Raelee Chapman, our indie correspondent, is seeking out the vast and varied writing communities across Asia, here she chats with Mark Chapman, (no relation) organiser of Writers in Taiwan.
When and why was Writers in Taiwan formed?
Writers in Taiwan is 1.5 years old and now has over 150 members. I formed Writers in Taiwan to meet more writers, find people interested in critiquing and simply for interest and support.
Where are meetings held?
We meet in a local cafe/bar. They have an outdoor terrace which is a little quieter. One member has suggested meeting at members’ houses, which is a possibility.
What happens at a typical meeting?
We chat for about twenty minutes, and then we critique. Usually we choose two or three pieces of writing, and each member gives their opinion (both positive input and things to work on). Then we switch to a more open discussion. The vibe of the group is focused and helpful. Writers interested in being critiqued will send in their sample a week before. In total we allow about 10,000 words, but if there’s only one piece of work, then a little longer is okay. We also have social meetings where we eat, drink and talk.
Is the group for expats only or a mix of locals and expats?
The group is open to anyone who speaks good English. We critique only work in English.
What are the group’s achievements to date?
The group is still quite young and we don’t have any anthologies. Some of our members are published novelists. I think our main achievement is helping each other to improve as writers.
How can people join?
People can sign up via meetup.
What are the future goals and directions of the writers group?
To continue critiquing each other’s writing. Some members have suggested that we can have special meetings to critique complete novels, which I think is a good idea. I also hope to arrange more social events.
Tell us a little about your own writing and what you are currently working on?
I’ve recently self-published a fantasy novel - Blue Prometheus. I’m now outlining the sequel. I also publish ELT materials and have written a series of EFL course books for schools in Taiwan.