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Queens Writes! gets authors working throughout the borough

Members of the Newtown Literary Alliance will take part in this weekend's Queens Writes! events throughout the borough. Photo courtesy Newtown Literary Alliance
TimesLedger Newspapers

This weekend writers in Queens get a new way to share their work, and in some cases that platform is coming to them. The weekend of April 13-14 marks the inaugural Queens Writes! Weekend, which gives Queens writers a chance to gather, read each others’ work and compose their own.

Rather than a typical conference, held in one place with a number of workshops, Queens Writes! spans seven sites throughout the borough. These range from a writing group in the Flushing Meadows Corona Park to a gathering at the Voisard3D Studio in Long Island City. One group will ride the 7 train together and try to draw inspiration from the views and subway riders along the way.

“This project involves a lot of people throughout the borough, so we decided to have a lot of small mini events to get more people out,” says Tim Fredrick, founder and president of the Newtown Literary Alliance, and editor of the organization’s “Newtown Literary,” a twice-annual journal of Queens-based writers, which organized the event.

Beginning Wednesday and lasting through the weekend, one of Newtown Literary’s board members will also be doing a series of traveling typewriter events from Flushing to Long Island City. He will set up in a public place and for one dollar individuals can contribute a line of poetry to a large poem that will eventually run in the journal’s Fall/Winter issue.

A full updated list of the sites and events can be seen at newtownliterary.org/queens-writes-weekend-2013.

The “Newtown Literary” is the brainchild of Fredrick, and published its first issue in November, featuring a variety of poetry, prose, fiction, and nonfiction. The second issue for Spring/Summer is currently being finalized, and almost all of its contents will come from Queens-based writers.

“The submissions have been great to the extent that right now we have about 80 to 90 percent Queens writers,” says Fredrick, who has made part of the journal’s mission to feature at least 75 percent of writers from the borough in each issue.

A $5 donation will be requested at each Queens Writes! event, with all the funds going to help pay for the journal’s production and expenses. The group is now developing plans for low-cost workshops for Queens writers and in the fall will launch a writing contest for schools in borough to encourage kids to write. Online donations can be made at https://www.wepay.com/donations/queens-writes-weekend-2013.

But the main goal of the events is to get Queens residents writing.

“We will have prompts available, but there will be no specific rules or judgment — you can write a letter to a friend if you like,” says Fredrick. “We just want to offer a chance for everyone to write, whether professional writers or those who have done it as a hobby, in a low-pressure, noncompetitive kind of way.”

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