AQ Writers’ Group Meetings Go Virtual Due to COVID-19
[Amsterdam] On 19 March 2020 the Amsterdam Quarterly monthly writers’ group meetings went virtual due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. This was the first time the writers’ group, which had met physically for over nine years every third Sunday of the month, (July and August excepted), met virtually and has continued to do so due to Amsterdam’s social distancing policy banning people from different households from gathering and, in some Amsterdam neighbourhoods, requiring face coverings in public.
Initially group leader Bryan R. Monte was apprehensive about the effect of the new virtual medium on the group’s participation and productivity. ‘At first, I thought it might decrease attendance and the effort writers put into their participation.’ He soon discovered however, that the virtual meetings actually increased attendance and participation. ‘Perhaps this was due to people at home having more time and quiet to produce their critiques at their own pace.’
Group member bart plantenga agreed. ‘Meeting in Amsterdam at the Stadsschouwburg…was a delight of old Amsterdam, with theatregoers dressed in their finest. Now we exchange writing via email and, as impersonal as it may sound, the exchanges of comments are quite spirited, generous, and helpful.’
Pat Seman, Amsterdam COVID-19 Social Distancing Signs, photos, 2020
Pat Seman, one of the group’s longest attending members, commented ‘I was able to maintain contact with the group whilst in Crete, with plenty of time and leisure to read and receive feedback. It’s helped keep me up to the mark with my writing.’
Simon Brod added ‘Of course we miss the live interactions of people. However, the need to communicate remotely motivates an even more careful reading before giving comments.’ All AQ writers’ group members are looking forward to spring 2021 when they might be able to meet physically in Amsterdam again to celebrate AQ’s tenth year of publication.
The AQ writers’ group is open to anyone previously published in Amsterdam Quarterly Yearbook, who lives in the Netherlands and who is willing to meet regularly in Amsterdam when that is permitted again.