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Pens and Pints combines writing with a pub crawl

FARGO – Writers at the ready: belly up to the bar for a prompt and a pint.

The Red River Valley Writing Project, which aims to improve the teaching of writing from kindergarten through college, is hosting its first-ever “writing crawl,” a pub crawl with creativity set to pen and paper, in downtown Fargo next Tuesday.

The free four-hour event, open to any writers ages 21 or older, starts at Würst Bier Hall on First Avenue North and ends with an open mic at Red Raven Espresso Parlor on Main. The RRVWP will provide the prompts, but participants pay for their own food and drink. 

“(We) chose the venues based on the available specials and location. We wanted people to be able to walk from place to place, enjoying downtown Fargo,” says Andrea Noonan, a West Fargo language arts teacher who helped organize the event.

She says the idea came from a discussion about famous writers, like Ernest Hemingway, who were notorious for their affinity for alcohol, especially while they ticked away on their typewriters.

The first prompt, for example, set appropriately at Würst Bier Hall, comes from C.S. Lewis, who was known to enjoy beer. There, Pens and Pints participants will be given:

“C.S. Lewis once said, ‘Let’s pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere.’ Imagine that humanity ventured to a new world. What ills would we bring to it? Describe a scene from this new world.”

Noonan says the writing crawl is an opportunity for writers to connect with other writers and hopefully be inspired to begin or continue to write.

RRVWP Director Kelly Sassi says it also gives writing teachers, who comprise the North Dakota State University-based organization, a chance to learn from writers in other professions.

“So often, teachers see themselves more as teachers than as writers,” she says. “Our belief is that teachers will be better at teaching writing if they are, themselves, writers.”

RRVWP programming, like its summer institute and Tuesday’s Pens and Pints, helps them get back in touch with their identities as writers, so when they return to their students in the fall, they can share not only their writing, but their writing process.

“It’s a messy process. Some students think, ‘Oh, well, some people can do it, and some people can’t, and I can’t.’ They don’t realize that it’s hard for everybody,” Sassi says.

If you go

What: “Pens and Pints” writing crawl

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday

Where: 5 to 6 p.m. Würst Bier Hall, 630 1st Ave. N., Fargo; 6 to 7 p.m. The Boiler Room, 210 Broadway, Fargo; 7 to 8 p.m. Rhombus Guys, 606 Main Ave., Fargo; 8 to 9 p.m. Red Raven Espresso Parlor, 916 Main Ave., Fargo

Info: The event is free and open to any writers ages 21 or older. Prompts will be provided at each location. RSVP by Aug. 11 at

Meredith Holt

Meredith Holt is a features/business reporter for The Forum who covers topics in health, mental health, social issues, women's issues, arts and entertainment, food and more. She also writes a column on health and wellness, body image and media representationShe was a copy editor/page designer for six years prior to joining the features team in March 2012.

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