Creative Writing Courses & Workshops

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 micro 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. 

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Notes:

  • COVID-19 VACCINE PASSPORT
  • For special events, drop in programs and more, please visit our EVENTS page.
  • 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.
  • Meet Our Instructors
  • Questions? Please contact us by email or phone 403.264.4730 

2021/22 Courses & Workshops 

Become a Member Today

Become a Member Today

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

Register & Details

ABLit Book Club

ABLit Book Club
Heidi Klaassen
Thursdays 7-8:30pm
(Every 5 Weeks)
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

Welcome to the ABLit Book Club registration page!

Registration will allow you access to all of the book club meetings for 2021/22. Please support your local book seller when purchasing books. If you are in Calgary, Owl’s Nest Books offers a 10% discount for ABLit Book Club members – just tell them you’re in the club!

Meetings will take place approximately every 5 weeks.

This is an interactive meeting using the Zoom web conferencing platform. 

Level: Adult Event: Book Club

Register & Details

Drop-In Programs

ONLINE The Story Salon
Robin van Eck
Sundays 10-12pm
Member Price: $5
Non-member Price: $5

No experience required.

Do you love to write stories? Flash fiction, longer shorts? Novels? Creative Nonfiction?

The 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 start with sharing writing from the previous week or work on a prompt; we discuss brewing issues about the writers life such as moving past rejection, comparing ourselves to other writers, sharing our successes and roadblocks. Sometimes we write, sometimes we chat. We always have a good time.

Guest speakers may appear.

Registration Required.

Course Type: fiction Genre: Short Fiction Event: Sunday Programs

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ONLINE Poetry Cafe
Laurie Fuhr
Sunday 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
varies
Member Price: $5
Non-member Price: $5

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

Register & Details

RIWO (Reality Is Woefully Obligatory)
Lee Firmston and Em Williamson
Days Vary Times Vary
Join anytime (Ongoing)
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

A creative group for 16-25 year-olds to discuss writing, art, anime, video games, and all things creative. Find your community! Meet on Discord and In-Person – register to get the link.

Official meetings are on the third Friday of the month at 7 PM. Unofficial meetings – all the time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level: Ages 16-25 Course Type: Community Building

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Adult Multi-Week Courses (Daytime)

IN PERSON Novel Surgery
Susan Forest
Tuesdays 10am-12pm
September 28, 2021 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $255
Non-member Price: $335

Revision is not editing or polishing. It is surgery. Come to this 8-week course with your “finished” manuscript prepared to analyze its strengths and weaknesses, rebuild theme and character arcs, ask tough questions about logic and motivation, and cut, add, and move scenes around for greatest punch.

This class takes place in person at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre in Calgary.

Susan Forest is the author of Aurora Award-winning Bursts of Fire (2019), as well as over 25 internationally-published short stories. She edits an award-winning anthology series for Laksa Media, and was Editor Guest of Honour at Keycon in 2021. The second novel of her seven-volume Addicted to Heaven series, Flights of Marigold (Publisher’s Lunch Selection), confronts issues of addictions in an epic fantasy world of intrigue and betrayal. speculative-fiction.ca

 

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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IN PERSON Writing Performance
Laura Swart
Tuesdays 1-3pm
September 28, 2021 (6 weeks)
Member Price: $190
Non-member Price: $250

For much of history, reading was a noisy affair: In ancient Iraq and Syria, for example, the words for to read meant to cry out or to listen. Yet today, silent reading is the norm, and reading out loud is reserved for bedtime stories and Shakespeare. But the ancient art of reading aloud, it turns out, has several benefits: it improves memory, leads to greater understanding of texts, and strengthens our emotional bonds with others.

Words and syllables unfold in patterns and rhythms that create meaning and give us pleasure—and like sheet music, they need a voice. In this course, you’ll compose several short pieces, read them out loud, and receive on-the-spot feedback. You’ll discover how sound adds meaning, depth, and beauty to a piece of writing. In a richly supportive environment, you’ll grow as a writer and offer others the gift of your voice.

This class takes place in person at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre in Calgary.

Laura Swart is passionate about writing and teaching. She has taught creative and critical writing to adults for thirty years, encouraging students to find and raise their writing voices. She is a published novelist, poet, and playwright and the director of I-AM ESL, an online language school that uses story and song to teach the intricacies of English to refugees. Laura’s degrees and research in education, philosophy, and theology have shaped her thinking and woven themselves into her classroom and her writing.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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ONLINE All The Feels: Creating Contest-Worthy Short Creative Non-Fiction
Ali Bryan
Wednesdays 10am-12:30pm
September 29, 2021 (6 weeks)
Member Price: $245
Non-member Price: $320

Genre guru, Lee Gutkind, describes creative nonfiction simply as “true stories well told,” while essayist, Vivian Gornick says the persona you create “is the one who has the wherewithal to rescue experience from chaos and turn it into art.” In this six-week course, we’ll breakdown CNF craft, explore form, truth and memory, fact vs. fiction, personal vs. public, research, specificity, writing in scene, cause & effect, details, story frame and structure, opening lines, beginnings and endings. The end goal is for participants to write a piece of compelling, contest-worthy short creative nonfiction with buzz. Please note, this class includes a critiquing component in weeks five and six.

