2020 Courses & Workshops 

In respect to COVID-19, we are in the process of transitioning all of our upcoming spring classes to online learning. If you are already registered in a class, you will be notified of changes. 

For special events, drop in programs and more, please visit our EVENTS page.

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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Online Courses and Workshops

ONLINE – WIR Workshop – More Bang For Your Buck: How Form and Content Can Work Together in Fiction and Poetry

Judith Pond
Saturday
2-4 pm
April 11 & 18, 2020
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

A writer should hold the reins with authority, but with enough ease to let the writing offer surprise. Paradoxically, writing that sings is intentional on many levels. One form of intention in writing is the craft of allowing the content of narrative to dictate its form. Concrete poetry could be said to be an example of form emulating content. This workshop will give participants the opportunity to study examples of both prose and poetry in which form evolves from content, and to create a short piece of such writing to read aloud.
This workshop will also give instruction on public reading.

April 11th a reading and exercise will be sent to students. April 18th there will be an interactive online component using the Zoom web conferencing platform. 

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Writer In Residence View Course Details & Register

ONLINE Energizing Editing

Marie Maccagno
Saturday & Sunday
10-3:30pm
April 18 & 19, 2020 (2 Days)
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $200

This interactive workshop is designed to support writers to move beyond the first draft of manuscript development. Day One will be spent working with principles of a manuscript review process that begins with “what’s strong in the writing.” Participants will have opportunities to create “fresh writing” together before moving on to revision stages. During Day Two, participants will bring pieces of writing created outside the workshop; we will work with encouraging editorial principles.

In order to get the most of this workshop, participants are asked to bring writing that is ready for suggestions for revision. You are able to receive feedback without becoming defensive, knowing that everyone is listening for what’s strong in the writing. This workshop is not genre-specific; it’s about learning a process that will serve writers ready to take rough drafts towards final copy.

Please be aware that this workshop will not take participants to the final copy-editing stage.

Marie Maccagno is author of the award winning creative memoir, The Chocolate Pilgrim: a Journey to Self-discovery and Transformation on the Camino de Santiago. She is an international retreat leader and skilled writing coach, supporting writers to develop well-crafted manuscripts for publication.

- Level: Intermediate - Course Type: Editing - Genre: All Genres View Course Details & Register

ONLINE – WIR Workshop – Foregrounding Language In Fiction and Poetry

Judith Pond
Saturday
10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm
April 25, 2020
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

Similar to form that emulates content, language used with intention enhances a reader’s pleasure in a text. The difference between the two techniques is that foregrounding language is more subliminal—less visual—than form emulating content. It requires an intense listening on the part of the writer, similar to the acoustic attention demanded by poetry. A long apprenticeship to poetry has heightened my own attention to language, and informs my prose line by line. I consciously—and unconsciously—build subtle subliminal assonances, agreements, and acoustic balancings into my own prose. This workshop encourages participants to hear words, both for themselves, and for how, when placed judiciously, words enhance and layer the coloring of prose lines, for emotional and poetic effect.

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

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

ONLINE Get Your Shorts On!

Vivian Hansen
Tuesdays
7-9pm
April 7, 2020 (6 Weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $250

Writing those small clips of stories, poems and essays can be so satisfying. You feel like you’ve accomplished something. A small story is not always a simple story. It is a yearning carried on a postcard; a ‘sliver’ fiction that sticks underneath your skin. Flash fictions and prose poems give you just enough of a reading lure to pull you into the stream. Writing short fiction or a prose poem is not just about a quick and easy write. Try on the feeling of completing a short piece: a prose poem, sliver or flash fiction, hermit crab essay and other short forms. Explore how these ‘shorts’ exercise your writing muscle, develop your portfolio and prepare you for a unique writers’ market.

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

ONLINE Creative Writing Basics 2

Olyn Ozbick
Wednesdays
7-9:30pm
April 8, 2020 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

Go deeper on the elements of craft from characterization and POV to language and voice. By the end of this course you’ll be ready to dive into a full length manuscript, whether a collection of short stories, creative nonfiction or a novel. With Olyn Ozbick.

Prerequisite: Creative Writing Basics

 

- Level: Beginner - Genre: All Genres View Course Details & Register

ONLINE Introduction to Memoir

Karen Lee
Thursdays
6:30-8:30pm
April 9, 2020 (6 Weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240
Have you read any good memoirs lately? It seems as though everyone is writing one. Does that intrigue you? Have you thought of writing a memoir but didn’t really know where to start? Come out to a class that takes away the mystery, shows you the basics, where to start, how to structure it, and starts you on the path to writing your own memoir.
- Level: Beginner - Course Type: Memoir - Genre: Memoir View Course Details & Register

ONLINE Novel Surgery

Susan Forest
Mondays
7-9:30pm
April 13, 2020 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

Revision is not editing or polishing. It is surgery. Come to this eight 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.

Please note this class starts on Easter Monday. No class Victoria Day, Monday, May 18. 

 

- Level: Intermediate, Completed First Draft - Course Type: Fiction, Novel - Genre: All Genres - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

ONLINE World Building in Scene

Sarah E. Johnson
Wednesdays
7-9:30pm
April 15, 2020 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

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 class will focus on the ground up of world building, how to make sense of your creative pile and what the reader needs. Each week will focus on a different area and there will be continuos exercises that will put those ideas to use. Each person should leave this course with ample scenes and an ability to meld world within your story. 

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

ONLINE Poetry in Bloom

Jade O'Riley
Thursdays
6:45pm-9:45pm
April 16, 2020 (4 Weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

Spring’s long awaited warmth opens buds, rouses the green grass and inspires poetry. In the gaining light and colour find your poems within. In four weeks you’ll write a variety of poetry styles and forms. Class begins with fun writing warmups; there’s time to create your poems, share, get feedback and wrap up the class with writing tips from The Poets’ Toolbox. Happy spring! Let your poetic voice bloom.

