Making a Scene: Nonprofit promotes 'all things book'
FARGO -- If it involves reading or writing, River Cities Literary Arts Center wants to promote it.The nonprofit, incorporated in September and operating for now in the Spirit Room in downtown Fargo, aims to support "all things book" and Fargo-Moo...
FARGO - If it involves reading or writing, River Cities Literary Arts Center wants to promote it.
The nonprofit, incorporated in September and operating for now in the Spirit Room in downtown Fargo, aims to support "all things book" and Fargo-Moorhead's flourishing literary arts scene, according to its tagline.
But first, co-founder and secretary Carol Kapaun Ratchenski said they just have to bring everyone together.
"There's so many people in this town who are writing, and obviously there are lots of people in this town who are reading," she said. "What we don't have is some connection, it seemed to us, between writers and readers, and writers and each other, and even writers' groups."
The organization has sponsored several events since launching, including a Books After Hours literary networking and events series that started last month and is tentatively set for 5:30 p.m. the first Thursday of most months at the Spirit Room.
There are high hopes for growth, according to Dawn Morgan, board president and co-founder of the group, including becoming a "clearinghouse" for publishing and reading ideas and hosting classes, readings and an online events calendar.
Why is it important to bring writers together?
Ratchenski: I'm a writer, and it's easy for me not to hear about an author coming to Concordia or (Minnesota State University Moorhead) that I would love to see. We don't want that to happen. We want to have this literary world be really a united, vibrant world.
Morgan: We just want to get everybody in a conversation so we're well-informed and we can be of support to each other and celebrate together.
Why is this literary connection an unmet need in the community?
Morgan: We've spoken sometimes just in passing that the writers are often isolated because of the nature of their craft, and so we want to be able to provide a place where people can come together and meet other writers and hear about what's happening and what can happen.
What is the current state of literary arts here?
Ratchenski: I think now there's so much going on that we don't even know about, people in this town who either have moved here or grew up here who are writing and having success even nationally and locally we aren't even aware of it.
Morgan: There's a certain genre out there that seems to be quite prevalent right now, and it's people writing in a historical context of a certain area, like Fargo. I could mention several writers who write that way, and they're very popular. Anybody can pick up a book and remember that, and one of the reasons they like them is because they're references to things that they recall from earlier. There's always a popularity of a sense of place.
Are new publishing options behind that increase in writing about Fargo and North Dakota in general?
Ratchenski: I think it's part of that. I think our state has a different sense of itself as well than it did, whether we're growing into higher self-esteem or some things have contributed to that. We're a very different place than a hundred years ago.
Are there plans for a permanent location for the center?
Ratchenski: We're based here for now at the Spirit Room. We do have dreams of a physical location either in Moorhead or Fargo or ideally both.
How can people get involved?
Ratchenski: Go to the website, come to a board meeting, call us for tea - we want to talk about it. We want it to grow.
Morgan: Or just come to our Books After Hours and start to talk with us.
For more information about the River Cities Literary Arts Center, visit www.rivercitiesliterary.squarespace.com .