and grow. Stay tuned!
Many TWC adult writers have published books, short stories, essays, articles, poetry, and more, including:
Several have also been accepted to and completed creative writing MFA programs.
TWC's youth writers have won numerous accollades for their work, including several bronze, silver and gold "keys" in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and, in 2014, we sponsored our very first national gold medal winner!
(There are lots more accomplishments that we post on our Facebook and Twitter feeds - so many we've lost track of them all!)
TWC thanks our wonderful host organizations and their staff:
We also are grateful for the generosity of our students, parents and instructors for enabling us to offer a number of writing scholarships to both children and adults.
Our talented, nurturing author-instructors make our classes an enjoyable and a safe place to write.
TWC could not have survived without its wonderful staff, helpers and advisors along the way: Ruchi Devgan, our Program Administrator; Bernice Lindbergh, our startup support (and Judith's mom-extraordinaire); Dani Walker and Maddy Kapp, our Summer Intensive Coordinators; Mally Becker for invaluable research and grant advice; Stacey Loscalzo, our Ridgewood Location Manager; and Jennifer Buesser and Jim McHugh, our pro bono legal counsel.
TWC also couldn't live without its phenomenal interns. These extraordinary young people help out in classes and at events, are our “feet on the ground” when it’s time to post flyers, and are an invaluable part of our Summer Creative Writing Intensives.
Finally, we wouldn't be here without all of you - our fantastic, generous and lively community of writers, young and old - plus parents, family and many friends.
"My son has been feverishly writing his story since your class. I'm truly amazed! You don't know what it would take for me to have him work on a book report or just write two sentences for his reading log every week. Now he even took his writing journal in the car on his way to his soccer game this morning! Thank you for providing that inspiration for him!
- Kathleen B., Montclair, NJ
"Thank you for your energy and ability to inspire creativity."
- Janice J., West Orange, NJ
"My son had to write a book report every week when he was in third grade. It was a painful task for him and for me. I decided to register him for Story Magic, and wow! What a difference after the first week. Thank you! I'm so grateful for this class."
- Roxanne S., Elizabeth, NJ
My daughter has so been enjoying Story Magic. Judith has a wonderful way of offering encouragement and specific positive feedback at the same time that she points a way forward and offers constructive suggestions.
- Jerusha N., Verona, NJ
Thank you to both of you for these wonderful classes. I wish this kind of thing had been available to me when I was that age. And I have met a surprising amount of kids who like to write and were looking for feedback. In this electronic age, its an important tool to nurture on so many levels, not the least of which is as a mental health outlet.
- Karen J., Chatham, NJ
Thank you for being a great mentor and encouraging my child.
- Denise B., West Orange, NJ
My son has made huge strides this year and I attribute The Writers Circle with breaking through his block against and anxiety about writing. He actually skipped out the door and through the rain yesterday on his way to the car to go to class. The day before he was bored and begging to play Wii. I suggested he get out his writer's book and HE DID! He wrote for at least 20 minutes which is huge for him. THANK YOU!
- Carol H., West Orange, N
I love the many "voices" in our group!!!
- Tracy Buckner, Adult Writers Circle
You've really gathered an interesting group of people together. It was very exciting opportunity to read my work to an audience, and so motivating to hear such excellent work being read by the other contributors.
- Tom Piccolo, Adult Writers Circle & Screenwriting
These sessions have really breathed some new life in me. The classmates were amazing . Everyone so willing to share and to offer constructive suggestions.
- Jim Vittor, "Where Do I Begin?"
(TWC takes care not to identify its young students, including their last names, on the web!)