An announcement from Seattle7Writers’ co-founders, Jennie Shortridge and Garth Stein:
In July 2019, our nonprofit organization will celebrate its 10th anniversary, a milestone neither of us, nor the other founding members, could have imagined.
It’s with a little sadness and a lot of satisfaction that we announce we’ll formally retire the nonprofit service organization aspect of our community in July 2019, and return to being a group of connected writers who gather to talk shop and provide support and camaraderie—a group that now numbers over 90.
The group formed when the two of us invited others to our monthly coffee klatch in 2006, becoming seven (and then nine)* published book authors who met to talk shop, support, kvetch, and celebrate with each other. We called ourselves the Seattle 7, inspired by member Kit Bakke’s connection to the youth protest movements of the 1960s and 70s, and the local Seattle protestors who were put on trial for conspiracy during that time.
When Garth’s third novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, broke out and became an international success, his book tour raised money for animal shelters and humane societies. He came to the group and said, “We should be using our collective power like this, for good.” The group agreed, and Seattle7Writers incorporated as a nonprofit in 2009.
Over the ensuing decade, that’s what we aspired to do. And we succeeded by raising over $100,000 for local literacy and literary organizations; organizing and spending thousands of hours participating in countless events, book fests, fundraisers, and our annual writing conference; and rehoming over 40,000 gently used books into places where readers had no access: shelters, food banks, correctional facilities, detention centers.
What’s more, our members have volunteered with youth, disadvantaged communities, incarcerated populations, those in recovery from addiction and homelessness, and writers in the community, to help them build their writing skills. We have mentored, taught, written, sorted and delivered books, organized and attended events, sat on panels, and done so much more—we wrote a collaborative novel, tap danced and performed, schlepped boxes, and some of us played in a band called, fittingly, The Rejections.
Our mission has been to give back to the reading-friendly, book supportive Pacific Northwest community by supporting literacy projects and organizations, and by connecting personally and professionally with the community in ways most other larger cities have not experienced. We have done everything from the heart, and tried to use our heads, and certainly worn out our bodies, in service of gratitude.
And we have both gone gray in the process.
Writers must write, and after ten years of service, the two of us feel the need to return our focus to our true callings as writers, and to our families and friends. It’s been a long, busy, and joyful ride, and we couldn’t have done it without our members, and this wonderful community of writers, readers, independent bookstores, libraries, and partner literary and literacy organizations, including:
Writers in the School/Seattle Arts and Lectures
Bureau of Fearless Ideas/826 Seattle
Path With Heart
Pongo Teen Writing
Bushwick Book Club Seattle/STYLE
Respectfully and with gratitude,
Seattle7Writers board and founding* members
Randy Sue Coburn*
Maria Dahvana Headley
Tara Austen Weaver
And a huge shout-out to member Donna Miscolta for her work to diversify and create equity in our ranks.
Seattle7Writers is going all out for its last year. Don’t miss upcoming events!