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excercise your mind

writers voice imageIn celebration of True Grit, book discussions, readings by contemporary writers, art exhibitions, and a film series will be held in libraries, museums, theaters and schools in Billings and six counties in eastern Montana in February and March 2014. The Big Read is held in conjunction with the opening of the new Billings Public Library.

Gordon McConnell: New and Selected Painting
Opens February 7, Yellowstone County Museum
McConnell draws inspiration and images for his paintings from classic western films such as Red River, Stagecoach, Rio Grande and others. Emblematic self-reliance of the western matinee hero, McConnell’s paintings are often darkly nostalgic, haunted by the legacy of popular western imagery.

Works from its collection of author-artist Will James
Saturday, February 8, from 2:00pm – 3:30pm – a reading from James’s most beloved novel, Smoky, Smoky, the Cow Horse, by docent Jane Indreland on

7:30pm, Saturday, February 22, Babcock Theatre
Stellarondo's music is utterly unique: a cutting-edge blend of orchestral folk and rock with splashes of bluegrass and country.  When the band hooks up with an expert storyteller, Rick Bass, the performance is mesmerizing. Check out a music clip at http://www.stellarondo.com/rickbassandstellarondo.html
Tickets $15. Free for students with valid ID. Tickets are available at the Billings Family YMCA or online at www.billingsymca.org

Mattie Ross meets Mattie Moss: A True Grit Adventure.
Charles Portis’s fictional Mattie Ross was approximately the same age as the real Mattie Moss. Mrs. Martha (Mattie) Moss was born in 1863 in Missouri; she traveled along the Oregon Trail with her family when just over a year old. The Moss Mansion offers a unique historical look into the life and times of a woman on the American frontier.

Book discussions
Pick up you free copy of True Grit and sign up for one of the Book Discussions to begin in March. Participants can download high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials including Reader’s, Teacher’s, and Audio Guides at neabigread.org.

Corby Skinner, Director of The Writer’s Voice
402 North 32nd, Billings, MT 59101
PHONE: 406-294-1620
FAX: 406-248-3450
E-MAIL: corbys@billingsymca.org

SERVICES: Arts education, literacy and advocacy for contemporary literature.


The Writer's Voice of the Billings Family YMCA assists emerging artists and writers in their artistic and professional development, and provides public programs enriching all sectors of the community with emphasis on arts education for rural youth.


Poets on the Prairie brings writers/artists into rural schools for a day of teaching and hands-on workshops. It nurtures an appreciation for the arts while at the same time featuring the diverse work of contemporary Montana artists. The artists are selected for their creative talent and for their interest and eagerness to share their work with students and teachers.

The program is designed as a classroom-oriented, working experience for the students. It is not meant to be an assembly or lecture for large numbers of students. Consequently, larger schools may not be able to include every student in the program on one day; these schools may want to target specific grades or they may wish to schedule more than one day. We want this to be a quality experience for the teacher and each student. We hope for as much time as possible in each classroom to actively involve everyone in the creative process.


"TumbleWords: Writers Rolling Around the West" is a literature presenting program established by the Montana Arts Council and the Western States Arts Federation. The Writer’s Voice administers the program for the entire state of Montana.

"TumbleWords is designed to bring more exposure to Montana’s writers and their work in "underserved" communities, while building a long–lasting appreciation of literary arts with these new audiences. The communities are selected because of their limited access to the arts, relatively low populations, and/or an interest in literature and becoming familiar with Montana writers and poets.


EXERCISE your mind, STRETCH your imagination! The Billings YMCA Writer’s Voice seeks to foster a greater understanding and appreciation for contemporary literature of the region and to provide opportunities for open dialogue between writers and their audience. The Writer’s Voice presents 15-20 public readings a year in venues around Billings. Most events are FREE. Readings held at the Parmly Billings Library, Western Heritage Center, MSU-Billings, Yellowstone Art Museum and other venues in the community. All events are FREE to YMCA members. Readings are supported in part with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Montana Cultural Trust.


The High Plains BookFest is a three-day celebration of the written word. It is held annually in downtown Billings and features 45 writers and 30 readings, workshops and panel discussions.


The Writer’s Voice is the only full-time literary organization in Montana serving all sectors of the state and all ages. Founded in 1991, the organization focuses the majority of its work in central and eastern Montana.


Writer’s Voice memberships are available to non-Y members, call 406-294–1620 for more information.

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