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 - Genre: Poetry - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

ONLINE Fear Itself: A Deep Dive Into Modern Horror

Sarah L. Johnson
Tuesdays
7-9pm
April 21, 2020 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $240
Non-member Price: $320
From monsters to madmen, psychological to supernatural, explore the breadth and depth of the horror fiction genre and identify what exactly makes a story scary. Through discussion, exercises, and workshopping you’ll learn how to craft your own blood curdling tale of terror.
Content note: This class will address dark, possibly traumatic themes and subject matter. We may find ourselves sleeping with the lights on. Bring sage.
- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: Horror - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

ONLINE – Proprioceptive Writing

Vivian Hansen
Fridays
1-3pm
April 3, 2020 (6 Weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

This course will explore the Proprioceptive Writing method developed by Linda Trichter Metcalf in which you explore the deepest volume of story in your life. Proprioceptive writing has effectively blasted out writer’s block and sent aspiring writers into new and productive creative writing journeys. In this course, we will plan out a secular spiritual journey with your writing. Please note: participants should be working on a manuscript of poetry, creative nonfiction, short story collection, or novel-in-progress. We will explore the proprioceptive method in tandem with your writing project. Recommended reading: Writing the Mind Alive: The Proprioceptive Method for Finding Your Authentic Voice by Linda Trichter Metcalf.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Creative Writing, Creativity, Writing Methods, Techniques - Genre: All Genres - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

ONLINE Craft and Catharsis: The Art of Memoir

Naomi K. Lewis
Tuesdays
12:30-3pm
April 7, 2020 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

Learn to mine your experience and hone your voice to craft compelling memoir out of the chaos of memory. In this course we will use techniques from fiction and journalism – scenes, dialogue, character development, and research — to shape a story based on real life, to create an entertaining and edifying work fit for an audience. Learn to move beyond the personal, cathartic writing that often forms the foundation for such a project, and to move beyond facts to find a different kind of truth.

Naomi Lewis’ memoir Tiny Lights for Travellers was a finalist for the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction. She is a Calgary based fiction and creative nonfiction writer, editor, ghostwriter and writing teacher.

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

ONLINE Into The Deep: Beyond The First Draft

Laura Swart
Wednesdays
12:30-3pm
April 15, 2020 (6 Weeks)
Member Price: $225
Non-member Price: $300

What happens after you’ve written a draft? In this course, we’ll explore the essentials of moving a piece into the power zone. We’ll combine engaging in-class exercises and writing time with small doses of homework to push first drafts into the deep. We’ll learn how to detail a piece with sensory language, layer it with literary devices, and refine it with a dominant impression. Three maxims will guide us: Writing is hard; work it. Writing is play; tinker with it. Writing is inside; mine it.

- Level: Intermediate - Course Type: Craft - Genre: All Genres - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Online Micro-Classes

FULL – Telling the Truth: A Narrative Nonfiction Manifesto

Marcello Di Cintio
Thursday
2-4pm
April 2, 2020
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $30

How do we refine real life experiences into literature? How do we achieve such alchemy? In this workshop we will learn the techniques of creative nonfiction or, as Marcello prefers to call it, “documentary literature.” Let’s talk about how to approach real world stories with the eye of a creative writer.

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

Marcello Di Cintio is the author of four books of narrative nonfiction, including Walls: Travels Along the Barricades and Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense – both winners of the W. O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Creative Non-Fiction View Course Details & Register

The Craft of Storytelling: Exploring Patterns in Narrative

Stephanie Wong Ken
Sunday
12-2pm
April 5, 2020
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $30

In this two hour micro-workshop, we will explore different approaches to narrative in fiction. This could be as simple as a point of view or character shift. Or it could be a bit more structural, with a narrative that has a unique shape or pattern. We will look at texts that demonstrate different approaches to narrative, and discuss the different shapes or patterns possible in fiction. We will also do a series of writing exercises to further explore these patterns in your own writing.

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

Raised in Florida, Steph Wong Ken is currently based in Calgary. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter, Joyland, Pithead Chapel, Moss, and other publications, and she has an MFA in fiction from Portland State University.

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

FULL – Journaling Into Fiction

M. Jane Colette
Monday
2-4pm
April 6, 2020
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $30

An established journaling practice can be one of the most critical tools in your fiction writing arsenal. Find out how to start it – or change it – so that journaling supports your writing, increases your word counts, and builds your awareness of your creative process. We will talk about traditional journals, art journals, gratitude journals, process journals – and blogs, Facebook status updates, and Instagram accounts too.

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

M. Jane Colette writes tragedy for those who like to laugh, comedy for the melancholy, and erotica for lovers who like their fantasies real. She believes rules and hearts were made to be broken—ditto the constraints of genres. Her novels include the erotic romances Tell Me, Consequences (of defensive adultery), the award-winning rom-com Cherry Pie Cure, and Text Me, Cupid, a (slightly dirty) love story for 21st century adults who don’t believe in love… but want it anyway. She is the curator of the YYC Queer Writers’ fabulous anthologies Screw Chocolate, Screw Chocolate 2, Queer Christmas in Cowtown, and A Queer Summer Night in Cowtown.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Journalling - Genre: All Genres View Course Details & Register

The Organized Creative – Abridged Edition

M. Jane Colette
Thursday
10am-12pm
April 9, 2020
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $30

Having a hard time concentrating and focusing in the time of COVID-19? Use the Organized Creative tracking and reflection tools to do a deep dive into your creative process during this time of unrest.

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

M. Jane Colette writes tragedy for those who like to laugh, comedy for the melancholy, and erotica for lovers who like their fantasies real. She believes rules and hearts were made to be broken—ditto the constraints of genres. Her novels include the erotic romances Tell Me, Consequences (of defensive adultery), the award-winning rom-com Cherry Pie Cure, and Text Me, Cupid, a (slightly dirty) love story for 21st century adults who don’t believe in love… but want it anyway. She is the curator of the YYC Queer Writers’ fabulous anthologies Screw Chocolate, Screw Chocolate 2, Queer Christmas in Cowtown, and A Queer Summer Night in Cowtown.

- Level: All Levels - Genre: All Genres View Course Details & Register

Famous Poets – The Series

Laurie Anne Fuhr
Mondays
2-4pm
April 13, 2020 (3 weeks)
Member Price: $80
Non-member Price: $80

April 13: Leonard Cohen died an icon of both poetry and music. In this class, we lovingly remember the gifts he left behind, and gain inspiration from their unique elements to write our own poetry.

April 20: Patti Smith is known as a rock n’ roll poet, continuing to produce music, poetry, prose and Tweets that thrill her fans. Stage dice into the history of Patti’s prolific life, learn what inspires her, and see where it takes your own pen.

April 27: Jim Morrison was a wild on the page as he was on the stage. Many teens come to poetry through his shimmering portal…but was Jim a “good” poet? Together, we’ll look at a selection of his poetry and lyrics and try to answer this question, then see how a rock n’ roll attitude helps our own ink flow.

These are interactive workshop using the Zoom web conferencing platform. 

Laurie Anne Fuhr is a published poet and songwriter who has instructed poetry at AWCS for five years. She is the author of the poetry collection night flying (Frontenac 2018) and hosts a poetry open mic in cooperation with Single Onion Poetry Society.

