In The Media

First Swift Writers Workshop is a Success

In July we held the first Ames Writers Collective Swift Youth Writing Workshop, and it was a huge success!

It was fun, and challenging, and all of us learned so much from writing together.

Our writers were twelve kids ranging from 7th grade to 12th grade, and they wrote for five days to writing prompts. After each writing session the kids were gently encouraged to read their writing to the group. It took a bit for the kids to feel comfortable reading aloud, but in the end everyone read their freshly written pieces. Some of what the kids had to say:

“I did share my writing because I felt comfortable and knew I wouldn’t be judged.”

“I learnt by sharing with the group that I’m more confident than I thought.”

One thing that is truly awesome is that there was a nice mix of ages. The youth librarian suggested the age range and it worked exactly as he said it would. The success of this workshop demonstrates that we’re all filled with stories that want to be told. And stories cross divides.

The Swift Youth Writers Workshop was made possible by a Rotary Club of Ames Community Grant. The workshop was held in partnership with the Ames Public Library, which provided the Rotary Room and lunches from the summer lunch program for the group. A big thank you to the Rotary Club of Ames and the Ames Public Library, and a big shout out to Jessi Brock for co-facilitating with me!

Why Join a Cancer Writing Circle?

Video - Writing Circle Wednesdays

If you are going through cancer treatment, or have completed treatment within the last two years, why would you want to be part of a weekly writing circle? What if you don't think of yourself as a writer?

Writing Circle attendees can answer those questions better than we can! In this video, attendees explain how their weekly group is more than the sum of its parts, how it helps, and how much it means to them.


Our Cancer Writing Circle, held in partnership with the William R. Bliss Cancer Resource Center, offers those receiving treatment for cancer or those who have completed treatment within the last two years a safe space to connect, express themselves, and to feel heard. During sessions, participants write together from writing prompts, which inspire stories from their lives. Writers are gently invited to read their “fresh” writing, and each writer receives positive feedback from the group.

Rotary Club of Ames Community Grant

Swift Youth Writers Workshop Receives Rotary Club of Ames Community Grant

Founder of the Ames Writers Collective, Ana McCracken receives a Rotary Club of Ames Community Grant for the Swift Youth Writers Workshops from outgoing Rotary Club of Ames President, Kelsey Carper. The Rotary Club awarded $20,000 in Community Grants to nine Ames-area organizations. The Ames Writers Collective will use the money to offer honorariums to Iowa State University MFA in Creative Writing and Environment candidates to facilitate writing sessions, youth writer lunches, notebooks and pens. The first of the Swift Youth Writers workshops will launch on July 18th at the Ames Public Library.

Mary-Richards Interview

On the Air with Mary Richards

On the air, Mary Richards and Ana discuss how Ana became a writer, her hybrid-memoir classes at OLLI-ISU, the launch of the Ames Writers Collective and its outreach programs—Writing Circle Wednesdays offering cancer support, Open Write Tuesdays, and the Swift Youth Writers Workshop.

Listen to the Full Interview:

Ana McCracken

Ana McCracken Launches Ames Writers Collective

Author Ana McCracken saw a need in the Ames community for a support network for writers — a group where writers and storytellers can study outside of academic settings. She decided to fill that need by founding the Ames Writers Collective.