How 2021 became the Year of Writing Resilience
By Paul Malone
If anything, 2021 has shown us all what can become of those best laid plans: From one lockdown to the next, Sunday Writers’ Club has had to adapt—moving live creative writing sessions online, workshops and other club events too. Many of us have missed meeting up in a Vienna cafe on a Sunday morning to write and share our stories. Good friendships have been formed around those coffee tables. Some fine coffee and delicious breakfasts have been polished off too.
Fortunately during lockdowns, the online writing sessions have kept the Vienna-based community connected and provided opportunity from people to join us from afar. And there’s something to be said for writing in the comfort of one’s living room while sharing the screen with writers from other countries. It’s both a literary and cultural event, one that might even be enjoyed in one’s pyjamas.
Perhaps all of us have become a little more resilient in 2021, creating opportunity in the gloom of Covid, finding that silver lining. And even though Sunday Writers’ Club unofficial credo is to write for the joy of it, we find ourselves firmly reminded that a writer writes, come what may. Such is the indomitable spirit that we encourage members and friends to set forth with in 2022. But before we all courageously do so, we thought we’d share a brief look back over the last 12 most challenging months—Sunday Writers’ Club Year of Writing Resilience.
Creative Writing Sessions
Both in cafes and online, occasionally even hybrid, over the last 12 months SWC has run 59 Sunday creative writing sessions. That’s roughly 90 hours of writing and sharing, at least 590 coffees, teas and other such fortifications, and well over 400 inspirational writing prompts crafted by Sunday Writers’ Club team.
The Vienna coffee house literature culture is unique and famous throughout the world. For generations, writers have been gathering in Viennese cafes to while away the hours reading, writing, and philosophising with fellow writers in the gemütliche Atmosphäre of their favourite Lokal. Sunday Writers’s Club embraces this cafe-house literature tradition, providing a cultural bridge for an international English-language clientele.
Here are our 2021 writing cafés:
- Café Diglas im Schottenstift
- Le Café Pierre
- Kaffee Alt Wien
- Café Sluka
- Café Rüdigerhof
- Landmann’s Jausen Station
- EQ Equilibrium
- Café Votiv
- Dirtwater Café
We hope to revisit these and explore a few new ones in 2022.
Meet the Professionals
We’ve all shared the good fortune of having Young Adult novelist Keith Gray on the Sunday Writers’ Club team, reaching out to publishing industry professionals to impart their invaluable experience with us. On almost a monthly basis we’ve talked with published authors, literary agents, creative writing lecturers, and publishers who have generously helped us on our writing journey. Among them:
- Claire Askew
- Patrice Lawrence
- Barry Hutchison
- David Bishop
- Joann Nadin
- Adrian Mead
- Lindsey Fraser & Kathryn Ross
- Phil Earle
- Catherine Simpson
Who will join us in 2022? We look forward to surprising you!
Who are the Sunday Writers’ Club members? Where do they come from? What do they enjoy writing? What are their writing aspirations? What have they written? All these questions and more are answered on our monthly podcast. We love chatting with members and sharing their stories with the world. Since the club’s official launch in September 2020, we’ve showcased the following wonderful writers:
- Tamara Raidt
- Stephen Hewitt
- Connie Phlipot
- Twan Zwegers
- Evangelista Sie
- Brigid Whoriskey
- Jennifer Cornick
- Caroline Stevenson
- Holly Girling
- Stephen Cuthbertson
- Sandra Völker
If you haven’t yet listened to the podcast, we encourage you to do so now. And check out the podcast in 2022 for many more.
The Sunday Writer’s club 2021 blog features over 50 fantastic stories, poems, and even songs from Sunday Writers’ Club members. All the writing has been inspired by our world-famous creative writing prompts. Thanks to so many members contributing their stories, the blog has steadily attracted a growing audience from around the world. We aim to continue the upward trend in 2022.
With Sunday Writers’ Club still only a year (and a bit) out from its official launch and with Covid lockdowns significantly impacting the club program, we’ve carefully begun offering quality workshops tailored to meet our members’ needs. So far we’ve run the following workshops:
- The Red Pencil Sharpener: A fun poetry workshop with Australian poet John Malone
- Beginnings: An inspiring creative writing workshop focused on story beginnings with best-selling novelist and creative writing lecturer Dr. Joanna Nadin.
In January 2022, we’re excited to offer a different kind of a workshop: ‘Growth Mindset For Writers’ with Brigid Whoriskey. You can find out more about her workshop here.
And we’re planning all new workshop for 2022. We hope we can offer some of these live as well as online.
Writers’ Lab Live Online
For all the fun we have, Sunday Writers’ Club is serious about writing development. Chaired by Keith Gray, Writers’ Lab Live Online is an excellent critique group dedicated to helping members’ hone their writing skills and polishing their stories. The group has met online every month to share their work in progress and provide invaluable feedback. Some of the club’s finest writing comes out of this critique group. We look forward to sharing the group’s success stories in 2022 and beyond.
You can find out more about Writers’ Lab Live Online here.
Club Night Readings
Perhaps of all the club’s various activities, it is the Club Night Readings that have been most challenging to plan under lockdown conditions. We had hoped for our first club night reading as a hybrid event at Cafe Korb in Vienna, allowing members to take to the stage to read their latest story to a live and online audience. With a large screen in the cafe, international members too could share their stories. Alas, lockdown 4 in Vienna scuppered this plan. But, harking back to that silver lining, we did manage to pull off a brilliant online club night reading, with stories from members:
- Caroline Stevenson
- Sarah Roos-Essl
- Janice Cutting
- Stephen Hewitt
- Patrizia Stiegler
- Eithne Bradley
- Jane Dudeney
- Brigid Whoriskey
We hope that in 2022 the Club Night Readings are indeed hyped events held at Café Korb. Fingers crossed!
Other Club Events
From sharing Christmas stories with other members to participating in the Austrian National Reading Day, Sunday Writers’ Club has been very active, providing ongoing opportunity for members to keep up their writing momentum in a very challenging year. In the background, the Sunday Writers’ Club team has been working tirelessly to make all this happen. Now that the end of the year has come around so fast, the team is taking a well-earned break. Perhaps some members too are resting their pens. But we all look forward to launching into 2022 invigorated and ready for a big year to come.
The Sunday Writers’ Club Jingle
It’s not only football clubs that need a good jingle to keep the team spirit soaring in the toughest of times. Here’s our unofficial jingle:
I want to write, write something new,
Something shining and something blue,
And I guess that you feel the same way too,
At the Sunday Writers’ Club.
For all its brevity and no matter how uncut, it serves to carry us all victoriously into 2022. Listen to it often enough and your writing too may take off.
You can listen to the jingle here.
The Sunday Writers' Club
For all of the club’s activities these last 12 months, it has been everyone’s enthusiasm for writing and warm community spirit that has made the effort worthwhile for all. From writers merely passing through Vienna one Sunday morning to our regular members who have shared the club’s journey from the start, we acknowledge the good fortune that has allowed all of us to come together in a year so difficult for many. Thank you to members and friends wherever you are this festive season, and wishing you a brilliant writing year ahead in 2022!
The Sunday Writers Club Team
(Jasmine, Jen, Keith and Paul)