In The Media

Words Meet Art – Winter/Spring 2023

Words Meet Art, an outreach program of the Ames Writers Collective, is a literary arts event demonstrating through words how art, used as a writing prompt, can invoke feelings, trigger memories, and inspire conversations across divides and demographics. For inspiration, writers will interact with the Harriet Bart exhibition at the Christian Petersen Art Museum to compose and publicly read poems, flash fiction or creative nonfiction, and/or perform monologues or music.

For this first session of Words Meet Art, participants will receive a guided tour of Harriet Bart: Material Alchemy to educate and inspire creativity led by Sydney Marshall, Curator, University Museums, Iowa State University. An introduction to “writing to writing prompts” will follow, with writing sessions to connect writers to the exhibition. This session will be led by Ana McCracken, founder of the Ames Writers Collective, and/or an Iowa State University MFA in Creative Writing and Environment Program candidate. There are two options for attending Part 1: March 30 from 6pm to 8:30pm , and April 1 from 10am to 12:30pm.

Participants may bring their own drink and snacks for breaks. Refreshments are not provided. These events are free, but registration is required.

Words Meet Art, Part 1 - March 30 Words Meet Art, Part 1 - April 1

Then, on April 2 from 2pm to 4pm writers will come together for Words Meet Art, Part 2.

The writers who participated in Words Meet Art Part 1 will present their flash fiction, poems, creative nonfiction, a monologue, and/or perform music in response to the exhibition Harriet Bart: Material Alchemy in the Christian Petersen Art Museum.

Registration is not required to attend Part 2/the reading. Writers participating in the reading will sign up during Part 1.

IPR Talk of Iowa Interview

[caption id="attachment_3323" align="alignleft" width="150"]Charity Nebbe, host of Talk of Iowa Charity Nebbe,Talk of Iowa[/caption]

Our Founder, Ana McCracken, was one of three interviewed on Iowa Public Radio's Talk of Iowa show recently.

The show, hosted by Charity Nebbe, explored the new options available for non-academic writers in Iowa.

First up is Julie Gammack, columnist and producer of Okoboji Writers' Retreat. Then our own Ana McCracken speaks, and finally, Andrea Wilson, certified narrative therapist, founder and executive director of Iowa Writers' House.

All three are focused on building supportive communities for aspiring writers who are not involved in a university program or other academic-based writer's setting.

Listen to the show, here!


[caption id="attachment_3322" align="alignleft" width="150"]Julie Gammack, producer of Okoboji Writers' Retreat Julie Gammack, Okoboji Writers' Retreat[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3324" align="alignleft" width="150"] Ana McCracken, Ames Writers Collective[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3321" align="alignleft" width="150"]Andrea Wilson, director of Iowa Writers' House Andrea Wilson, Iowa Writers' House.[/caption]

KHOI Community Bookshelf Interview

Ana spoke with KHOI's Community Bookshelf. Community Book Shelf features primarily books, short stories, and poetry by local authors, read sometimes by the authors, sometimes by local narrators.

Listen to the full interview:

Our Founder Reads at Litquake 2022

Ana McCracken, Ames Writers Collective's founder, read a short piece as part of the Page Street writers at this year's Litquake in San Francisco.

The topic was "Welcome to Enlightenment."

Listen to Ana's reading here:

Litquake is San Francisco's annual literary festival. Originally a single-day event, it now has a two-week run in mid-October, as well as year-round programs and workshops.

Litquake consists of readings, discussions, film screenings, and themed events held at hundreds of Bay Area venues, in an attempt to bring as many disparate types of literary art to as many people as possible. The festival now features over 100 events and around 600 authors, and draws over 21,000 attendees annually. In 2021, 96% of all events were free and open to the public.

Litquake’s diverse live programs are created with the aim of inspiring critical engagement with the key issues of the day, bringing people together around the common humanity encapsulated in literature, and perpetuating a sense of literary community, as well as a vibrant forum for Bay Area writing. They work to produce events that are accessible to all. Read more about Litquake here. Learn more about Page Street here.

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.