Author to launch Ames Writers Collective with Octagon Center event


Author Ana McCracken saw a need in the Ames community for a Writers Support Network – a group where writers and storytellers can study outside of academia. She decided to fill this need by founding the collective of writers Ames.

The organization is celebrating its kickoff with “Words Meet Art”, an event Thursday night at the Octagon Center for the Arts.

While pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts at Iowa State, McCracken taught at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) as part of her program.

“This is where I found this basement of people who really want to write. They don’t necessarily have the world’s greatest aspirations, but writing is important to them. Many want to write stories for their grandchildren, ”she said. “So I decided to design a writing center. “

This idea of ​​a writing center became the Ames Writers Collective, “which is aimed at students of non-traditional writing,” McCracken said. “I am an example of a non-traditional writer. I have studied with successful authors and writers across the country outside of academia.

“Ames needs a place like AWC. A place to write just because someone wants to write, or a place to go to learn to write and set goals. A place to be exhibited.

Earlier this month, the Ames Writers Collective became a legal entity with an application for nonprofit status.

The collective is also an opportunity for writers to come together and support each other, she said, and a place for published authors and writing teachers to offer their expertise.

The mission of the Ames Writers Collective is to bring together “writers and readers of diverse ages and cultural backgrounds to celebrate the essential art of the written and spoken word,” McCracken explained in an email. “Talented and engaged writers and authors teach and empower people of all skill levels to bring their stories to life. We encourage conversation across cultural divisions, building and uplifting communities through the art of storytelling while advancing the literary arts in Ames, Iowa.

The “Words Meet Art” event will present the work of 10 writers

McCracken herself is a published author whose work has appeared in the California Writers Club Literary Review, the anthologies “Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God – 51 Women Reveal the Power of Positive Female Connection” and “Chicken Soup for the Soul – The Joy by adoption.

His poetry was presented at Telepoem Booth Iowa.

While living in Hawaii, McCracken was a columnist and editor for Maui Vision magazine, and her essays and articles have appeared in various San Francisco Bay Area publications.

Also a photo essayist, McCracken has a deep appreciation for visual art, and the event she’s planned to launch the Ames Writers Collective, the Words Meet Art event on Thursday, is one indication of that.

"Words meet art" is the first event of the Ames Writers Collective.

The evening’s program will feature readings from 10 writers who were selected from a pool of over 20 nominations.

Forty-eight hours before the program, McCracken will send each of the 10 selected writers a different image of the artwork from the current Octagon exhibit. Each participant will write something based on the image they receive, and they will read their work from 6.30 p.m. Thursday, after a reception which will start at 6 p.m.

The authors selected for the event are Tina Bakehouse, Andrea Dorn, Leslie Kim, David Lee, A’Ja Lyons, Elaine Mattingly, Donna Moyer, Jane Robinette, Alisha Sauer and kat blue.

Thursday’s event is the first for the Ames Writers Collective. For the Octagon, this is the last event in its series of Image & Text exhibitions.

“Several of our board of directors and I will be making the official community announcement,” said McCracken.

Members of the Board of Directors of the Ames Writers Collective:

  • Jennifer Brockpahler, Director of the Ames Community Arts Council
  • Jennifer Drinkwater, Community Art Extension Specialist and Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Visual Culture at Iowa State
  • Ellyn Grimm, co-owner of Dog-Eared Books
  • Anna Magnusson, Executive Director of AbleUp Iowa and host of Heart2Heart Messages, an hour-long show on KHOI on Tuesday nights
  • Ana McCracken, Founder and President, Ames Writers Collective
  • Mikesch Muecke, associate professor of architecture at Iowa State and editor of Culicidae Press, an Ames-based publishing house.

The public is invited to attend this free event at the Octagon Center for the Arts, 427 Douglas Ave. For those unable to attend, the event will be available on YouTube at


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