Interview with The Lancaster Literary Guild’s Betsy Hurley
Over thirteen years ago, writer and librarian Betsy Hurley came to Lancaster and began a search for local freelance writers, illustrators, and members of the writing community to help her create a literary journal. Her efforts to bring together disparate parts of Lancaster’s budding literary community produced two local initiatives: The Lancaster Literary Guild, of which she is remains the director today, and the Guild’s annually published journal, Rapportage.
The Lancaster Literary Guild’s work and dedication to the literary arts is showcased through Rapportage as well as the events they organize throughout the year. Their full-color, 100-page, literary journal is comprised of book reviews, featured stories, essays, and original art. Rapportage is distributed to the members of the Guild (find out about how to gain a membership here) and is in its tenth issue.
The Lancaster Literary Guild is responsible for the creation of the city’s “Poet Laureate” position and has worked to choose the most talented, motivated, and community-involved poets to hold that title. The city’s current laureate, Christine Longenecker, is serving a two year term but beginning in 2014 the Guild will begin its search for the next laureate. On October 2nd the Guild is sponsoring a reading at the Ware Center starring Lancaster’s three poets laureate thus far, Longenecker, Barbara Buckman Strasko, and Daina Savage.
Working year round to plan and promote literary events ranging from book clubs, author readings, and poetry performances, Hurley and her Guild stay busy. Besides the highly-anticipated poet laureate reading, the Guild also has a Sylvia Plath exhibit opening on October 4th, a show featuring John Terlazzo and the Voices in the Hall on October 22nd, and a reading/book signing with writer, historian and traveler Andrew Carroll on November 13th. The Guild organizes events by season and Hurley is proud and excited to be bringing the community together for these diverse and engaging literary events.
Although Hurley has worked in her literary community since 2000, she still has hopes and ambitions for its future growth. In an online interview with the Triangle this week she said, “What I would really like to see more in the literary community is more excitement, more literary performance art, out door exhibits and hands-on activities that really attract young readers. I would love to see all night writing projects or readings…I would love to see programs exploring more than just the classics, and programs including all sorts of genres like graphic novels, cookbooks, anything that can get people excited and expand their imagination.”