Fall 2019

Courses, Workshops & Events

Whether you’re a brand new writer or have been writing for years, we have courses and workshops to meet your needs. There are weekly courses (evening and daytime) for the writer who requires structure, support and that needed push, or one-day and weekend workshops for those who are unable to commit to a longer course.

Simply click on the tabs below to see everything currently on offer. 

Most of our courses are geared towards beginner to intermediate writers. If a course is more advanced, or has specific requirements beyond a beginner level, it will say so in the listing.

Not sure how to gauge your experience level? Try this quick guide to help. If you’re still not sure, please feel free to contact us for advice. 

Want to know more about our Instructors?

Youth need to be 16+ to register for adult courses, workshops, and drop-in programs.

Questions? Please contact us by email or phone 403.264.4730

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Membership

Membership

Member Price: $50-$70
Non-member Price: $50-$70

Become a member of AWCS today and enjoy great member benefits.

The Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society is an exceptional place to meet and connect with other writers. Membership is not required to participate in any of our programs, however as a member of the AWCS you will receive great benefits which include:

  • be part of a diverse group of writers that is continually growing
  • 25-30% discount on courses and workshops.
  • 30% discount on Manuscript Review Service
  • Free admission to our centre for drop in programs such as critique groups, readings, Free Fall Writing Sessions and other programming not requiring registration, social events or just come to write during open writing times.
  • Be the first to know about new and exciting programming including special presentations and feature workshops through our email newsletters.
  • one free manuscript consultation with our Writer in Residence (spring of every year)
  • Annual Member Guest Pass* (see details below)
  • Refer a Friend* (see details below)
  • After 5 consecutive years of membership, all members are eligible to apply for author support for book launches, self-publishing and more.*
  • Voting rights at AGM and Special Membership Meetings

YOUTH MEMBERSHIP – The AWCS encourages young writers to express themselves. If you’re under 18, your membership gets you similar benefits to a regular membership at a reduced price as well as some extra special stuff just for you. For more information on youth programs (clubs, camps, classes, and more) click here

View Course Details & Register

Special Events

The 20,000 Word Weekend

Anne Metikosh
Saturday & Sunday
8am-8pm
November 2 & 3, 2019
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $200

Kick off NaNoWriMo or continue with a work in progress

Want to get some words? Working on Nanowrimo? Join your fellow writers on this intensive, two day workshop. The goal? Words. Wear your comfy writing pants, it’s a big goal and we’re all in it for the long haul. Each day will hold plenty of independent writing time in a creative environment, some short intensive lessons on various aspects of novel writing, blue pencils, writing games…all to keep your creativity flowing and avoid burn out. Anne Metikosh will be there with you, helping out if you get stuck, and ready for any writerly chats needed to help your craft.

Nourishment provided throughout the weekend.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Material generation, support, encouragement, games and more. - Genre: All genres - Event: 20,000 Word Weekend View Course Details & Register

Tutoring

Writing Improvement for Adults

Instructor Varies
Monday-Saturday
Times Vary
Member Price: $155
Non-member Price: $185

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

Tutoring is one on one and offered in one hour, four-class sessions created specifically to address your individual needs.

Writing Improvement for Adults

Write well, write tight, and convey your ideas to others. One on One tutoring to help you improve your communication and literacy skills. Join one of our talented tutors to get you to the level you want to be. Contact Kim Firmston to book your tutoring session today. info@alexandrawriters.org

PLEASE NOTE OUR CANCELATION, ABSENCE, AND RESCHEDULING POLICY

All classes need to be canceled at least 24 hours in advance, via a phone call, text, or e-mail directly to the instructor, or the class is considered to have happened and will come off the total classes booked in the session. The instructor is under their own discretion whether to reschedule any canceled sessions and is not obliged to do so. Instructors will never reschedule a session if the class isn’t canceled prior to the 24-hour deadline.

View Course Details & Register

Academic Post-Secondary Tutoring

Instructor Varies
Monday-Saturday
Times Vary
Member Price: $270
Non-member Price: $350

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

Tutoring is one on one and offered in one hour, four-class sessions created specifically to address your individual needs.

Academic Post-Secondary Tutoring

Struggling with academic writing? Need to learn to write academic papers or improve the quality of your university essays? Is English your second language? Having trouble knowing what to and how to cite? Are formatting and footnotes getting you down? AWCS has you covered. Qualified instructors will get you on track. Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@alexandrawriters.org

PLEASE NOTE OUR CANCELATION, ABSENCE, AND RESCHEDULING POLICY

All classes need to be canceled at least 24 hours in advance, via a phone call, text, or e-mail directly to the instructor, or the class is considered to have happened and will come off the total classes booked in the session. The instructor is under their own discretion whether to reschedule any canceled sessions and is not obliged to do so. Instructors will never reschedule a session if the class isn’t canceled prior to the 24-hour deadline.

