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May. 21, 2022 | Saturday
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Writers' Circle celebrates talent across the province
Lena Scholman and Catherine Skinner share 10 tips for every writer during the awards ceremony on Sunday. (Richard Harley/Niagara Now)


The room was filled with laughs as the Niagara-on-the-Lake Writers’ Circle held its seventh annual Rising Spirits award ceremony on Sunday, celebrating the winners of the writing competition.

The night was opened up with a spoken-word poem by NOTL resident Holmes Hook, who “broke the ice” with a jingle hockey stick as he spoke.

First-place winners in each category then read short stories and passages from their winning pieces.

The night was also an accolade to founder Hermine Steinberg, who recently moved to Toronto and had to give up her position as the chair of the group.

Terry Belleville spoke to the audience and read kind words about Steinberg, written by various people who have been involved in the Writers’ Circle in some fashion.

“... Hermine is a force of nature. Without her ability to focus and organize us mere mortals into productive and much better writers, while at the same time meeting friends and having fun, I would not be the writer I am today,” he read from a letter by former member Doug Reid.

In a letter by Richard West, now chair of the group, said if there was one word to describe Steinberg it would be “caring.”

“All that caring was brought into endless hard work to make the NOTL Writers’ Circle what it is today,” West wrote.

Past member John Sayers echoed comments about Steinberg in an interview with The Lake Report.

“All this has happened because of (Steinberg). It wouldn’t have happened, I think, without her, and it picks up all the keen, enthusiastic, knowledgeable people who have come to Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara broadly, too.”

After hearing the letters, Steinberg was presented with a small gift from the members.

New this year, the competition was opened up to writers across Ontario. Member Bill Hamilton, who MCed the event, said the decision was a good one, resulting in about 15 more submissions than usual.

He also thanked Steinberg for her efforts in bringing the group to its eighth year.

A compilation of stories from contestants can be found in a paperback release by the Writers’ Circle, called “Rising Spirits 2019.” Anyone interested in a copy, or in joining the Writers’ Circle, can email West at