Ali Bryan is an award-winning novelist and creative nonfiction writer who explores the what-ifs, the wtfs and the wait-a-minutes of every day. Her first novel, Roost, won the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was the official selection of One Book Nova Scotia. Her second novel, The Figgs, was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour and has been optioned for TV by Sony Pictures. She’s longlisted for the CBC Canada Writes Creative Nonfiction prize, shortlisted for the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award and won the 2020 Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story. She is a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Emerging Artist recipient. Her debut YA novel, The Hill, was released in March and longlisted for the 2021 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. Her short-form work has been published in Alberta Views, HASH Journal, and Understory Magazine and is forthcoming in the Good Life Review and Reservoir Road Literary Review. She has a wrestling room in her garage and regularly gets choked out by her family.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Creative Non-Fiction Event: Course

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ONLINE Push and Glide: A Skating Strategy for Pacing Your Novel
Gail Bowen
Saturdays 10am-12pm MST
October 16, 2021 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $265
Non-member Price: $345

Learn how to combine action and reflection to enhance readers’ interest in your novel’s plot and deepen their understanding of your protagonist. Through discussion and writing exercises, participants will learn this technique from celebrated Canadian novelist, Gail Bowen.

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

An Image in the Lake is the twentieth novel in Gail Bowen’s Joanne Kilbourn Shreve mystery series. Bowen has also written four Charlie Dowhanuik novellas for Orca books. Sleuth: Gail Bowen on Writing Mysteries was published in March, 2018. Bowen has written plays for CBC Radio and for theatrical production across Canada. She lives in Regina with her husband Ted.

Level: Intermediate Course Type: Fiction Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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IN PERSON Essentials of Dialogue
Laura Swart
Tuesdays 1-3pm
November 16, 2021 (4 weeks)
Member Price: $130
Non-member Price: $170

We often talk about the writer’s “voice,” but in reality, a writer can take on numerous voices and numerous personas, depending on who the characters are. Consider Atticus and Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, Oberon and Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or George and Lennie in Of Mice and Men. How does one construct such beautifully rounded characters? Dialogue is an essential ingredient. In this course, we’ll examine several literary characters and use them as models to construct conversations between our own characters. We’ll pepper in some speech theory and tricks of the trade, and by the end of the course, we’ll know how to strengthen our characters through the words, rhythms, and tempo of their speech.

This class takes place in person at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre in Calgary.

Laura Swart is passionate about writing and teaching. She has taught creative and critical writing to adults for thirty years, encouraging students to find and raise their writing voices. She is a published novelist, poet, and playwright and the director of I-AM ESL, an online language school that uses story and song to teach the intricacies of English to refugees. Laura’s degrees and research in education, philosophy, and theology have shaped her thinking and woven themselves into her classroom and her writing.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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Adult Multi-Week Courses (Evening)

ONLINE Poetry Basics 2
Laurie Fuhr
Mondays 7-9pm
September 27, 2021 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $255
Non-member Price: $335

Prerequisite: Poetry Basics 1.

So you’re one who did 1… good for you! Whether Poetry Basics 1 was your first time learning about and writing poetry, or you took it for a refresher, in Poetry Basics 2, we’ll take it all to the next level. Similar to Creative Basics 2, we’ll combine learning, weekly readings, and peer workshopping (which we’ll learn to do, gently and effectively) to learn more, understand more, and polish our work, all while gaining confidence in our poetic knowledge and abilities. Ready to level up? You can do it; we believe in you! Spaces are limited to ten poets.

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

Laurie Anne Fuhr is a poet and musician based in Calgary, Alberta. Her first poetry collection night flying was published by Frontenac House in 2018. Her work has also appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies such as Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man (Foundation for Public Poetry, Montreal), Shadowy Technicians: New Ottawa Poets (Broken Jaw Press 2000), THIS Magazine, and Freefall. Laurie has been a poetry instructor with Alexandra Writers Centre Society in Calgary for the last five years, and has been an AWCS member for many more.

Level: Intermediate Course Type: Poetry Event: Course

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ONLINE Leaning Against
Rosemary Nixon
Thursdays 6-8pm MST
September 30, 2021 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $265
Non-member Price: $345

Hockey players study each others’ techniques; painters and artists emulate the greats. Writers too, no matter our level, have techniques to learn and habits to break. American writer Maggie Nelson has a brilliant method for acquiring depth, resonance and power in our writing: Leaning Against.

Weekly we will study an excerpt of a powerful writer’s work. Participants will then apply that writer’s techniques – sentence structure, paragraphing, diction, syntax, dialogue, humour­… in a piece of their own. My previous students will attest to its fun and effectiveness. It will defamiliarize and energize your writing, and make it soar.

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

Rosemary Nixon is a pre-eminent award-winning short story writer, novelist, freelance editor, and an editor for Freehand Press. She is working on her 5th book of fiction, second novel. Rosemary has her Masters in Fine Arts from UBC. She has done numerous writer-in-residencies in universities and libraries in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario including the University of Calgary’s Distinguished Writers Programme. She was awarded the Lois Hole Excellence in Editing Award in 2018.

