Archive for the ‘Workshops’ Category


This Year’s Workshops and Panels

September 21, 2017

A fantastic variety of workshops and panels will be part of Word Vancouver’s free programming again this year!

The workshops kick off tonight at the nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch of the Vancouver Public Library with Finding, Hiring, and Working with a Freelance Editor with Wendy Barron, Meagan Dyer, and Susan Fitzgerald. In this session, a panel of experienced editors will discuss the benefits of working with an editor, where and how to find the right editor for your project, why a contract benefits everyone and shouldn’t be scary, how to negotiate a project contract with a freelancer, and how to make the most of the editing process once the contract is signed.

The workshops continue on Saturday at Carnegie Community Centre with Write a Book and Get Published with Megan Williams and The Self Publishing Agency. Whether you have started writing, or don’t know where to start, this workshop will give aspiring authors structure, direction, and tools to help finish their manuscripts. In Note to Self: Therapeutic Writing for Writers facilitator Carmen Ostrander will draw on post-modernism, narrative therapy, and neuroscience to help you explore different ways of putting pen to paper in service of self through short exercises and discussion. There will also be a kids’ workshop on Saturday, ArtStarts Explores: Words, at the ArtStarts Gallery! Bring the whole family for this fun workshop to explore the idea of written, spoken, and gestured words through creative art forms.

Dietrich Kalteis

Sunday will feature several workshops all day long in Port of View.

In Establishing a Digital Footprint facilitators Trevor Battye and Suzanne Norman will help authors determine which digital marketing tools are right for them. Indie authors, small presses, and freelance writers will get tips and tricks to help establish their online presence and to up their engagements.

In The Art of the Response with Shazia Hafiz Ramji, you will discover your stories using techniques of response. Participants will be introduced to practices of attention using sources such as art, overheard conversations, news, and memory.

There are gifts and challenges that come with hybrid identities. We may feel that life would have been simpler if we had only one culture or group to be responsible to. And yet we see the possibilities in the weaving. Our stories are enriched by the willingness to embrace it all. Together we will write. All persons of between welcome to attend Feeling a Little Mixed—or—Do I Have a Story to Tell You? with Jónína Kirton.

Join Carollyne Haynes and Janet Dunnett for Adventures in Elder Land and be taken on a journey through Elder Land, using fiction that feels like truth, and truth that feels like fiction, to explore the challenges of life’s third act.

If you’re an aspiring crime fiction author, join Dietrich Kalteis for Writing Killer Crime Fiction where you’ll discover how to put that razor’s edge on your own words and learn how to find your voice, develop unforgettable characters, write brilliant dialogue, and create stories that will have your readers up all night turning pages.

Good stories don’t just happen, they’re built, and as architects use blueprints, writers need sound structures to create effective emotional journeys for their readers. In How to Build a Story with John Mavin you’ll explore the structural elements shared by all stories (from linear to unconventional), uncover the differences between plot and structure, and get the tools to build emotionally satisfying stories again and again.

Also on Sunday are a variety of panel discussions in Perspective Point.

More and more, we live in a society of hybridized, mixed, or blended identities. What is it like to write and read from within or beyond the hyphen or transnational identities? What creative opportunities does hybridity present? Join a group of authors for a reading and discussion of writing in fluid identity contexts in Mixed Voices Raised.

Where is Indigenous writing going in Canada? How have Indigenous writers on the West Coast resisted the colonialism of CanLit? What does this look like in today’s literary landscape? These questions and others will be explored in Resisting “CanLit”: Indigenous Writers.

How does the work of others influence us? How do other writers create space, open conversations, and remind us we’re not alone? Panelists read and discuss the work of pivotal writers whose voices and perspectives have inspired them in Writers Reading Writers: A PRISM Panel on Influence, Space, and Resources.

How has Canada’s oldest feminist literary journal stayed relevant? Join Room staff and contributors for Embracing Change: The Evolution of Room Magazine, a panel discussion and Q&A on the magazine’s history and the recent publication of their fortieth anniversary anthology, Making Room.

