Indiana Writers Center is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports Indiana writers of all ages and backgrounds and reaches out to people whose voices are rarely heard. Classes and workshops taught by published writers provide writing education that encourages creative expression and enhances the communication skills necessary for success in school, in the workplace, and in life.
We envision a thriving center where Indiana writers build the writing skills appropriate to their goals and experience the healing, empowering and joyful benefits that engaging in the creative process brings.
Programs, services, and venue selections reflect our commitment to this mission and to broadening our base as well. More than ever before, the Indiana Writers Center is forging new collaborative relationships with arts organizations, schools and universities, community organizations and social service providers.
Founded by Jim Powell in 1979, as part of the Free University, Indiana Writers Center has worked for forty years to foster a vibrant writing community in Indiana, providing education and enrichment opportunities for both beginning and accomplished writers. Located in the Circle City Industrial Complex just around the corner from the shops, restaurants, and theaters on Massachusetts Ave, we offer a variety of classes and workshops led by some of Indiana’s best writers. In addition, we host literary events such as readings, open mics, critique groups, and the annual Gathering of Writers to instruct, inspire, and connect writers throughout the state.
The IWC also provides community outreach programs in schools, community organizations, nursing homes and correctional facilities, helping people of diverse ages and backgrounds to find their voices.
Find out more about what we have to offer at www.indianawriters.org
We fulfill our mission by:
Offering classes and programs in which accomplished authors share their expertise
- Published writers teach classes in poetry, fiction, memoir, nonfiction, playwriting and more
- The annual Gathering of Writers and Readers features up to a dozen of Indiana’s best writers in a day-long event
Providing support for Indiana writers working at all levels
- E-Newsletters spread the word about IWC events, as well as other literary happenings in Indianapolis and beyond.
- The Indiana Writers Center promotes the new work of Indiana authors
- We provide aspiring and experienced writers a wealth of information about writing and the writing life, as well as opportunities to connect with one another and share their work.
- The Indiana Writers Center provides sound advice and useful information to writers seeking to publish and market their work
Providing enrichment opportunities to a diverse often underserved audiences in the community
- Memoir projects serve diverse audiences, including war veterans, mothers of special need children, senior citizens and girls in prison.
- Our summer learning program, “Building a Rainbow,” annually serves up to 220 at-risk youth, teaching writing skills and publishing their work in print anthologies.
- Visits to libraries, schools, and a variety of other community organizations promote Indiana writers and writers and provide insight into the writing life.
What the Indiana Writers Center Means to Me
Everyone is not a writer, but everyone can be a writer.
By Rachel Sahaidachny, Executive Director
In 2005 I joined the Indiana Writers Center as a volunteer. Once a week I taught a group of high school students about creative writing, and encouraged them to write their own stories, in a group called “Voice.” It was Barbara Shoup who convinced me to take on this task when I was fresh out of my undergrad program, and feeling confused about the future. Shoup was my very first creative writing teacher when I was at Broad Ripple High School, but she became my lifelong mentor. I took on the role of mentor for those teens, because I remembered what an impact she had on me when she taught me the process of writing, and because I couldn’t imagine my life without the writing practice and habits which I developed under her guidance and instruction.
One challenge of writing is to allow what is in your mind to exist on the page. Often the students at Voice would begin by telling me they already had a whole book, and they would start telling me all about the characters and the events and the places. “How about you read a bit of it to us,” I would suggest – and the answer was, “Oh I haven’t written it down yet.” It was still in their head. Writing the words down on paper is an act of bravery, and sometimes we just can’t figure out how to get it done when we are alone.
A good teacher, a group of cohorts, and a writing community that understands the unique challenges that writers face, creates a more productive writing life. The steps on that mountain of writing goals become much easier to face when you find yourself committed to a critique group, or a writing workshop, when you have that writer friend or mentor to check in with, and create accountability.
I have benefited from the Indiana Writers Center as a student, too. In Shari Wagner’s workshops I learned how to focus my poems, how to develop a few lines into a cohesive work of art. And after taking Shari’s classes many times over, I finally achieved a lifelong goal: getting my MFA in poetry. I don’t think it would have happened without the Indiana Writers Center.
I’ve participated in the outreach programs as a volunteer, and also as the workshop leader, because I believe in bringing the knowledge, skills, and community spirit to all those who have ever wished they could figure out how to get their words down on the page.
This 40th year has been a great year for the Indiana Writers Center. We have had so many opportunities for partnerships and collaborations, and times of celebrating the work of writers in Indiana – starting out with the book release for the first story collection published by founder Jim Powell, then in the spring our annual Gathering of Writers featured Ross Gay. Our outreach programs are thriving – this year we partnered with Gender Nexus to amplify the voices of gender diversity, and our summer youth programs give kids the chance to write about their own lives in whatever way they choose. We’ve seen the birth of a new and exciting playwriting community, with the Indiana Playwrights Circle, and we continue to offer workshops by professional writers, free critique groups for members, and free programming at the library.
For forty years the Indiana Writers Center has been a home and support system for authors, poets, and aspiring writers. We advocate for writers in our state, because we want people to know that you don’t have to leave Indiana to be a writer. In fact, we need you here, to write your poems and stories, and to be a friend to other writers who have stayed, creating a thriving literary community.
I am excited for my new role as Executive Director, and for the opportunity to move IWC into the next forty years. I can’t wait to see what the literary culture of Indiana will bring next.
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