 

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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ONLINE From Page to Screen: Writing Your Screenplay
Susie Moloney
Mondays 6-8pm MST
October 4, 2021 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $255
Non-member Price: $335

Using the fantastic Rosemary’s Baby as an example and guide, award-winning screenwriter Susie Moloney will take you through the steps to get your screenplay from idea to first draft. Learn how to craft suspense, humour, drama, and backstory. Learn how to create the arc of your story and design characters who will work with that arc. Do it all hands-on, with weekly writing goals, and class prompts.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

Susie Moloney is an award-winning novelist and screenwriter, author of five books of fiction, as well as two feature films and multiple short films. She’s been featured in Chatelaine, The New York Times, People Magazine, Elle, Italian Vogue, The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s Magazine, and numerous other publications. She currently lives in Edmonton with her husband and son. And a dog who’s a bit of a jerk.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Screenwriting Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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ONLINE Truth-telling and Vulnerability
Rayanne Haines
Tuesdays 6-8pm MST
October 5, 2021 (4 weeks)
Member Price: $130
Non-member Price: $170

Choosing to write about trauma through poetry and/or micro-essay for publication involves telling the deep truth of pain and trauma, while also acknowledging the work as a piece of art. When you make this decision, you must first answer the most difficult question— every time you approach the task of writing — What is the truth?

There is a difference between writing for therapy or journaling and writing art for publication. This workshop focuses on truth telling in trauma writing through prompts, and free word association with and end goal for participants to come away with a poem or micro-essay (under 500 words) to submit to journals or as a larger body of work. Participants should come prepared to hear disturbing material, while acknowledging/respecting the workshop will be centered in editing/critiquing the writing as a piece of art to be considered for publication.

  • How to cut your darlings when it hurts
  • How much truth is too much truth
  • What is art and what is therapy
  • Responsibility to self and others
  • Self-care in writing trauma
  • Calling yourself on your bullshit

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

Rayanne Haines is an award winning and best selling author. Her writing has appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies both in Canada and Internationally. She is the host of the literary podcast Crow Reads, the Vice President for the League of Canadian Poets, and Past Executive Director of the Edmonton Poetry Festival.  Rayanne is a 2019 Edmonton Artist Trust Fund Award recipient and past writer in residence with Audreys Books. She is a member of the teaching faculty with Grant Macewan University. Her poetry and prose have been shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award and the John Whyte Memorial Essay Alberta Literary Award. The author of three poetry collections, and four genre-fiction books, her most recent book, Tell the Birds your Body is Not a Gun, focuses on mental health and intergenerational trauma.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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ONLINE A World of Sonnets
Jade O'Riley
Thursdays 6-8:30pm MST
October 7, 2021 (6 weeks)
Member Price: $240
Non-member Price: $315

In the 16th century the sonnet, the original Italian love poem, took off and began popping up in other countries around the world. Sonneteering was all the rage. The sonnet form is natural as speech and thus it took on variations to suit the language in which it is written; but everywhere the sonnet has remained a lyrical, devotional poem perfect to voice expressions of love. Whether it’s for a person, a philosophy, a way of life, or the love of nature the sonnet captures passion and dedication in fourteen lines or less! Class begins with an introduction to the sonnet style of the week. There’s time in class to write a new sonnet, share and get feedback. This poem is music to the ear and pure pleasure to write.

Sonnets Covered in Class: Petrarchan Italian octave; Shakespearean English; Spenserian Stanza; Espinela; Espinela Decima; Onegin Stanza.

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

Jade O’Riley teaches many poetry forms and styles and developed an editing method entitled Poet’s Toolbox to help poets gain writing confidence. Since 2007 Jade has taught poetry in several venues including City of Edmonton, Poetry Festival and Stroll of Poets; she’s published fifteen poetry chapbooks featuring the poets from her classes.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Poetry Event: Course

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ONLINE Immersive History: Writing Evocative Historical Fiction
Emily Ursuliak
Tuesdays 7-9pm MST
October 19, 2021 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $255
Non-member Price: $335

Are you interested in writing fiction set in the past, but feel daunted by it? This course will not only help you develop your craft as fiction writer, but also teach you the skills needed for writing about history in a way that makes it vivid and engaging. This is a workshop-style series, where students will share work with each other and provide supportive feedback, while also being given a new tool for their writer’s toolkit each week through targeted lessons and exercises. Those who are further along with a manuscript for a novel or short story collection are welcome, as are those just starting out on a manuscript-length project.

