Lake Superior Writers was an outgrowth of the Depot Outreach Program of the mid-1990s. When Depot Outreach lost its funding, area writers worked together and filed to become Lake Superior Writers in 1998. We are a 501(c)3 organization.
Lake Superior Writers has approximately 200 members throughout northeastern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, the Twin Cities and Michigan’s Upper Penninsula. Members range from professional writers to individuals who are new to creative writing.
In 2012, we held our second biannual writing conference with more than 50 attendees, on the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus. Eight workshops were offered, plus an opportunity for writers to read their work. An interesting addition to this year’s conference was “The Heart of the Song,” a three-hour songwriting workshop, taught by Tret Fure. Writers in attendance spanned the experience level from novice to published authors, and all instructors generously donated their teaching time.
In addition, since July 2011, LSW has hosted a four-session Literary Essay course; “Truth in Memoir,” by Chad Faries, author of the memoir Drive Me Out of My Mind; “Alternative Publishing,” by Poet Laureate Sheila Packa; and a four-session Short Story workshop was taught by Felicia Schneiderhan.
LSW hosted Valentine’s weekend events in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2012, on Sunday February 12, open mic and featured readers presented “Love: Lyrics and Lamentations” at a Valentines-themed reading. About 40 people were in attendance at Beaner’s Central, and the mood was light, despite some serious material. It was a great opportunity for writers of varying skill level to gain experience reading publicly, gather feedback and meet others with similar interests.
In 2010 and 2011, well-attended events were held over the Valentines weekend. Both were catered by New Scenic Café and featured silent auctions. The 2011 event, dubbed “Love Letters Gala,” offered guests the opportunity to commission poems that were then presented and read during the event.
Lake Superior Writers established the position of Duluth Poet Laureate as a way of honoring our area poets and encouraging the enjoyment of poetry. Duluth was the first city in Minnesota to name a Poet Laureate. Lake Superior Writers named Barton Sutter the first Duluth Poet Laureate (2006-2008), followed by Jim Johnson (2008-2010), and Sheila Packa (2010-2012). In 2012, the Duluth Poet Laureate program established its own 501(c)3. Sponsoring organizations for the Duluth Poet Laureate project included Lake Superior Writers, the Zeppa Family Foundation, the Duluth Public Arts Commission, UMD English Department, UMD Academic Affairs, UMD College of Liberal Arts, the College of St. Scholastica English Department, Lake Superior College, Friends of the Duluth Public Library, Northern Lights Books & Gifts, Arrowhead Reading Council, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.
Benefits include free or reduced prices for our workshops, monthly writing groups, and our online newsletter “NorthWords” which is distributed to our membership via email (members without email receive a mailed copy). The newsletter includes information about upcoming events such as workshops, conferences, contests, readings and publication launches, news about our members, information about our writing groups, and opportunities for submitting new work.
Memberships start at $35/year, and benefits include discounts on LSW workshops and event fees.