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The Norfolk Quill celebrates 10 years of local writing

From left, Norfolk Quill’s Jean Burke, Margo Ball ,and Joe Buckley.
Carter Ball
From left, Norfolk Quill’s Jean Burke, Margo Ball ,and Joe Buckley.

After Margo Ball attended a writer’s workshop at Bellingham Public Library in 2006, the participants’ short stories were compiled into a book.

When the group disbanded, the Norfolk resident began offering her own series of free writing workshops at the Norfolk Public Library, culminating in the publication of a literary journal each June. The Norfolk Quill is now celebrating its 10th anniversary, with Ball working alongside editorial team members Joe Buckley and Jean Burke.

“My motivation in establishing the Norfolk Quill was my deeply held belief that ordinary people have extraordinary things to say,” Ball said, “and they ought to have their words lifted up and celebrated.”

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Ball inherited her appreciation for language and writing from her father, a grammar school teacher and minister who could often be found working at the typewriter in his study. When a poem she wrote in the second grade about a brownie was published in the high school newspaper, Ball said it was the “first time my words were something that people wanted to hear — and that made a difference.”

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Ball seeks to similarly inspire writers’ group members, as well as local students and the general public who contribute fiction, memoir, and poetry to the Norfolk Quill.

In fact, Ball said she believes so strongly in offering greater visibility and peer support to area writers that she helped finance the project before receiving grants from the Norfolk Cultural Council and Norfolk Community League.

A few years ago, Ball enlisted her son, Carter, to help with layout and with reviewing the ever-increasing number of submissions. After he left for college, she reached out to core Norfolk Quill members Burke and Buckley to help lead its evolution — beginning with a youth poetry contest that debuted last year.

While she remains involved in an advisory role, Ball says she is “encouraged and optimistic about its future.”

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“The Quill is my baby, my vision,” she added, “and I can’t wait to watch it soar.”

Registration is underway for the next six-week workshop series at Norfolk Public Library beginning in April.

For more information, e-mail jeancburke@gmail.com or visit facebook.com/TheNorfolkQuill.

Cindy Cantrell

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at cindycantrell20@gmail.com.