Writers-in-Residence Program Offers Opportunity to Be Creative
Of all the activities sponsored by the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities, one we are particularly proud of is our Writers-in-Residence Program.
Begun in 1978 when the Friends of Weymouth was established, it was a pet project of the late Sam Ragan, writer and publisher of The Pilot.
It is open to North Carolina natives or current residents or to those with significant ties to the state. One must be a published author working on a specific project. A minimum stay of four consecutive days is required, with a maximum stay of two weeks per year. Requests are confirmed on a space-available basis.
The program provides a room with a work area, a kitchen for light snacks, blankets and pillows. Linens, food and beverages, toiletries and traveling expenses are the participant’s responsibility.
And, of course, the beautiful grounds are available and offer inspiration, relaxation and comfort.
Our goal is to encourage the literary pursuits of North Carolina writers by providing them a place to practice their craft and communicate with others in their field.
In the tradition of James Boyd, writer and owner of Weymouth, who made his home available to the literati of his day, and in tribute to Ragan, we are pleased this area has been in continuous operation, and hundreds of writers have taken advantage of it.
Writers are invited to participate in a cooperative program with the community, sharing time with school children, college students, retirees, book club members, children in after-school programs and others.
We believe the opportunity for any one of these groups to hear from a published author may encourage aspiring writers, and sharing poems or other written works or answering questions about publishing may be beneficial.
We ask visiting writers to leave us copies of their works for the Weymouth library. Malaika Albrecht, local poet and secretary of our Weymouth board, shared this story.
When she went through orientation for board membership, she found the book “The Metamorphic Tradition in Modern Poetry,” by Sister Bernetta Quinn. It was published in 1955, reprinted in 1972. It was inscribed, “For those who have metamorphosed Weymouth peace in ‘creative space.’ For artists, with a special remembrance of Sam Ragan’s kindness.” She, too, had been a writer in residence.
Albrecht explained that Sister Bernetta had taught her mother at St. Teresa in Minnesota, encouraging her to become a writer. But her mother was a painter and chose nursing as her major.
Sister Bernetta moved to Norfolk, Va., and came to dinner at Albrecht’s parents’ home. She says she was about 10 years old and asked Sister Bernetta to write her a poem, which she did.
“I said then,” Malaika remembers, “I am going to be a poet, too.”
Shortly before her death, Joan Scott brought to me all her files on the writers-in-residence project. Her meticulous notes stressed how important the writers program was and still is.
Cos Barnes, who writes regularly for PineStraw, makes her home in Southern Pines. Contact her at email@example.com.
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