About Us

At The Writers’ Loft, we have a saying: writing doesn’t have to be a solitary pursuit. Our anthologies, published through Writers’ Loft Press, are a way for our community to work together–it’s like a big group project. We have novel writers creating poetry for the first time along with experienced, published–and sometimes award-winning–poets and picture book authors.


First, we come up with a theme for an anthology. To date this has not been an arduous process, someone says, “Hey, I have an idea for the next anthology…” and BOOM! magic.

Then we put a call out for contributors, first to our members via word of mouth and The Writers’ Loft email newsletter, then to the public for the upcoming anthology as we wanted to expand our reach outside of New England as well as enable a more diverse contributor list. Contributors must be part of the Writers’ Loft community as paying members, invited members, scholarship members, or invited guests who have a history with our community and sometimes artists Kristen has stalked on Instagram.

Then the poems and art samples come pouring in! At this point, the editors and sometimes the judges (if we have them) will help select the strongest poems or the most interesting ones that can be fine-tuned.

Ahhh…then come the critique groups. Poets, regardless of previous publication status, fame, or lack thereof, meet in-person or online to fine-tune their poems. These are productive and delightful meetings.

Then the artists get to haggle (kindly I might add) over which poem(s) speak to their illustrative styles and whims. Some have experience as artists but not as book illustrators, so they also work in critique groups. Our art director (Bob Thibeault who edited our past two anthologies as well as the current one) helps with composition as needed and the artists help each other with ideas for making sure the art portrays what is in the poems, as well as techniques for getting it done.

It’s a great way for less-experienced authors and artists to learn the publishing process together. Invested authors and artists also learn what comes after publication through bookstore events, school and library visits, and connections with other non-profits.


Our first anthology was designed to be a calling card for the Loft. Aptly named FIRSTS, it was a collection of short stories and essays, with beautiful cover art by Sarah Brannen. At the following board meeting, Kristen Wixted and Sally Hinkley offered to spearhead an illustrated children’s poetry anthology and AN ASSORTMENT OF ANIMALS was born. Cover art was done by the Caldecott honor-award-winning author-artist Brian Lies. We learned so much from that first book: for one, never start an anthology’s name with these three letters: ASS, because that’s how it will get shelved in the library! We also learned that it is a huge community builder.

FRIENDS & ANEMONES: Ocean Poems for Children, edited by Kristen Wixted and Heather Kelly, with art team Sally Hinkley and Bob Thibeault, was our love note to the ocean, encased in the beautiful cover art by Jodie Apeseche. We partnered with the Rozalia Project and our proceeds for the first three months went directly to them–a non-profit that educates the next generation on protecting our oceans.

Launched during the pandemic, it was a trial for some of the artists in particular, and we had some giant, well-attended zoom events including one hosted by Peter Reynolds, one of the contributors to the book, and his bookstore The Blue Bunny. 

Every aspect of building the anthologies inspires: from reading submissions; hosting crit groups; writing editorial letters and art notes; laying things out and working with our book designer and now art director, Bob Thibeault; to reading our poems and showcasing our artwork with children and other readers. The Writers’ Loft Press works closely with many indie booksellers in Greater Boston, where the Writers’ Loft is located. 

During the pandemic, we published a teen poetry anthology, ODES OF US, written entirely by Black, Latine, Indigenous, Asian-American, and Pakistani-American teens. In addition to normal classes and pandemic stress, these talented, motivated young poets drafted, critiqued, and polished their poetry with our editors, Shirley Jones Luke and Eddie Maisonet.

Post-pandemic, since we’ve broadened all our classes and workshops to be virtual (and some hybrid), now our anthologies are reaching beyond New England. Where do we get our clever anthology titles like Friends & Anemones? Our member Audrey Day Williams comes up with them. She is the newest co-editor for the latest anthology, GNOMES & UNGNOMES: Poems of Hidden Creatures, working with Kristen. It’s about mythological creatures from around the world. We’re excited to launch this, our fifth anthology, in late fall 2023. 


Join us! If you are a writer or illustrator, sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on news and future opportunities to submit! Join our vibrant Facebook community. If you are an educator, check out our teacher guides and fun activities…craftivities ;-), and contact us to invite us to do a zoom or in-person classroom visit. 

We’ve done a school visit every year in the city of Waltham, MA, for free, and it’s always so much fun! If your school system would like us to visit, virtually or otherwise, let us know. (We would also be happy to accept a fee to go towards funding our next anthology!) 

We’d love to hear what you think of our poems and illustrations! Do you have a favorite? Do you have an idea for a future anthology? Let us know!