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Writers & Books receives $10,000 national award

Charter Communications Inc. has partnered with Ovation, America’s only arts network, to recognize outstanding local arts, cultural and educational organizations and programs in five of Charter’s Spectrum markets nationwide. Rochester’s Writers & Books on Tuesday received $10,000 as one of the five Stand for the Arts Award recipients.

Alison Meyers
Alison Meyers

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to receive this prestigious recognition from Charter and Ovation, especially meaningful in a year of unprecedented challenges,” said Writers & Books Executive Director Alison Meyers in a statement. “Ovation’s Stand for the Arts Award shines a light on the important role the arts in general, and the literary arts in particular, play in the life of a community. Our Writers & Books team will put this generous award to excellent use in the months ahead.”

The award will enable WAB to grow its mission to foster and promote reading and writing as lifelong activities for people of all ages and backgrounds.

“Even in this challenging time, Writers & Books is doing meaningful work, showing how access to the arts and arts education can bring diverse communities together and enrich the lives of their residents,” said Camille Joseph, group vice president, government affairs at Charter. “Charter is pleased to extend this partnership with Ovation for a fifth consecutive year and support the creative work of these arts organizations as part of our commitment to invest and improve the communities we serve.”

Stand for the Arts Awards are granted based on how well an organization empowers the community, builds strategic partnerships, drives engagement through volunteerism and delivers creative programming.

“Rochester is a city that is at its best when artists have the opportunity to thrive,” said state Sen. Jeremy Cooney, D-Greece. “Through this award from Charter and Ovation young people will have the chance to explore reading and writing and nurture their artistic minds. As a School of the Arts graduate I know the value of experiencing artistic creativity, no matter your chosen path as an adult.”

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Writers & Books picks director from NYC literary scene

Writers & Books has selected a new executive director who has worked in New York City literary organizations for more than a decade.

Alison Meyers
Alison Meyers

Alison Meyers was selected after a five-month national search that drew 150 applicants.  She is a nationally recognized poet and writer of fiction, having been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for both poetry and fiction.

“I’m thrilled to join the committed Writers & Books team and look forward to building on an inspirational legacy bequeathed by founding director Joe Flaherty.” Meyers said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to partnering with the organization’s terrific staff, board of directors, and volunteers; engaging with Rochester’s rich history and diverse communities; and helping advance the critical role literature has to play, regionally and nationally, in our complicated times.”

Bruce Gianniny, president of the board of directors of Writers & Books, said, “We are confident Alison has the skills and experience to build programs at  both our University Avenue location and the Gell retreat in the Bristol Hills.”

Meyers most recently has been working as a literary arts consultant. From 2006 to 2016, she was executive director of the Cave Canem Foundation in Brooklyn, described as the country’s pre-eminent organization for African-American poets and poetry. Her other experience includes owning and managing an independent book store in Connecticut, directing development for the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses in New York City, and managing a consumers’ co-op in Ohio.

Meyers takes over from Flaherty, the literary arts organization’s founder, who served as director of Writers & Books for 36 years before retiring. Flaherty returned as interim director late last year after then-director Kyle Semmel stepped down. Semmel, a literary translator for works in Danish, directed the center for two years.

Flaherty said, “Alison’s extensive experience in the nonprofit literary world, and her obvious passion for promoting reading and writing within a community setting allowed us to know that we had found the ideal individual to confidently lead Writers & Books into the next exciting chapter.…”

Meyers plans to start at Writers & Books after moving to Rochester in mid-May.

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