 

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Poetry View Course Details & Register

Adaptation

Caroline Russell-King
Thursday
1-3pm
April 16, 2020
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $30

Adapting your work for the stage while adapting to the stresses of the times.

Recycle your writing in times of change. Do you have existing work either in the form of a poem, short story, memoir or novel or just have some scribbles on a Starbucks napkin? Learn the tips and tricks for turning these materials into stage plays. The theatres will reopen and by the time they do, you will have new and fresh material to submit to them!

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

Caroline Russell-King is a professional playwright, dramaturg and theatre critic. She has written over 30 plays which have been produced all across Canada. Caroline is a commercial comedy playwright.  Her last two plays were nominated for a Betty Mitchel Theatre award and a Calgary Theatre Critics award. Caroline is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and the Playwrights Guild of Canada. Her latest play, Palliser Suite, was published by Frontenac House.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Playwriting View Course Details & Register

Other Voices

Carolyn Pogue
Friday
10-12pm
April 17, 2020
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $30

This workshop invites you to see the world with new eyes — and that’s good medicine during these bewildering times. Writing in our favourite genre, we will write for the quiet ones — chickadee, a white-tailed deer, pickerel, trembling aspen… you will decide. Join us for a leap into the wild world and explore some “Other Voices.”  Seasoned and new writers welcome.

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

Carolyn Pogue is the author of 14 books for adults, teens and children, some nominated for The WO Mitchell Book Prize, recommended by the Children’s Book Centre, aired on CBC. She writes a twice-monthly blog for a national magazine and enjoys facilitating workshops, such as Raising the Dead and Writing for Reconciliation. Carolyn has enjoyed terms as Writer-in-Residence in schools and at AWCS. 

- Level: All Levels - Event: Online Workshop View Course Details & Register

Dynamic Villains

Meghan Victoria
Friday
2-4pm
April 17, 2020
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $30

Strap in and discover the secret sauce for creating nefarious, villainous foes worthy of your protagonist’s attention. Jam packed with exercises and resources, you can be sure you’ll leave with a villain your readers will love to hate.

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

Meghan Victoria has a soft spot for well-crafted, deliciously complex villains, from Moriarty to Voldemort. She writes in a variety of genres and her short fiction has been published by the Antigonish Review, Coffin Hop Press, and Morning Rain Publishing. Meghan has spent two years as part of the Banff Centre Residency Program and is finalizing edits for her first novel.

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

Youth Online

Shakespeare Club

Alex Benarzi
Monday
2-3 PM
April 6 (4 classes)
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $60

Strip away the obscurities and dive into stories of murder, love, disguise, shipwrecks, and eggs(?). No tests. no essays, just people getting together to read through (adapted) versions of the literature’s greatest stories. Play around with beautiful language, and enter the next year with a greater understanding of Shakespeare.

Mondays, April 6, (No Class on April 13), 20, 27, May 4 – For grades 5-12

Alex Benarzi is an educator, writer, and editor. He has taught English language arts since 2011. Alex has a great passion for writing and is obsessed with Shakespeare. He may or may not have spent some time with a mini Shakespeare action figure in his pocket (ready for any occasion): the jury is out on this one.

- Level: Grades 5-6 - Course Type: Youth Micro-Class - Youth Programming: Shakespeare Club View Course Details & Register

Write Write Write – Songs!

Laurie Fuhr
Tuesday - Friday
2-3 PM
March 31 - April 3 (four days)
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $60

In anticipation of our unfortunately postponed youth event JAM JAM JAM, we invite youth who love music, poetry, and lyrics to WRITE WRITE WRITE – SONGS! Whether you have written songs before, or it’s your first time trying, these four one-hour sessions will offer you tips, insight, and mojo to write both popular-radio-friendly ‘normal’ and campus-radio-friendly ‘weird’ songs of different genres by YOU YOU YOU. (If you play an instrument — great; if not — we have ways around it)!

Grades 6-12

Laurie Anne Fuhr is a poet and songwriter. The author of night flying (Frontenac House 2018), she has instructed poetry at AWCS for over five years, and runs the Single Onion Open Mic for all ages and all styles of poetry. Her website is https://birdheat.com.

- Course Type: Song Writing - Youth Programming: Online Micro-Class View Course Details & Register

Micro-Workshops for Junior – Senior High

Kim Firmston and guests
Monday - Friday
12:00-1:00
(1 Hour)
Member Price: $5
Non-member Price: $5

Stretch your writing ability while having fun in these short workshops for teens in Junior and Senior High School (other ages welcome too). All classes will be in our Zoom.us virtual classroom. You will get a code to join the classroom by e-mail before we start. Having a webcam is a good idea. Teens will also need audio (speakers or headphones) and a microphone (on headphones or in the laptop).

Buy a pass and get a discount! Then use the Pick Your Workshop option to snap up your workshops.

Thursday – April 2 – Recipe for Disaster – cooking recipes meet the apocalypse

Friday – April 3 – Writing Games

Monday – April 6 – Fantasy Travel Writing – learn travel writing while exploring the universe.

Tuesday – April 7 – Word Pictures with fantasy author Suzy Vadori – Learn to use words to paint pictures in your readers’ minds from describing a hammer to detailing a magical scene.

Wednesday – April 8 – Messed up Genres meets Messed up Fairy Tales 

Thursday – April 9 – RANTS!!!!

- Level: Teens - Youth Programming: Online Micro-Workshops for Teens View Course Details & Register

Micro-Workshops for Grades 3-6

Kim Firmston
Monday - Friday
10:45 AM - 11:45 PM
(1 Hour)
Member Price: $5
Non-member Price: $5

Learn everything from description, to history, to article writing and more in the most entertaining workshops for Grade 3 to 6 students (other ages welcome too). All classes will be in our Zoom.us virtual classroom. You will get a code to join the classroom by e-mail before we start. Having a webcam is a good idea (as kids this age communicate with actions as well as words). Kids will also need audio (speakers or headphones) and a microphone (on headphones or in the laptop).

Buy a pass and get a discount! Then choose your workshops in the Pick my Workshop area below.

Thursday – April 2 – Magic 101 – create magic spells, wands, and other items for a fantasy story.

Friday – April 3 – Writing Games – Play fun, fast writing and drawing games.

Monday – April 6 – Mountain Climbing on the Story Arc – learn about story arcs and how to use them.

Tuesday – April 7 – Poetry, Now with Rules! – try some structured poetry and see what happens.

Wednesday – April 8 – Mixed Up Genres – What happens when fantasy meets sci-fi, or horror meets romance?

