AWCS Youth Programs


Fostering creativity, community, and youth leadership in an accepting environment.

Note: The AWCS Youth Programs have been restructured as of August 2017. See below for current programming and prices. To register in one of our programs or to purchase a youth membership, see our registration page.

For a complete schedule of AWCS Youth Programs, see the Reality is Optional website.


AWCS YOUTH MEMBERSHIP – $40.00 annually


The Alexandra Writers’ Centre offers a group of programs designed to build the Calgary youth writing community, encourage exploration and education in the writing arts, and build a home for young writers to explore and share their craft, gain leadership skills, and have fun with others who love words as much as they do.

The Youth Membership includes the following programs:

Reality is Optional (RIO) Kids’ Writing Club – Kim Firmston

Rio Kids' Writing Club

Learn to be a better writer through fun and engaging activities. Engage in a variety of writing games in all genres and styles. Try fantasy writing, ninja poetry, survive the apocalypse, build better and more interesting characters, and more! Make friends with other youth writers with the same interests as you. Fun, Frantic, Extraordinary!

  • All Ages
  • Runs September through June
  • Second and fourth Monday of the month
  • 5:00 – 6:30 PM

Rogue Poets – Em Williamson and John Williamson

This isn’t your English teacher’s poetry club! We feature both rhyming and non-rhyming poetry, rants, monologues, comedy, dialogue, and group poems. We’re taking poetry to the dark edges to see w hat it can do. If you’ve never poemed before, this is a great place to get started. Opportunities to join our Slam Poetry Team and compete at the Can You Hear Me Now? Provincial Poetry Slam as well as perform at other open mics and events.

  • Ages 12 and up
  • Runs September to May
  • Third Tuesday of each month
  • 5:00 – 6:30 PM

Dungeons and Dragons – Kim Firmston, Adam Hildebrandt, Brett Morrison

D&D has been credited by many writers, game creators, and movie directors as their initial education in story creation and inspiration for their future careers. Create a fantasy character and journey through a medieval story with other youth writers while making decisions, working together to solve problems, battling monsters, and solving puzzles. This is a great way to put yourself inside the story arc and view the journey from the point of view of your main character.

  • All Ages
  • Runs September to May
  • Last Saturday of each month
  • 6:00 – 9:00 PM

Random Movie Night – Kim Firmston

Watch movies as decided by the group. Enjoy other writers’ company while picking apart movies and discovering things which others might have missed. Laughs, company, and entertainment in a dark room.

  • All Ages
  • Runs October to June
  • First Saturday of each month
  • 6:00 – 8:00 PM


Youth Courses & Workshops


Pen & Panel Comic Creation Club – Sebastien Ringuette and Em Williamson

Play drawing games, improve your art style, learn to make comics both online and on paper and pitch ideas, plus lots more! Hang out with like-minded artists and comic writers. Work on individual projects or collaborate. Focus on topics that will help you expand your skill set.

  • Ages 12 and up
  • Runs September to June
  • First and third Thursday of each month
  • 5:00 – 6:30 PM
  • Member Price: $75
  • Non-Member Price: $95

Media Club – Kim Firmston

Want to play with both writing and technology? This new club will involve both. We’ll try movie making, pod casting, music video creation, stop motion animation, and much more. Short projects just for fun. Let’s see what we can make!

  • All Ages
  • Runs September to May
  • First Monday of each month
  • 5:00 – 6:30 PM
  • Member Price: $40
  • Non-Member Price: $50

Novelmancers – Kim Firmston

Join others hard core youth writers on the epic journey through large and lengthy project. Projects can include Novels, Graphic Novels, Long Non-Fiction projects, and Poetry Collections. Each meeting will include a discussion/education topic, and the ability to have your writing critiqued by the instructors and the group. Take part in NaNoWriMo. Join our write-ins and write a novel in a month! Prizes included!

  • All ages
  • Runs September to June
  • Second Thursday of each month
  • 5:00 – 6:30 PM
  • Member Price: $40
  • Non-Member Price: $50

Focus on Essays for Junior & Senior High Students – Brett Morrison

Improve your essays through this six week, after-school class designed specifically for struggling junior and senior high students. Students enrolled in homeschool programs, or just those needing some extra homework help, are welcome to take this course.

  • See Courses & Workshops page for dates.
  • Level: Junior and Senior High School
  • 6 Week Course begins February 5 (no class February 19)
  • 5 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Member Price: $135
  • Non-Member Price: $170

Additional Youth Programming


Anne Kirsten
JANUARY 27, 2018

Nothing is more iconic than Luna Lovegood’s wacky outfits, Pippi Longstocking’s giant shoes, or Sherlock Holmes hat and cloak. Characters show who they are, where they live, and their views of the world with their clothing. Dressing your characters right for their personalities and environment, as well as having the correct descriptor words for not only the types of clothing but also the feel of the fabric is an important tool for any writer in any genre. In this workshop you will learn from Anne Kirsten, an experienced costume designer, how to create and describe a character’s own iconic costume.

This short workshop is suitable for all ages.

Register here

Guest Speakers

As announced. Stay tuned!

Open Mics

Poetry, prose, or theatre. Share what you’ve learned or what you’ve been working on. Join us to watch or participate.

  • Three times a year
  • All ages and open to the public

Spring and Summer Writing Camps

Have adventures! Think and write outside the box! This isn’t your average writing experience. Live what you write, play games, make friends, and have the time of your life with a pen in your hand (other writing implements welcome as well)!

Spring Camps

March 26-29, 2018, 4 days,9-4 PMAges 9-16  –$220.00 members $275.00 non-members

April 3-6. 2018, 4 days, 9-4 PM, Ages 9-16 – $220.00 members $275.00 non-members

Summer Camps

Aug 20-24, 2018, Summer Writing Adventures, 5 days,9-4 PM,  Ages 8-13 – $275.00 members, $340.00 non-members . 

Aug 20-24, 2018, Teen Writing Camp, 5 days, 9-4 PM, Ages 13-18 – $275.00 members, $340.00 non-members. 

Emerging Adults Writing Group

There is a special drop-in time for emerging adult writers. For anyone ages 18-25, enjoy this chance to be productive in a group of your peers. Forget about adult stuff and write for two hours on the second Saturday of each month. The inaugural Emerging Writers Forget About Adult Stuff And Write For Two Hours session will be on January 13, 2018 from 6 PM – 8 PM. This group might be of particular interest for those who have aged out of our youth programs but want to continue getting together with friends and writing colleagues.




For more information on any of these programs, please contact Youth Program Director, Kim Firmston, at