Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Ludington Visiting Writers bring literary culture to the lakeshore

by Zinta Aistars
Published in Mid Michigan's Second Wave Media
October 1, 2013
and also
in Northwest Michigan's Second Wave Media
September 24, 2013

George Dila

What is it about Ludington that draws so many writers from all over Michigan? When you ask that question, you'll likely be told you should have a chat with George Dila. So we did. Zinta Aistars has the story:

They all have George stories. The writers of Ludington, and the writers from across Michigan who travel to this small town on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, they all have praise for George Dila, founder of Ludington Visiting Writers.

"George Dila is like Uncle George," says Jack Ridl, poet and professor emeritus of English at Hope College. He is a frequent participant in the Ludington Visiting Writers and the many writers' conferences and workshops Dila organizes. "The Ludington Visiting Writers started with George and will probably end with George."

Dila is himself a writer. He has a novel, The Stars, The Galaxies and All That, and short story collection, Nothing More to Tell, on the bookstore shelf. He started the Ludington Visiting Writers in 2001, a year after he and wife Judith moved to Ludington from Detroit.

"We didn't know what to expect when he moved here," Dila says. "We found amazing talent."

Dila wanted to bring some of the big city culture he'd left behind to the small lakeshore town. A writers group seemed a natural start. The group evolved into workshops, literary festivals, conferences and readings with writers from throughout Michigan, occasionally also from other states.

"The first year I established LVW, we had one visiting writer per month, and in January 2001, our first visiting writer was Jack Driscoll. He was our guinea pig to see if this idea would work."
It worked. Driscoll, a writer with Michigan roots who has penned four novels, four poetry collections, and has a laundry list of literary awards attached to his name, was just the pull the new writers program needed. Dila thought a few people might show up--some 60 people did.

"One of the things I try to do that makes our readings different than readings elsewhere," Dila explains, "is to ..."




Photo by Barry Matthews

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