View Course Details & Register

Youth Tutoring

Instructor Varies
Monday-Saturday
Various times
(4 x 1hr Classes)
Member Price: $155
Non-member Price: $185

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

Tutoring is one on one and offered in one hour, four-class sessions created specifically to address your individual needs.

Youth Tutoring and Homework Help

Want to impress your teachers? Falling behind in Social Studies or English? Need some extra help on a specific project? Want to prepare for finals or PATs? Or do you just want to get better at writing in general? Our one on one tutoring is perfect for students looking for a boost in essays, book reports, journalism, creative writing, poetry, or anything writing-related. Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@alexandrawriters.org

PLEASE NOTE OUR CANCELATION, ABSENCE, AND RESCHEDULING POLICY

All classes need to be canceled at least 24 hours in advance, via a phone call, text, or e-mail directly to the instructor, or the class is considered to have happened and will come off the total classes booked in the session. The instructor is under their own discretion whether to reschedule any canceled sessions and is not obliged to do so. Instructors will never reschedule a session if the class isn’t canceled prior to the 24-hour deadline.

View Course Details & Register

Youth Clubs

AWCS Club Pass

5:00-6:30
September (JOIN ANY TIME!) (September - June)
Member Price: $175.00
Non-member Price: $230.00

Open up the world of writing with our Club Pass – Go to all the AWCS Youth Writing Clubs you want and save $100!  The pass lasts a full year from the time you get it.Jump in at any point of the year.
Pass Holders can enjoy a year of limitless meetings in the Reality Is Optional Writing Club (all ages), Novelmancers Novel Writing Club (all ages), Dungeons and Dragons Club (grades 5-12), and Rogue Poets Poetry Club (jr/sr high). Get one today!

- Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Reality Is Optional Writing Club

Kim Firmston
Monday (2nd and 4th Monday of the month)
5:00-6:30
Sept 9 (JOIN ANY TIME!) (September - June)
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

Reality Is Optional Writing Club (RIO) – Do you love to play? Do you love writing? Well, why not do both with every kind of genre and style under the sun?  Writing games, art, improv, friends, and creativity. Play with your words! All grades, all levels, twice a month. Join any time! (Free for Club Pass holders)

- Level: All Ages - Course Type: Writing through games - Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Novelmancers Novel Writing Club

Kim Firmston
2nd Thursday of the Month
5:00-6:30
Sept 12 (JOIN ANY TIME!) (September - June)
Member Price: $50.00
Non-member Price: $65.00

Novelmancers Novel Writing Club. If you’re serious about writing and want to get that novel (or any long work) done, join us and lighten the load. All Ages. (Free for Club Pass holders)

- Level: All Ages - Course Type: Novel Writing - Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Rogue Poets Poetry Club

Em Williamson
First and Third Tuesday of the month
5:00-6:30
September 17 (Join any time!) (September - June)
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

Rogue Poets Poetry Club – Explore what poetry can be, then take it past those limits. Join Em Williamson, on a journey to the outer edges of poetry. Have the opportunity to go to open mics or join the Rogue Poet Slam Team and compete at the Can You Hear Me Now provincial school poetry slam. Jr/Sr High (Free for Club Pass holders).

- Level: Jr/Sr High School - Genre: Poetry - Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Dungeons & Dragons Club

Kim Firmston
Last Saturday of the month
6:00-9:00 PM
September 21 (JOIN ANY TIME!) (September - May)
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

Dungeons & Dragons Club – Enjoy fantasy? Want to live it? Join us for this epic and wildly creative game. Battle monsters, solve puzzles, find treasure and learn to work in a team while telling and experiencing your story together. No experience necessary. Grades 5-12. (Free for Club Pass holders) *Please note: Meeting dates may change due to room availability.

- Level: Grade 5-12 - Course Type: Fantasy Role Playing - Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Youth Classes

Young Journalist Program

Patti Edgar
First and Third Mondays of the month
6:30-8:30 PM
September 16, 2019 (Full-Year (Sept-June))
Member Price: $350
Non-member Price: $450

The Young Journalist Program is for youth aged 14-19 looking to enter the field of journalism.

EXPLORE! DIG! WRITE!

This elite program allows Young Journalists to meet professionals in many fields of journalism, enabling them to ask questions and get the real scoop on what journalism is today as well as in the future.

