The Wu Way in the News: we’re starting a writer’s group in Pocatello, Idaho

I got a call from an Idaho State Journal journalist on Friday, January 2 about the writer’s group I’m starting in Pocatello. Well, lo and behold, the next day, there was the story in the paper (these guys work fast!).

Here’s the full story, for posterity:

New writers’ group formed here

POCATELLO — Jocelyn Eikenburg knew little about the culture and only a few words of the language when she moved to a city in Central China in 1999 to teach English.

After five and a-half years of living in the country, she’s now fluent in the language, passionate about the culture and married to a Chinese man. Since the end of 2007, Eikenburg, who now lives here, has been working on her first novel about that initial year in a foreign land.

She has plenty of material for her book, but to get the perspective and camaraderie that only another writer can provide, she’s starting a writers’ group with friends.

The first meeting of the group, called the Minnie Howard Writers, will be from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 10, at Walrus & Carpenter Books, 251 N. Main St. The writers’ group is named in honor of an early Pocatello physician who chaired the committee that established the Pocatello Public Library.

A Web site has already been set up for the group, A great-granddaughter of Howard’s posted a comment on the site expressing her gratitude for the name choice. Members will also be encouraged to post their work on the group’s blog.

Eikenburg said people are encouraged to bring champaign and hors d’oeuvres to the inaugural meeting to celebrate. The core members of the new group — Alice DeBerry Kane, Janice Anderson and Donna Jordahl — have met informally at the Main Street Coffee and News, 234 N. Main St., to discuss writing.

“I think Pocatello is really a writers’ town. I’ve found some of the most passionate writers, people who are so dedicated to their craft,” Eikenburg said. “I was living in Cleveland before I came here, and I never found some of that fellowship that I have here.”
Eikenburg hopes members will establish a direction for the group at the first meeting. She and her friends have mulled selecting topics for each meeting, such as how to beat writer’s block or how to get works published. The group will be open to authors of all types of writing, and Eikenburg said the main purpose is to connect writers with one another. Once they become friends, she hopes they’ll critique each other’s work outside meetings.

“We’re looking to create a group that is really nurturing for people,” she said. “Not everyone in the group will want to be a professional or published writer, but I was looking for that kind of support.”

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