The Midwest Writing Center’s March Calendar is Positively Bursting

Note: yes, I realize we’re into the second week in March, but my left hand has carpal tunnel and my right has trackpad wrist. Take care of your hands, kids.

The Midwest Writing Center in Rock Island, Illinois is one of the cornerstones of the arts community in the Quad Cities. All year long, they host events designed to engage and inspire.

For example, they recently hosted their Tenth Annual Iron Pen contest. Writers receive a prompt, then have 24 hours to complete a piece using the prompt as inspiration. Participants can submit to one of three standard categories: poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.

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If you win, you get one of these!

I won in the fiction category this year, so I’ll be a judge for next year’s competition – and I want there to be so many submissions that I have to ask for help getting through them all.

Can’t wait a whole year? There are still more great events coming up just this month.

On Sunday, March 11, Aubrey Barnes releases his latest book, titled: Unfin–. The Midwest Writing Center is celebrating their poet-in-residence’s newest publication with an event at Exotic Imports in Moline, Illinois from one to five p.m.

This party’s pulling double-duty as a fundraiser for Kings Harvest Pet Shelter, so there’s a good chance there will be some cool dogs there.

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Pictured: Cool dog.

Fortune-teller Matthew Lovecraft is donating half of his proceeds to the pet shelter and may or may not own a black cat. Fred Finklestein, comedy magician, will appear at three p.m.

Tuesday, March 14 is the very first workshop night for the center’s collaborative series with Wordy Woman called, “Finish Your Book This Year.” Registration is required for the six sessions, each from 5:45-7:30. See MWC’s calendar for deets. The second workshop takes place on Tuesday, March 28.

March 20 is the deadline to submit nominations for MWC’s annual Literary Arts Awards. Each year, the center’s board of directors recognizes area advocates, educators, and writers who promote literacy and the literary arts.

Anyone can be a nominee or a nominator for awards in three categories: Outstanding Literary Arts Citizen (recognizing an individual who advocates for or “promote[s] writing, reading, and/or the literary arts in the community”), Outstanding Literary Arts Educator (educators, whether their students are early learners/preschoolers or earning advanced degrees, who teach writing in a professional capacity are eligible for this award), and Outstanding Literary Artist (your nominee should be anyone who realized a literary achievement in 2017).

To nominate someone, please send the name of the person you’re nominating, the category of nomination (one of the three listed above), and why you believe the nominee deserves the award (limit to one standard-sized, single-spaced page) to mwc@midwestwritingcenter.org or mail your nomination to MWC, c/o RIPL, 401 19th St., Rock Island, IL 62101. Eligibility is restricted to residents in these six counties: Rock Island, Henry, or Mercer in Illinois, or Scott, Clinton, or Muscatine in Iowa.

Aubrey Barnes is back on Thursday, March 22 with a special open mic at The Java Lab Grind and Dine in Moline.

Saturday, March 25 is a unique workshop with guest instructor Dr. Robin Throne titled, “Harvest the Family Tree for Fictional Family Development.” Basically, Dr. Throne is going to explore genealogy – primarily using Ancestry.com – as a means of developing character.

It’s a brilliant idea because everyone has that one crazy uncle who lived with fourteen cats and thought the government was bugging his watermelons. PLUS you’ll learn how to make those elaborate family trees like in Game of Thrones.

From 2-4p.m., this workshop is just $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers – a steal for all you Tolkien worshippers.

And ALL month long, the Midwest Writing Center has an Open Call for Submissions until the April 1, 2018 deadline.

The center is accepting work for its annual e-zine to be released in May 2018. Titled Writer’s Block, this private zine circulates exclusively to MWC members, so nerd out as much as you like in your submissions. The zine’s limited circulation also means any accepted work can be placed elsewhere later on (excepting publications with ultra strict submission regulations).

If you live in the Quad City area or participate in our literary arts community, please submit any of the following: short reviews of books by local authors, personal essays on writing-related topics, poems, short prose (fiction or non), short articles about MWC events, other literary events, or anything related to writing or being a writer. An accompanying original photograph is a plus.

See the Facebook event page or email Ryan Collins, executive director at the Midwest Writing Center, for more information.

So check that: SIX great events in the next three weeks and a call for submission. Life’s a pretty sweet fruit.

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