Local Authors, Local Settings—Mysteries Set in BC will be a lively panel discussion about creating mysteries in local settings. How have the panelists done it, what were the benefits and challenges, and what are their tips and tricks.

Community Garden will feature a panel on Vancouver Comics History. Vancouver has a long and rocky history with comics. Our journey begins in the 1940s with some short-lived experiments in publishing comic books locally, travels through the underground comics scene of the 1980s, and arrives at an unprecedented explosion of independent comic-making in the 21st century. Find out where Vancouver comics have been in the past, and where we are now.

The Quay will host Getting Started: Children’s Writers and Illustrators Discuss Getting Published. No matter in what genre or for what age group you write for, this panel of professional writers and illustrators from the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Society of BC will be sure to delight, inform, and inspire you.

Visit our website for a full listing of events for this year’s festival!


This Year’s Satellite Events

September 19, 2017

Today is the first of six days of this year’s Word Vancouver festival! We will return to the Central Branch of the VPL on Sunday for our main festival day, but there are plenty of fantastic events between now and then.

Tonight Shahla and Peter Nygaard (Decade of Discovery: A Couple’s Adventure that Spanned the Globe) will be at Banyen Books & Sound. They will discuss how they spent months walking and years on bicycles as they made their way through 77 countries on 6 continents. There is also the Poetic Pairings event presented by Pandora’s Collective at the Britannia Branch of the VPL. Listen as couplets bounce words off one another, relate their stories, and rejoice in the collaboration of expression.

Wednesday, September 20 will feature a second event at Banyen Books & Sound where Eric Bowers (Meet Me In Hard-to Love Places: The Heart and Science of Relationship Success) will discuss intimate relationships and why they give us the most exquisite and magical moments of our lives but also some of the most painful experiences we endure. Twisted Poets Literary Salon, presented by Pandora’s Collective, will be at The Cottage Bistro. Share in an evening of literary surprises. Connect, read, and enjoy presentations by Theresa Kishkan, Dan MacIsaac, and Arleen Paré.

On Thursday, September 21 is the third event at Banyen Books & Sound, which is a talk and signing with Azmina Kassam and Meharoona Ghani, contributors to The Muslimah Who Fell to Earth: Personal Stories by Canadian Muslim Women, which is a collection of 21 personal stories told by women from practically all backgrounds and persuasions. You can also learn how to work with a freelance editor at the nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch of the VPL during Finding, Hiring, and Working with a Freelance Editor, presented by Editors British Columbia.

On Friday, September 22 we return to Christianne’s Lyceum for Heroics and Heart. Curl up with a cookie and a cup of hot chocolate while you savour stories about characters who find the courage within themselves to pursue their dreams, fight for what they believe in, and find a place they belong. Historic Joy Kogawa House will host An Evening of Japanese Poetic Forms: From the Tokaido Road to the World Stage where poets Terry Ann Carter, Rachel Enomoto, and Kozue Uzawa will discuss haiku, tanka, and haibun.

There will be three venues on Saturday, September 23. The 55+ Lifestyle Show, presented by INSPIRED Senior Living magazine, is at the PNE Forum and offers entertainment and seminars, alongside products and services geared for the 55+ consumer. ArtStarts Explores: Words will be at the ArtStarts Gallery. Bring the whole family for this fun workshop to explore the idea of written, spoken, and gestured words through creative art forms! Carnegie Community Centre will host three presentations. Write a Book and Get Published with Megan Williams, presented by The Self Publishing Agency, will give you practical tools and processes to start writing your book as well as an understanding of the publishing opportunities available. At Type Up! volunteers will be on hand to take your writing materials, help you edit them, and turn them into a typed file. Note to Self: Therapeutic Writing for Writers with Carmen Ostrander will draw on post-modernism, narrative therapy, and neuroscience to help you explore different ways of putting pen to paper in service of self through short exercises and discussion.

Visit our website for full details on all of these events and more!


Under 3 Weeks Until Word Vancouver Returns!

