2020 Courses & Workshops 

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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View our Terms and Conditions

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

Spring Feature In Conversation w/ Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr
Saturday
7pm
May 23, 2020 (One Day)
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $75

For Writers & Readers

In Conversation w/ Anthony Doerr

May 23, 2020 | 7pm

Central Library | Patricia Whelan Performance Hall | 800, 3rd St SE, Calgary, AB

 

AWCS/WGA Members: $50

Non-Members: $75

 

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.

Cancellation/Refund Policy – if you need to cancel for any reason and let us know by:

January 31, 2020 – Full Refund

From February 1 – May 1, 2020 – 50% refund

After May 1, 2020 – Sorry, no refunds.

 

Tickets are transferable. Please let us know who will be coming in your place if you suddenly can’t make it.

 

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

Spring Feature Workshop - Anthony Doerr

Spring Feature Workshop w/ Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr
Saturday
10-3:30pm | 7pm
May 23, 2020 (One Day)
Member Price: $250
Non-member Price: $275

 

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.”

May 23, 2020 | 10am-3:30pm

Studio Theatre | 1st Floor, cSpace King Edward |

1721, 29th Ave SW, Calgary, AB

Lunch provided.

 

AWCS/WGA Members: $250

Non-Members: $275

 

 

Cancellation/Refund Policy – if you need to cancel for any reason and let us know by:

January 31, 2020 – Full Refund – minus $30 admin fee

From February 1 – May 1, 2020 – 50% refund

After May 1, 2020 – Sorry, no refunds.

 

Tickets are transferable. Please let us know who will be coming in your place if you suddenly can’t make it.

 

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

Spring Feature In Conversation w/ Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr
Saturday
7pm
May 23, 2020 (One Day)
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $75

For Writers & Readers

In Conversation w/ Anthony Doerr

May 23, 2020 | 7pm

Central Library | Patricia Whelan Performance Hall | 800, 3rd St SE, Calgary, AB

 

AWCS/WGA Members: $50

Non-Members: $75

 

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.

Cancellation/Refund Policy – if you need to cancel for any reason and let us know by:

January 31, 2020 – Full Refund

From February 1 – May 1, 2020 – 50% refund

After May 1, 2020 – Sorry, no refunds.

 

Tickets are transferable. Please let us know who will be coming in your place if you suddenly can’t make it.

 

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

Youth Clubs

AWCS Club Pass

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

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

- Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Reality Is Optional Writing Club

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

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

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

Novelmancers Novel Writing Club

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

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

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

Rogue Poets Poetry Club

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

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

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

Dungeons & Dragons Club

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

Dungeons & Dragons Club – Enjoy fantasy? Want to live it? Join us for this epic and wildly creative game. Battle monsters, solve puzzles, find treasure and learn to work in a team while telling and experiencing your story together. No experience necessary. Grades 5-12. (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 (one space left)
  • Grade 8-10 (one space left)
  • 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 Tutoring

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

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

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

Youth Camps-PD Days-Workshops

Spring Writing Camp

Simon Rose
March 23-27, 2020
9-4
(5 days)
Member Price: $285
Non-member Price: $345

Spectacular Story Starters

Writing Camp for ages 9-14 – with Simon Rose

Every day is a new adventure! 

Explore where ideas come from and how to turn them into stories, basic story structure, plot development, time travel stories, creating characters, developing dialogue, inventing futuristic technology, inventing your very own superhero and more to help develop creative writing ability. 

- Level: Ages 9-14 - Course Type: Spring Camp - Youth Programming: Spring Camp View Course Details & Register

PD Days 2019-2020

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

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

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

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

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

Home School Classes

HOMESCHOOL WINTER SEMESTER

Suzy Vadori,
Monday
10:30-12 and 1-2:30
January 20 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $225
Building Worlds with Words with Suzy Vadori
Building Believable Worlds is key in both creative writing and non-fiction to immersing your reader. In this interactive course, we’ll travel to places in this world and beyond to explore what makes a well-rounded setting, including habitat, language, traditions, currency and political systems. We’ll experiment with including these elements in fiction, as well as essay writing, newspaper articles and more.
  • 8 Week Course
  • Jan 20 – March 16 (no class Feb 17)
  • 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Grades 5-12
- Youth Programming: Homeschool Winter Semester View Course Details & Register

Youth Tutoring

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

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

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

Tutoring

Writing Improvement for Adults

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

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

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

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

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

Short Story Salon

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

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

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

Guest speakers may appear.

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

Drop ins are welcome but registration is recommended.

