Writers on the Avenue is a non-profit organization devoted to supporting local writers and promoting the literary arts in and around Muscatine, Iowa. Members meet to share work, inspiration, experience, and advice. In addition to hosting workshops, group writing projects, and being involved in area events, WOTA members have published several anthologies of shared work as well as independent publications.

WOTA meets

on the third Thursday of each month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Musser Public Library. We begin with a short business meeting and, often, a writing exercise, followed by discussion and sharing of work. We expect work shared at meetings to be suitable for general audiences.

Inquiry meetings are free; membership is $10 a year. Writers of any genre and any level of experience are welcome to attend.

WOTA 2018

This year, WOTA found a new home at Musser Public Library and added afternoon meetings so we now meet twice a month. We incorporated writing exercises and a monthly critique group into our activities, which have been of great benefit in keeping the writing muscles exercised.

We increased our publicity and outreach with a beautiful new logo and banner! We hosted tables at Muscatine Second Saturday events, the Muscatine Holiday Stroll, West Liberty Celebration of the Arts, Book Bums, and the Sterling Lord Literary Festival. We hosted two scholarships to Creativity Camp and open mic events in June, July, and December. Lots of new people found us through these events and know they have a writing community available to them in Muscatine.

Publications abounded this year, including the poetry anthology From River to River, which features winners and favorites from our spring poetry contest. Members published journalism, columns, essays, poems, collections, and novels. We’re excited about finding yet new ways to keep nurturing the creative spark and help writers learn, grow, and get support for their work.

WOTA in 2017

anthology coverWe released our inspirational anthology, Climbing the Hill of Life: Stories and Art to Inspire and Uplift. This beautiful volume features poetry, essays, stories, and visual art by William Anson, Bob Bancks, Pat Bieber, Kenneth Burrows, Judy Chapman, Anna Counter, Yasmine Cruz, Vicky Dovenspike, Dr. Hal Green, Kathleen Unger Hart, Judy Haskins, Dustin Joy, Jasmine Kang, Nichole McKillip, Gesene Oak, Daniel Roberts, Denise Smith, Bill Telle, Dan Titus, Jodie Toohey, Jamie Trunnel, Misty Urban, Christina Walker, and Rebecca Whitmore. Available at Amazon or a WOTA member near you.

We hosted local authors and their books at a series of tables at downtown Muscatine’s Second Saturday events in June, July, and August. It was a great way to showcase local talent and tell more people about WOTA.

WOTA awarded three scholarships to the Society of Great River Poet’s Creativity Camp held at Langwood Education Center in Grandview, IA, from May 19-21. This was a chance to help people who might not otherwise attend get a weekend of inspiration for FREE.

dennis-smilingAward-winning poet and short-story writer Dennis Maulsby hosted a poetry workshop for us in March. This was a well-attended event that left everyone with inspiration. We’re so happy Dennis could share his expertise and his time.

2016: The year in review

In 2016, Writers on the Avenue:

* co-sponsored a reading of inspiring area women who selected pieces from the book SISTERS: An Anthology and performed them at the Muscatine History & Industry Museum in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8

* held a poetry contest in honor of National Poetry Month and awarded prizes to adult, teen, and youth poets. Held a poetry festival on April 30 featuring workshops and readings by established poets

* entered a poem in the Muscatine County Arts Council’s Wandering Words sidewalk poetry contest and were one of the 5 winners selected by Iowa poet laureate Mary Swander

* hosted a table at two downtown Second Saturday Events and got out the word about WOTA as well as giving area authors a chance to sell their books

* hosted a series of fall fiction workshops in which writers from around the region came to offer advice and guidance for emerging writers on how to get their books written and published

* were awarded two grants from the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine for spring and fall events

* put out a holiday-themed anthology, Winter Holidays in the City of Pearls, available for $10 and featuring stories, poems, and essays by twelve local writers. All proceeds will go to support future WOTA events and literary expression in Muscatine

* officially incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the state of (Iowa) with the goal of supporting writers and promoting the literary arts

* launched this website
* gained several new members and enjoyed several inquiry visits from other writers we hope were able to gain inspiration from the group, even if they decided not to join at this time.