Waitukubuli Writers (WW) was formed in 2016 by founding members Alick Lazare, Dorothy Leevy, Jeno Jacobs, Jane Grell, Roy Sanford and Kristine Simelda.
All of these founding members had realized the dream of seeing their books in print, but they wanted more.
The groups’ mission statement was and still is: “Crafting authentic literature from Dominican writers for readers at home and around the world.”
The overall objective of the group is mentoring and promotion – to help improve the work of members through constructive criticism leading towards wider distribution and readership.
When the group was formed, new members were encouraged to join in workshops, share their writings, and enjoy complimentary editing and proofreading to ensure their effort was the best it could be..
The road has not been easy for WW. From the onset, one of the challenges was finding a consistent and convenient place for meetings.
As wandering spirits, members of the group first gathered at the gazebo in the Botanical Gardens, then to Tiffany’s; a restaurant next to Sukies in New Town, to Alick Lazare’s home, then the bleachers at the Botanical Gardens. The group’s meeting place then moved to UWI Open Campus. From UWI Open Campus the group moved to the Roseau Primary School.
The group meets every second Saturday of each month and apart from the business, members are given the opportunity to read aloud and enjoy workshops on various aspects of the craft – writing poetry, short stories, self publishing, submission opportunities as well as to socialize.
These meetings offered a treasure trove of information for established and emerging writers.
At the beginning of 2018, the idea of putting together an anthology of poetry and short stories was initiated by Kristine Simelda.
The aim was to put out a new set of Dominican literature from already published writers and also new ones who had not published before and was just waiting for the opportunity to do so.
And so over the next two years, Kristine and others worked diligently in terms of gathering, editing and proofreading works submitted by members.
The end product was “Montage Domnik: New Short Stories and Poems from Dominica,” published in 2021 by River Ridge Press which is owned by Kristine.
When COVID-19 struck, WW did not miss a beat. All meetings were held online via Zoom. These meetings were fun and very interactive.
Since its inception, WW has grown tremendously. The group has a Facebook page, a Twitter page and a WhatsApp chat group. It has participated in a number of events including book sales at Creole in the Park and DEXIA’s Strictly Local Christmas and the annual Library Week. Members have been asked to judge various writing competitions or give presentations on Dominican literature.