Young Journalists will create a print and/or online newspaper to give them practical experience in writing content, editing, organizing and publishing content.

Using this content, the Young Journalists will create a portfolio that can be used to improve their chances of acceptance to the degree program of their choice.

Need more information? Contact the AWCS youth program director, Kim Firmston, kfirmston@alexandrawriters.org

MEET YOUR INSTRUCTOR – PATTI EDGAR

Patti Edgar teaches in Mount Royal University’s journalism department. She has worked as multimedia writer and editor at CBC Calgary, as well as a reporter at several newspapers, including the Winnipeg Free Press and Ottawa Citizen. Students have won awards for projects created in her classroom, including the Canadian Association of Journalists Student Award of Excellence

- Level: Ages 14-19 - Course Type: Journalism - Genre: Non-Fiction - Youth Programming: Class View Course Details & Register

Pen & Panel Comic Creation Class

Sebastien Ringuette
First and third Thursday
5 PM - 6:30 PM
Sept 5 - Join anytime (September - June)
Member Price: $175
Non-member Price: $230

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. September to June, join any time.

- Course Type: Comics - Youth Programming: Course View Course Details & Register

Youth Tutoring

Instructor Varies
Monday-Saturday
Various times
(4 x 1hr Classes)
Member Price: $155
Non-member Price: $185

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

Tutoring is one on one and offered in one hour, four-class sessions created specifically to address your individual needs.

Youth Tutoring and Homework Help

Want to impress your teachers? Falling behind in Social Studies or English? Need some extra help on a specific project? Want to prepare for finals or PATs? Or do you just want to get better at writing in general? Our one on one tutoring is perfect for students looking for a boost in essays, book reports, journalism, creative writing, poetry, or anything writing-related. Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@alexandrawriters.org

PLEASE NOTE OUR CANCELATION, ABSENCE, AND RESCHEDULING POLICY

All classes need to be canceled at least 24 hours in advance, via a phone call, text, or e-mail directly to the instructor, or the class is considered to have happened and will come off the total classes booked in the session. The instructor is under their own discretion whether to reschedule any canceled sessions and is not obliged to do so. Instructors will never reschedule a session if the class isn’t canceled prior to the 24-hour deadline.

View Course Details & Register

Youth Camps-PD Days-Workshops

PD Days 2019-2020

Suzy Vadori, Simon Rose, and Kim Firmston
PD Days (public school)
9-3
Various Dates
Member Price: $60.00
Non-member Price: $70.00

Join us for a fun, unique learning experience on your favourite subject when you’re not in school! We have all the best instructors who can guarantee you a great day.

Nov 1, 2019 – A Day in a Fictional World with Suzy Vadori
Come to camp prepared to immerse yourself in a creative world of make-believe. We’ll create a set of rules for the day that reflect the worlds each student wants to write about, and role-play characters. Using flash fiction prompts, poetry, and a variety of writing techniques throughout the day, students will come away with a whole new appreciation for the worlds their favorite stories are set in, and a basis for their next writing project.

 

Nov 22, 2019 – Superstuff: Create your own superhero with Simon Rose – In this workshop, you’ll invent your own unique superhero, with incredible superpowers, extended families and one or more archenemies. You’ll create a detailed biography of the character, complete with an origin story, fascinating facts about their superpowers and weaknesses, their secret identity, family and friends, their secret headquarters, their most deadly archenemy and more. You’ll also draw your creation, create a dynamic and eye-catching cover for a comic book, and write a newspaper-style action-packed story about a battle between the hero and their main villain.

 

Jan 31, 2020 – A Day of Dungeons and Dragons with Kim Firmston – pull up a chair, grab some dice, and let’s hide away from the cold winter with stories of bravery, boldness, and gold. Battle dragons, solve puzzles, and fight for glory with your friends. No experience or equipment needed to play this great Fantasy Role Playing Game. All grades and experience levels welcome. *If you wish to bring your own character, they should be at level 3-4 from Edition 5.

 

Feb 13, 2020 (Thurs during the teachers’ convention) Exploring New Ways to Write with Suzy Vadori
From Fantasy to Mystery, Graphic Novels to Poetry, we’ll explore different ways writers use words to entertain, and even try a hand at these formats ourselves. We’ll draw on games, writing prompts and a trip outdoors to inspire our activities. This camp is a great inspiration for avid readers and writers, opening up a world of possibilities.

 

MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS!

