Inaugural Amesville Writers’ Workshop cultivates ‘sense of place’

The first Amesville Writers’ Workshop consists of public and private events, June 8–10.

AMESVILLE, Ohio — Twenty writers from around the state, Appalachian region and beyond are coming to Athens County this weekend to expand their writing skills.

The inaugural Amesville Writers’ Workshop will take place this weekend in Amesville. Curated by Amesville resident and former Federal Hocking Local Schools Superintendent George Wood, the workshop’s theme is “Writing with a Sense of Place,” and features three presenters.

Wood said he recently took up creative writing after retiring from his 40-year career in public education. After attending a writers’ workshop in Brevard, North Carolina last year, he wanted to bring something similar back home to Amesville, a community known for its Coonskin Library — one of the the first libraries in the Northwest Territory.


Wood serves as both the director and a participant in this weekend’s workshop. 

Presenters in the workshop will include award-winning authors Robert GipeMeagan Lucas and Edward Karshner — all three of whom are known as “Appalachian” writers, Wood said.

“They write about where they live, where they’ve grown up, what they’ve experienced,” Wood said. “And really, good fiction, poetry, music — [always] comes from a grounded place.”

The workshop features three public events:

  • Thursday, June 8, 7 p.m., Athens Public Library, 30 Home St., Athens: “Protecting the Roots: Why We Must Continue Telling Our Stories,” a keynote address from Karshner, an associate English professor at Robert Morris University.
  • Friday, June 9, 6:30 p.m., Village Productions, 16 State St., Amesville: Gipe, Lucas and special local guests will perform readings.
  • Saturday, June, 10, 7:30 p.m., Village Productions, 16 State St., Amesville: Live music by the Ames Bern Ridge Rounders and dancing. 

Gipe, Lucas and Karshner will all be presenting to workshop participants, as well as leading classes, Wood said. 

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“There will be workshops on plot, workshops on editing, workshops on using the oral tradition, revision, workshops on pulling from your own well of time and place,” Wood said. “It’s gonna be fun.”

The workshop will also highlight all that Athens County has to offer, including a tour of the county itself, featuring breweries, wineries, farms and more, Wood said. 

Athens County is eager to welcome workshop participants: Wood told the Independent that some Amesville residents were especially hospitable, offering up their homes to visiting writers.

“I’m happy that Athens County is such a receptive place to the arts,” Wood said. “And because of the generosity of people, we were also able to [give scholarships to] a high school student from Federal Hocking, an undergraduate student from Ohio University, and a graduate student from Ohio University.”

Sponsors of the event include the Athens County Foundation, the Athens County Public Libraries, the Ohio University Press and Athens County Visitors Bureau. “Without their help we couldn’t do this,” Wood said. 

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