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

Emily Ursuliak writes both fiction and poetry, and has a MA in English with a focus in creative writing from the University of Calgary. Her first book, Throwing the Diamond Hitch, won the High Plains Book Award for Poetry. Emily was also selected out of a large pool of applicants for a historical fiction intensive with Lawrence Hill at the Banff Centre. She has taught writing workshops for a variety of organizations: Loft 112, WordsWorth, the Calgary Young Writers Conference and The Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society. She has held many roles within the literary community in Calgary, giving her a wide breadth of experience: she was the fiction editor for filling Station magazine; was the host and producer for the radio show Writer’s Block on CJSW 90.9 f.m.; and served twice as a member on the University of Calgary’s steering committee for their Calgary Distinguished Writers Program. In her day job Emily works as a librarian for the Calgary Public Library.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction Genre: Historical Fiction Event: Course

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ONLINE From Crafting to Completion: A Short Story Intensive
Katie Bickell
Wednesdays 6-8pm MST
October 20, 2021 (6 weeks)
Member Price: $190
Non-member Price: $250

While there is no one way to write a short story, there are ways to make its creation a thing of beauty and creative fulfilment. In this six weeks course, award-winning short story writer and novelist Katie Bickell will lead students through various techniques used to enrich creative strategy, story architecture, subtext, plot, character development, the writer’s relationship to the creative mindset and the inner critic, and early draft editing. This is an interactive course which will result in the completion of publication-ready stories. Students will be invited to present their work to the class should they so choose to participate.

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

Katie Bickell is the author of the novel-told-in-short-stories, Always Brave, Sometimes Kind. The book won the Alberta Literary Award’s 2021 Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for the national ReLit Award for Novel. Earlier versions of the book’s chapters won the 2017 Writer’s Guild of Alberta’s Emerging Writer Award, the 2015 Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story, and the 2014 Alberta Views Fiction Contest. Katie lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta, with her husband and daughters.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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ONLINE Poetic Dreamscapes
Josephine LoRe
Wednesdays 6-8pm MST
November 3, 2021 (4 weeks)
Member Price: $130
Non-member Price: $170

Do you ever wake up with just the fragment of a dream lingering in your consciousness?  What kind of poetry would you write if you could wander barefoot through the dream imaginarium?  A world coloured Chagall blue, a world of underwater breathing, a world as evoked by Margaret Atwood in her poem Variations on the Word Sleep.  A world where you could have a glass of wine with Pan or converse with your long-gone ancestors.

Come ready to release preconceptions and inhibitions, and allow your writing to take wing in the wordless landscape of dreams.

This is an interactive online course using the Zoom web conferencing platform.

Josephine LoRe is an award-winning poet and writer. Her work has been published in a number of reviews and anthologies in Canada, the US, England, Japan, India, and China, including The Prairie Journal, Haiku Canada, GUSTS Tanka, FreeFall, the (m)Othering Anthology, The War Memory Project and YYC PoP, Portraits of People.  She has featured at many Calgary poetry readings and has published two collections of poetry and photography, ‘Unity’ and Calgary Herald Bestseller ‘The Cowichan Series’.  She is a member of The League of Canadian Poets.

She has an MA in Comparative Literature from l’Université de Rouen in France and a BA in Modern Languages and Literature from the University of Toronto. https://www.josephinelorepoet.com/

Level: All Levels Course Type: Poetry Event: Course

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Adult Weekend Workshops

ONLINE Emotional Stakes in Memoir – Finding the Heart of Your Story
Judah Leblang
Saturdays 10am-1pm MST
Oct. 16 & 23
Member Price: $95
Non-member Price: $125

Using excerpts from the Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick, and other writers, we’ll examine the importance of overarching conflict in the memoir genre, its connection to theme, and explore ways to locate the forces that drive our protagonists and the internal and external conflicts that propel our stories.

The series will blend short readings and writing exercises, centered around the following questions:

  • What is the inciting incident, or a key event that sets your story in motion?
  • How can you identify a turning point, with emotional stakes for the protagonist?
  • What does your protagonist learn by going on this journey of discovery, and how might you, as the writer, keep your reader engaged?

By the end of the workshop, students will have identified the primary overarching conflicts in their memoir or essay and will have the tools necessary to heighten the tension and primary conflicts in their work.

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

Judah Leblang is a Boston-based writer, teacher, and storyteller. He has performed his one-man show, “It’s Now or Never. My Life in the Late Middle Ages” at community centres and Fringe Festivals in the US and Canada, including Calgary (Best of Fringe, 2019). He is the author of two memoirs, Finding My Place (Lake Effect Press, 2012) and Echoes of Jerry (Red Giant Books, 2019). His essays and commentaries have been broadcast on public radio stations throughout the US, and on several Canadian stations. He teaches creative nonfiction at Grubstreet writing centre in Boston.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Memoir , Nonfiction Event: Course

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IN PERSON Collaborative Writing
Sarah L. Johnson & Robert Bose
Saturday 10am-3pm
November 13, 2021
Member Price: $85
Non-member Price: $110

Stuck in a rut? Tired of the sound of your own voice? Looking for an adventure that will expand your wordsmithing skillset? Consider writing collaboratively!

In this workshop writing is anything but solitary. We’ll explore techniques for blending voice, for letting go of ego and expectations and embracing spontaneity. We’ll also talk about logistics: outlining, deadlines, editing strategy, and settling creative differences. More than anything, we’ll be writing. At the end of the day we’ll have stories that would not and could not exist without everyone’s contribution. This workshop is more introvert-friendly than you might think and requires only a willingness to go with the flow.

