Writers’ Group

Brandywine Writers’ Circle, of Delaware and Pennsylvania

500px_bwc_logoBWC’s founder, Joan Leof, writes:

In the fall of 2011, the joy I felt upon the publication of my memoir coincided with several people in my journal groups expressing the desire to do creative writing. In the spirit of “Paying it Forward” for the wonderful support I received when writing my book, I offered to facilitate a weekly group for them to make that leap. Five years later, Brandywine Writers’ Circle now has a diverse group of 13, as well as an alumni group, working on a wide range of creative writing and visual art projects. Tom Davis is president of the alumni association. BWC holds three writing retreats a year. We have also provided awards to students of a local performing arts school and hope to do other projects in the community. It is my pleasure to introduce our 13 members.

mimi_portraitMimi Batman

Mimi was a Navy journalist for several years in the US Navy Reserves. It’s been over a decade since she has written for publication, but she has been journaling. Gratitude journaling has been a wonderful tool for her. Recently, she submitted an essay about her reserve unit, Combat Camera, to the Real Simple essay contest. Her blog is at www.batmanmassage.com.



Kathleen Buckalew

Kathleen Buckalew is a native of Wilmington, DE, with a BA in art from the University of Delaware, and an MFA in photography from the George Washington University. She has worked as a printer and photographer at the Delaware Art Museum, and Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, DE, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Ms. Buckalew teaches digital photography at the Delaware Art Museum, Delaware College of Art and Design, and Cecil College, along with occasional workshops in iphoneography, portrait, and documentary photography. She works as a freelance photographer, has many personal projects, and exhibits her work regularly. Ms. Buckalew is available for free-lance work, private instruction, speaking about and showing her work, and consultation about photography: buckalew@comcast.net.


Kaye Byerly *

Kaye’s life was completely turned inside out as she became caregiver and then a widow at age 56. With a new priority list and definition of success, she left the corporate world to fulfill a lifelong need to write. She is currently working on Weeping Without Tears, A Memoir of Lessons Learned, exploring her grief experiences and the lessons her ancestors’ lives taught her along the way. A biography of a 125 year old building in Harrisburg, PA, and a fiction piece about a library archivist bent on reclaiming her family’s ancestral properties are also keeping Kaye’s pen busy.


Tom Davis *

Tom joined BWC a few months after we started for support with the memoir he was planning to write. Eventually, he published Double Exposure: A Veteran Returns To Tom Davis Vietnam (https://www.amazon.com/DoubleExposure-Veteran-Returns-Vietnam-ebook/dp/ B008Y2FOS4). Over the years, he has posted a couple of things on www.joanleof.com and also on MATRYOSHKA SECRET FACEBOOK GROUP. He now serves as President of Brandywine Writers’ Circle Alumni Group.



Alexa Drubay

Alexa is active in her community as a certified Laughter Yoga Teacher and Laughter Ambassador. She leads weekly laughter club meetings in Media, as well as Laughter Yoga sessions and motivational presentations for private groups and corporations. She also offers Laughter Yoga Leader Certification trainings. Alexa enjoys being part of Brandywine Writers’ Circle, where she can improve upon her writing 132 skills and learn from others in the group. She is a Toastmaster CC, leads a French Conversation Group in Media, and is a member of the Rose Tree -Media Optimist Club. Alexa loves to travel and has lived in New York, Zurich, Beijing and Paris. She has led an adventurous past as a fashion model, Cordon Bleu chef, a restaurateur, an International interpreter, a cultural specialist and concierge. She speaks five languages and loves learning more about other cultures and connecting with people from all over the world.  

Patricia Finley

Patricia is a Quaker writer and community organizer who is working on a memoir of a time she lived in a war zone. 

Rob Goldberg

Wilmington native. Attended University of Delaware where he majored in Biology.  Attended Boston College Law School and then returned to Delaware to practice law.  Served as an Assistant City Solicitor and City Solicitor for the City of Wilmington and then went into the private sector where he continues to practice law.  He has served as an unofficial advisor/legal representative to the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council for many years and am also a member of Wilmington in Transition, a community group dedicated to nurturing local, renewable resources where he works on alternative energy matters.

Linda Texter Hall

Linda retired after 17 years on the development staff at Winterthur Museum. Her poetry and nonfiction have been published in national magazines. She is also a grant writer for non-profit organizations. Linda teaches gentle yoga and meditation, and has been a staff member of the Brandywine YMCA for over 20 years. Her current writing adventure is “Family History Narratives” at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Delaware .



img_4552Mary-beth Howard

Born and raised in NYC, Mary -beth graduated with distinction in English from Colorado College, and from Boston University with an M. Ed. in Reading and Language. Most of her professional career has been as a middle school teacher from which she recently retired after 27 years at the Tatnall School in Wilmington, DE. Mary-beth is a published poet, storyteller, and mother of two grown boys. She intends to engage and practice the arts more now that her time is less claimed. Mary-beth has performed multi-cultural stories in various schools, libraries, book stores and outdoor venues. She is also a member of The Network of Biblical Storytellers and frequently performs scripture in tandem with a fellow storyteller at various places of worship. Mary-beth has joined BWC to reconnect more deeply with her poetry, her personal experiences, and the telling of wisdom stories from many cultures.