Suzy Vadori is the Calgary Bestselling Author of The Fountain, and The West Woods, Books 1 and 2 of The Fountain Series, published by Evil Alter Ego Press. This fantastical Young Adult Series has received two Aurora Nominations for Best Young Adult Novel, as well as Five Stars from both Readers’ Favorite and San Francisco Review of Books. See her website HERE

Simon Rose is an author of science fiction and fantasy novels for children and young adults and several writing guides for both aspiring and established authors, including The Alchemist’s Portrait, The Sorcerer’s Letterbox, The Clone Conspiracy, The Emerald Curse, and more! See his website HERE

Kim Firmston is a real-life mutant – though one without any cool powers. When she’s not writing YA novels (Stupid, Boiled Cat, Creep Con, and more), plays, or cursing obvious villain mistakes, she works as the AWCS Youth Program Director – bringing in all the best instructors and thinking of cool games to play. See her website HERE

- Level: All grades - Youth Programming: PD Day Workshop View Course Details & Register

Home School Writing

HOMESCHOOL FALL SEMESTER

Suzy Vadori, Simon Rose, and Debbie Schotanus
Monday
10:30-12 and 1-2:30
Sept 23 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $225

 

Step into Writing for Beginners with Debbie Schotanus – CANCELLED

Learn the basics of sentence structure, grammar, spelling, reading, punctuation, and formatting your work. Use all this to write your own adventurous and magical stories!

  • 8 week course
  • Sept 23-Nov 25 (No class on Oct 14 & Nov 11)
  • 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Grades 1-4

Writing with Exceptional Language with Suzy Vadori

Everyday language can be shaped to create pictures in a reader’s mind. Students will discover the playful side of the English language, testing its limits using literary devices to make words pop off the page. Visual ways to write will also be incorporated, including layout, cursive writing, and calligraphy.

  • 8 Week Course
  • Sept 23-Nov 25 (No class on Oct 14 & Nov 11)
  • 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Grades 5-12

World Building 101 with Suzy Vadori – CANCELLED

Explore literary worlds with Fantasy, Magic and Fairytales. Learn about language, culture, landscape, political systems and currency. Build worlds and stories, incorporating grammar, parts of speech and the story process.

  • 8 Week Course
  • Sept 23-Nov 25 (No class on Oct 14 & Nov 11)
  • 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
  • All Grades

Writing Historical Fiction with Simon Rose

Learn how to write an effective, authentic, and appealing story in this genre and become fully immersed in the chosen time period. Understand what defines historical fiction and different time periods, how to create believable settings, plausible characters, and the role of research in the creation of the story.

  • 8 Week Course
  • Sept 23-Nov 25 (No class on Oct 14 & Nov 11)
  • 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
  • Junior High / High School
- Level: All grades - Youth Programming: Homeschool Fall Semester View Course Details & Register

Youth Tutoring

Instructor Varies
Monday-Saturday
Various times
(4 x 1hr Classes)
Member Price: $155
Non-member Price: $185

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

Tutoring is one on one and offered in one hour, four-class sessions created specifically to address your individual needs.

Youth Tutoring and Homework Help

Want to impress your teachers? Falling behind in Social Studies or English? Need some extra help on a specific project? Want to prepare for finals or PATs? Or do you just want to get better at writing in general? Our one on one tutoring is perfect for students looking for a boost in essays, book reports, journalism, creative writing, poetry, or anything writing-related. Contact Kim Firmston to book your academic tutoring session. info@alexandrawriters.org

PLEASE NOTE OUR CANCELATION, ABSENCE, AND RESCHEDULING POLICY

All classes need to be canceled at least 24 hours in advance, via a phone call, text, or e-mail directly to the instructor, or the class is considered to have happened and will come off the total classes booked in the session. The instructor is under their own discretion whether to reschedule any canceled sessions and is not obliged to do so. Instructors will never reschedule a session if the class isn’t canceled prior to the 24-hour deadline.

View Course Details & Register

Sunday Programs

Short Story Salon

Robin van Eck
Sundays
10-12pm
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Do you love to write short stories? Flash fiction, longer shorts? Maybe you’ve never tried writing a short story and want to start.

The Short Story Salon is a place for writers to come together, share ideas, write collaboratively or alone. We’ll write, share and discuss. Each week we will study a published short story and discuss what works and what doesn’t. We’ll look at different forms from flash fiction to the more traditional 3000-5000 word story, practice a variety of genres and hone your short story skills with a goal of submitting to literary journals.

Guest speakers may appear.

If you think a short story collection may be in your future, this will be a great way to generate content.

Drop ins are welcome but registration is recommended.

- Course Type: fiction - Genre: Short Fiction - Event: Sunday Programs View Course Details & Register

Poetry Cafe

Laurie Fuhr
Sunday
12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
varies
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Imagine a place where poets gather regularly to write new work, share poems, and encourage one another. Poetry Cafe is your oasis and your community. No matter what life has in store, poetry can be part of your life every week. Anticipate occasional surprises and special guests too!

