A quarter-century after Margaret Laurence's passing, the Viscount Cultural Centre (VCC) and Margaret Laurence Home (MLH) are teaming up with the Manitoba Writer's Guild (MWG) to host authors' readings and create a writers' group in the Neepawa area.
This Friday, Sept. 28, the MLH will play host to 'Manitoba Stories', a Manitoba authors reading featuring authors from the province as well as a special reading from Margaret Laurence's works.
"There will be diverse readings featured at the event," MLH interpreter Erin Desrochiers explained, noting the three authors include a poet, novelist and science writer. "We were contacted by the MWG and we thought it would be a great idea...when Margaret Laurence was told the house would be preserved she didn't want it preserved necessarily only in her honour but as a living space for writers to use. So this is a nice opportunity to use that part of the home again."
The readings begin at 7 p.m. with a silver collection being taken. Organizers are expecting a good turnout as people from both Minnedosa and Winnipeg have already confirmed attendance, while many people from Neepawa have also expressed interest.
Both the VCC and MLH are hoping the reading event can help kickstart a local writers' group as well. Anyone interested in joining the group is welcome to either contact Rain Prior at the VCC or show up at the readings to find out more information.
"We're thinking it will begin as a type of mutual support group where writers can talk about what they are writing," Desrochiers explained. "It's a means for local writers to connect with each other and share ideas. And it's neat because it coincides with the 25th anniversary of Margaret Laurence's death, and there's obviously a really strong tie between her and writing in Neepawa."
Offering more writing arts opportunities has been a goal of the VCC for the past while, and it this season they are ready to start doing so.
Aside from the new writers' group being created in partnership with the MLH, the VCC is offering a Creative Writing class for six weeks beginning Oct. 18.
"There are a lot of writers in the area and, I think, a lot of people who have interest in writing so I think it's a perfect focus for us," VCC director Rrain Prior said.