Bucks County Writers Workshop

Bucks County Writers Workshop


Bucks County Herald July 22, 2004

by Connie Wrzesniewski

O. Henry lives on in the world of literature and in the pens of writers in the Bucks County Writers' Workshop which meets at the Doylestown Library every other Tuesday.

Annual awards were given out for the summer writing project, an adaptation of O. Henry's "The Marry Month of May," at B. Maxwell's on Tuesday night, July 13.

Writers receiving the awards were Chris Bauer who took first place, Carmen Ferreiro as first runnerup, Jacqui Callin, second runnerup and Alan Shils with honorable mention.

Ferreiro has been previously published by Chelsea House. Her nonfiction book on heroin and teens which was partially critiqued by the group is available at the Doylestown Library.

Don Swaim, leader of the Workshop acted as host for the evening and member Mary Jane Aklonis read an excerpt from the O. Henry work.

Damian McNicholl, recently published author of "A Son Called Gabriel," judged the submissions as well as presented the awards. A former member of the Bucks County Writer's Workshop where the novel was partially critiqued, he spoke to the group about the process of writing.

"I didn't come from Ireland to write the great American novel. "I wanted to get published. That was a dream of mine," he said.

"In the process of writing a novel and bringing it to market you have to be aggressive and I was because I was a lawyer and I was an aggressive lawyer."

Foster Winans of the Writers Room was also present. He spoke of his youth growing up in Doylestown which he feels was a stimulus for his own writing career.

"I was obsessed with S. J. Perelman who wrote for the Marx Brothers and I fantasized over Oscar Hammerstein's bucolic home in Doylestown," he said. "I fancied myself having a place like that."

Both writing groups arrived on the scene about six years ago. Originally founded by member, Al Honig, who was in the process of writing a novel, the Bucks County Writers Workshop met at the library during daytime hours. Don Swaim, published author of "The H. L. Mencken Murder Case," joined the group taking over leadership after retirement, eventually expanding the schedule to evening meetings in order to broaden the attendance.

Before retirement to New Britain Twp., Swaim worked for 31 years in New York as anchor reporter, producer, and writer at CBS news. He also hosted "Book Beat," a long-running show on CBS Radio. Don's need to fill spare time in retirement has been a boon to the Bucks County Writers' Workshop which runs smoothly and professionally under his guidance.

In addition to last year's summer workshop effort, the collectively written novel, "The Yellow Bus," all submissions may be viewed at the Bucks County Writer's Workshop website -- donswaim.com/buckswriters.html.

Bucks County Writers Workshop