Dear friends of Writers on the Edge and the Nye Beach Writers Series:
The Nye Beach Writers’ Series is coming to an end on June 18. Our grand finale, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Newport Visual Arts Center, will include a performance of the writings of local author Johnny Bargain, plus an open mic, food, wine, giveaways and more. Don’t miss it. We would especially love to see our former board members that night, so we can honor them for their efforts.
After 20 years of featuring authors from near and far, the board of Writers on the Edge has decided it’s time to move on. Although we will never run out of authors to feature in our monthly series, we are running out of money and energy. When we started, the Nye Beach Writers’ Series was the only author series in the area, but now there are many other places for people to enjoy writers and writing, including Willamette Writers’ coast branch, literary programs at the local libraries, and the wonderful shows at the Newport Performing Arts Center.
We go out on a high note, proud of what we have accomplished.
In 1996, Carla Perry, with the sponsorship of Friends of the Yachats Commons, obtained a grant to pay featured authors $25 each, with lodging and meals provided in her home. During that first year and a half, fifty-one authors read their work to room-capacity audiences. In 1999, the series moved thirty miles north to Newport in 1999 in response to an offer by the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts to hold events at the Performing Arts Center. In honor of that site’s historic bohemian location, Perry renamed the program the Nye Beach Writers’ Series. Since then, we have met in several different locations, finally settling at the Newport Visual Arts Center.
By 2002, it was necessary to create a separate nonprofit organization so the program could apply for grants and expand programming to include in-school and after-school youth workshops, adult workshops, and special events. Thus Writers on the Edge was born. That year, Carla Perry received the Stewart Holbrook Special Award at the Oregon Book Awards for her outstanding commitment to Oregon’s literary community. In 2003, she received the Oregon Governor’s Art Award for her extraordinary efforts with the Nye Beach Writers’ Series. Perry, busy with her Dancing Moon Press publishing company, has stepped down as executive director, but other volunteers have kept the organization going.
The Nye Beach Writers’ Series has become a respected literary program, offering presentations in all genres by a mix of writers, from those beginning their literary careers to authors of national renown. Among our past presenters have been Chuck Palahniuk, Brian Doyle, and Cheryl Strayed, who have gone on to become best-selling authors. Ken Kesey and Peter Coyote were among our guest authors. What a wealth of great writers we have in the Pacific Northwest!
As of 2016, the Nye Beach Writers’ Series has hosted more than 400 authors at its monthly events, their presentations always followed by open mics open to anyone willing to share five minutes of original work.
We thank all of the people and organizations that have supported us over the years. We thank all the local hotels that have provided free lodging to our traveling writers, especially the Whaler and the Sylvia Beach Hotel. And thank you to the hard-working board: Sue Fagalde Lick, Charlotte Dinolt, Cynthia Jacobi, Marita Nash, Bonnie Dodge, and Lynn and Elaine Walser-Clark.
Although the series is ending, Writers on the Edge will remain intact as an organization. We are looking for new ways to bring writers together. We are thinking about open mics, write-ins, workshops, critique groups and other possibilities. We are open to suggestions. Visit our Writers on the Edge Facebook page or our website, writersontheedge.org., to see what happens next.
Sue Fagalde Lick
President, Writers on the Edge