Ongoing Programs and Projects

SWFWW believes that its vision applies to 365 days a year, not to just one fabulous weekend biennially.   Thus, we offer programs and workshops throughout the years between the Festivals.

These include youth outreach, the Poet Laureate program, and what we refer to as Prologue Events, including our Prologue Weekend on the first weekend of October in the even-numbered years.   The latter gives us all the chance to still get our literary “hit” but in a smaller more intimate venue.  We also co-sponsor events with other organizations in our area.

Poet Laureate Program

Prologue Weekend

Reading Groups

Do you have a book club? Tell us about it! We can help spread the word:


Writing Groups


Gilawriters is an expressive writing group that meets every Wednesday, 1:00-3:00pm at the Food Co-op Market Cafe Community Room at 615 North Bullard Street. The group is open to the public, free of charge.

Gilawriters’ approach is based on the following ideas and principles:

• Everyone has a strong, unique voice.
• Everyone can develop their skills of self-expression.
• Writing as an art form belongs to everyone, regardless of economic class or educational level.
• A writer is someone who writes.

At each session:

• Writing is done within a non-hierarchical spirit—everybody including the facilitator writes during the session and shares, if he/she so chooses. At the same time, an appropriate structure is maintained—how we interact as a group—to keep writers safe.

• Confidentiality about what is written in the workshop is maintained and the privacy of the writer is protected. All writing is treated as fiction unless the writer requests that it be treated as autobiography.

• At all times writers are free to refrain from reading their work aloud.

• Feedback on writing focuses on what the writing effectively communicates, without negatives or rewrite suggestions.

• During each session, “triggers” are offered to pique the writer’s imagination. Each writing period lasts from 10-15 minutes. All writing is done within the session.

Gilawriters is about letting go and allowing the ideas to flow through your pen/computer and out into the open. It is about enjoying the work of self-expression.

For more information, contact Trish Heck, Gilawriters Facilitator, at or call 575-534-0207.

Gilawriters is sponsored by the Southwest Festival of the Written Word.

The Creative Writing Group at WNMU

The Creative Writing Group at WNMU is open to all – beginners, published writers, students, and the community at large. It is offered free of charge. No WNMU course credits are given for attending.

Its purpose is to provide a safe venue for those who wish to have their written work read and reviewed by other writers. The goal of most of the participants is to develop their writing so that it becomes publishable, or in some cases performable.

The Group has had quite a bit of success on this front, with about eight of the regular members publishing the pieces they brought to the group. Several others, including the Poet Laureate of Silver City and Grant County, have performed their pieces in public, having honed the work after receiving editorial comments from the group.

The Creative Writing Group meets the first and third Tuesdays of every month, 6 p.m. in the Kennedy Puentes Room , at the Miller Library, WNMU. Participants should bring 10 copies of their poetry, fiction, memoir or creative non-fiction (5-7 minutes’ worth of reading) to distribute to the group.

For more information, contact JJ Wilson, writer-in-residence, WNMU ( The Creative Writing Group at WNMU is supported by WNMU and the Southwest Festival of the Written Word.

River Trip Poetry Group

Both seasoned and emerging poets are invited to participate in the newly-launched River Trip Poetry Group, an ongoing experiential poetry group meeting on 2nd Tuesdays, 10 to 11:30 am at Yankie Creek Coffee House (Yankie Street at Texas Street in Silver City, NM).

This poetry group, sponsored by the River Chapter of New Mexico State Poetry Society, is open to all who enjoy a supportive and engaging environment in which to make connections, hone skills and share their literary art. The focus of these sessions is on both writing and reading. Writing exercises are offered by rotating facilitators selected within the group. All poetry forms are welcome. Organizers of this group are Elise Stuart (the Poet Laureate of Silver City) and Stewart S. Warren (author and drifter).


The Twisted Vine

Festival steering committee members are involved in the operation of WNMU’s Twisted Vine literary journal. For more information, visit


The Southwest Festival of the Written Word’s (SWFWW) mission is to promote reading and writing within our communities. We periodically offers writing workshops that are open to the public for a fee, unique to each workshop. Community writing and reading groups that are open to the public are invited to contact the Festival so that we can help in publicizing their meetings and events. Please send information to

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