If you’ve ever wondered how co-writing works, or you’re looking to shake up your creative routine, you’ll have a blast in this unique workshop.

This class takes place in person at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre in Calgary.

Sarah L. Johnson is a curly hair gladiator, maniacal runner, editor, teacher, and literary events wrangler. Her short fiction has been published in numerous anthologies and journals and she’s the author of three books, Suicide Stitch: Eleven Tales (EMP Publishing), Infractus (Coffin Hop Press), and Wall of Fire (The Seventh Terrace). She is also a co-editor at The Seventh Terrace, a Calgary-based small press for horror fiction.

Robert Bose has a fondness for tentacles, picnics, absolute darkness, Blanton’s Original Single Barrel Bourbon, not necessarily in that order. He’s the editor of a variety of books and anthologies for Coffin Hop Press and The Seventh Terrace, and the author of myriad short stories including the fiendish collection, Fishing with the Devil and Wall of Fire. When not writing, editing, publishing, and running unfathomable distances, he spends his time annoying his wife, pestering his troublesome children, and working as a Chief Architect for an economic forecasting software company.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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Adult Micro Workshops

IN PERSON Buoyant Lit Mag Submissions
Samantha Jones
Wednesday 7-9pm
October 13, 2021
Member Price: $35
Non-member Price: $45

Float to the Top of the Slush Pile…

Have you always dreamed of seeing your work published in literary magazines alongside your favourite writers? Join me for Buoyant Submissions where we will discuss and develop submission packages to lit mags. Participants will leave the workshop with a personalized cover letter template, a short author bio, and the confidence to navigate the unique guidelines for submitting to literary magazines. This workshop is open to writers of all levels who are interested in submitting work to literary magazines. Content will be accessible to beginners and will be relevant to more experienced writers looking to fine-tune their submission strategy. If you have a piece that you would like to submit please bring it to the workshop, although this is not required to complete the exercises.

This class takes place in person at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre in Calgary.

Samantha Jones (she/her) is a Calgary-based poet of mixed white settler and Black Canadian heritage. She is a literary magazine enthusiast with poetry published in Blanket Sea, CV2, Grain, New Forum, Room, Watch Your Head, and elsewhere. Her words appear in the mental health chapbook anthology You are a Flower Growing off the Side of a Cliff (The League of Canadian Poets), March 2020: A COVID-19 Anthology (The /tɛmz/ Review and 845 Press), and Tap, Press, Read (Loft on EIGHTH). Samantha is an alumna of the Banff Centre Spring Writers Retreat and the Iceland Writers Retreat. Find her on Twitter: @jones_yyc.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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ONLINE The Unreliable Narrator: What Should Be True?
Heather Osborne
Wednesday 6-9pm MST
October 20, 2021
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $65

Unreliable narrators are great fun! They might be tricksters or liars, or simply oblivious and unobservant. Or, as novelist Upton Sinclair famously said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” However, when writing an unreliable narrator, no matter how slippery that narrator is, the writer must know what is true. The trick is to write your narrator in such a way that a) the clues the reader needs are interspersed throughout; b) the reader feels engaged, not cheated, when the truth is revealed; and c) the reader’s pleasure is enhanced when they read the story a second time, now with the truth in mind.

Those are some tall orders—so how do you accomplish it? In this mini-workshop, we’ll look at examples and try writing some unreliable narrators of our own! This workshop is perfect for beginner and intermediate writers of any length or genre.

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

Heather Osborne writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance. She earned her doctorate of creative writing from the University of Calgary, and she is associate editor of the International Review of Science Fiction. Her first novel, Songbroken, is forthcoming from Forest Path Books (2022).

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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ONLINE The Dreaded Query Letter
Rayanne Haines
Monday 6-8pm MST
November 8, 2021
Member Price: $35
Non-member Price: $45

The query letter has one purpose, and one purpose only: to entice the agent or editor into reading or requesting your work. It requires a firm grasp of your story premise and a firm grasp of the query structure.

For some writers, the query will represent a completely different way of thinking about their book—because it means thinking about one’s work as a product to be sold.

This workshop focuses on query letters for fiction, memoir and poetry. We talk about what goes into it, what should stay out and how to best structure the letter to help you progress past gatekeepers. Examples will be provided but participants are encouraged to come with a query letter to be critiqued.

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

Rayanne Haines is an award winning and best selling author. Her writing has appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies both in Canada and Internationally. She is the host of the literary podcast Crow Reads, the Vice President for the League of Canadian Poets, and Past Executive Director of the Edmonton Poetry Festival.  Rayanne is a 2019 Edmonton Artist Trust Fund Award recipient and past writer in residence with Audreys Books. She is a member of the teaching faculty with Grant Macewan University. Her poetry and prose have been shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award and the John Whyte Memorial Essay Alberta Literary Award. The author of three poetry collections, and four genre-fiction books, her most recent book, Tell the Birds your Body is Not a Gun, focuses on mental health and intergenerational trauma.