Thursday – April 9 – Strange instructions – can you make and follow strange instructions?

- Level: Grade 3-6 - Youth Programming: Online Micro-Workshops G3-6 View Course Details & Register

Play D&D for Grades 4-6

Kim Firmston
Tuesday
2-4 PM
April 7 (2 hours)
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $30

Get ready to have the best two hours of your life adventuring in the best fantasy role-playing game in the history of the world, Dungeons and Dragons. Whether you’re new or experienced, this is a fun way to connect with others and weave a story together.

- Level: Grade 4-6 - Youth Programming: Online Micro-workshop G4-6 View Course Details & Register

Play D&D for Junior/Senior High

Adam Hildebrandt
Wednesday-Thursday
2-4 PM
April 8-9
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $60

Get ready to have the best four hours of your life adventuring in the best fantasy role-playing game in the history of the world, Dungeons and Dragons. Whether you’re new or experienced, this is a fun way to connect with others and weave a story together.

- Youth Programming: Online Micro-Workshops for Teens View Course Details & Register

Creating Magic Systems

Suzy Vadori
Tuesday - Friday
2-3 PM
April 14 - April 17 (4 classes)
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $60

Love reading about magic? Learn how to write about it in this interactive workshop. We’ll discover together what makes up a complete magic system including some standard elements. We’ll also discuss magic systems in literature that we admire. Students will then have the opportunity to create a set of rules for their own magic system, and practice writing in this newly created world in a way that will keep readers guessing what’s coming next.

Suzy Vadori is the 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. She instructs writing workshops and camps for youth around the city and at the AWCS.

- Level: Grades 4-12 - Youth Programming: Online Micro-Classes View Course Details & Register

2020 Annual Writing Retreat - A Wordy Weekend

2020 Annual Retreat – A Wordy Weekend – June 5-8, 2020

Self-Directed
June 5-8, 2020
Check in: 2pm June 5
Check out: 11am June 8 (Weekend)
Member Price: $550
Non-member Price: $650

Now Open for Registration

Unplug for a weekend of writing with fellow writers for A Wordy Weekend, just 15 minutes north of Cochrane.

Retreat Facilitators

Rosemary Nixon & Taylor Lambert

More details here.

*Please note, if you’re unable to make it, and let us know by May 8, 2020, a refund minus a $30 admin fee will be given. Sorry, no refunds or credits will be issued after May 8, 2020..

- Level: Everyone welcome! - Event: Retreat View Course Details & Register

Become a Member Today

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

Fall Feature In Conversation w/ Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr
Saturday
7pm
November 14, 2020 (One Day)
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

For Writers & Readers

In Conversation w/ Anthony Doerr

November 14, 2020 | 7pm

New Venue – TBD

 

AWCS/WGA Members: $75

Non-Members: $100

 

Join us for a mesmerizing evening with Anthony Doerr as he spills the details on the writing life, why stories are so important to our cultural landscape and the wonder and awe in the world around us. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.

Book signing to follow! Bring your copy of, or purchase at the event, any book written by Anthony Doerr.

- Level: All levels. Writers & Readers View Course Details & Register

Spring Feature Workshop - Anthony Doerr

Fall Feature Workshop w/ Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr
Saturday
10-3:30pm
November 14, 2020 (One Day)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $325

 

For Writers

Breaking the “Pre-”  off the “-Dictable”

A writing workshop exploring habit and strangeness, with the goal of seeing our work—and the world—with new eyes.

We humans need habit: habit helps us cook dinner, feel safe, and find light switches in the dark. But as an old proverb puts it, “habits are cobwebs at first, cables at last.” How often do we rely on the habitual in our writing? In this four-hour workshop, we’ll try to investigate the formulaic and the familiar—from cliches at the sentence level to cliches at the structural level—and understand how we might better recognize, utilize, and resist the habitual in our novels, stories, essays, and poems. Do we want our work to be soporific, or do we want our work to wake our readers up to the exquisite miracles of being alive? As Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us, “People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”

November 14, 2020| 10am-3:30pm

Officers Mess – Fort Calgary

750, 9th Ave SE, Calgary, AB

Lunch provided.

 

AWCS/WGA Members: $300

Non-Members: $325

 

 

- Level: All levels. - Event: Spring Feature Workshop View Course Details & Register

Fall Feature In Conversation w/ Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr
Saturday
7pm
November 14, 2020 (One Day)
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

For Writers & Readers

In Conversation w/ Anthony Doerr

November 14, 2020 | 7pm

New Venue – TBD

 

AWCS/WGA Members: $75

Non-Members: $100

 

Join us for a mesmerizing evening with Anthony Doerr as he spills the details on the writing life, why stories are so important to our cultural landscape and the wonder and awe in the world around us. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.

Book signing to follow! Bring your copy of, or purchase at the event, any book written by Anthony Doerr.

- Level: All levels. Writers & Readers View Course Details & Register

Gift Certificates

Gift Certificate

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.

View Course Details & Register

Youth Clubs

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

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 – registrants must join the Rogues between May-December). Get one today!

- 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).

Registration from May-December. Club currently closed for registrations (contact Kim at kfirmston@alexandrawriters.org to be notified when registration reopens in May).

- 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. (plus eighteen-year-olds) Free for Club Pass holders. *Please note: Meeting dates may change due to room availability.

We currently have three groups with limited room in each

  • Grade 5-7 (Full)
  • Grade 8-10 (Full)
  • Grade 10-age 18 (two spaces left)
- Level: Grade 5-12 (plus 18 year olds) - 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.

REGISTRATION CLOSED UNTIL JULY 2020, GET ON THE WAITING LIST BY CONTACTING 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 Workshops

WriteShop

Wakefield Brewster
Wednesday, June 24
6-8 PM
(2 hours)
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

Join Wakefield Brewster and participate in an exploration of the myriad of ways to write spoken word and slam poetry. Learn the QIBOCOS process of Questions, Ideas, Beliefs, Opinions, Comments, Observations, and Suggestions. Use endless combinations and incantations of dynamics, and write Powerful Poetry from beginning to end.

Sign up for both WriteShop and Poetry Performance Workshop and receive $10 off. Use coupon code: POET10 upon checkout

- Level: Teen to Adult - Course Type: Poetry - Genre: Spoken Word / Slam View Course Details & Register

Poetry Performance Workshop

Wakefield Brewster
Thursday, June 25
6-8 PM
(2 hours)
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

Learn to employ the world around you to enrich your spoken word poetry performance, as well as techniques and tricks such as enunciation, pronunciation, speed, volume, intention, breathing, posture and more to produce the most exciting and engaging performance possible.