Poetry Cafe combines poetry prompts or exercises to generate poems with workshopping and discussion. It’s great for both emerging and established poets, and it’s open to poets of all ages. Join us to write with prompts from 12:30-1:45 and workshopping from 1:45-2:30. Great for both emerging and established poets and it’s open to poets of all ages. Let’s have some fun and write together.

click link below to view upcoming dates

View Course Details & Register

Multi-Week Courses - Daytime

Difficult Memoir Refresh

Karen Lee
Wednesdays
10-1pm
November 13, 2019 (4 Weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

Sometimes when we take a course, we write like crazy and are thoroughly engaged. Then we finish the course and put our notebooks aside. Do you want a kick-start to continue writing your memoir? A refresher?

This course will build on the skills learned in the longer course and add to your writing skills and the journey of change and transformation you want to write about. We will tackle dialogue, character sketches, scene setting, and your story arc – using parts of your own story.

Three recommended readings are: “The Memoir Project” by Marion Roach Smith, “Why We Write about Ourselves” Ed. Meredith Maran and “Your Life as Story” by Tristine Rainer.

Prerequisite – You have participated in the 8-week course, “Memoir Writing for People with Difficult Stories to Tell”

Karen Lee has published a memoir, The Full Catastrophe, 2016, She Writes Press, California. You can find out more information on her website: http://karenelee-author.com/index.html

- Level: Intermediate - Course Type: Memoir - Genre: Memoir - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

3-Month Novel Project

Sarah L. Johnson
Tuesdays
10-12pm
January 14, 2020 (12 weeks)
Member Price: $360
Non-member Price: $480

Powering through to a complete first draft in 12 weeks.

This course is all about what Anne Lamott famously refers to as “shitty first drafts.”  A gentler more realistic version of the well known 30-day challenge, 3MoNoPro is designed to offer the support, information, and tough love you need to get you across that finish line to your very own garbage, but nevertheless complete, first draft.

Each class will look at a different element of writing with an eye toward finding inspiration in our obstacles. Through exercises, word count tracking (goal of approx. 6000 words per week), and sharing our shitty pages, we’ll cheer each other on and finish what we start.

This course is for writers of all levels. Whether you’re just starting, half way through or almost done a manuscript, sign up and by week 12 you could very well be typing THE END.

 

- Level: Intermediate to Advanced - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: All Genres - Youth Programming: Course View Course Details & Register

Amp Up Your Manuscript

Madelaine Wong
Tuesday
12:00pm - 2:30pm
January 14, 2020 (4 WEEKS)
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $200

Add power to your manuscript. In this four-week course, you will learn methods that will hook your readers and keep them turning the pages through engaging and sensory writing. Course content will concentrate on strong story openings, using imagery to show-don’t-tell, writing powerful dialogue, and story endings.

Best for the writer who already has a manuscript in progress.

- Level: Intermediate, MS in progress - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: All Genres - Youth Programming: Course View Course Details & Register

Creative Writing Basics (Daytime)

Olyn Ozbick
Wednesdays
9:30am-12:30pm
January 15, 2020 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $360
Non-member Price: $480

Learn the basics of creative writing in 8 weeks. This course is designed for the beginner writer who knows they want to write or maybe haven’t taken a creative writing class in a long time. Learn the basics of writing: character, setting, plot, dialogue and so much more, to get you well on your way to writing great short stories, creative nonfiction or novel length manuscripts. You can expect lecture, discussion, in-class writing exercises, writing outside of class, and an introduction to giving and receiving feedback on your work.

- Level: Beginner - Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

The Artist’s Way

Caroline Russell-King
Fridays
1-3:00pm
January 17, 2020 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $240
Non-member Price: $320

“The Artist’s Way”is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life. Still as vital today–or perhaps even more so–than it was when it was first published. Playwright, Caroline Russell-King, who  attended a Master Class with author Julia Cameron this past October, will have even more insights and tips for success. We will travel together through the 12 steps creating provocative, inspiring work and personal artistic success. This system works no matter what type of artist you are or however you define your art. It’s not all serious stuff we have a lot of fun! Welcome all.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Creativity, Artistic Practice View Course Details & Register

Writing Memoir When Your Story is Difficult

Karen Lee
Wednesdays
10-1pm
February 5, 2020 (8 weeks )
Member Price: $360
Non-member Price: $480

Do you have a difficult story to tell? Things from your past that you’ve tucked into the back of your memory? More and more, people are realizing that getting those stories down on paper is therapeutic and valuable – the popularity of memoir is exploding. People want real life stories.

