Curtis Memorial Library hosts Fireside Writers writing group

There are a few things every serious writer needs. A good pen. Working knowledge of proper grammar. Vodka. And, to borrow a phrase: a room of one’s own.

Many writers do not earn enough from their work to secure that ideal writing room. So when a free room is offered to a writer, even if it is not in his or her own home, it’s essential to jump at the opportunity.


For the past few months, Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick has provided such a space for writers by opening up the beautiful 1904 Fireplace Room for a reserved block of time every Friday morning to host the Fireside Writers writing group.

Molly McGrath, Director of Publications for The Telling Room, a nonprofit writing center in Portland “dedicated to the idea that children and young adults are natural storytellers,” is the official moderator for the group, Defying the norm of more traditional writing groups, Molly has cultivated a new approach.

“I love the quiet that comes over a writing room, and the community that builds from this shared silence. That’s what this writing group is all about. We will gather as writers, simply to write in the quiet company of one another, in one of the library’s coziest spaces – not to critique each other’s work (although of course that’s good practice, too!), but to write fireside, for a dedicated time in an extraordinary place.”

— Molly McGrath, host of the Fireside Writers

I have been16117790_10208379716506652_1915809130_n involved in several writing groups over the years, most of which focused upon the more established routine of handing out work and then receiving peer critique and feedback. There were often prompts or assignments, with some time allotted during the hour for free-writing.

Though it is always an option to receive prompts and share work with one another, Fireside Writers focuses primarily on giving writers time each week in which they are free to come and go as their schedule allows, settling into the comfy leather chairs or couches to work on writing at their own pace. It is relaxed, casual, and always friendly. An introverted writer’s dream come true – a lovely room, companionable silence, and the opportunity to fall into a writing trance.

In my time with the Fireside Writers, I have written, revised, and finished several short stories, blog posts, and journal entries. I have also made significant progress on my current project, a (dare I say it?) novel attempt. Friday has become my favorite day of the week – the day I set aside each week to devote myself wholly to writing.

Any and all writers are invited to join in – amateur scribe or prolific author, it’s all the same to us. We’re a welcoming group, and we’d love to share your company. So if you’re in Brunswick on Friday mornings from 10 – 11:30, stop into Curtis Memorial Library and wander up to the 1904 building. Settle into a cozy armchair, enjoy the warmth of the fire, and get writing.


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Shannon Bowring

About Shannon Bowring

I am 26 years old. I was raised up in the County, in the tiny town of Ashland. I attended the University of Maine in Orono and graduated in 2012 with a BA in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. Reading and writing have always been the greatest loves of my life. I am most at home in the dusty corners of used bookstores, surrounded by forgotten books. One day, inspiration struck when I decided I wanted to combine all my loves – writing, reading, traveling, exploring these beloved shops – to create an outlet in which I can share my bookish adventures with an audience of like-minded readers who could appreciate my love of words and stories.