Sign up for both WriteShop and Poetry Performance Workshop and receive $10 off. Use coupon code: POET10 upon checkout.

- Level: Teen to Adult - Course Type: Poetry - Genre: Spoken Word / Slam View Course Details & Register

Youth Camps-PD Days-Workshops

Summer Fun Days

Instructors vary
Wednesdays
9am-3pm
July 15, 22, 29, Aug 5, 12 (Single day)
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $75

Imagine summer camp packed into a single day! It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s creative! All grades and skill levels welcome.

Summer Fun Days run from 9:00-3:00.

July 15 – Topic and instructor to be announced – stay tuned!

July 22 – CHARACTER BOOT CAMP – with Suzy Vadori – Join us for a day with character! We’ll study characters in movies and books and see what makes them tick. We’ll have a hand at creating our own characters from scratch and incorporate them into writing.

July 29 – Topic and instructor to be announced – stay tuned!

Aug 5 – MAKE A MOVIE – with Kim Firmston – Write, plan, film, and edit a movie all in one day and then upload it to YouTube.See last year’s creation HERE

August 12 – LET’S GET QUESTING – with Jamie Yawney – Have you ever wanted to send a motley cast of adventurers on a mystical quest packed with danger? Learn the ins and outs of writing an action-packed hero’s journey, explore and develop the driving motives of your heroes, and go on a mysterious quest yourself.

- Level: All grades and skill levels - Course Type: Youth and Teens - Youth Programming: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Writing Adventures Camp

Kim Firmston
July 6-10 and Aug 17-21
9 AM - 4 PM
(5 days)
Member Price: $285.00
Non-member Price: $345.00

Everyday is  a new adventure! Write widely, play games, and run around with swords! Open to all 9-13 year old writers from excited to experienced. AND because this is a summer camp, we will be outside a good chunk of the time enjoying the sun and adventuring. We can’t wait for you to join us.

Early Bird Pricing now in effect until May 1st at midnight. Just use the coupon CAMP20 at the checkout to get $20 off your registration!

July – Magic, Marvel, and Mischief with Kim Firmston

Explore the fantastic, marvel at the unseen, and get up to some serious writing mischief in this multi genre, multi faceted writing camp where you help decide on the adventure of the day!

 August – The World Beyond with Kim Firmston

Race through genres, styles, and ways of creating stories in this exploration of places you never thought writing would take you and adventures you never thought you’d have. Writing your way and every way in the world beyond.

 

- Level: 9-13 years old - Youth Programming: Summer Youth Camp View Course Details & Register

Summer Teen Writing Camps

Halli Lilburn (July), Suzy Vadori (Aug)
July 6-10 and Aug 17-21
9 AM - 4 PM
(5 days)
Member Price: $285.00
Non-member Price: $345.00

The AWCS offers a one of a kind, active, intriguing, and enlightening summer day camp for teens. Spend time exploring language, playing games, running around outside learning to write in ways you never thought possible.

These camps are open to all levels of teen writers from excited to experienced, and because it is a summer camp, we spend a good amount of time being active, playing crazy games, and sharing ideas with others. We can’t wait for you to join us!

Early Bird Pricing now in effect until May 1st at midnight. Just use the coupon CAMP20 at the checkout to get $20 off your registration!

July – Break the Mold! with Halli Lilburn

Join Halli Lilburn for a week-long immersion in the art of writing. Each day will include a presentation, spoken word, games, crafts and critical feedback from classmates. With writing prompts, exercise and activities we will invent new worlds, expand our minds, embrace the weird and break the mold.

August – Villainy! with Suzy Vadori

Calling all villains! Conflict is the heart of every good story. We love to hate great villains! In this interactive week of brainstorming, creating, and writing, we’ll do a deep dive into the villains we love, from over-the-top bad to more sympathetic villains. We’ll figure out what makes them tick, how their journey in a story supports the protagonist’s character arc, and challenge the stereotypes villains fall into to create our own exceptional villain and their story.

- Level: 13-17 year olds - Youth Programming: Summer Teen Camp View Course Details & Register

Young Writers’ Camp @ The SCA Community Association

Suzy Vadori
Monday-Friday
9-4
Aug 10-14 (5 days)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $300

Calling all aspiring writers! Do you love to write and want to learn more? Join us for an exciting week of writing with Calgary Bestselling, Award-Winning author Suzy Vadori. This isn’t your average writing experience… Through games, discussion and, of course, WRITING, we’ll experiment with different genres and styles. Weather permitting, this camp will spend fifty percent of our time outside, bringing our writing and our imaginations out into the world.

Ages 9-17

This AWCS day camp runs out of the SCA Community Association located at 277 Strathcona Drive SW. Camp is held in the South Room.

*No before or after care available.

- Level: 9-17 year olds - Youth Programming: Day Camp View Course Details & Register

Alliance Française / AWCS Kids and Teens Camps

Aug 10-14
9-4:30
(5 days)
Member Price: $450
Non-member Price: $450

Learn French in the morning and then mess around with English in the afternoon in these themed camps. Have a blast in both languages and all genres. So much fun to be had!

 

 

 

 

Registration takes place through the Alliance Française website

Register For Kids Camp!

Register For Teen Camp

- Level: All levels of French and English - Course Type: Kids and Teens French / English fun! - Youth Programming: AF/AWCS camp View Course Details & Register

Tutoring

Writing Improvement for Adults

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

NOW ONLINE!

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 at the AWCS located at: 1721 29 Ave SW #460, Calgary, AB. Tutoring runs Monday-Saturday (dependent on instructor availability).

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

NOW ONLINE!

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 at the AWCS located at: 1721 29 Ave SW #460, Calgary, AB. Tutoring runs Monday-Saturday (dependent on instructor availability).

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

NOW ONLINE!

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 at the AWCS located at: 1721 29 Ave SW #460, Calgary, AB. Tutoring runs Monday-Saturday (dependent on instructor availability).

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 youth 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

ONLINE Short Story Salon

Robin van Eck
Sundays
10-12pm
Member Price: $5
Non-member Price: $5

Due to the increased risk of COVID-19, Short Story Salon will be moving online indefinitely through the Zoom app. For a limited time we are reducing the price of these sessions. Please register online so that you are sent the login information.

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

ONLINE Poetry Cafe

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

Due to the increased risk of COVID-19, Poetry Cafe will be moving online indefinitely through the Zoom app. For a limited time we are reducing the price of these sessions. Please register online so that you are sent the login information.