This course will focus on three-parts – the writing skills required, the journey of change you want to write about, and having the courage and persistence needed to tackle difficult personal subjects. Self-care will be discussed.

We will tackle dialogue, character sketches, scene setting, and your story arc – using parts of your story you want to tell. These will begin to form the outline of your memoir.

If you are interested in engaging in the often therapeutic task of memoir writing, start a retrospective journal now – jot down those memories, however small and fleeting, in a notebook, compile pictures of the past, or assemble meaningful objects. Then bring these to class.

Going public with stories from real life is completely different from getting your story down on paper, so the decision to publish will be discussed.

Three recommended readings are: “The Memoir Project” by Marion Roach Smith, “Why We Write about Ourselves” ed. Meredith Maran and “Your Life as Story” by Tristine Rainer.

Karen Lee has a newly published memoir, The Full Catastrophe. You can find out more information on her website.

- Level: Beginner - Course Type: Creative Nonfiction, Memoir - Genre: Memoir, Autobiography - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Multi-Week Courses - Evening

Writer’s Block – Real or Imagined?

Vivian Hansen
Tuesdays
7:30-9:30pm
October 22, 2019 (4 Weeks)
Member Price: $120
Non-member Price: $160

We writers have all sat at the white space at some point in our career, pecking away at a huge stone. Getting nowhere, we think. We concentrate on our grind, our failures, and no amount of energy gets us further into the story. Writer’s Block is an occupational hazard for memoirists prose fiction writers and poets alike. So how does it happen? How do we power out of it? How do we grab the best tools to go deeper into the story, the memoir, the poem and find that sweet spot that takes us past the block? In this 4-week course, we will share and guide, and smash the Block out of the way.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Poetry, Fiction, Memoir - Genre: All Genres - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Creative Writing Basics (Evening)

Robin van Eck
Tuesdays
7-9:30pm
January 14, 2020 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $375
Non-member Price: $500

Learn the basics of creative writing in 10 weeks. This course is designed for the beginner writer. Learn the basics of writing: character, setting, plot, dialogue and so much more, to get you well on your way to writing great short stories, creative nonfiction or novel length manuscripts. You can expect lecture, discussion, in-class writing exercises, writing outside of class, and an introduction to giving and receiving feedback on your work.

 

- Level: Beginner - Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Short Story - Genre: All Genres View Course Details & Register

More Than A Guilty Pleasure: Mastering the Romance Novel Form to Tell the Perfect Story

M. Jane Colette
Wednesdays
7-9pm
January 15, 2020 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $240
Non-member Price: $320

The most important thing in writing is to have written. I can always fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank one. ~ Nora Roberts

Learn to seduce a reader from the first sentence through to the heart-thumping, breath-taking, you-knew-it-was-coming-but-not-this-way! happy ending.  Motivated students will be given the structure and support to complete a first draft of a romance novel by week 8; beginning students will learn how to play with tropes, tension, pacing, climaxes (dramatic and other), dialogue, and character development.

- Level: Beginner to Intermediate - Course Type: Fiction, Novel - Genre: Romance - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

MIND F**K – Crafting the Psychological Thriller

Philip Vernon
Thursdays
7-9pm
January 16, 2020 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $240
Non-member Price: $320

Suspense. Domestic Noir. Psychological Thrillers. These twisty tales probe the underside of human nature. Behind veneers of normalcy, secrets are kept, loved ones betrayed, and voyeurism abounds. We’ll explore crafting psychological thrillers using core elements of storytelling—character development, plotting, scene and sequel, etc.—viewed through the dark lens’ of Daphne du Maurier, Laura Lippman, Gillian Flynn and more. Loose genre expectations aside, a Big Twist (or two or three) is non-negotiable, so expect a high-concept driven course replete with writing exercises, robust discussion, and assignments to electrify your storytelling.

 

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Noir - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Poetry Café Presents: Espresso Poetry

Laurie Fuhr
Thursdays
7-9pm
January 16, 2020 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $240
Non-member Price: $320
Emerging poets, it’s time to strengthen your cuppa po’ with next-level activities, techniques, and insider knowledge. This class includes nightly workshopping sessions, plus editing tips, advice about poetry publishing of all kinds, and guidance about performance. We’ll also discuss ideas for caffeinating your writing practice, and provide info about local poetry events and groups, professional development opportunities, available grants, membership organizations, and more.
Prerequisites: Ideal for those who have written poetry before, have taken other poetry classes (at AWCS or elsewhere), and/or who have attended AWCS Poetry Café prior to the start of class. Poets will be asked to bring one or two printed poems of any length or style to each class for workshopping.
- Level: Intermediate - Course Type: Poetry - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

October Workshops

To Make a Memoir Universal, Go Small

Karen Lee
Saturday
10-3:30pm
October 5, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

It’s the details that count. Memoir is a history of time and place as well as a story of transformation. Delve deep into the scenes you write so that they come alive. If you are already writing a memoir, bring some pieces to class.  We will look for places in which extra details can make the scenes pop. If not, bring your ideas for memoir vignettes and I will coach you to bring out the tiny details.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Memoir, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: Memoir, Creative Nonfiction - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

World Building Basics Intensive

Sarah E. Johnson
Saturday & Sunday
10:00 - 4pm
October 19 & 20 (Weekend Intensive)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

Immerse your reader into a world full of sounds, smells and vivid imagery. Develop a way to show politics, technology, fantastical elements or an era long forgotten. World building is a way to take your reader on a journey through your story and have them sense every moment. Readers want to believe the rules of a story with ease and flow. Writers in every genre can benefit. This workshop will focus on the ground up of world building, how to make sense of your creative pile and what the reader needs. There will be continuous exercises that will put those ideas to use, and spark brand new shiny ones.

- Level: All Levels - Genre: Fiction, Genre Fiction - Event: Weekend Workshop View Course Details & Register

Make a Scene!

Lauren Carter
Saturday
10-3:30pm
October 26, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Scenes are the building blocks of story. In this day-long workshop we will identify the components of effective scenes in fiction and memoir by studying expert examples and discuss how scenes move together to build short stories or longer manuscripts that keep readers engaged. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a collection of scenes that can be used as the framework for the narrative arc of a short story or personal essay or the beginnings of a novel or memoir.

Lauren Carter is the author of four books. Her first novel, Swarm, was on CBC’s list of 40 novels that could change Canada. In 2014, her short story “Rhubarb” won top place in the Prairie Fire fiction prize and appeared in the annual Best Canadian Stories (edited by John Metcalf). Her work has also been nominated for the Journey Prize and longlisted multiple times for the CBC Literary Prizes in both poetry and fiction. She grew up in Blind River, Ontario, and lived in Orillia, Ontario before moving to The Pas, Manitoba. She currently resides in the rural area of St. Andrews, Manitoba, near Winnipeg.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction, Memoir - Genre: All Genres - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

November Workshops

The 20,000 Word Weekend

Anne Metikosh
Saturday & Sunday
8am-8pm
November 2 & 3, 2019
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $200

Kick off NaNoWriMo or continue with a work in progress

Want to get some words? Working on Nanowrimo? Join your fellow writers on this intensive, two day workshop. The goal? Words. Wear your comfy writing pants, it’s a big goal and we’re all in it for the long haul. Each day will hold plenty of independent writing time in a creative environment, some short intensive lessons on various aspects of novel writing, blue pencils, writing games…all to keep your creativity flowing and avoid burn out. Anne Metikosh will be there with you, helping out if you get stuck, and ready for any writerly chats needed to help your craft.

Nourishment provided throughout the weekend.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Material generation, support, encouragement, games and more. - Genre: All genres - Event: 20,000 Word Weekend View Course Details & Register

Breaking into Traditional Publishing

Philip Vernon
Saturday
10-3:30pm
November 16, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Securing literary representation is a hell of a marathon. It’s rigorous, emotionally draining, and 99% interminable waiting. But here’s the good news: the only requirement is your own stubborn tenacity. Talent’s entirely learnable, and in this biz? You only fail if you quit.

So if inking a traditional book deal is your writerly goal, join us for an unflinching deep dive into the process of becoming agented. Knowing when you’re “ready” to pitch, query letters, synopses, strategies — we’re tackling all your questions, critiquing materials, and separating realistic expectations from discouraging myths.

Please bring writing materials and — if able — any of the following,: query letter, synopsis, and/or manuscript fist page.

Open to all levels but ideal for writers on the cusp of querying.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Publishing - Genre: All Genres - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Writing In The Dark

Carolyn Pogue
Saturday, November 16
9:30am-3:30pm
Member Price: $80
Non-member Price: $105

When it is dark, by what stars do we navigate?

Looking toward the holiday season – the time when it seems “everyone” is expected to be jolly – can be daunting for some, as can reading a newspaper, attending family or office functions, or simply having to turn on a light earlier each evening. Amazingly, the sweet music of many pens writing helps create light.

