Writers look for feedback at Teatro Zuccone

IMAG0606 Looking for something that will satisfy your storytelling itch? Look no further than Teatro Zuccone this Friday night as eight of Minnesota's finest writers read their original work, and they're looking for your feedback.

This year's Zenith City Tales: Tales from Two Cities features writers from beyond the Duluth area for the first time in the event's history. Four writers from the Twin Cities will join four local writers as they read their original prose, poetry and other forms of writing to an audience.

Teatro Zuccone Manager Andy Bennett created Zenith City Tales six years ago when he realized that there was a large community of writers in the northland, but not much support available for them to workshop their pieces.

"There's a lot of support in the community for actors, musicians, directors, artists, designers, things like that," Bennett said. "There's not a lot for writers, and there's a pretty robust community in town, so this started as a way for writers to test out their material and sort of see how it plays."

"It’s a nice way to test written material, see what really hits the mark and what doesn’t," said local writer Lucie Amundsen. "But in general, it’s good for writers, people doing an admittedly solitary task, to emerge out of our caves and interact with the end user of our art. The feedback is immediate."

Bennett also touched on the importance of feedback.

"A great way to determine a piece -- the energy, the feel, the right flow and tone and everything -- is to get it up in front of 70 to 100 people and see how they react," he added. "It's a really, really valuable experience that people weren't getting here in town until this event came along."

Not only does Zenith City Tales allow writers the opportunity to receive valuable feedback on their work, it also promotes the writing community in Duluth.

"For me it's invaluable, not only as a way to try out material and make material better, but it's a way to get more people interested in this sort of art and get more engaged in it, and that all helps support this community of writers here as well," Bennett said.

Both Amundsen and Bennett will read excerpts from their respective works. Amundsen, who co-owns Locally Laid Egg Company with her husband, plans to read part of her farm memoir, "Playing Chicken." Bennett will be moving away from his usual humor essay pieces and instead will be reading part of his in-progress fiction novel.

Included among the eight writers presenting their work at the event is Geoff Herbach, a creative writing professor at University of Minnesota, Mankato. His books have won the Cybils Award for best young adult fiction, as well as the Minnesota Book Award.

Herbach's wife, Stephanie Wilbur Ash, also will be presenting at the event. The senior editor of the Mpls.St. Paul Magazine, Ash is also the "feminine wiles behind the blog and e-newsletter for parents, JuiceBox," which was recently voted best blog in Minnesota.

The show begins at 8 p.m. at Teatro Zuccone. Tickets are $5 at the door and are cash only.

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