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

Adult Multi-Week Courses (Daytime)

ONLINE – Proprioceptive Writing

Vivian Hansen
Fridays
1-3pm
April 3, 2020 (6 Weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

This course will explore the Proprioceptive Writing method developed by Linda Trichter Metcalf in which you explore the deepest volume of story in your life. Proprioceptive writing has effectively blasted out writer’s block and sent aspiring writers into new and productive creative writing journeys. In this course, we will plan out a secular spiritual journey with your writing. Please note: participants should be working on a manuscript of poetry, creative nonfiction, short story collection, or novel-in-progress. We will explore the proprioceptive method in tandem with your writing project. Recommended reading: Writing the Mind Alive: The Proprioceptive Method for Finding Your Authentic Voice by Linda Trichter Metcalf.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Creative Writing, Creativity, Writing Methods, Techniques - Genre: All Genres - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

ONLINE Craft and Catharsis: The Art of Memoir

Naomi K. Lewis
Tuesdays
12:30-3pm
April 7, 2020 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

Learn to mine your experience and hone your voice to craft compelling memoir out of the chaos of memory. In this course we will use techniques from fiction and journalism – scenes, dialogue, character development, and research — to shape a story based on real life, to create an entertaining and edifying work fit for an audience. Learn to move beyond the personal, cathartic writing that often forms the foundation for such a project, and to move beyond facts to find a different kind of truth.

Naomi Lewis’ memoir Tiny Lights for Travellers was a finalist for the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction. She is a Calgary based fiction and creative nonfiction writer, editor, ghostwriter and writing teacher.

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

ONLINE Into The Deep: Beyond The First Draft

Laura Swart
Wednesdays
12:30-3pm
April 15, 2020 (6 Weeks)
Member Price: $225
Non-member Price: $300

What happens after you’ve written a draft? In this course, we’ll explore the essentials of moving a piece into the power zone. We’ll combine engaging in-class exercises and writing time with small doses of homework to push first drafts into the deep. We’ll learn how to detail a piece with sensory language, layer it with literary devices, and refine it with a dominant impression. Three maxims will guide us: Writing is hard; work it. Writing is play; tinker with it. Writing is inside; mine it.

- Level: Intermediate - Course Type: Craft - Genre: All Genres - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Adult Multi-Week Courses (Evening)

ONLINE Get Your Shorts On!

Vivian Hansen
Tuesdays
7-9pm
April 7, 2020 (6 Weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $250

Writing those small clips of stories, poems and essays can be so satisfying. You feel like you’ve accomplished something. A small story is not always a simple story. It is a yearning carried on a postcard; a ‘sliver’ fiction that sticks underneath your skin. Flash fictions and prose poems give you just enough of a reading lure to pull you into the stream. Writing short fiction or a prose poem is not just about a quick and easy write. Try on the feeling of completing a short piece: a prose poem, sliver or flash fiction, hermit crab essay and other short forms. Explore how these ‘shorts’ exercise your writing muscle, develop your portfolio and prepare you for a unique writers’ market.

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

ONLINE Creative Writing Basics 2

Olyn Ozbick
Wednesdays
7-9:30pm
April 8, 2020 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

Go deeper on the elements of craft from characterization and POV to language and voice. By the end of this course you’ll be ready to dive into a full length manuscript, whether a collection of short stories, creative nonfiction or a novel. With Olyn Ozbick.

Prerequisite: Creative Writing Basics

 

- Level: Beginner - Genre: All Genres View Course Details & Register

ONLINE Introduction to Memoir

Karen Lee
Thursdays
6:30-8:30pm
April 9, 2020 (6 Weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240
Have you read any good memoirs lately? It seems as though everyone is writing one. Does that intrigue you? Have you thought of writing a memoir but didn’t really know where to start? Come out to a class that takes away the mystery, shows you the basics, where to start, how to structure it, and starts you on the path to writing your own memoir.
- Level: Beginner - Course Type: Memoir - Genre: Memoir View Course Details & Register

ONLINE Novel Surgery

Susan Forest
Mondays
7-9:30pm
April 13, 2020 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

Revision is not editing or polishing. It is surgery. Come to this eight 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.

Please note this class starts on Easter Monday. No class Victoria Day, Monday, May 18. 

 

- Level: Intermediate, Completed First Draft - Course Type: Fiction, Novel - Genre: All Genres - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

ONLINE World Building in Scene

Sarah E. Johnson
Wednesdays
7-9:30pm
April 15, 2020 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

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 class will focus on the ground up of world building, how to make sense of your creative pile and what the reader needs. Each week will focus on a different area and there will be continuos exercises that will put those ideas to use. Each person should leave this course with ample scenes and an ability to meld world within your story. 

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

ONLINE Poetry in Bloom

Jade O'Riley
Thursdays
6:45pm-9:45pm
April 16, 2020 (4 Weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

Spring’s long awaited warmth opens buds, rouses the green grass and inspires poetry. In the gaining light and colour find your poems within. In four weeks you’ll write a variety of poetry styles and forms. Class begins with fun writing warmups; there’s time to create your poems, share, get feedback and wrap up the class with writing tips from The Poets’ Toolbox. Happy spring! Let your poetic voice bloom.

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 - Genre: Poetry - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

ONLINE Fear Itself: A Deep Dive Into Modern Horror

Sarah L. Johnson
Tuesdays
7-9pm
April 21, 2020 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $240
Non-member Price: $320
From monsters to madmen, psychological to supernatural, explore the breadth and depth of the horror fiction genre and identify what exactly makes a story scary. Through discussion, exercises, and workshopping you’ll learn how to craft your own blood curdling tale of terror.
Content note: This class will address dark, possibly traumatic themes and subject matter. We may find ourselves sleeping with the lights on. Bring sage.
- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: Horror - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Summer Script

Jason Long
Wednesdays
7-9:30pm
July 8, 2020 (6 Weeks)
Member Price: $225
Non-member Price: $300

Identify and construct the necessary building blocks for the first draft of your long form screenplay. This six week course focuses on the preparation required before you write FADIE IN on page one of your script. Participants will come prepared day one with a concept for a feature length screenplay or television series. Through sharing work, setting goals, peer and instructor support, you will create all of the necessary elements of story, plot, structure, character and theme needed to set you up for success for writing draft one.