August 31, 2017

Tomorrow is the first day of September, and that means Word Vancouver is right around the corner! This year’s festival is six days, running from September 19-24. Our satellite events will take place from Tuesday, September 19 to Saturday, September 23, and the main festival day will be on Sunday, September 24 at Library Square.

As always, the main festival day on Sunday will feature free readings, panel discussions, writing workshops, site performers, family activities, an exhibitor marketplace, and more. Below is a sneak peak at Sunday’s venues.

Community Garden will feature Vancouver history, murder and mystery titles, and comics presentations and will include readings by Eve Lazarus (Blood, Sweat, and Fear), Aaron Chapman (The Last Gang in Town), Sheena Kamal (The Lost Ones), William Deverell (Whipped), and Katherine Collins (The Collected Neil the Horse).

Sheena Kamal

Suspension Bridge will have a variety of fiction, lifestyle presentations, and YA readings. Presentations will include Ahmad Danny Ramadan (The Clothesline Swing), Janie Chang (Dragon Springs Road), Gurjinder Basran (Someone You Love Is Gone), Darren Groth (Munro vs. the Coyote), and Louise Green (Big Fit Girl).

Sunrise Suite will feature readings by established and emerging poets, including Heidi Greco (Flightpaths), Marguerite Pigeon (What I’m Wearing Now), Leanne Dunic (To Love the Coming End), Shazia Hafiz Ramji (Prosopopoeia), Jónína Kirton (An Honest Woman), and Michael V. Smith (Bad Ideas).

Shazia Hafiz Ramji

Perspective Point will have panel discussions on a variety of topic, including “Mixed Voices Raised,” “Embracing Change: The Evolution of Room Magazine,” and “Local Authors, Local Settings–Mysteries Set in BC.”

Port of View will feature professional development and writing workshops such as “Establishing a Digital Footprint” with Trevor Battye and Suzanne Norman, “Feeling a Little Mixed—or—Do I Have a Story to Tell You?” with Jónína Kirton, and “Adventures in Elder Land” with Carollyne Haynes and Janet Dunnett.

The two children’s venues will feature great family fun all day long! The Quay will have readings by children’s authors and illustrators, including Jen Sookfong Lee (Chinese New Year), Mahtab Narsimhan (Mission Mumbai), Julie Flett (Black Bear Red Fox), Ashley Spires (The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do), and Sarah Ellis (Waiting for Sophie). Imagination Island will have fun, interactive family activities throughout the day such as a ring toss, wishing wall, bubble station, book coin toss, trivia, and more.

Ashley Spires

In addition to our Sunday programming, we also invite you to join us on Tuesday, September 19 at Banyen Books & Sound for a talk and signing with Shahla and Peter Nygaard (Decade of Discovery) and VPL Britannia Branch for Poetic Pairings; Wednesday, September 20 at Banyen Books & Sound for a talk and signing with Eric Bowers (Meet Me In Hard-to Love Places) and The Cottage Bistro for Twisted Poets Literary Salon; Thursday, September 21 at Banyen Books & Sound for a talk and signing with Azmina Kassam and Meharoona Ghani (The Muslimah Who Fell to Earth) and VPL nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch for “Finding, Hiring, and Working with a Freelance Editor”; Friday, September 22 at Christianne’s Lyceum for “Heroics and Heart” and Historic Joy Kogawa House for “An Evening of Japanese Poetic Forms: From the Tokaido Road to the World Stage”; and Saturday, September 23 at the PNE Forum for the 55+ Lifestyle Show, ArtStarts Gallery for “ArtStarts Explores: Words,” and Carnegie Community Centre for “Write a Book and Get Published with Megan Williams,” “Type Up,” and “Note to Self: Therapeutic Writing for Writers with Carmen Ostrander.”

Be sure to check out the official program guide for a full listing of events, or the Schedule page on our website for presentation descriptions and the most up-to-date information.


Activities for Kids and Families

September 14, 2016

Word Vancouver will once again have plenty of fun and activities for kids and families, with three venues on Sunday, September 25 devoted just to them!


