View From the Helm Sept 2009

The 2009/2010 year of the Berkeley Branch bursts from the starting gate with ourregular programs further developed and new programs deserving of attention.  Our speaker program continues to be a pillar of the club. Focusing on information we can use as writers, we feature agents on two dates: Andy Ross in September and Michael Larsen in January. In October Kemble Scott will talk about the growing importance of eBooks. In February we welcome Becky Levine, author of a book on critique groups and revision techniques. And in June we will cash in our rain check for iconic writing teacher, Molly Giles.

This year we have two drop-in support/critique groups. The anchor five-page support/critique writers’ group grows in popularity and the quality of its critiques. The nonfiction group has a solid core. At least one closed group has formed.  I would not be surprised to find others born this year.

Last year one of our most successful programs was the Acquisition Editor workshop, presented by Charlotte Cook. We plan to reprise that workshop and introduce additional workshops on elements of craft. Already scheduled is a three-hour workshop in October (see the announcement in this issue) on “The Art of the Noun,” led by Marianne Rogoff, author and writing professor. November will see a craft talk on a topic to be chosen and facilitated by Marilyn Abildskov of the St. Mary’s College MFA program.  For 2010 we’ll have the Acquisition Editor Workshop and two other programs.

The WestSide Story Contest has come under the wing of the Berkeley Branch and is open to everyone. The deadline has been extended to September 15, so you still have time to get your story in. Your entry fees support the contest, and your club provides a quality outlet for your work. Please help spread the word.  Submission guidelines at

A few weeks ago I thought it might be interesting to get a few of our members to ponder on the notion of mentors. Pleased with the number and quality of the responses, I‘m devoting this issue of Write Angles to this theme.

– AL Levenson, President

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