Ernest Hemingway once said, “It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
Now writers in Long Beach can do just that. The new Long Beach Literary Arts Center (LBLAC) will be a place for writers to learn how to pursue their literary passion.
Desiree Kannel, Rachael Rifkin and Nancy Lynée Woo are the founders and minds behind the center’s development.
Kannel is the director of the Rose Writers Workshop, journalist and ghostwriter Rifkin has organized the Long Beach Human Library and Woo has led multiple poetry workshops.
“I came up with the idea of a literary center about five years ago,” Kannel said. “After I graduated with an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University, I set out to find and connect to Long Beach’s literary community. I was hoping to find the same cooperative spirit and support that Los Angeles seems to have. But, I found it hard– too hard– to locate and connect with other writing groups in the area. I also noticed a lot of different organizations doing the same things, and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was an umbrella organization that focused on all things literary– all genres of writing [like] novels, poetry, plays and scripts; publishing; presenting; support groups; etcetera? Long Beach Literary Arts Center was born.”
Rifkin explained that the purpose of the LBLAC is to create a writing space and provide tools, support and education for local writers.
“The three of us saw a need for a central hub for the writing community in Long Beach,” Rifkin said. “One of our goals is to establish Long Beach as a significant literary designation for the broader national literary community.”
The LBLAC has already started fundraising through events in the community.
“We just had our first fundraiser, A Writer’s Life Workshop: Practical Skills for the Working Writer, last Sunday,” Rifkin said last week. “We’ve done a few poetry events and workshops and silent-reading parties. We’ll be having more of both soon.”
On the fourth Thursday of every month, the LBLAC will host silent-reading parties from 5pm to 8pm. Kannel posts the locations of the parties 24 hours before the event through Instagram at lblitarts_party. There will also be a poetry reading on Oct. 14 at the Long Beach Public Library’s main branch from 2pm to 4pm.
As for the location of the center, Kannel explained that the former Acres of Books building in downtown Long Beach would be ideal. However, until the group finalizes a spot for the center, the LBLAC has reached out to writers through social media.
Overall, Kannel, Rifkin and Woo began to develop the center so writers throughout the community can join together to learn how to achieve their goals of becoming a writer.
“The Long Beach Literary Arts Center is a space for local writers to connect, create and collaborate,” Rifkin explained. “Offering diverse literary programming, the LBLAC seeks to elevate the voices in our community through professional development training, inclusive literary events and resources for artistic cross-pollination.”