December marks the launch of The Cabin’s annual anthologies, giving you plenty to read on a cold winter’s night.
By Elisabeth McKetta
Photography by Copper Chadwick
The Cabin performs a balancing feat year-round. In the summer they offer writing camps for kids and adults, resulting in three anthologies of the (over 500!) campers’ poems and stories. During the rest of the year, they host the Readings & Conversations series, inviting world-class writers to come to Boise (this year’s series includes Junot Diaz and Susan Orlean). The Cabin places professional writers in Idaho schools through their Writers in the Schools (WITS) Program, and they offer book clubs, writing workshops, and readings.
And now, their newest focus is publishing the work of Idaho writers.
“The writers who come to us really want help publishing,” says Jocelyn Robertson, Marketing and Communications Manager for The Cabin. “These writers are people with other jobs, other lives, and with kids, and they’re all finding a pocket of time to write. They’re writing in the attic.”
So The Cabin created Writers in the Attic, an annual anthology. Writers from all over Idaho submit stories in both fiction and nonfiction along a given theme (last year’s theme was “Rooms,” this year’s is “Detour”) and a local literary figure selects the winning stories (the judge for 2013 was Boise State Professor Bruce Ballenger). Then, local printers, Caxton Press prints all of the books: beautiful, sturdy, good-quality books.
“We get some incredible stories. We’re eventually hoping to do anthologies for poetry too,” Robertson says.
Robertson edits all of The Cabin’s anthologies alongside Program Director, Julie Strand. “We are knee-deep in editing the summer anthologies now,” Robertson says. “All of our books come out around Christmas time.”
The book launch for the summer writing camp anthologies will take place at the SesquiShop on December 14, and the launch for Writers in the Attic: Detour will take place at the Linen Building on December 5, First Thursday.
“When I was a kid and a writer, I just thought that if only I could be published in a book – one that looks like a real book, like a book in a library – it would’ve meant so much to me,” says Robertson. In recent years, The Cabin’s main contribution to the writing community has been to children through camps and school programs, and now they are trying hard to expand what they can do for adults. Robertson says, “The community is full of writers of all ages and there aren’t that many resources, so we’re providing as many as we can.”
The Cabin, founded in 1996, has for almost twenty years served as Boise’s literary home-base: located in an actual log cabin next to the downtown library, it keeps open from 9-5 to guide and nurture writers in an array of different ways. It is a welcoming space, quiet and full of natural light. When I asked what she most wishes for people to understand about The Cabin, Robertson responds: “That it is a place for YOU: for all Idaho writers and readers. Our door is open, so come see what we do, come to an event, come talk to us.”
Words Work Wonders, Volumes 1 & 2, The Cabinet (a National Geographic-style magazine) and Writers in the Attic: Detour will be released in December.