A local nonprofit that offers professional-level writing workshops – at no cost – has had more than 250 participants since June.
Keep St. Pete Lit’s mission is to “celebrate and promote the area’s literary community,” said co-founder Maureen McDole, 40, who started the organization in August 2013.
McDole, a local writer and poet, has spent more than 15 years leading workshops and speaking about creativity and her craft. McDole says she founded Keep St. Pete Lit because she believes “wholeheartedly in the power of literature to change the world.” All of the board members are local writers, authors and publishers.
Classes are held on the weekends through October. Some topics include fiction, poetry, plot pacing, word choice, narrative elements and crafting comedy.
Other workshops explore idea generation and peer evaluation. There’s even a moon-lit guided hike by the sea shore, in collaboration with St. Petersburg Audubon, during which flora and fauna common to the area will be sighted, named and explained.
All classes, except for the night hike, have been held at LitSpace Literary Arts Institute. This is in partnership with, and a space within, the Morean Arts Center at 719 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg.
This month the organization plans to expand to other locations, including Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum at address.
These free classes are made available to the community through the revenue and donations generated by BookSpace, an intimate bookstore operated by Keep St. Pete Lit in collaboration with Bluebird Books Bus, and housed in Bloom Art Center at 910 Fifth Ave. N. BookSpace is open Sunday and Monday, from noon until 6 in the evening, and also for special events connected to Bloom Art Center and the surrounding art community.
While the space and hours are tight, the collection is clearly curated for quality. An eclectic array of rare, new and vintage books line the shelves. The books are donations and most are offered below sticker price.
Even if you don’t enjoy nonrequired reading or writing, the funky murals enveloping the building, inside and out, make the short drive, bike, walk or skate from campus worth it.
BookSpace’s official grand opening will take place this Saturday, Oct. 10 from 6-11 p.m. The event, in partnership with Bloom Art Center, is called Semiotics. According to McDole, it will explore “the study of how meaning is created through signs, symbols and signification.” There will be music, art and of course, books.
To view and register for classes online visit http://keepstpetelit.org/litspace/litspace-classes/
Visit the event page for the grand opening: https:#www.facebook.com/events/1670193213215787/