It’s quite fitting that the Mississauga Writers Group (MWG) was created in a place that showcases hundreds of thousands of writers.
In autumn of 2012, Elizabeth Banfalvi, Samna Ghani and Ian Stout attended a Mississauga Central Library book fest for local authors. They spoke of other groups and workshops available for budding writers, the high cost of these and that many were out of town.
After an engaging conversation, Elizabeth suggested forming a local group minus membership fees to create openness and approachability for others.
After a quick agreeance, they decided to move forward and contact other book-fest writers.
First up was finding a location and luckily the husband of Jasmine Sawant (one of their first members,) Nitin Sawant, offered them a home at The Open Space, which saw eight members attend the inaugural meeting. The Open Space was a temporary venue that had to change as of summer 2013.
Member Nicholas Boving, who was part of the “Friends of the Library” group, approached them and graciously coordinated a small space on the Central Library third floor, which evolved into a larger spot in the second floor Green Room, thanks to Marian Kutarna later in 2013.
As the MWG picked up steam and with only 20 members only a few years ago, the first floor Program Room is their current home as they currently close in on 100 members.
Starting off with having members bring and present their writing pieces created the culture for celebrating and supporting other writers. In 2014, Samna recommended the team do an anthology and Word Fest, “Celebrating Ideas”, which saw 65 entries from 16 different writers covering various topics be published. 2015’s Word Fest, “Celebrating our Journeys”, was published by the MWG with a theme of “Why We Write” which saw 79 entries via 15 writers.
Carrying the momentum into 2016 Word Fest, “Celebrating the Holidays” saw nearly 100 entries through 19 writers. For Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary, “Canada, Our Home” will be published with heritage life stories included.
In the past three years, the MWG have been invited to the Culture Days’ event to present writers’ workshops and 2016 saw their first anthology with the help of the “Friends of the Library” donations for promotional items, which is a thrill for members.
The team is looking at different ways to support members as they continue to expand and word spreads about what they’re doing, whether through different outlets, networking and having the Central Library connect them with other writing groups.
They’re embarking on a “Mississauga Writers Group Road Show” later this year, where they’ll set up shop at local library branches to connect with other writers.
This group of writers who share knowledge, creative and mutual respect, have progressed quite well over the past few years, and with their awareness is increasing as a result of being passionate and dedicated to their craft. The MWG is looking to continue adding members to offer support to writers, regardless of experience.
For more information, visit mississaugawritersgroup.com