Community Voices

Get connected: South Florida Writers Association meets monthly in Pinecrest

The South Florida Writers Association new board members hosted longtime librarian and current Pinecrest Library Manager Ellen Book at a recent Saturday morning meeting. Back row, from left: Holly White, Steve Liebowitz, Jeffery Dorn and Anika Madison. Front row, from left: Ricki Dorn, Evelyn Benson, Book, Jonathan Rose and Norma Chew. Not pictured: new board members Beverly Melasi-Haag, Dorothy Rider, Connie Goodman-Milone, Teresa Bendana, and Margarita Pedrozo-Walling.
The South Florida Writers Association new board members hosted longtime librarian and current Pinecrest Library Manager Ellen Book at a recent Saturday morning meeting. Back row, from left: Holly White, Steve Liebowitz, Jeffery Dorn and Anika Madison. Front row, from left: Ricki Dorn, Evelyn Benson, Book, Jonathan Rose and Norma Chew. Not pictured: new board members Beverly Melasi-Haag, Dorothy Rider, Connie Goodman-Milone, Teresa Bendana, and Margarita Pedrozo-Walling. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Writers helping writers is always good. The benefits can be tremendous for an emerging poet or novelist, and even an established one, seeking to bounce ideas back and forth, get helpful critiques, and learn tips on resources and trends.

Members of the South Florida Writers Association want to create connections. The growing group meets monthly, on the first Saturday of each month, and the next meeting will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 2 at the Pinecrest Branch Library, 5835 SW 111th St. The meetings are free and open to everyone. Beverages and light snacks are served.

At the group’s May 5 gathering, the members and guests said thank you to one of their great resources, Pinecrest Branch Library Manager Ellen Book, who also spoke at the event.

And, yes, this librarian does have the last name of “Book.” Her career with the Miami-Dade Public Library System has spanned more than 30 years.

“She is also the person responsible for our ability to unite here each first Saturday,” said Jonathan Rose, program director of the writers association.

Book shared her thoughts about "How a Writer Helps the Reader Work Through Issues." Her talk was followed by a lively question and answer session about the role of libraries for writers and the community.

“Writers are gifted,” she said. “You are soldiers in a battle to explain life. As a writer you become a filter pulling apart human psychology. You take us on a journey in which physical and mental scars are described, pondered and dealt with, sometimes with grace and other times with calamity.”

“A book can be your closest friend,” she said. “A well read life allows a careful reader to sidestep real regrets.”

She ended her talk with a quote by Toni Morrison: "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."

Book has been branch manager at the South Miami, Miami Lakes, Coconut Grove, Palmetto Bay and Country Walk libraries, as well as president of the South Miami Rotary Club (2005–06) and a Rotary assistant district governor (2007-08). She also served as president of the Dade County Library Association for two years beginning in 2008.

The city of South Miami proclaimed May 2, 2006, "Ellen Book Day" and the League of Women Voters presented her with the 2014 Community Activist of the Year Award.

Book said her proudest literary project was coordinating the countywide dictionary giveaways, from 2007-15, through which more than 27,000 dictionaries were hand-delivered to students at school assembles.

She said she is aiming for another decade at the Pinecrest Branch, where her goal is “to make the branch incrementally better each and every day.”

The South Florida Writers Association June 2 meeting will be the installation of new board officers. To learn more about this group and get involved, go to a meeting and check out www.southfloridawritersassn.org.

College admission talk

Do you want to learn the improved “recipe” for the college admission process?

Miami Palmetto Senior High School will host its third annual “Secret Sauce” talk at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the school’s auditorium, 7460 SW 118th St., Pinecrest.

Everyone in the community is invited to attend to hear about what students can do to help them get into their college choice. Parents can learn how to help their child find “that perfect college fit.”

“As we create this new ‘sauce’ I learn so much from our students,” said the school’s college counselor Harry Nerenberg in an email.

“As experienced applicants they share their secrets. Even after 30 years as a counselor these remarkable Palmetto students have wisdom beyond their years. They are seasoned and ready to embark on their next challenge and everyone (you don’t have to be a Palmetto parent nor a junior) can come to learn. You will see and hear the secrets of Palmetto's core values and know why our motto is ‘strength through knowledge’ or ‘vis per scientiam.’ ”

Symphonic Band concert

The Greater Miami Symphonic Band will close out the concert season with a program of some of the very best compositions for symphonic band. The program will include “Symphonic Gershwin,” “Marche Militaire Francaise,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” and “Symphony No. 2” by Hanson.

The event is at 8 p.m. June 5 at Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Dr. Robert Longfield will direct, and the guest conductor will be Barry Bernhardt. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students and children over 5. They will be available at the box office the night of the concert or online in advance at http://gmsb.org/.

Congratulations

The first Urban Warrior Awards were presented by the Miami Center for Architecture & Design, a group that promotes awareness and appreciation for the influence of architecture and urban design.

Recognized for improving our community’s quality of life are three honorees: Miami architect Ken Treister, Lifetime Achievement Award; Founder and President of The Underline Meg Daly, Visionary Award; Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan, Visionary Award. Learn more about this group at http://miamicad.org/.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at christinammayo@gmail.com.



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