Library Closed for Memorial Day

Both locations of the Cedar Rapids Public Library will be closed on Sunday, May 26 and Monday, May 27, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. 

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Alison Gowans
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Kristin Hanggi wants to help you get your story out.

"I've been working with writers for the last 15 years at every level of the game. I have a deep desire to help free people up to express themselves," she said. 

A film director, producer, screenwriter, author, and Tony Award nominated theater director best known for the 2009 Broadway musical Rock of Ages, she'll lead a workshop for writers at the Downtown Library on Thursday, July 13 from 6-7:30 pm. The event is free and open to everyone. Registration is required.

"This workshop will be good for anyone who has an idea that has been talking to them, whether it’s a novel or play, or a short story idea. I can help bring it out of them," she said. "We will also talk about how to get over writing obstacles … such as self doubt and fear."

In her own creative process, she said she doesn't always feel like she's coming up with an idea so much as helping it into the world.

"Usually I feel like an idea will come to me and it feels a bit like an assignment," she said. "I find my inspiration either in the things that make me feel like I have to express myself, or in the things that make me feel wonder."

Along with theater, she has also directed movies, including "Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List," an adaption of the book of the same name by authors Rachel Cohn & David Levithan. Hanggi and Cohn will return to the Downtown Library on Monday, July 17 at 6 pm for a panel discussion about the book and movie and the process of adopting the work for the screen.

The YA book tells the story of Naomi, who is in love with Ely, even though he likes boys. Then he kisses her boyfriend. Can their friendship survive?

"A producer sent me the script and I just loved it and was like oh, I'm meant to direct this," Hanggi said. "Adaption is challenging because you're trying to get the spirit of what they wrote right. You're trying to convey the relationships and dynamics the writers originally conceived." 

Her advice for writers who are starting out or not sure how to move forward with their writing? 

"I’m a big believer in using what you have to make what you can. If you have an iPhone to shoot on, use that. If you have friends you can get together to put on a play, do that ... You always have to be your own advocate and work diligently to get your creations made."

And don't be afraid to just start, she added.

"If it’s your book or screenplay, find time to get ideas down on paper. I've always believed in learning by doing," she said. "Even if you feel like oh I'm not really a writer, just come down to the workshop on Thursday and play."