Exploring the world of storytelling is more than just a hobby for one local wordsmith, it’s a passion she’s been pursuing for more than six years.
“Writing is something that can take you wherever you want to go,” said Leslie Johnson, founder of a Lethbridge writing group.
Leslie first realized her desire to bring together aspiring writers within the city back in 2012, after taking a creative writing course at Lethbridge College.
Soon after, she put out a call for storytellers to join her on a creative journey, and formed a group that is now better known as “The River Bottom Writers.”
“I really enjoy the group,” said long-time member Ken Orich.
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“It’s a fun place to come and write every Thursday night and it sparks some creativity, and it’s a great group of people to be around.”
Although founded six years ago, 2018 marks the momentous occasion that members were finally able to release their first book.
“It’s exciting,” said Orich. “Now I can call myself a published author.”
The book is called Silt-Good Dirt after the fertile soil found at the bottom of rivers, which members say represents the minds of writers that need to be nurtured and supported.
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The recently-released book features a collection of short stories and poems written by 13 different members over the last six years and has sold more than 100 copies in four months.
“When I first brought this up, I wasn’t sure we could do it because we had never published anything before,” said Johnson, “but I really wanted to get our name out there in a more established pattern, and I thought if we had a book we could really showcase not only what is done here but writing itself.”
Leslie also said she hopes this big step for the group will inspire more local writers to get together and actively explore their talents