DC Writers Center

Tired of working on your novel at the kitchen table? Or, worse, your mom's kitchen table? A group of authors in the Washington area is trying to create a better workplace for writers -- a communal space that's quiet, close to a Metro station, and not too expensive. That's a tall order in this tony town, but the nonprofit group Syntax DC says that if New York and Boston can offer writers an oasis like this, Washington can too. As the organizers imagine it, their new writers center will give people a place to work (about 20 desks) along with a sense of community that supports all kinds of literary activities such as author readings, round-table discussions, outreach activities at schools, and tutoring programs for local students.

Founder and director Chloe Schama told me that the group is trying to raise $140,000 and hopes to open their facility next fall. "With more writers per capita than any state in the union," she said via e-mail, "I think Washington, DC needs this kind of space." Their ideal location would be in an area like Shaw; they're also hoping the center can help revitalize a low-income area.

If you want to help out or get involved, come to a fund-raising party on Saturday night, January 31, at 7 Logan Circle, Apt. 21 (8:00-midnight). Tickets are $25 if you RSVP before Jan. 29, or $35 at the door.

Hosts include novelist Lou Bayard (The Black Tower), Washington Post editor Rajiv Chandrasekaran (Imperial Life in the Emerald City), novelist Dinaw Mengestu (The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears), Fortune editor Julie Schlosser, DC Modern Luxury editor Karen Shallet, and American Scholar editor Robert Wilson.

For more information, e-mail syntaxdc@gmail.com

By Ron Charles |  January 22, 2009; 7:00 AM ET Ron Charles
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