You probably remember Jason Long as Cowboy #3 from the 1982 Silver Springs Elementary School Production of Round Up On The Moon. Jason has been writing for film and theatre in Canada for close to twenty years now. He’s written three feature films alongside frequent collaborator, Robert Cuffley, Turning Paige, Walk All Over Me, and Chokeslam, which was part of the Canadian Film Centre’s Comedy Exchange Program in 2015 and premiered in the fall of 2016. Chokeslam received 4 Rosie Awards, including best screenplay. His latest feature length screenplay, Ice Blue, premiered at the 2017 Calgary International Film Festival. In addition to story editing on many Alberta based film and television projects, Jason is the screenwriting instructor in the film and video department at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. He is also an actor, having played various creeps and weirdos on shows/films such as Wyonna Earp and Young Drunk Punk.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Screenwriting - Genre: Screenwriting - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

The Craft of Character

Meghan Victoria
Thursdays
7-9:00pm
July 9, 2020 (6 Weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

“When writing a novel, a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” – Ernest Hemingway

Compelling and complex characters are the secret sauce to every great story. They are the reason we return to the same books over and over – why we cry and laugh and then feel their loss so acutely when the final page is turned. But what makes a character unforgettable?  In this course students will become intimately acquainted with their protagonists, their villains, and their supporting cast. Get ready to dig into backstory, dialogue, motive, and – best of all – deep dark secrets and vulnerabilities. Come with an existing crew or create your characters as the weeks progress – either way, you will leave with a cast of living people and a solid understanding of what future characters need from you in order to come to life.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction, Novel - Genre: Fiction - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Adult One-Day Workshops

ONLINE – WIR Workshop – More Bang For Your Buck: How Form and Content Can Work Together in Fiction and Poetry

Judith Pond
Saturday
2-4 pm
April 11 & 18, 2020
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

A writer should hold the reins with authority, but with enough ease to let the writing offer surprise. Paradoxically, writing that sings is intentional on many levels. One form of intention in writing is the craft of allowing the content of narrative to dictate its form. Concrete poetry could be said to be an example of form emulating content. This workshop will give participants the opportunity to study examples of both prose and poetry in which form evolves from content, and to create a short piece of such writing to read aloud.
This workshop will also give instruction on public reading.

April 11th a reading and exercise will be sent to students. April 18th there will be an interactive online component using the Zoom web conferencing platform. 

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction - Genre: All Genres - Event: Writer In Residence View Course Details & Register

ONLINE – WIR Workshop – Foregrounding Language In Fiction and Poetry

Judith Pond
Saturday
10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm
April 25, 2020
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

Similar to form that emulates content, language used with intention enhances a reader’s pleasure in a text. The difference between the two techniques is that foregrounding language is more subliminal—less visual—than form emulating content. It requires an intense listening on the part of the writer, similar to the acoustic attention demanded by poetry. A long apprenticeship to poetry has heightened my own attention to language, and informs my prose line by line. I consciously—and unconsciously—build subtle subliminal assonances, agreements, and acoustic balancings into my own prose. This workshop encourages participants to hear words, both for themselves, and for how, when placed judiciously, words enhance and layer the coloring of prose lines, for emotional and poetic effect.

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

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

ONLINE – Instant Screen Story: How to Write Something from Nothing

Jason Long
Saturday
10-3:30pm
May 9, 2020
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Enter the writer’s room for 180 minutes of unbridled, non-judgemental creativity. Learn about how to honour and grow your original ideas while shutting out ‘those voices,’ and the quick and dirty basics of writing scripted works for the screen. Over the course of the workshop, we’ll make some stuff. Best for writers with little to no experience in writing for the screen.

You probably remember Jason Long as Cowboy #3 from the 1982 Silver Springs Elementary School Production of Round Up On The Moon. Jason has been writing for film and theatre in Canada for close to twenty years now. He’s written three feature films alongside frequent collaborator, Robert Cuffley, Turning Paige, Walk All Over Me, and Chokeslam, which was part of the Canadian Film Centre’s Comedy Exchange Program in 2015 and premiered in the fall of 2016. Chokeslam received 4 Rosie Awards, including best screenplay. His latest feature length screenplay, Ice Blue, premiered at the 2017 Calgary International Film Festival. In addition to story editing on many Alberta based film and television projects, Jason is the screenwriting instructor in the film and video department at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. He is also an actor, having played various creeps and weirdos on shows/films such as Wyonna Earp and Young Drunk Punk.

- Level: Beginner - Course Type: Screenwriting - Genre: Screenwriting, Film, Screenplay - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Fall Feature Workshop w/ Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr
Saturday
10-3:30pm
November 14, 2020 (One Day)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $325

 

For Writers

Breaking the “Pre-”  off the “-Dictable”

A writing workshop exploring habit and strangeness, with the goal of seeing our work—and the world—with new eyes.

We humans need habit: habit helps us cook dinner, feel safe, and find light switches in the dark. But as an old proverb puts it, “habits are cobwebs at first, cables at last.” How often do we rely on the habitual in our writing? In this four-hour workshop, we’ll try to investigate the formulaic and the familiar—from cliches at the sentence level to cliches at the structural level—and understand how we might better recognize, utilize, and resist the habitual in our novels, stories, essays, and poems. Do we want our work to be soporific, or do we want our work to wake our readers up to the exquisite miracles of being alive? As Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us, “People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”

November 14, 2020| 10am-3:30pm

Officers Mess – Fort Calgary

750, 9th Ave SE, Calgary, AB

Lunch provided.

 

AWCS/WGA Members: $300

Non-Members: $325

 

 

- Level: All levels. - Event: Spring Feature Workshop View Course Details & Register

Writing Family

Angie Abdou
Saturday
10-3:30pm
June 13, 2020
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

This “Writing the Family” workshop will address key questions: Why should anyone care about your family’s story? What makes your writing worthy of a reader’s valuable time? With the always-increasing demands on everyone’s time, energy, and attention, writers must remember: readers do not owe you anything. How can you shape and craft your family story to ensure that it hooks, readers and holds them fast until the last word? We will also delve into the ethical challenges of family-writing. How much truth is too much truth? How do you write about family and friends while respecting their autonomy and privacy? Narrative tends to be more powerful when candid and honest, but how does a writer decide where to draw the curtain and protect intimate details from the eyes of the reader? How does a writer make these decisions – to serve the book while also respecting others’ privacy? Above craft and ethics, comes the most important question: what are you getting out of pursuing this project?

Structure: The morning will be devoted to a mix of lecture, discussion, and writing exercises and the afternoon to critique of work in progress. During discussion, there will be opportunity to share your own relevant writing challenges and concerns.

Bring: 1) pen and paper; 2) two double-spaced pages that you’re willing to share with the group (ideally from the front of your story but if you use pages from elsewhere, aim for a standalone scene that requires minimal explanation).

