Resources for Writers: “Penpoint” Your Virtual Community

Welter’s Beth Phan finds inspiring creative connections during COVID. Read now for fast-approaching, online events.


Ernest Hemingway summed it up perfectly: “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” As we all continue to self-isolate, maintain a distance of six feet, or work from home, socializing with other writers becomes a distant memory. Gone are the days of meeting up at a bar to share stories over a cheese plate and a bottle of wine (or two). Community brainstorming sessions have been reduced to solitary brain-drizzles, and feedback is only communicated through email. If you find yourself missing the writing community, there’s hope yet! Check out these virtual events that’ll connect you to writers from all over – and you don’t even have to leave your couch.

Black Mountain Institute:

Launch Your Laptop Into the Sun with Samantha Irby & Megan Sielstra | Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 8pm EST

If you questioned your role as a writer and creative at any point during the colossal year that was 2020, look no further. Las Vegas’s Black Mountain Institute presents Samantha Irby and Megan Stielstra, two essayists who just get it. In this virtual event, they’ll discuss “what it means to tell stories in this time and of this time.” The best part? It’s free! Register here.

UC Berkeley: 

Lunch Poems | 2020-2021 Academic Year at 12pm PST

While we can’t gather for an intimate poetry reading in a modestly lit room, we can still hear those powerful words read aloud, over Zoom. UC Berkeley is offering a series of Lunch Poems: a noontime poetry reading series. Hear from Yusef Komunyakaa (Dec. 3), Kiki Petrosino (Feb. 4), and more throughout 2021. Find more information here.

Vermont Studio Center:

Writer to Writer: Conversations on Craft & Featured Readings | Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 7pm EST

It’s a question every new and emerging writer asks themselves: How can I make money doing this? No shame, it’s a valid question! Vermont Studio Center’s Writer to Writer series can help provide an answer, giving working writers a platform to discuss “craft, literary friendship, publishing, sustaining a writing practice,” and a whole lot more. January’s event will feature author Nandi Comer and poet Jonah Mixon-Webster. Register here.

The Powerhouse Arena:

Virtual Book Launch: Creative Types by Tom Bissell in conversation with Adrienne Miller | Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 7pm EST

You might’ve heard of author Tom Bissell from his most recent book, The Disaster Artist. He’s back with a new collection of short stories titled Creative Types, “unflinching portraits of women and men struggling to bridge the gap between art and life.” Join writer and moderator Adrienne Miller to celebrate Bissell’s new book in this virtual book launch. Register here.

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