In the book-lined reading room of the Shakespeare & Company bookshop, centre of many a literary pilgrimage, a group of between roughly 10 and 25 writers meet each Sunday evening to share their poetry and prose. The Other Writers’ Group has been meeting on the first-floor of the bookshop for 10 years and attracts both regular members and others who drop in during a passing trip to Paris. The group is held in English but its attendees are multi-national, was created by David Barnes and is co-run (on alternate weeks) by David and Bruce Sherfield.
Participants may bring a piece of their work along to be read and critiqued by the group, may just give feedback, or simply sit and listen. The workshop provides a valuable sounding board for participants’ work and a supportive community of fellow writers. Some people bring one-page poems, others bring three-page short stories, and some bring chapters of novels-in-progress. The two-hour session finishes with a trip to a local pub, where the group continues to discuss its work in a more informal setting and socialise. For many, the group has also provided a tight-knit social circle as well as a place to share literary work and aspirations, and the group is also very welcoming to
With a view over Notre-Dame, photographs of the bookshop’s founders, and the works of famous writers lining the walls, the bookshop’s reading room provides the typically romantic location for all those who dream of purusing the dream of being a starving writer in Paris, following in the steps of Hemingway, Joyce and Fitzgerald. Here, everyone is a writer… or a cat (the shop’s white feline is also a regular).
The Other Writers’ Group is held from 6.30-8.30pm on a Sunday and costs 6 euros a session.Shakespeare and Co. 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris