On May 22, members of the Charlotte Writers Club gathered with writers from across the state to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the club’s founding.
The gathering – “A gala like no other” – took place at the Mint Museum in Randolph.
The Charlotte Writers Club has its roots in 1922, when Adelia Kimball brought together a handful of aspiring writers for a short story writing tutorial.
In recognition of this meeting, the CWC created the AL Kimball Founders Award.
Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina Poet Laureate from 2012-2014 and author of numerous award-winning publications for which he was recognized in 2016 with the North Carolina Award in Literature, delivered the keynote address.
As a prelude to his speech, Bathanti read a statement from the North Carolina chapter of Writers for Democratic Action.
“The best tool for change,” argues the statement, “is to ‘reserve your vote’. ”
In his keynote address, Bathanti reminded those present of what was happening in 1922 when the CWC was founded: “Coal miners and laborers were fighting for better wages and working conditions, James Joyce published ‘Ulysses Mussolini came to power in Italy and books were banned and burned.
“In many ways,” Bathanti observed, “2022 isn’t much different.”
He reminded the writers in attendance that they have a responsibility to the spoken word: “Our words and our stories – all of the stories – matter.”
When he stepped away from the story, Bathanti praised the Charlotte Writers Club’s ongoing work to nurture aspiring writers, particularly the student engagement initiative that began last year and includes virtual office hours during which students in Charlotte schools can request help with writing. assignments of all kinds.
The opening speech was followed by an awards ceremony. Former Adelia Kimball Founders Award winners Dede Wilson and Irene Honeycutt presented the same award to Meriam Ruth Morris Moose of Albemarle for “extraordinary service to the Charlotte Writers Club and the writing community at large”.
Quoting Doris Betts, author of “The Ugliest Pilgrim” and “Souls Raised from the Dead”, Honeycutt claimed that “no other writer has produced a set of short stories that so skillfully captures the mood, the history and language of the South”.
Moose is the author of three collections of short stories, six collections of poetry and two novels.
As a member of the Charlotte Writers Club, Moose served as secretary and president of the program, then helped organize the North Carolina Writers Network.
Grateful to the club for its encouragement in its early years, Moose endowed the Ruth Moose Flash Fiction Contest.
In a reflective moment at the end of the evening, CWC President Caroline Kane Kenna imagined Adelia Kimball gazing at the writers who had gathered, proud that her long-ago short story writing class had moved on. a hundred years later in a community of writers involved in every genre imaginable.
David Collins, the club’s president-elect, closed the evening by looking to the future.
He announced that the CWC has received an $8,691 grant from the City of Charlotte’s Infusion Fund and The Carolinas Foundation and will use the funds to improve the club’s website — and that the centennial celebration of the CWC will continue on October 2 when the club hosts Therese Anne Fowler, a North Carolina writer with a series of New York Times bestsellers, to talk about her latest book, “It All Comes Down to This,” and his life in writing.