The BisMan Writers Guild will soon be releasing a book. This is part of an effort to encourage writing and literacy in the area.
“It was just a great way to see how talented our people in North Dakota are,” said Justin Cancilliere, Executive Director of BisMan Writers Guild.
They’re calling it The Mythology Anthology, and it’s a book that features stories from local writers.
The guild helps to give artists opportunities to get published, and that is just one way they’re trying to help writers in our area.
“We’re trying to bring a lot of new things to Bismarck. I would love to have a writers conference as well as writing retreats, just for North Dakota as a whole,” said Cancilliere.
The guild started in 2019, with only 10 members. Despite the challenges they’ve faced with the pandemic, it continues to grow. Now, there are 150 members in the group.
“I had no idea there were this many writers out there at all. I thought I was completely alone because all of my friends, they have pretty normal jobs and they’re happy doing those things. It kind of feels like being in alcoholics anonymous, because as a writer, you’re kind of in your own world. To have the writers guild, you’re surrounded by people who know exactly what you’re going through. Have the same issues,” said Big Nick, a poet.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 43 million U.S. adults are considered to have low literacy rates.
“In my opinion, we’re losing the arts in our society. We’re an electronic age. People don’t embrace the arts as much as they used to. There are so many talented people that just don’t do it because they don’t have the avenue to do so,” said Cancilliere.
To help keep the arts alive, the group has been hosting workshops and write-ins.
“There’s maybe 1 percent of 1 percent that can just right off the bat write an incredible novel. Just storytelling and all that just comes to them. Most people, it’s like a normal skill. You have to work at it. You have to cultivate that,” said Big Nick.
“I think it’s helpful for people to be able to express themselves, especially in times like this. Being able to get things off their chest, being able to articulate how they feel, or who they are,” said Clayton Snyder, an author.
Their anthology book is set to come out sometime next month, and they tell us they hope to soon work with local schools to reach younger writers and get them involved with the group.