Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-05-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Local LGBTQ writers'group marks 40 years
by Melissa Wasserman
2020-03-02

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Writing another chapter, LGBTQ writers group Newtown Writers celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

Randy Gresham founded the group in August 1980, when he moved to Chicago from Atlanta. He had been involved with some mixed ( not LGBTQ-specific ) writing groups and knew there were LGBTQ groups in other cities. He was not aware of any LGBTQ writing groups in Chicago; therefore, he decided to found a group.

The group started as a salon where members would meet at each other's apartments, read and then hang out at a bar together. Eventually, the group moved from being a salon and started meeting at local places like Gerber Hart Library and Archives, Cafe Veranda and Ann Sather. NewTown Writers incorporated in 1988 and still holds that corporate status.

"We have short story writers, novelists, poets, films scripts, experimental writing, different types altogether," said Gresham, a past president of NewTown Writers as well as its founder. "We run the gambit of literary types. We meet, at present, on the third Thursday of each month at the Starbucks on Ridge [5970 N. Ridge Ave.]."

Gresham, who grew up in the Atlanta suburbs, said he has been writing since he was 9, starting with journaling, which then became short stories and poetry. In his adult years he has written a novel and short stories, which he published.

He enjoyed being part of a writing group so much in midtown Atlanta, which he described as "the equivalent of Boystown there," that he "wanted to duplicate it."

"Like so many young people, I enjoyed going out to the bars and meeting people, I'm a great one for conversation and I love to find out what makes people tick and I found out a lot of the people that I met were actually writers or aspired to be writers," said Gresham of when he was creating the group. "I thought, 'Okay—we can meet in people's homes, we can advertise in the paper, we can indicate it's LGBT' and go from there. The idea actually came to me because I did speak to writers who did not have a venue at the time. In the 1980 when it was founded, there was still a very strong need for exclusive gay writing."

"So we actually moved from a need, a necessity, to have a gay writing group because you were safe, you could be yourself, you could put it all out there without censoring and then we moved from then to it's perfectly fine to be LGBT, whatever," said Gresham, who identifies as gay.

Gresham recalled there were about 12 to 16 guys who showed up the first time he formed the group. Over time, he said, the group has evolved, growing in numbers and representation. He noted that NewTown writers has welcomed members from every part of the LGBTQ community.

Although, branded as an LGBTQ writers group, NewTown Writers is open to all literary enthusiasts. At a given time, members cycle, but throughout the years, Gresham said there have been about 400 writers/members. Right now, he said it is a mellow group of about six to 10 people who meet on the third Thursday of every month. The group has also shaken things up by welcoming different local writers and poets to guest speak at workshops and conducting various readings.

"I love the comradery," Gresham said. "As a matter of fact, my initial real reason for founding the group was because I wanted the comradery of fellow writers. So, I enjoy that. I enjoy getting together with the group."

During its 40 years, NewTown Writers has also put out 20 volumes of its Off The Rocks Anthology, a collection of written works by writers who attend the group's workshop meetings and writers outside the group who submit their work to be considered for publication. The first volume was published in 1982.

Gresham shared that NewTown Writers used to be connected with a theater troupe that performed for the public. Gresham explained the theater group was made up of actors who volunteered their time; they were not necessarily writers in the group. He added the performances were something he really enjoyed during the group's run and are something he would like to bring back to life.

As for celebrating the 40th anniversary, celebration plans are still in the works.

"I'm happy with the group at present," said Gresham. "I want us to continue printing our anthologies and I'd like to see a lot more performance. That's something we did very extensively for a while. I'd love to see that resurrect. I would like lots of public readings open to the public and that type thing and pretty much continue as we have done through the years. Obviously, I'd love to attract some new writers and that type thing."

See "NewTown Writers" on Facebook.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

PASSAGES A tribute to H.G. Carrillo 2020-05-18 - Afro-Cuban writer/professor Herman "H.G." Carrillo ( known for his 2004 novel Loosing My Espanish, which deals with the experience of a Cuban immigrant ...


Gay News

Gerber/Hart Library hosts virtual panel on The 10% Show 2020-05-16 - The 10% Show was the focus of a May 13 virtual panel hosted by Gerber/Hart Library and Archives. A cable access Chicago-based LGBTQ ...


Gay News

Comedian Cameron Esposito's new memoir digs into queer liberation, Catholic upbringing 2020-05-12 - Cameron Esposito's new memoir, Save Yourself, is the story she needed when she was younger. The lesbian comedian tracks the story of her ...


Gay News

BOOKS New book explores life of astronomer-turned-activist Kameny 2020-05-12 - Dr. Eric Cervini—a Harvard and Cambridge-trained historian sometimes known as the "Hunky Historian"—reveals the secret history of the fight for LGBTQ rights that ...


Gay News

Autobiography reflects on heyday of Chicago LGBT media 2020-04-29 - Fort Lauderdale-based author Rick Karlin, a native Chicagoan who for many years wrote about food and entertainment, among other topics, for LGBT papers ...


Gay News

BOOKS Jen Manion talks 'Female Husbands' and writing process 2020-04-15 - In their new book, Female Husbands: A Trans History, Jen Manion illuminates the stories of people assigned female at birth who transed gender ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW An Indefinite Sentence: A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex 2020-04-15 - Coming out was difficult enough. Even if everyone supported you and very little changed, you changed; still, though you had doubts and fear, ...


Gay News

Virtual reading of Terrence McNally work on April 16 2020-04-15 - In honor of Terrence McNally, who recently passed away at age 81 of complications from COVID-19, four actors—each participating from a remote location—will ...


Gay News

36th annual Printers Row Lit Fest put off to Labor Day weekend 2020-04-10 - CHICAGO ( April 10, 2020 ) Out of an abundance of caution, and prioritizing the safety and well being of its guests, authors ...


Gay News

Historians seek responses from LGBTQ people 2020-04-06 - Writers/historians St Sukie de la Croix and Owen Keehnen are again seeking responses—this time for a third volume of the Tell Me About ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.