We will write our own stories of navigating this cold, dark season, and touch on some ancient tales that have enlivened people throughout the ages. As we move toward the longest night of the year, this one day workshop offers an opportunity to slow down and contemplate how our pens can help steer us through.

Carolyn Pogue has offered a variety of workshops at AWCS over 20 years and enjoyed a year as Writer-in-Residence. She is the author of 14 books and has been published as a blogger and columnist. She deeply believes that writing and other arts can change lives. www.carolynpogue.ca/

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Creative Writing - Genre: Creative Non-Fiction, Personal Essay, Memoir, Fiction - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Tick Tock. Time and Tempo

Lexie Angelo
Thursday, November 21
6:30PM - 9:30PM
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $70

Bring in a scene or chapter where we will discuss time and tempo as it relates to your story. We will examine the passage of time such as quick bursts, sudden changes, or long stretches.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Micro Workshop View Course Details & Register

Hygge and the Christmas Card

Vivian Hansen
Saturday
10-3:30pm
November 23, 2019
Member Price: $100
Non-member Price: $125

Try out your life Danishly for a Saturday workshop. What elements of your life might fall into the world-building realm of Hygge? We will explore how to embrace those late fall and winter blues by enjoying Hygge for one day, creating, writing and remembering, Christmas cards. Bring your own, your address book, and talk about your memories. Relive and write your small stories. Cards and Glogg will be provided. We will make a day of Hygge.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Memoir - Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Personal Essay - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Plotting for Pantsers, Intuits, the Impulsive and the Totally Lost

Ali Bryan
Saturday
10-3:30pm
November 30, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Are you mid-way through a manuscript and have caught yourself asking, “what should happen next?” Or maybe you’ve finished a complete draft but have no idea how to begin the next. Where do you even start? Or maybe you want to start writing but you get hung up on the expectation and rules of an outline. If any of these scenarios resonate, this workshop is for you.

Using the theory character as plot and elements of plot structure, we’ll uncover tangible ways to bring cohesion and clarity to a work in progress. Learn to write, re-write and revise with intention even if you wrote the entire manuscript with no idea where you were going. Expect a combination of lecture, in-class exercises and discussion.

The workshop is designed for intermediate writers with some experience/understanding of craft who are working on (or have completed) a novel-length manuscript.  

Ali Bryan is an award-winning novelist and creative nonfiction writer based in Calgary. Her first novel Roost (Freehand, 2013) won the Alberta Literary Awards Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was the official selection of One Book Nova Scotia 2014. Her second novel, The Figgs, was released in May 2018 and was short-listed for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Her third book and YA debut, The Hill, will be released from Dottir Press in Fall 2020. She’s never used an outline.

- Level: Intermediate - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: Novel - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Tell it Slant: Different Approaches to Narrative in Fiction

Stephanie Wong Ken
Saturday
10-3:30pm
November 30, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

As Emily Dickinson once wrote, “Tell the truth but tell it slant–.”

In this workshop, we will be looking at different ways to approach narrative in fiction. This could be as simple as shifts in point of view and character. Or it could be a bit more structural, with the use of a fragmented or a narrative that has a unique shape or pattern. We will be looking at texts that demonstrate different approaches to narrative, and discuss how telling it slant can draw a reader in and add complexity to a story. We will also be creating our own “slanted” text.

Examples of what we might read include selections from: Ru by Kim Thuy, Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, “Valley of the Girls” by Kelly Link, “Inventory” by Carmen Maria Machado, and “Autobiography of Red” by Anne Carson.

We will also refer to the text Meander, Spiral, Explode:Design and Pattern in Narrative by Jane Alison as a reference point for the class.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

January Workshops

The Organized Creative: planning your writing year – quarter – month – week – and finally day

M Jane Colette
Saturday
10:00 - 3:30pm
January 11, 2020
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Known to “change writer’s lives,” this hands-on workshop will show you how to organize your days by realistically planning your writing year, and working backwards-and-forwards throughout the year to stay on track with your goals. You will also learn how to track and maximize your productivity cycles, use a process journal, value your lazy fallow periods, and use your procrastination to nurture inspiration.

 

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Writing Life, Organization, Planning - Genre: All Genres - Youth Programming: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Writing for Publication

Simon Rose
Saturday
10-3:30pm
January 18, 2020
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

This workshop reveals where to find ideas and turn them into a marketable venture. Half the class is spent exploring novels, short stories and non-fiction projects from concept to draft, the other half discussing how the various markets operate. This class is ideal for novice writers wishing to write material for publication.

- Level: Novice - Course Type: Writing - Genre: All Genres - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Unless otherwise noted, all programs take place at the 
Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, @cSpace King Edward, 460, 1721, 29th Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 6T7

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