Check out the bales and bales of great writing happening at The Word Barn of Exeter, NH.
In May of 2015, Take Magazine heard of this unusual new project up in Exeter, New Hampshire, The Word Barn. A veritable shrine to writing, to reading, to listening, and all literary pursuits.
Sarah Anderson started building her writers community with summer readings, The Silo Series, but has since expanded the Word Barn’s offerings. Over this past year she’s continued to host readings and added a few workshops, “The most positive aspect of the readings, for me anyway, has been the social aspect – the gathering of writers and listeners – not simply at the events, but particularly during the 15-20 minute break in-between featured readers and at the beginning and end of each evening. The space seems to invite communion and connection.”
The building has become a listening room for the written word and draws a very attentive and appreciative audience. Anderson noted that, “Mostly attendees seem thirsty for more – this makes me happy. It is turning into more of an arts center of sorts, because in addition to my readings and workshops, The Word Barn is also the home of a painting class led by Chris Volpe. He has anywhere between 6 and 13 students, all with easels set up in the barn where they paint for 3 hours once a week.”
The three workshops that ran this past summer proved popular, one in fiction, one in poetry, and one in creative nonfiction image and text. Anderson was able to bring in poet Matt Miller, and fiction writer Tim Horvath as workshop leaders and Mercy Carbonell to co-lead the Image & Text workshop with Anderson.
“Several of the participants were people who had not had access to other writers/workshops in years and seemed grateful for the opportunity to connect with other writers. I see the workshops as opportunities for experienced writers to receive helpful and constructive feedback as well as be challenged by the high quality of their peers’ writing and likewise a chance for new writers to gain confidence, gain exposure, practice being vulnerable, and experiment with their styles/approaches. In my opinion, the mix of abilities and experience is a strength of the workshops.”
Part New England meeting house, part communal inspiration, Sarah Anderson is creating and curating a unique studio and performance space in Exeter NH.