OWC in the Past
Oregon Writers Colony was formed to support writers and establish a permanent writers’ retreat on the Oregon coast, which writers could use for projects and for classes. The organization worked toward these goals by presenting writers conferences and workshops.
During 1980-82, an organizing committee – Doreen Gandy, Marlene Howard, Lola Janes, Nan Phillips, Joan Picken, Florence Samuels, Thea Shepherd, Gail Tycer and Ed Weinstein – met, calling themselves the Don James Invitational Writers Conference. Most became founding board members when the organization became Oregon Writers Colony and received IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit status in 1983.
They continued offering classes and conferences for the next five years. In 1988, they purchased a log home on the ridge in Rockaway Beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean to the west and Lake Lytle to the east. Board members Margaret Borland, Sue Bronson, Joleen Colombo, Doreen Gandy, Bonnie Bean Graham, Marlene Howard, Gail McNally, Naomi Stokes, Rae Richen and Marsha Weber made the decision to purchase Colonyhouse. With a generous gift from Jean Auel, and a beneficiary gift from the estate of co-founder, Lola Janes, the Colonyhouse became a reality.
OWC in the Present
Oregon Writers Colony continues to offer many of the programs that were part of our mission when we first were recognized as a non-profit – to support writers at all levels of experience. In addition, we keep up with changes and provide opportunities for writers to understand new ways of working with the publishing industry, and new opportunities to market their writing. We also provide a place, called Colonyhouse, in Rockaway Beach for writers to focus on writing projects and practice their art.
All of our workshops, our annual short story and poetry contests and other services are provided at very little cost.
At Colonyhouse, we have hosted high school and grade school classes and their teachers. These students and teachers come to focus on improving their writing skills. We have an open invitation to a group of Tillamook and Clatsop County writers to use our house for their monthly meeting.
Small writers’ groups from the region are able to schedule days at Colonyhouse to work together on various projects, often writing during the day and then sharing and critiquing each others’ work in the evening. Many Oregon writers have worked on projects at Colonyhouse and eventually published those works. We have a collection of such works in our bookcase. These include histories, non-fiction articles, short story anthologies, children’s Early Readers, Young Adult fiction and nationally recognized novels of all types.
Our youngest writers have been the children of a group of Parents without Partners, who have come to Colonyhouse to explore the beach and to dictate stories to their parents, giving the children the knowledge that what they feel and imagine is important and is taken seriously.
We will be dedicating a Poetry Pole (like a realtors sign but with poems to share). Paulann Peterson, Oregon’s poet laureate, will be at Founder’s Day this August to dedicate the poetry pole. Poetry Poles are a way to encourage walkers in the Tillamook and Rockaway Beach community to share with each other the fun of words and the wisdom of poets.
We are proud to have worked for many years on the mission of supporting writers.