In Edmonds: More than a writing group

By Kate Agbayani | Jul 26, 2019
Courtesy of: Kizzie Jones The Edmonds Writing Sisters with their new anthology, “Writing in Place: Prose and Poetry from the Pacific Northwest.” Sitting left to right: Andra Lawrence, Reni Roxas, Monda Van Hollebeke, Joanne Peterson, and Kizzie Jones.

The Edmonds Writing Sisters are launching their first book together, “Writing in Place: Prose and Poetry from the Pacific Northwest,” Sunday, July 28, at ArtWorks in Edmonds.

Despite their group name, members are not related.

However, through the 17 years they’ve been together, they’ve created strong bonds with one another – just like sisters.

“We’re soul sisters, but in a very special way we’re writing sisters,” said Kizzie Jones, who founded the group in 2002. She wanted to make sure it would be made up of dedicated writers.

“I wanted to find considerate, curious, respectful people who wanted to work on their writing,” she said.

The final lineup came down to seven writers, including herself, Julia Niebuhr Eulenberg, Andra Lawrence, Joanne Peterson, Reni Roxas, Edythe Stromme, and Monda Van Hollebeke.

At the time Jones started the group, her motivation was her attendance at a Write on the Sound conference, where she first met Hollebeke. WOTS marked the beginning of the Edmonds Writing Sisters.

Since the group’s founding, two members have died: Eulenberg in 2015 and Stromme in 2017.

In honor of their time together, the anthology is dedicated to Eulenberg and Stromme.

The book is made up of memoirs, vignettes, newspaper columns, short stories, poems, fiction and nonfiction, and humor. It’s a reflection of each of their lives, put together in one book.

“It’s life experiences,” Jones said. “It’s not just a book. It’s a reflection of the women and their lives and how they’ve gathered here.”

Each of the writers has published her own work over the years, but “Writing in Place” is the first they’ve published as the Edmonds Writing Sisters.

Planning and production of the anthology took three years, and aimed at creating a quality publication. Some work was written for the anthology; much of it was written earlier. The Writing Sisters worked together in choosing pieces to include.

It took the group one year to go through ideas for the book, with each story taking about a month to develop and finish.

“We hope the book will be an encouragement for other writers,” said Hollebeke. “Writing groups matter. It’s about working towards getting your work published and maintaining morale as a writer.”

In many ways the group has become more than just writing; it’s also about the friendship members have created over the years.

“(Meeting the group) was the greatest gift,” said Roxas, who was the last to join, in 2008. “Writing was a vehicle to friendship. Getting together every month, over the years you just can’t help it – we’ve become a supportive group, we’re here for each other.”

All say the group has transformed their lives.

“They’ve been a wonderful support to me to not quit,” Hollebeke said. “We have a lot to offer in our writing. We challenge ourselves and others to get our work published.”

Members are also thankful they have been able to thrive in a community like Edmonds.

“We have a vibrant literary arts community,” Hollebeke said. “We’re thankful to live among so many people who pursue arts here. The whole community is full of artists.”

The launch event will be from 2-5 p.m.

“Writing in Place: Prose and Poetry from the Pacific Northwest” is $15. It is available through and through the Edmonds Bookshop. The book will also be available for purchase at the launch, 2-5 p.m. at ArtWorks, 201 Second Ave. ., Edmonds. Readings from the Edmonds Writing Sisters will begin at 2:30 p.m.









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