Level: All Levels Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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IN PERSON Physical, Social, and Technological Geography for Speculative Worlds
Susan Forest
Wednesday 6-8pm
November 10, 2021
Member Price: $35
Non-member Price: $45

Most authors creating a science fictional or fantasy world develop a map to help them keep the physical geography straight, as well as to calculate travel times and other infrastructure to underlie the logic of their world. This mini-course will examine how basic geography interacts with society to create possible economies, travel routes, settlement locations, borders, clothing, architecture, myths, and more. Come with your ideas, sketches, or developed maps to discuss how your world can be deepened.

This class takes place in person at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre in Calgary.

Susan Forest is the author of Aurora Award-winning Bursts of Fire (2019), as well as over 25 internationally-published short stories. She edits an award-winning anthology series for Laksa Media, and was Editor Guest of Honour at Keycon in 2021. The second novel of her seven-volume Addicted to Heaven series, Flights of Marigold (Publisher’s Lunch Selection), confronts issues of addictions in an epic fantasy world of intrigue and betrayal. speculative-fiction.ca

 

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction Genre: Steampunk, Gothic, Crime, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Magical Realism Event: Course

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ONLINE The List Poem
Samantha Jones
Monday 6-8pm MST
November 22, 2021
Member Price: $35
Non-member Price: $45

A series of images, inventories of items or observations, instructionals, timelines, and how-tos. Let’s talk about list poems! In this two-hour workshop, we will read and discuss examples of list poems from the literature and create some works of our own. We will look at how poets use the list poem format to incite action, document process or happenings, and directly engage with the reader. We will complete a list making exercise to generate ideas for poems, and we will create original list poems inspired by the workshop readings and our discussion. You will leave the workshop with one or more list poems as well as several ideas to continue your list making on your own. There will be opportunities to share your work with the group and to ask questions. Similar to all of my workshops, you can expect the poems that we read in this class to represent diverse writers and experiences.

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

Samantha Jones (she/her) is a Calgary-based poet of mixed white settler and Black Canadian heritage. She is a literary magazine enthusiast with poetry published in Blanket SeaCV2GrainNew ForumRoomWatch Your Head, and elsewhere. Her words appear in the mental health chapbook anthology You are a Flower Growing off the Side of a Cliff (The League of Canadian Poets), March 2020: A COVID-19 Anthology (The /tɛmz/ Review and 845 Press), and Tap, Press, Read (Loft on EIGHTH). Samantha is an alumna of the Banff Centre Spring Writers Retreat and the Iceland Writers Retreat. Find her on Twitter: @jones_yyc.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Poetry Event: Course

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IN PERSON Writing with the Senses
Emily Ursuliak
Thursday 7-9pm
November 25, 2021
Member Price: $35
Non-member Price: $45

Books that pull us in and make us feel like we are immersed in their world often have one trait in common: the authors are good at using a wide variety of sensory detail. Too often we rely on the sense of sight, describing what is visible, and we ignore other possibilities. Through a series of writing exercises, you will engage with all of your senses, developing a greater appreciation for the value they hold in your writing projects.

This class takes place in person at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre in Calgary.

Emily Ursuliak writes both fiction and poetry, and has a MA in English with a focus in creative writing from the University of Calgary. Her first book, Throwing the Diamond Hitch, won the High Plains Book Award for Poetry. Emily was also selected out of a large pool of applicants for a historical fiction intensive with Lawrence Hill at the Banff Centre. She has taught writing workshops for a variety of organizations: Loft 112, WordsWorth, the Calgary Young Writers Conference and The Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society. She has held many roles within the literary community in Calgary, giving her a wide breadth of experience: she was the fiction editor for filling Station magazine; was the host and producer for the radio show Writer’s Block on CJSW 90.9 f.m.; and served twice as a member on the University of Calgary’s steering committee for their Calgary Distinguished Writers Program. In her day job Emily works as a librarian for the Calgary Public Library.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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ONLINE The Pathetic Fallacy: A Point of View Workshop
Heather Osborne
Monday 6-9pm MST
November 29, 2021
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $65

Ever heard of the pathetic fallacy? It’s a fancy term, but what it boils down to is that when a character is sad, the setting is gloomy and rainy, and when a character is happy, the world is sunshine and roses. Thomas Hardy made it famous in novels like Tess of the D’Urbervilles. These days, though, modern readers might find it a little too on-the-nose.

And yet, a character’s feelings—their thoughts, their emotions, their attention—should always affect how they perceive the world around them, and therefore how writers describe it! From happy rain to sad sunshine, let’s get together and explore the pathetic fallacy. When is it useful and when is it over the top? We’ll use writing exercises, examples, and discussion to bring your setting to life. This mini-workshop is perfect for beginners and intermediate writers in all genres.

This is an interactive online class using the Zoom web platform.

Heather Osborne writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance. She earned her doctorate of creative writing from the University of Calgary, and she is associate editor of the International Review of Science Fiction. Her first novel, Songbroken, is forthcoming from Forest Path Books (2022).

