Join PRESS 254 at the Publications Unit for a book launch and reading event to celebrate the publication of our first full-length book, Tapestries, on May 1.

pink, blue abstract book cover with title in black

Front cover of Tapestries (PRESS 254, 2019)

PRESS 254 is thrilled to announce publication of Tapestries: A Word Weavers Anthology of Stories, Poetry & Observations. The anthology is a collection of poetry, prose, and drama by authors from Word Weavers, a local writing group for ages 55 and over directed by alumna Irene Taylor, Ph.D. ’18.

The book launch and reading will be held at the Publications Unit in Williams Hall Annex, (303 S. School St., Normal) on Wednesday, May 1, from 7–8 p.m. The doors will open at 6:45 p.m., so come early to get a good seat and enjoy light snacks and refreshments! Copies of the book will be available for $10. The event is free and open to the public.

About PRESS 254

Founded in 2012 by Steve Halle, director of the Publications Unit, PRESS 254 has the two-part goal of educating publishing studies students about professional publishing while also engaging new and emerging writers in the ISU and Bloomington-Normal community by producing approximately four short-run, handmade chapbooks per year. With a staff of publishing studies students enrolled in English 254: Introduction to Professional Publishing, PRESS 254 provides hands-on book production and publishing experience for future publishers and editors, while providing a platform for local writers to push their writing into the regional and national literary landscape.

Under the instruction of Holms Troelstrup this semester, the students worked as production assistants for PRESS 254 to prepare and design Tapestries—the very first full-length book produced by PRESS 254. The students worked through the entire production process from start to finish: from copyediting, proofreading, designing, and typesetting, all the way to marketing, planning, and hosting the launch reading.

About Word Weavers

“Ultimately, I believe our most significant work comes from our reflection on past experiences and lessons learned over the years” —Irene Taylor

Word Weavers was founded in 2012 by Irene Taylor, an alumna of the creative writing program in the Department of English. She directs the local writing group, where members are provided an opportunity to share their writing and perform their pieces for the general public on a semiannual basis. Since 2012 they have performed for local venues such as the New Route Theatre, the McLean County YWCA, and Luther Oaks. While many of the authors in Word Weavers have previous individual publications, Tapestries will be the first full-length collection published by the group.

Word Weavers consists of eight local authors with a variety of interests, histories, and vocations including Judith Boudreaux, a graduate of the MFA in creative writing program at Wichita State University, and a first-place winner in Rambunctious Review’s fiction contest; V. Joseph Boudreaux, a retired physician and counselor and current hospital volunteer; Ruthie Cobb, an author of commemorative histories of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center and the former Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School, and a former publicist for a local nonprofit group; Steve Gossard, an ISU School of Art alumnus and a contributor to Bandwagon, and currently the curator of Circus Collections at Milner Library’s Special Collections; Barbara Findley Stuart, a former elected official on the McLean County Board and author of the chapbook Old Hands and Other Poems (2018); M. Irene Taylor, author of the one-woman play Suppos’d to, which was recognized at the Illinois Theatre Association’s Community Theatre Competition; Jim Thorpe, author of To Carry the Gold: A Warrior’s Journey; and Juli Thorpe, who leads the senior exercise program at the Western Avenue Community Center. The production of Tapestries came together as the result of the help of director and co-contributor Irene Taylor.

“Ultimately, I believe our most significant work comes from our reflection on past experiences and lessons learned over the years,” Taylor said.

Other words of wisdom from the Word Weavers team can be found within the pages of Tapestries.

Copies of Tapestries will be for sale the night of the book launch for $10. Online purchases can be made through the PRESS 254 book store. The event is sponsored by the English Department’s Publications Unit and PRESS 254, in association with the Coalescence Theatre Project. For more information about the event or for accommodations, please contact Holms Troelstrup, assistant director of the Publications Unit, at or (309) 438-3025.