January 30, 2010

Main site down;

Our main site (http://www.wordsinhere.com) went down overnight. Our hosts are alerted to the problem and we're moving towards getting back online.

In the meantime, you can read through our blog archives to pass the time.

January 25, 2010

Contributor news: Jane Monk in The Times

Jane Monk, a contributor to Versal 6, has been featured in an article about The Times' mentorship scheme. Over the last year, Jane, who is writing Manwife, an historical novel, has been mentored by novelist Adele Parks.

Keep the contributor news coming! Email us on versaljournalATwordsinhereDOTcom with updates about prizes, publications, readings and so on.

January 21, 2010

"I'm holding on too tight. I've lost the edge."

I admit it. I love Top Gun. There's so much wrong with it, I know this. But I saw it as a kid, completely fell in love with Tom Cruise and/or Meg Ryan, and I get a kick out of the soundtrack.

I thought of Cougar's lines yesterday when I received an email from a fellow Amsterdam writer who runs workshops in town. Over the years I've tried to build a circular network with her, to no avail. She refuses to have anything to do with us. The only time she ever did was when we created "lit goodie bags" for the now (sadly) extinct Amsterdam Literary Festival. We offered every organizer in the community a chance to add something to the bag, so she jumped right in.

With our renewed initiatives to keep the local literary community here strong and healthy, I thought it would be a good time to try her again. I emailed her asking if she might consider adding a link to our site, and threw in a note about the great community we share and how we can work together to keep it alive and well. About a week later, I got her reply (yesterday):

Dear Megan,

Sorry, but I don't list other workshops on my site; and the only links are to writing experiences that I've had personally or non-profit writing organisations.

Hope to see you soon.

All best,
Jane Doe

Seriously? When did wordsinhere become "other workshops"? I know she knows better. That's when I thought of Cougar. She's holding on so tightly to what she perceives as her own square centimeters of this literary community. And it's a shame, because community doesn't work like that, at least not how I read it. Writers should be able to move around as they like, and should be given the information to do so. It's not an "us and them" thing, at least it shouldn't be.

It reminds me of one of the first meetings I had with another literary organization when wordsinhere was first getting off the ground back in 2002. I contacted the Dutch organization that promotes translation (into and from Dutch) and had a coffee with its director. I told him about our plans to start an international literary stage (the now-extinct Open Stanza, which ran from 2002-2007), and he looked at me with great confusion and said something like, "I don't understand why you want to meet with me about this. We work with writers to translate their texts. You're an American. I don't see the correlation between what you're doing and what we're doing."


In my reply to Jane Doe, I pointed out that wordsinhere is non-profit but I wished her success with her work. Then I mentioned that at last weekend's literary borrel - a free event which we organized for anyone who wanted to come, to meet other writers and find out about some of the offerings in town - a woman came up to me and asked me if Jane Doe was there. The woman had heard about her workshops and wanted to know more. I told this woman that Jane Doe knew about the event, but I wasn't sure if she was coming.

In my reply to Jane Doe's dismissal, I wrote, "At our last literary borrel someone asked if you were there. It's a shame there isn't more connectedness in this community, you may have been able to garner some more clients."

Yeah, I have my limits.

[Cut to Meg Ryan and Goose, great balls of fire.]

January 15, 2010

Versal submissions period closing today!

A final reminder to submit work for Versal 8 before we close for submissions today. You can read our guidelines and submit via our online submissions manager here. Thanks to everyone who has submitted work so far.

And a reminder for those of you based in the Netherlands: we're celebrating the new year and Versal's new membership scheme and events programme tomorrow in the English Bookshop at Lauriergracht 71 in Amsterdam from 4 pm. Free entrance - do drop by!

January 14, 2010

HERE: HP-09-07-009

Although the ice-skating season is well underway in the frozen Netherlands, Versal is being read in warmer climes by South African Liesl Jobson and her friends. They took a HERE copy of Versal 7 with them to St James' Beach in Cape Town to re-read during a Christmas Day picnic. Thank you for the photos, Liesl.

January 04, 2010

Happy 2010! You can now join the Versal community, officially

For the last several months, we've been reevaluating our work in the NL literary community. Taking a look at our workshop offering, our relationship with local writers, and how we can continue to support this great community while still publishing the literary journal that has put this city on the international literary map.

What has resulted is not only a completely revamped literary programming aimed to keep you writing and inspired. To help better connect you with other local writers, we've developed the 2010 LOCAL Versal membership. You'll get freebies (VIP entrance to the Versal launch!) and discounts to all wordsinhere/Versal programming. And anyone who becomes a LOCAL member before March 1 gets a copy of Versal 7 thrown into the deal!

There's also the GLOBAL Versal membership, for anyone, anywhere. GLOBAL members get a 2 year subscription to Versal while directly supporting a journal and community that you love.

Both membership types are great gifts for your writerly friends and family, too.

Visit our Membership pages for complete details and to sign up!

And for those locals out there, we hope you'll join us on January 16 at The English Bookshop for a celebratory New Year's borrel.

Join your fellow poets & writers for a celebratory New Year's borrel on Saturday, January 16. Bring your writing group and friends down and meet others. Versal's editorial team will provide drinks and will be on hand to answer questions about your literary life in Amsterdam in 2010. What workshops, groups and clinics are on offer? What other things can a writer expect this year?

You'll also have the chance to sign up for workshops and buy your entry tickets for writing groups and clinics. The Borrel will also be a great chance to purchase your 2010 LOCAL membership to benefit from fantastic discounts and freebies.

Saturday, January 16
Starting at 16.00
The English Bookshop
Lauriergracht 71, Amsterdam
Free entrance