New writing group hopes to foster community in Richmond

Writers can often spend hours honing their craft in a solitary environment with little place to share their work.

So when writer Jerrie-Lynn Morrison began to look for ways to hang out with other writers in Richmond and talk about her work, she was hard pressed to find any groups or open mic nights.

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Whenever Ive tried to find something in Richmond, Ive always had to go outside the city, said the Richmond resident who commutes to college in New Westminster.

She brought this observation to her classmates at Douglas College when they were looking for a project idea for their Print Futures: Professional Writing class. The group of four had to find a community organization they could promote using social media.

Only finding two seemingly defunct writing groups in Richmond, they decided to not only promote an organization, but also create one of their own.

And yesterday, Richmond Writes Out Loud! held its inaugural open mic night at the Brighouse branch of Richmond Public Library.

The crew, consisting of Morrison, Avalon Doyle, Jill Neumann and Eric Wilkins, had hoped the event would spark interest in the city and foster a new writing community, which seemed to be lacking in Richmond.

This gives people a platform to share their work, meet others and get exposure, said Doyle. And its also a lot of fun.

For Thursdays event, they wanted to let the community lead depending on the turnout. However, as creative writers themselves, they were each prepared to read a bit of their own work to get the ball rolling.

Richmond Writes Out Loud! plans to hold monthly open mic nights in various locations across the city. The events will be open to anyone at any level of writing and encourage work from short stories to song lyrics to poetry.

Were going to keep this really open, so that anyone who wants to write can be part of this, said Doyle.

Although intent on continuing the group after the professional writing class ends in the spring, the four writers hope Richmond Writes Out Loud! garners enough interest to eventually survive on its own, as three of the members are not from Richmond.

Writing groups are important because they offer that creative support and help you get inspired, said Morrison. It can also give you that kick in the butt to get started.

For more information on Richmond Writes Out Loud! events, contact Doyle at 778-308-9542 or email

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