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Athenaeum offers writing workshop, photography contest

WESTFIELD-The summer months provide a perfect time to explore the outside world, and Westfield Athenaeum staffers are hosting unique programs to inspire everyone to take a look at their surroundings.

For starters, an adult writing workshop titled “Writing the Wild” will be offered online on Aug. 11 at 6:30 p.m.

“In this workshop, we will explore how the natural world can inspire your creativity,” said Becky Blackburn, programming and outreach librarian. “We will discuss both nonfiction nature writing and also how to use the world outside your window to inspire other kinds of stories.”

Gretchen Hohmeyer, who is leading the class, noted she created this program based around one of the “most amazing writing classes I took when I got my writing degree.”

“The class will have small craft classes on description and detail as well as using nature for inspiration in your writing,” said Hohmeyer, who serves as digital services librarian.

Blackburn added that participants will leave with strategies and prompts to take forward into their own outdoor adventure.

To sign up for the class, visit the Athenaeum’s website – – or call (413) 568-7833 for more details.

Blackburn noted that a summer reading nature photography contest is also being observed this summer.

“The winners will be judged by a panel and announced at our end of Summer Reading Ice Cream Social, at which all the entrants will be displayed,” said Blackburn. “The winner will receive a gift card for the matting and framing of their photo – as well as bragging rights, of course.”

Participants can submit their best nature photography photo to [email protected] by Aug. 9. 

Beanstack participants will receive an extra raffle ticket for their submission, noted Blackburn.

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