Happy Birthday, 9 Bridges!

March 30 marks the first anniversary of our 9 Bridges writing community. I would just like to thank every single member of 9 Bridges, as it is all of you who have made it all possible.

One year ago Vargus Pike, Mark Harrington and I made the bittersweet decision to leave CHWG and branch out on our own as 9 Bridges. It was a difficult choice, as it meant broken friendships, long hours and a lot of hard work for us. At the same time, we felt a responsibility to the writing communities we had started in Portland, Missoula and Phoenix. There was a fair amount of uncertainty in the beginning and one or two days when we asked ourselves, “What were we thinking?” The reality was that it would have been far easier for us to step away, let the chapters die, and go back to the far less stressful pastime of solitary writing.

However, the overwhelming support we received – not only from our chapters, but also from the writing community as a whole – put our fears to rest and we knew we had made the right decision. In the past year we’ve doubled our size, attracting the attention and support of writing organizations in Portland and other areas. All of our wonderful chapter leaders and event hosts have stayed with us and we’ve even started a successful fourth chapter in Pasadena.

We have a great deal to celebrate on our first anniversary. We have some real achievements under our belt as well as exciting things coming up in the not-too-distant future. We have a brand new Board of Directors, whose members add a wealth of knowledge and diverse experiences, ranging from HR to fundraising. But while these are exciting, they pale beside the real success: helping authors. Many of our authors credit 9 Bridges as contributing in some small way to their own success.

I’ll admit, last year I didn’t get to do as much creative writing as I wanted, and running this organization was one of the big reasons. However, every time someone reaches out and tells me how much this group has helped them, it makes every minute I’ve spent on 9 Bridges worth it. I’ll gladly trade a couple of hours of my own writing time to provide a homeless author with a supportive community at a critique group, encourage a writer with social anxiety to read out loud, connect a children’s author to a children’s book publisher or any of the many other contributions I’ve been able to make to support 9 Bridges Writers this year. I’m excited to see how many more authors we can reach this year through building bridges.

Keep Writing!

Elizabyth Harrington,
Executive Director, 9 Bridges

Coming Soon – NW Book Festival

Call to Authors

For the third consecutive year 9 Bridges will have a booth at the NW Festival of Books in Portland, Oregon. It takes place in Pioneer Courthouse Square which lies in the very heart of Portland so there is a mix of people who come specifically for the festival and people who are passing through. This festival is a one day event on July 25th and it runs from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

As in the past two years our booth will be a combination of Informational picketing to raise the awareness of 9 Bridges and an opportunity for published writers from the group to sell and or advertise their books to the general public.




Terms are as follows.
  1. Due to high demand only active members of 9 Bridges are eligible.
    (For this event an active member is defined as a person who has attended one or more meetings in the last 3 months)
  2. The buy in this year is fifteen dollars per attending author and ten dollars if are not attending but would like your books displayed. A designated representative of the 9 Bridges will be present at all times to facilitate the sale of books when the author is not physically in the booth
    All books will be displayed for the entirety of the event
  3. There will be eight three hour time slots available for attending authors- Four from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and Four from 2:00 pm to 5:00 Pm.
    Time slots to be awarded upon payment on a first come first served basis.
  4. Because of the dual nature of the booth we are asking that all attending authors be willing to not only sell their books but to answer any questions pertaining to the 9 Bridges as a whole.
    Talking points will be made available.
  5. The NW Festival of Books will be advertising for this event. This is an opportunity to get your name out there. According to the organizers, they will be distributing newspapers for the book festival, which include author names, their book genre or organization information, and their tent number. There was also a map to the booths. Last year the paper was available in Portland and surrounding communities prior to the festival and was very successful in bringing people from around the northwest. They also feature all participating authors on their web site.

If you are interested I participating in the 9 Bridges booth this year please email me.

Clarifying questions and comments welcomed.


Vargus Pike

Poetry Workshop in PDX

This month’s seminar will focus on Poetry as April is national poetry month.

Vargus Pike, published poet extraordinaire and 9 Bridges Board Chairman, will be leading a workshop on poetry. Whether you are interested in trying your hand at writing poetry or simply want to understand the medium better so you can feel more comfortable analyzing and critiquing, Vargus will give you the tools you need. The goal of this month’s seminar is to learn the basics of analyzing poems by the process of close reading with a goal towards developing a greater mindfulness of process and meaning when reading other’s works or writing your own. Breaking down a poem using various strategies informs your own construction. Vargus will be going over basic concepts such as Rhythm, meter, tonality and structure.

The workshop starts promptly at 5:45 PM at First Christian Church, Downtown Portland

For more information and to RSVP, please visit our Meetup page. As always, the workshop is free (although donations are always welcome to help cover our rent at FCC.)