BATAVIA – As an attentive audience looked on in the art gallery at Water Street Studios in Batavia, Norlyn Dimmit took to the podium to present his views of democracy.
“We need to collaborate for the common good,” Dimmit said. Since February 2012, writers like Dimmit have been sharing their work every month as part of a group called Waterline Writers. Dimmit said he was pleased to be given that opportunity.
“It gave me the chance to talk to a new audience,” he said.
Waterline Writers is the brainchild of Batavia residents Anne Veague and Kevin Moriarity, who are writers themselves. As of September, 81 writers have read at the events at Water Street Studios, 160 S. Water St., Batavia.
“Writers don’t normally get a chance to read their work,” Veague said. “It is a place to share their work.”
The theme of Waterline Writers’ most recent reading was “Writing Matters,” a different format than most of the group’s sessions, which primarily will focus on nonfiction writing.
“It was more about the message than creative writing,” Veague said. “Normally, we are just looking for the best in fiction.”
Veague is in charge of curating the readings, which involves finding the best pieces and arranging them so each piece builds on the others. Each session features between six or seven writers, and each is given about eight minutes each.
“It just seems to work,” Veague said. “That’s the attention span most people have.”
Diana Zwinak, an English teacher at Indian Creek High School in Shabbona, shared her work for the first time at September’s Waterline Writers session.
“The fact that you can come here and share is a totally valuable experience,” Zwinak said. “It’s just an awesome thing.”
As the executive director of Teen Writers and Artists Project, a nonprofit organization that mentors teens in the arts, she is trying to instill the love of the written word and the arts in young people.
“I am trying to help young people access their own self-expression and help them grow,” Zwinak said. Teen Writers and Artists Project presented a Slam Poetry/Spoken Word Showcase at the recent Art in Your Eye festival in Batavia.
Moriarity said he has been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who have attended the readings.
“We have had as many as 85 people at a session,” he said. “Most of the audience is comprised of writers. It is more of a writers community.”
Waterline Writers has featured writers as young as 15 and as old as 80. Those participating in the readings have read everything from essays to screenplays.
“I think our strength is our variety,” Moriarity said.
Readings are at 7 p.m. on the third Sunday of every month, and Waterline Writers’ next session is set for Oct. 20. They are taped by public access station BATV, giving writers a bigger audience than the one they are speaking in front of at Water Street Studios.
Moriarity hopes that Waterline Writers will grow to be an even bigger part of the literary world in the Chicago area.
“We’re trying to reach out more in the writing community,” he said.
Want more information about Waterline Writers? The group has readings at 7 p.m. on the third Sunday of every month at Water Street Studios, 160 S. Water St., Batavia. Information is available at www.waterlinewriters.org.