Get Writing with Great River Writes

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By Jess Witkins
Looking to hone your writing skills or boost your creativity? We can help with that.

The Mississippi Valley Writers Guild is a proud member of Great River Writes, a collaboration of area arts and literary organizations in La Crosse and Winona, MN. Starting in 2017, our goal has been to pool resources to provide a variety of write-ins, guest author visits, and workshops for our community of writers.

We’ve been able to host several midwest writers through this collaboration, including Michael Perry, Blair Braverman, Wang Ping, and Dean Klinkenberg. We’ve offered workshops on plotting, poetry, memoir writing, setting, editing, archive research, and how to read out loud. We’ve even performed a staged reading!

This spring, Great River Writes is hosting two more guest authors, and both events are FREE! As part of our collaboration, we work with La Crosse Public Library and Winona Public Library to make our events as accessible as possible.

So join us! We’d love to see you.

Great River Writes Presents Author Nickolas Butler

Saturday, April 13th @ La Crosse Public Library, 1:00-3:00pm

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On tour with his latest novel, Little Faith, Nickolas Butler beautifully shares a Wisconsin family grappling with the power and limitations of faith when one of their own falls under the limitations of a radical church. In this open author chat, Butler will share from his new book, as well as talk about the writing life - how to get published, agents and editors, and how to hone your craft!

Nickolas Butler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. He is the author of the internationally-best selling novel Shotgun Lovesongs, a collection of short stories entitled, Beneath the Bonfire, and The Hearts of Men which has already been longlisted for two of France's top literary awards.  He is the winner of France's prestigious PAGE Prix America, the 2014 Great Lakes Great Reads Award, the 2014 Midwest Independent Booksellers Award, the 2015 Wisconsin Library Association Literary Award, the 2015 UW-Whitewater Chancellor's Regional Literary Award, and has been long-listed for the 2014 Flaherty Dunnan Award for First Novel and short-listed for France's FNAC Prix.  

 This event is part of National Library Week, which celebrates the variety of ways that libraries contribute to the social, cultural, and economic health of their communities.  

For more information about Nick's visit this link.

The Basics of Storytelling with Jen Rubin

Saturday, May 4th @ La Crosse Public Library, 1:00 - 2:30pm


In this 90 minute workshop, participants will learn how to find and shape stories. You can bring an existing story to shape or find a new story from your life. We will discuss the five main elements to a story and how to discover them. By learning dynamic storytelling elements, you will gain the tools to pull short stories out of everyday life.  This will be an interactive workshop with a mixture of mini lecture, 1:1 dialogue and small group work.

This workshop will focus on storytelling, and whether you plan to attend a local Luna Slam, or improve your writing craft, this workshop will have something for everyone, focusing on key elements that make for emotional, gripping stories to read or listen to.

Jen Rubin is a former New Yorker who leads storytelling workshops around Madison, co-produces the Moth StorySlam in Madison,

teaches the occasional social policy class at the University of Wisconsin School of Social Work, and works at the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. She has recently published her first book, We Are Staying: Eighty Years in the Life of a Family, a Store, and a Neighborhood. Jen is an obsessive maker of mixed tapes and quite possibly the best challah baker in town.

For more information about Jen’s visit, click this link.

We hope that you will be able to join us for one or both of these great events! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us via email.