Level: All Levels Course Type: Fiction Genre: All Genres Event: Course

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Youth Classes and Clubs 2021/22 Season

Movie Making Club (In-Person)
Kim Firmston
2nd and 4th Wednesdays 5-6:30 PM
September 8 (10 Months)
Member Price: $275
Non-member Price: $355

Filmmaking can be a difficult endeavor, especially when you do it alone. This club will walk you through the many aspects of filmmaking such as equipment use, screenwriting, directing, and film analysis. Make friends with other young filmmakers and work together towards a big final project fit for the big screen.

Level: Grades 8-12 Youth Programming: 2021/22 year

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Young Journalist Program (In-Person)
Patti Edgar
1st and 3rd Mondays 6:30-8:30 PM
September 20 (10 Months)
Member Price: $350
Non-member Price: $450

In our AWCS classroom! Interested in creating newsworthy podcasts, interviewing interesting people, and writing about what is happening in our city and the world? Get a head start in reporting with our Young Journalist Program headed by Mount Royal Journalism, Professor Patti Edgar. Here you will work on our Zed News YYC website, record podcasts on professional equipment, and learn the art of the interview. Make your voice heard! For youth in Grade 8 and up.

See our website here: https://zednewsyyc.weebly.com

Payment plan options and subsidy available. Contact Kim Firmston for details – kfirmston@alexandrawriters.org

Level: Grade 8-12 Youth Programming: 2021/22 year

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Rogue Poets Poetry Club (In-Person)
Em Williamson
1st and 3rd Tuesdays 5-6:30 PM
September 7 (10 Months)
Member Price: $275
Non-member Price: $355

In our classroom! Rogue Poets Poetry Club – Explore what poetry can be then take it past those limits. Join Coach Em Williamson on a journey to the outer edges of poetry and performance. Have the opportunity to perform on various stages, hone your poetic craft, and create collaborative work the likes of which you’ve never imagined.

See some of the past Rogue Poets poetry HERE

Level: Grades 7-12 Youth Programming: 2021/22 year

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Reality Is Optional Kids Writing Club ONLINE
Eli Smart
First and Third Mondays 5-6:30 PM
September 13 (10 Months)
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $195

Now offered online – Reality Is Optional Kids’ Writing Club (RIO) is the place to be if you love writing.  Explore all styles of writing including podcasting, film, poetry, short story, collaborative creation, and more – all while playing games and making friends! All grades, all levels, twice a month. Join any time!

See our youth website: www.realityisoptional.com

Level: All Grades Youth Programming: Online

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Home School ONLINE – Hooked on Writing!
Anne Hodgson
Mondays 10:30 AM - Noon
September 20 (12 Weeks)
Member Price: $290
Non-member Price: $380

Online – Grades 4 to 7 – Get hooked on writing and let your imagination run free! Students will have the opportunity to engage in fun and creative writing activities while focusing on specific skill development. Create your own poetry anthology while practicing writing description and figurative language. Have you ever wanted to write a mystery or fantasy story? We will look at the elements to creating interesting characters, plot, and settings. What better inspiration than the great William Shakespeare. We will examine his life and read a shortened version of one of his plays. Students will write short fictional as well as persuasive writing pieces on topics such as the mystery of Shakespeare’s ‘seven lost years’ or the motives of a character. Through the course, students will participate in one-to-one and group editing sessions focusing on spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting skills with a goal towards self-editing.

Level: Grades 4-7 Youth Programming: Online

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Pen & Panel Comic Club (In-Person)
Sebastien Ringuette
First and Third Thursdays 5-6:30 PM
September 16 (10 Months)
Member Price: $275
Non-member Price: $355

In our classroom! Play drawing games, improve your art style, learn to make comics both online and on paper,  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 skillset. Suggested Ages 12 and up. September to June, join any time.

Level: Ages 12 and up Youth Programming: 2021/22 year

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Novelmancers Novel Writing Club (hybrid programming)
Kim Firmston
2nd and 4th Thursdays 5-6:30 PM
September 9 (10 Months)
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $195

This program is a hybrid – meaning you can be in our classroom or on Zoom as we stream you into our live session! So, no matter where you are or where you live, if you’re serious about writing and want to get that novel, screenplay, or any other long project done, you can join us and lighten the load. Build your writing toolbox, take part in critique circles and become the writer you want to be.

Bonus! NaNoWriMo support and twice-month write-ins on Discord.

Level: All Grades Youth Programming: 2021/22 year

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Novelmancer Write-In
Kim Firmston
Thursdays 7-8:30 PM
July 8th (Ongoing)
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

Novelmancers Write-In – for Youth Writers aged 9-25

 

Take some You-Time for your Writing – Listen to chill tunes while text chatting with other writers and our fantastic moderators. This program is free! Come and work on your writing.

On Discord.

Regular Season (Sept-June) – first and third Thursdays of the month

Summer – once a week on Thursdays.

Contact Kim Firmston if you have questions: kfirmston@alexandrawriters.org

Level: Ages 9-24 Youth Programming: Summer Online

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Reality Is Optional Kids Writing Club (In-Person)
Kim Firmston
Second and Fourth Mondays 5-6:30 PM
September 13 (10 Months)
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $195

In our classroom! Reality Is Optional Kids’ Writing Club (RIO) is the place to be if you love writing.  Explore all styles of writing including podcasting, film, poetry, short story, collaborative creation, and more – all while playing games and making friends! All grades, all levels, twice a month. Join any time!

