Brussels is one of those cities with a high flux of people. Because of this, the Brussels Writers’ Circle gets plenty of new members and occasionally loses some.
When I learned I was going to move to Brazil, some of the hardest things to leave behind were the people and meetings, that helped me grow so much as a writer. I started looking for a writers’ group in São Paulo, my new home. To my surprise, this was easier said than done. In a city of 15 million, I struggled to find a single English speaking writer’s group.
Would I manage four years without a writers’ circle? I decided that this would be very difficult. If there wasn’t an English speaking writer’s circle in São Paulo, then I would open one. I signed up for one of those expat platforms and opened a writers’ group there. The beginnings were slow, but promising. Some amends had to be made to fit in the Latin time and spirit, but for the rest, the group slowly started to grow. Along with two other female writers, a French person and a Brazilian, I started to organise different activities, using the BWC format.
Eight months later, we’re around fifteen regular members. We meet twice a month in a Latin American-style restaurant that offers great snacks and some pretty mean cocktails. Tuesdays, when we meet, are also known as two-for-one mojito nights. The group is a mix of Brazilians and expats from different walks of life, from their mid-twenties to their eighties. This makes for a lively palette of experiences and opinions, as we support each other in our efforts to write better.
Results so far?
Many new chapters, stories and poems. One member, who insisted he couldn’t write, especially not fiction, wrote several chapters of his memoirs and one short story. Poets shared their poems for the first time and got encouraging feedback. We exchanged helpful resources, did a workshop on descriptions, entered competitions, created a very active WhatsApp group and got to know each other through writing. Most of all, we’re having a lot of fun. Isn’t that an essential part of writing?
This isn’t the only offshoot of the Brussels Writers’ Circle, as Berlin got its own one about half a year ago. In this way, BWC can continue to inspire and support writers, wherever they move.
Karmen Spiljak is a Slovenian-Belgian writer living in São Paulo.