Alpha Bravo Charlie by Sara Gillingham

The kids’ reading venue is called The Quay this year, and as always, there will be tons of author readings for kids of all ages. Kathy Beliveau and her book The Yoga Game in the Garden invites children to hum like a bee and grow like a tree with a variety of yoga poses, while Sara Gillingham‘s book Alpha Bravo Charlie: The Complete Book of Nautical Codes will inspire kids to code and decode messages using nautical flags, Morse code, the phonetic alphabet, and semaphore signalling. Other lovely picture books include In the Red Canoe by Laura Bifano, about a young girl’s adventures with her Grandpa in their canoe, and What Grandma Built by Michelle Gilman, which tells the story of Grandma and the wonderful home she built her family that bursts with toys, bunk beds, and pies. Tales for middle grade readers (ages 8-12) will include Heart of a Champion by Ellen Schwartz, which tells the story of Kenny, who has been interned with his family following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and his mission to convert a vacant field into a baseball field, thereby giving purpose to the long days; The Case of the Girl in Grey by Jordan Stratford, which continues the story of Ada Bryon Lovelace and Mary Shelley (the Wollstonecraft girls) as they investigate a horrible hospital, a missing will, a hasty engagement, and a suspiciously slippery servant; and Notes from the Life of a Total Genius by Stacey Matson, about Arthur’s final year at Terry Fox Junior High, and how he uses his wit (and his column in the school paper) to skewer the censorship of the play he wrote. Also in The Quay will be “Dumb and Stoopid,” two drawing workshops for kids aged 8-12 lead by For Better or For Worse creator Lynn Johnston.

Heart of a Champion by Ellen Schwartz

Heart of a Champion by Ellen Schwartz

The family entertainment stage, The Dock, will feature the talents of sibling phenoms Kai and Lia of Fiddlin’ Frenzy; Dixie Star Storytelling, who fire the imagination of children and grown-ups alike with their innovative and interactive shows; stories and songs from Renae Morriseau and M’Girl; and improv for all ages with Vancouver Youth Theatre.

Imagination Island is where you will find fun, interactive family activities all day long. Join the staff and volunteers of Christianne’s Lyceum and dress the trees around the library in beautiful words, hunt for word treasure to turn into a sparkling poem, or write a fortune to add to their fortune-telling machine. Compose a frameable, inspiring piece of literary art celebrating your adventures at Word Vancouver with CWILL BC members and Reading Lights contributors. Frontier College will have a bookmark-making station, a book coin toss, and a jelly-bean guess where kids can win a bundle of books. Visit the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable and contribute to the creation of a colourful paper mural background and add your own collaged animals to it. Decoda Literacy Solutions, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, the FortisBC Street Team, Kids’ Lit Quiz, and WestCoast Families will have more fun activities on Imagination Island too!

Renae Morriseau of M’Girl

Renae Morriseau of M’Girl

Other family activities at this year’s Sunday event include a colouring book activity featuring pages from locally-published colouring books; and a fairy tale scavenger hunt, where kids can search the festival site for 10 characters and answer questions about them to win a prize.

In addition to Sunday’s programming, also be sure to visit Christianne’s Lyceum on Friday, September 23 for An Evening of Faerie Magic. The Lyceum’s garden has long attracted faeries far and wide. They will be celebrated with stories, treats, and crafts for the entire family. Enjoy tea and faerie bread while making faerie sculptures and listening to faerie stories told by experts Tiffany Stone, Kallie George, Danika Dinsmore, and Christianne Hayward.

A full listing of our family events and all other programming can be found in our program guide or on our website.


Word Vancouver Workshops

September 8, 2016

Workshops at Word are always very popular, and we’re pleased to say we have another fantastic line-up again this year!

