Barbara Shoup Stepping Down to become IWC Writer-in-Residence; Rachel Sahaidachny taking over as Executive Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 29, 2019
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — After a decade of leading the Indiana Writers Center, Barbara Shoup will step down in June from her leadership role to become the IWC’s first writer-in-residence. Rachel Sahaidachny, programs manager, will become the new executive director.
The changes are effective July 1.
“When I took over the leadership of the Indiana Writers Center in 2009, I thought it would be a temporary thing — a year, maybe two,” Shoup said. “But a funny thing happened. I loved solving the puzzle of how to re-energize the Writers Center. And here I am, ten years later.”
The IWC this year celebrates its 40th year of supporting aspiring and emerging writers. In the decade since Shoup took over, the non-profit group has grown to provide more than 70 classes a year taught by professional writers, many of whom are nationally known.
The annual “Gathering of Writers” features the best of Indiana writers and writing, and a robust playwriting program features a play festival that showcases the writing of students. The IWC publishing imprint has produced an anthology of Indiana writers and a curriculum for teachers to use, and recently published a book of short stories by IWC founder, Jim Powell.
Outreach programs have included memoir workshops with women affected by abuse, woman veterans and the elderly. The ongoing summer program “Building a Rainbow,” brings a world of writing to more than 200 youth in the community, culminating each year with a published book of their work.
Partnerships have become important to the IWC’s mission in the community. Through a partnership with the Indianapolis Public Library, the IWC offers free writing classes and book discussions at library branches. “We’ve partnered with more than eighty organizations on a variety of programs since 2009, including the Wheeler Center for Women and Children, GenderNexus, Asante Children’s Theatre, Dance Kaleidoscope, Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library and PEN America,” Shoup said.
“Our visibility is at an all-time high in the community,” Shoup said. “People new to us often say, ‘Wow! You do so much with so few resources!’ Indeed, we do.”
Shoup mentioned that the Independent Book Review, which celebrates small press and self-published books, recently singled out the IWC as one of ten literary organizations in the nation “promoting writing centers, classes, and community.”
“Increasing resources available to continue the IWC’s mission is a top priority moving forward,” Sahaidachny said. She said she will work with Celeste Williams, IWC board of directors president, to help strengthen the board and fulfill that fundraising goal.
“The board has set a goal to raise $40,000 to celebrate our 40th anniversary this year,” Williams said. She encouraged all who support the IWC’s mission to give in order to help ensure the center’s future.
Shoup said she is confident that Sahaidachny, program director since 2015, a graduate of Butler University’s MFA program in creative writing, and published poet, is ready for the leadership role.
“As IWC’s Programs Manager, Rachel has earned the respect of the established writers who teach for us as well as our community partners. She’s connected with emerging writers throughout the state, developed new partnerships, taught classes, assisted with grant writing, and facilitated memoir workshops.”
“I am really excited to take this next step with the IWC, and continue to support writing and literary arts in Indiana,” said Sahaidachny.
Shoup said she is ready to return to her “writing life.” As the IWC’s first writer-in-residence, she will have the opportunity to define the role. She intends to teach more classes in addition to continuing to work with outreach programs.
Sarah Ginter will be the new Programs Manager. Ginter holds degrees in English and Creative Writing from Indiana University and an MFA in creative nonfiction from Butler University. She was previously the assistant to the Director of the Efroymson Center for Creative writing at Butler University. Currently, a middle school English teacher and freelance editor, Sarah has taught and volunteered for the IWC since 2016.