Angie Abdou is the best-selling author of seven books. Regardless of genre, her work finds its inspiration in her own family. Angie’s first novel, The Bone Cage, was a finalist on CBC’s Canada Reads. Her most recent book, a memoir called Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom, hit the Canadian bestseller list and the #1 spot on Amazon Canada’s bestselling hockey books. Booklist declared it a “first rate memoir.” Angie Abdou is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Athabasca University.

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

Adult Micro Workshops

WriteShop

Wakefield Brewster
Wednesday, June 24
6-8 PM
(2 hours)
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

Join Wakefield Brewster and participate in an exploration of the myriad of ways to write spoken word and slam poetry. Learn the QIBOCOS process of Questions, Ideas, Beliefs, Opinions, Comments, Observations, and Suggestions. Use endless combinations and incantations of dynamics, and write Powerful Poetry from beginning to end.

Sign up for both WriteShop and Poetry Performance Workshop and receive $10 off. Use coupon code: POET10 upon checkout

- Level: Teen to Adult - Course Type: Poetry - Genre: Spoken Word / Slam View Course Details & Register

Poetry Performance Workshop

Wakefield Brewster
Thursday, June 25
6-8 PM
(2 hours)
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

Learn to employ the world around you to enrich your spoken word poetry performance, as well as techniques and tricks such as enunciation, pronunciation, speed, volume, intention, breathing, posture and more to produce the most exciting and engaging performance possible.

Sign up for both WriteShop and Poetry Performance Workshop and receive $10 off. Use coupon code: POET10 upon checkout.

- Level: Teen to Adult - Course Type: Poetry - Genre: Spoken Word / Slam View Course Details & Register

Adult Weekend Intensives

ONLINE Energizing Editing

Marie Maccagno
Saturday & Sunday
10-3:30pm
April 18 & 19, 2020 (2 Days)
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $200

This interactive workshop is designed to support writers to move beyond the first draft of manuscript development. Day One will be spent working with principles of a manuscript review process that begins with “what’s strong in the writing.” Participants will have opportunities to create “fresh writing” together before moving on to revision stages. During Day Two, participants will bring pieces of writing created outside the workshop; we will work with encouraging editorial principles.

In order to get the most of this workshop, participants are asked to bring writing that is ready for suggestions for revision. You are able to receive feedback without becoming defensive, knowing that everyone is listening for what’s strong in the writing. This workshop is not genre-specific; it’s about learning a process that will serve writers ready to take rough drafts towards final copy.

Please be aware that this workshop will not take participants to the final copy-editing stage.

Marie Maccagno is author of the award winning creative memoir, The Chocolate Pilgrim: a Journey to Self-discovery and Transformation on the Camino de Santiago. She is an international retreat leader and skilled writing coach, supporting writers to develop well-crafted manuscripts for publication.

- Level: Intermediate - Course Type: Editing - Genre: All Genres View Course Details & Register

Summer Workshops

The 5 Keys of Showing – Character Key

Vivian Hansen
Tuesday
7-9pm
June 30, 2020
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

How do you animate your character into life?

The tools for showing your narrative and not telling it seem elusive in your first drafts. In this five-part series, we will examine the ways that these tools animate and alter your work in a productive direction. Learn how to apply these keys to your fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry.

This class is part of the Five Keys of Showing Series. Register for 1 or register for all five and receive 20% off. Use KEYS20 upon checkout.

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

The 5 Keys of Showing – Dialogue Key

Vivian Hansen
Tuesday
7-9pm
July 7, 2020
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

How does your character sound? Can you hear them now?

The tools for showing your narrative and not telling it seem elusive in your first drafts. In this five-part series, we will examine the ways that these tools animate and alter your work in a productive direction. Learn how to apply these keys to your fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry.

This class is part of the Five Keys of Showing Series. Register for 1 or register for all five and receive 20%. Use KEYS20 upon checkout.

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

The 5 Keys of Showing – Point of View Key

Vivian Hansen
Tuesday
7-9pm
July 14, 2020
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

What POV is the best choice for moving this story? First, Secord, or Third Person perspectives?

The tools for showing your narrative and not telling it seem elusive in your first drafts. In this five-part series, we will examine the ways that these tools animate and alter your work in a productive direction. Learn how to apply these keys to your fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry.

This class is part of the Five Keys of Showing Series. Register for 1 or register for all five and receive 20% off. Use KEYS20 upon checkout.

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

The 5 Keys of Showing – Setting Key

Vivian Hansen
Tuesday
7-9pm
July 21, 2020
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

How does your setting uphold the conflict in the story?

The tools for showing your narrative and not telling it seem elusive in your first drafts. In this five-part series, we will examine the ways that these tools animate and alter your work in a productive direction. Learn how to apply these keys to your fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry.

This class is part of the Five Keys of Showing Series. Register for 1 or register for all five and receive 20% off. Use KEYS20 upon checkout.

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

The 5 Keys of Showing – Tone Key

Vivian Hansen
Tuesday
7-9pm
July 28, 2020
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

What does your setting and dialogue have in common and how does tone evoke feelings and deploy emotive words with muscle?

The tools for showing your narrative and not telling it seem elusive in your first drafts. In this five-part series, we will examine the ways that these tools animate and alter your work in a productive direction. Learn how to apply these keys to your fiction, creative nonfiction or poetry.

This class is part of the Five Keys of Showing Series. Register for 1 or register for all five and receive 20% off. Use KEYS20 upon checkout.

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

Finding Your Memoir

Judah Leblang
Sunday
10-4pm
August 9, 2020
Member Price: $80
Non-member Price: $105

This hands-on workshop is designed for writers who are interested in sharing key elements of their life stories. In this full-day session we will discuss the structure of book-length memoir and key features of this genre including: finding your theme or through-line; dealing with internal and external conflict; telling the truth/writing about family; and structuring a memoir. We will do several short writing exercises in class focusing on the following–identifying potential turning points in your story; finding an opening hook or inciting incident; conveying emotional stakes; and playing with structure. We will also review short excerpts/examples from several published memoirs. Come prepared to write, and bring a brief one-two paragraph description of your project to share with the class. You’ll leave the session with a  clearer sense of your through-line and theme; new tools to assist you in creating your book’s structure, and practical techniques to continue working on your project.

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 - Genre: Memoir - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

2020 WIR Workshops

Writer in Residence (Additional or Non-Member Consultation)

Judith Pond
Varies
Varies
Feb-Apr 2020
Member Price: $50 (additional consult only)
Non-member Price: $50

All current AWCS members are offered one free manuscript consultation with the Writer in Residence. Any additional consultations are $50/consult.

Non-Members are welcome for a fee of $50/consult.

Please pay for your consultation here and then book HERE

- Level: All levels. 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

View our Terms and Conditions