The professional development workshops kick off on Saturday, September 24 at The HiVE. Teacher, editor, and poet Jami Macarty will show you how to “Get It Out” in a session on preparing literary work for submission. You’ll learn about terms, networking, cover letters, submission guidelines, submission-ready work, publications, and sure ways to avoid the slush pile. Join Australian art therapist, facilitator, and master’s candidate in narrative therapy Carmen Ostrander and discover how to “Exoticize the Domestic.” Explore the everyday and uncover compelling stories in everyday life. Discover how rich descriptions of ordinary things can be compelling, intimate, and historically valuable. Be sure to pre-register for these two sessions to ensure your spot!


JJ Lee

Also on Saturday is the Type Up! at Carnegie Community Centre. Do you have handwritten poems, stories, and letters you would like to have typed up, but you don’t have a way to do that? Well come along to Type Up! at the Carnegie Library Learning Centre, and volunteers will be on hand to take your writing materials, help you edit them, and turn them into a typed file.

On Sunday, September 25, the main festival day, professional development workshop facilitators will include JJ Lee as well as Trevor Battye and Suzanne Norman in Perspective Point and Naomi Beth Wakan and Marion Crook in Port of View. Join author JJ Lee for “The Hustle,” where he will talk about his journey to his memoir, The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit, discussing research, community engagement, platforming, and just plain luck. He’ll talk about his current forays into genre fiction and its impact on his profile as a literary writer. Discover how to “Take Control of Your Own Marketing” with Trevor Battye and Suzanne Norman. This workshop will help authors establish what electronic marketing tools are right for them. Whether self-published or with a publisher, you’ll learn tools to assist with your process. Poet and personal essayist Naomi Beth Wakan will teach you about “Writing Close to Home.” Whether you keep a blog or a diary, write personal essays, or are beginning your memoirs, this workshop will give you fresh ideas and may open some personal moments you haven’t visited for a while. Children’s and YA author Marion Crook will show you how to “Start Your Story.” You may have a character in mind, or a setting, or parts of a plot but need a push to start the story. This workshop will give you practical tools to jump into the beginning, tackle the first lines, and create the first chapter. These are only a few of the workshops in these two venues, so be sure to check out our website for a full list!

©Imaging by Marlis 2012 Permission granted to Marion Crook for personal and promotional use

Marion Crook ©Imaging by Marlis 2012

Comics workshops will be found in The Underground and will include the “Chapbook Races” with Kevin Spenst, where you and your team of up to three will have one hour to make, write, draw, and collage a chapbook. You can also learn to “Draw Autobiographical Comics” with Sean Karemaker. This workshop will focus on the creation of one- to two-page autobiographical comic stories. It will cover the basics of composition, drawing with shapes, and storytelling.

This year, we will also have drawing workshops for kids in The Quay! Kids aged 8-12 can learn how to create a goofy character, how to change expressions, and how to put acting into their work from For Better or For Worse creator Lynn Johnston.

Check out the full program guide or our website for a full listing of workshops and more!


Only Three Weeks to Go!

September 1, 2016

Now that it’s September, the 22nd annual Word Vancouver festival is just around the bend! Join us for the main festival day on Sunday, September 25 in and around the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library, and for our satellite events taking place throughout the city from Wednesday, September 21 to Saturday, September 24.

The big Sunday event will once again feature our exhibitor marketplace, readings, panel discussions, writing workshops, site performers, family activities, and more, but you’ll notice our venue names have changed this year!

Community Garden will feature author presentations including Mark Leiren-Young (The Killer Whale Who Changed the World), Darcy Matheson (Greening Your Pet Care), Joy Kogawa (Gently to Nagasaki), Ujjal Dosanjh (Journey After Midnight), and Carmen Aguirre (Mexican Hooker #1), as well as an eco-fiction session and the panel “Writing From Within: Memoir and Identity.”

Joy Kogawa - blog

Joy Kogawa

At The Lions you’ll find authors such as Paul Yee (A Superior Man), Anosh Irani (The Parcel), Jennifer Croll (Bad Girls of Fashion), and Bif Naked (I, Bificus), as well as a presentation by VPL Writer in Residence Sam Wiebe and the panel “Inclusive Magazine Publishing: Barriers and Strategies for Writers and Publishers.”