Doris Larson

Doris Larson Doris is the author of two travel books. Her travel articles have been published in regional and national publications. She has presented writing workshops and instituted a yearly retreat for women writers in Ohio. In retirement, Doris is interested in writing health and wellness articles.





Dale_350px_thumb1_thumb.jpgDale Megill

 Five years ago, when Dale joined the Brandywine Writers Circle, she wanted to write her stories and life lessons for future generations. With the support of the BWC, she completed an autobiography, a spiritual autobiography, and what she calls her “journey to wholeness”. Dale recently combined these writings into a book for her family, titled This Time Around—A Journey of Self-Discovery.




Charanjeet Singh Minhas

Charanjeet believes that words are very worthy. He thinks that those who love them, and know how, when and where to use them are SUCCESSFUL—in life, love, work, politics, academics or whatever else they choose to pursue. Published works, both in English and Punjabi, have included a fictional novel, short stories and poems.



Sharon's portraitSharon Moore

Sharon Moore is a retired educator now pursuing interest in singing, writing and speaking. As a member of the speaker’s bureau of the Delaware Humanities Forum, she offers two programs. One program, “Stories Worth Repeating,” features her writing as she tells the stories of people in the community from a collection of interviews she gathered. Moore plans to publish a memoir collection this year of stories, poems, and recipes.



Carolyn Murdic

 Carolyn Murdic was born in Nashville Tennessee. Her life experiences are chronicled in a series of narratives written in the early 90s. These narratives are being compiled into her memoir, Valley of the Shadows, in Illuminated Retrospect. She is a career educator spanning 40 years of service teaching preschoolers to the adult learner. Carolyn is a 30 year member of the Theosophical Society and lifelong student of metaphysics and the Ancient Wisdom. Presently, she is a professionally Licensed Spiritual Coach facilitating the process of transformation for many through her individual coaching, classes, workshops, study groups, support groups, and motivational speaking.


Linda Patton

Linda is a retired Engineering Associate from Verizon. An award winning artist, she works in pastels and acrylics. She has written several published articles and for several years she wrote a blog: http://Ponderings-everyday-spirituality.blogspot.com. Currently, Linda is a pastoral care volunteer at Nemours Hospital for Children and the Congregant Care Minister for the Center for Joyful Living.





Johanna Rucker *

 Johanna Rucker, M.A., M.S. has enjoyed a professional writing career while also teaching college writing courses. Her current interests are dream work and Jungian thought, depth psychology, and intuitive and visionary explorations, all of which contribute to the imagery of her poetry and nonfiction.  She recently “hung out her shingle” as a Heart Empath, Medium, and Energy Artist. She may be reached via her Facebook page or via email at johannapancostrucker@gmail.com .  


Margaret Stineman


Margaret is a recently retired physician, researcher, and professor, authored over 100 articles published in the medical literature.  She has kept a journal since the age of 12 and writes creatively.  She is also a visual artist and musician.  At the left is a portrait she did of Goonie, who shared her life for 30 years. 













* Alumni








One member’s testimony:

Having belonged to the Brandywine Writers’ Circle for almost three years, I’ve read several authors who lead similar groups elsewhere.  Comparing their accounts to my own experience I find that writers devoted to writing together learn more about themselves, and heal whatever needs healing. English classes are scarcely ever about that.  They’re about improving communication skills, and perhaps if one is lucky to have an excellent teacher, improving technique and developing a distinctive voice.  But English classes are normally not intentionally therapeutic.  This is what differentiates writers groups from writing classes, even the most diligent.

My few years of experience in a writers group convince me that the tonic for healing comes from within.  One’s own stories eventually salve one’s own wounds.  Some stories do not come forth easily.  They must be drawn out by much painful prying, as with a decayed tooth.  During this, an able writing group does not apply opiates, but calms and urges the patient to endure until the ordeal is past and the task is accomplished.  We write to grow wiser and stronger, or perhaps in the darkest days, just to survive.

— TCDavis


  1. I am a new resident in Delaware, a retired physician, have self-published a memoir,
    am completing a novel, and am looking for a local writers group.

  2. Dear Noble,

    I am sorry that I have just seen this as I’ve gotten away from checking here the past several months. It would be great if you could email me directly at joanleof@aol.com. Again, my apologies.

    Joan Leof

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