See our youth website: www.realityisoptional.com

SOLD OUT? Try Reality Is Optional Online – just click HERE

Level: All Grades Youth Programming: 2021/22 year

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Dungeons & Dragons Club (In-Person)
Iris Hildebrandt, Lee Firmston
One Saturday a month 6-9 PM
Sept 11 & Sept 25th (8 Months | Sept - April)
Member Price: $175
Non-member Price: $225

In our classroom! Grades 5-12 – Come on an adventure solving puzzles, finding traps, battling monsters, and getting treasure with this super popular storytelling game. Whether you know how to play or are totally new to the game, you’re going to have fun! We emphasize teamwork, listening skills, communication, storytelling, and friendship. So come join us! Once a month, September – April.

Group B – junior high/high school (usually the first Saturday of the month – Start date Sept 11th – rescheduled due to the Labour Day long weekend)

Group C – Upper elementary/junior high (usually the fourth Saturday of the month – Start date Sept 25th)

Covid protocols in place.

Level: Grades 5-12 Youth Programming: 2021/22 year

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Dungeons & Dragons ONLINE
Lee
2nd Saturday of the Month 6-9 PM
September 11 (8 Months)
Member Price: $175
Non-member Price: $225

Grades 7-12 – Come on an adventure online solving puzzles, finding traps, battling monsters, and getting treasure with this super popular storytelling game. Whether you know how to play or are totally new to the game, you’re going to have fun! We emphasize teamwork, listening skills, communication, storytelling, and friendship. So come join us! Second Saturday of the month, September – April.

Level: Grades 6-12 Youth Programming: Online

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RIWO (Reality Is Woefully Obligatory)
Lee Firmston and Em Williamson
Days Vary Times Vary
Join anytime (Ongoing)
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

A creative group for 16-25 year-olds to discuss writing, art, anime, video games, and all things creative. Find your community! Meet on Discord and In-Person – register to get the link.

Official meetings are on the third Friday of the month at 7 PM. Unofficial meetings – all the time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level: Ages 16-25 Course Type: Community Building

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Student Support

Home School ONLINE – Hooked on Writing!
Anne Hodgson
Mondays 10:30 AM - Noon
September 20 (12 Weeks)
Member Price: $290
Non-member Price: $380

Online – Grades 4 to 7 – Get hooked on writing and let your imagination run free! Students will have the opportunity to engage in fun and creative writing activities while focusing on specific skill development. Create your own poetry anthology while practicing writing description and figurative language. Have you ever wanted to write a mystery or fantasy story? We will look at the elements to creating interesting characters, plot, and settings. What better inspiration than the great William Shakespeare. We will examine his life and read a shortened version of one of his plays. Students will write short fictional as well as persuasive writing pieces on topics such as the mystery of Shakespeare’s ‘seven lost years’ or the motives of a character. Through the course, students will participate in one-to-one and group editing sessions focusing on spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting skills with a goal towards self-editing.

Level: Grades 4-7 Youth Programming: Online

Register & Details

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

Youth Tutoring and Homework Help

Tutoring is one on one and offered in one-hour, four-class sessions. Offered online 

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 youth tutoring session. kfirmston@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 classes and is not obliged to do so. Instructors will never reschedule a class if that class isn’t canceled prior to the 24-hour deadline.

Register & Details

Academic Post-Secondary Tutoring
Instructor Varies
Monday-Saturday Times Vary
Member Price: $270
Non-member Price: $350

Offered online and in-person at our centre (in-person times are limited)

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. It takes place online or at the AWCS  (limited times and days available for in-person)

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 classes and is not obliged to do so. Instructors will never reschedule a class if that class isn’t canceled prior to the 24-hour deadline.

Register & Details

Tutoring

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

Youth Tutoring and Homework Help

Tutoring is one on one and offered in one-hour, four-class sessions. Offered online 

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 youth tutoring session. kfirmston@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 classes and is not obliged to do so. Instructors will never reschedule a class if that class isn’t canceled prior to the 24-hour deadline.

Register & Details

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 / online and in-person

Tutoring is one on one and offered in one hour, four-class sessions created specifically to address your individual needs. It takes place online or at the AWCS  (limited times and days available for in-person)

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 classes and is not obliged to do so. Instructors will never reschedule a class if that class isn’t canceled prior to the 24-hour deadline.

Register & Details

Academic Post-Secondary Tutoring
Instructor Varies
Monday-Saturday Times Vary
Member Price: $270
Non-member Price: $350

Offered online and in-person at our centre (in-person times are limited)

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. It takes place online or at the AWCS  (limited times and days available for in-person)

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 classes and is not obliged to do so. Instructors will never reschedule a class if that class isn’t canceled prior to the 24-hour deadline.

Register & Details

Gift Certificates

Gift Certificates

Member Price: varies
Non-member Price: varies

For the writer in your life.

Available in various denominations.

Gift certificates will be emailed.

For different denominations please email us.

Back to Gift Shop

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Until further notice all programs are provided online through the ZOOM web conferencing app.