Suspension Bridge will have two panels, “Demystifying the Submission Process” and “Fresh Blood,” a PRISM international showcase, and author readings from Yasuko Thanh (Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains), Jen Sookfong Lee (The Conjoined), Ronald Wright (The Gold Eaters), Charles Demers (The Dad Dialogues), and more.

Our poetry venue will move back into a tent this year and is called Sunrise Suite. Here you’ll find readings by Kim Fu (How Festive the Ambulance), Garry Gottfriedson (Deaf Heaven), Carla Funk (Gloryland), Juliane Okot Bitek (100 Days), and bill bissett (th book), as well as presentations from the Dead Poets Reading Series and six of the 2016 Poetry in Transit poets.

Kim Fu

Kim Fu

The Underground will once again feature comics and chapbook programming, including “Chapbook Races with Kevin Spenst,” the panel “Comics and the Creative Process,” “Drawing Autobiographical Comics with Sean Karemaker,” and chapbook readings from Leaf Press and above/ground press authors.

You’ll find more workshops and author presentations in Port of View and Perspective Point, including “Family as Inspiration: A Fiction Workshop with Simon Choa-Johnston” and “Invitation to English Tanka with Kozue Uzawa” in Port of View; and “Chalk Talk with Lynn Johnston,” an author presentation by Erik Bjarnason (Surviving Logan), “The Hustle with JJ Lee,” and “Creating an Excellent Book with Craig Shemilt” in Perspective Point.

Children’s and family programming will be found at The Quay, Imagination Island, and The Dock. The Quay will feature readings including Ellen Schwartz (Heart of a Champion), Uma Krishnaswami (Book Uncle and Me), Jordan Stratford (The Case of the Girl in Grey), and Laura Bifano (In the Red Canoe); and drawing workshops with For Better or For Worse creator Lynn Johnston. On Imagination Island, families and kids will find plenty of fun interactive activities, such as literary art making, book-making stations, trivia, and more. Performances at The Dock will include M’Girl, Dixie Star Storytelling, Fiddlin’ Frenzy, and Vancouver Youth Theatre.

Jordan Stratford

Jordan Stratford

In addition to our Sunday programming, we also invite you to join us on Wednesday, September 21 at The Emerald for the Poetry in Transit 20th–Anniversary Celebration; Thursday, September 22 at Banyen Books & Sound for a presentation and book signing with Mark L. Winston (Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive) and The Cottage Bistro for the Twisted Poets Literary Salon; Friday, September 23 at Christianne’s Lyceum for An Evening of Faerie Magic and Historic Joy Kogawa House for “Sober Second Thoughts with Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall”; and Saturday, September 24 at The HiVE for a day of professional development workshops, Carnegie Community Centre for Type Up!, and CBC Studio 700 for the Pandora’s Collective Literary Awards Gala.

Be sure to check out the official program guide for a full listing of events, or the Schedule page on our website for the most up-to-date information.


The 21st Annual Festival Concludes

October 8, 2015

Word Vancouver has wrapped up for another year. Thank you to everyone that participated and attended! We had a great time, and we hope you did too.

We enjoyed events from September 23 to 26 at venues including SFU Harbour Centre, The Cottage Bistro, Banyen Books & Sound, Christianne’s Lyceum, Historic Joy Kogawa House, CBC Studio 700, and the VPL Central Branch. The festival culminated with the main day on Sunday, September 27 in and around Library Square, where attendees delighted in author readings, writing workshops, panel discussions, entertainment, public typing stations, and more!

The 2015 festival saw the debut of our Family Stage, which featured family-friendly entertainment and activities all day long on our main festival day. Surrounding the Family Stage were plenty more kids and family activities, found under the Kids’ Lit and Kids’ Words tents. Thank you to those who donated to our Chimp campaign to help fund this new family programming!


Also new to the festival was our Underground Words + Art venue. This venue was devoted to everything comics and chapbooks and featured panels, workshops, readings, and exhibitors.

This year’s festival may have come to an end, but we’re already excited about next year’s! Look for details in the new year about the 2016 festival.