Writers group gears up for annual contest

Storytellers get their read on

Posted: Thursday, March 08, 2007

At 10 degrees below zero and gusty winds, what better way to pass an evening than to listen to a good story?

“I married an Irish man. Not just Irish, but only third generation American-Irish. Rumor has it that they had to come to the land of the free to stay free — something about a bridge, a bomb and an English Lord. All attempts to confirm are impossible, of course, due to the very nature of Irish storytelling.

“For many people this explains everything about my husband in a nutshell. Life with Kevin was always an adventure, one always told in stories that began with those seven fateful words: So, my buddies and I were drinking ... .”

How does it turn out? To hear the complete reading of Elizabeth McDonald’s “A Walk on the Wild Side,” listeners can attend the 10th annual Cabin Fever Reliever at 5 p.m. Saturday at Triumvirate Theater in Soldotna.

Virginia Walters organized this year’s event for the Kenai Writers Group. The group has been meeting for more than 10 years, twice a month, as a way for peninsula writers to share their work and talk about it.

“We have criticisms. We read whatever we’ve been working on,” Walters said.

Some of the group’s writers are published. Some write for their own pleasure. Most enjoy the opportunity to get together with a group of people with a common interest, Walters said.

“I have on the e-mail list, about 50. We regularly have 10 to 12 people each month,” she said.

This year there were 38 submissions from 17 writers. The group tries to remain as objective as possible in choosing the pieces for reading.

“Judging is done ‘blindly’ by three judges: one from KPC English Department, one from the writers group, and one from the general public. That formula can change but those people are usually available. They look at the merit of the writing in general, ease of reading aloud (and listening) and how it fits into a general scheme. We don’t go for a theme, but sometimes one jumps out of the entries and the judges go with that,” Walters said.

“In the past we have had two men and one woman, this year it was two women and one man. It will be interesting to see if there is a difference in the voice of the choices,” she said.

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