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

Poetry Cafe

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

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

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

click link below to view upcoming dates

View Course Details & Register

Adult Multi-Week Courses (Daytime)

The Artist’s Way

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

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

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

Writing Memoir When Your Story is Difficult

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Creative Writing Basics 1

Stephanie Wong Ken
Saturdays
10-12:30pm
March 14, 2020 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $400

Start learning the foundation of creative writing. Creative Writing Basics 1 is designed for individuals new to the craft, or writers who may have taken a creative writing class in the past and are looking for a refresh. Topics will include: free writing, establishing a writing practice, story arc, character, setting, conflict, POV, dialogue, description and writing mechanics. Students can expect lecture, discussion, in-class writing exercises, and writing outside of class. Sharing is encouraged but always optional. By the end of this class, students will have the basic tools to write compelling short stories or creative nonfiction.

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

Proprioceptive Writing

Vivian Hansen
Fridays
1-3pm
March 20, 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

Adult Multi-Week Courses (Evening)

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

Fear Itself: A Deep Dive Into Modern Horror

Sarah L. Johnson
Tuesdays
7-9pm
April 7, 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

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

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

Adult One-Day Workshops

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

M Jane Colette
Sunday
10-3:30pm
January 19, 2020
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

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

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Organization, Writing Practice - Genre: All Genres - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Unstick Yourself

Meghan Victoria
Saturday
10-3:30pm
January 25, 2020
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

We all know the story. Our muse drops a shining idea into our mind and we spend weeks, maybe a months, furiously and passionately crafting that idea into words on the page. And it’s brilliant and glorious and we’re the next NY Times Bestselling Author and then … We get busy. Plotting hits a wall. Bad case of writer’s block. And our masterpiece sits. And sits. And our passion wanes. And then we get A NEW IDEA. And it starts all over again.

Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. Getting stuck is part of the writing process. The key is to know how to unstick yourself. In this workshop, we’ll dive into everything from scheduling to accountability, writing exercises to idea generation, plot stickiness to stubborn characters. Bring the piece that has you most stuck, and prepare to leave with a plan and the motivation to drag it kicking and screaming across the finish line.

Meghan Victoria has a lifetime’s experience unsticking herself and finding new and ingenious ways to compel words onto the page. 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: Workshop View Course Details & Register

From Sacred to Saucy: Writing Riveting Sex Scenes – FULL

Rosemary Nixon
Saturday
10-3:30pm
February 8, 2020
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

The UK Guardian’s yearly BAD SEX AWARD shortlist has been topped by famous writers from John Updike to Haruki Murakami. This is one award, however, no writer wants to win! So how to avoid the dubious honour? A workshop for writers who want to have fun and let their guard down while doing some serious investigating. We’ll spend the day immersing ourselves in sex scenes that work, others that don’t, and discovering together why. We’ll identify what elements help create a brilliant and resonating scene before turning to our own. Ready? Let’s take a leap.

Please contact the office to be added to the waitlist.

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

WIR Workshop – Point of View and Distinguishing Voices

Judith Pond
Saturday
10-3:30 pm
Feb. 29, 2020
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

How do we write characters whose voices, rather than sounding like universal mouthpieces for the author, are unique to themselves, and separate from each other?
Students will be asked to bring samples of their own writing for peer critique, and to examine writing provided by the WIR, in order to discern how accomplished writers create distinct voices. Exercises in writing characters with distinct POVs will form part of this workshop.

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

Sentence by Sentence

Stephanie Wong Ken
Saturday
10-3:30pm
March 7, 2020
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

In this one day workshop, we will explore how attention to rhythm, variation, syntax, and musicality can make your sentences more effective. Sentences can be a world onto themselves, creating character, voice, mood, and tone in a story. We will read and discuss the sentences of writers such as R.O. Kwon, Amy Hempel, Karen Green, Carmen Maria Machado, Renata Adler, Christine Schutt, and Mary Gaitskill, examining how they move readers in surprising ways, word by word, line by line. A workshop for writers obsessed with language, and its many powers, as well as those interested in getting more comfortable with the words on the page.

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

Writing Family

Angie Abdou
Saturday
10-3:30pm
March 14, 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

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

Judith Pond
Saturday
10-3:30 pm
March 21, 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.

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

Autobiographical Novel, Personal Essay, Memoir – Confused yet?

Karen Lee
Saturday
10-3:30pm
March 28, 2020
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Even reviewers call personal essays memoirs and memoirs autobiographies. Is a novel always fictional? Can you mix genres? What makes the different structures different?

Most importantly, once you get your understanding straight, how do you decide what the right form is for the story you are trying to tell? Is it about what you feel most comfortable with or what suits the material you are writing about?

In this one-day workshop we’ll hash out these concepts to bring clarity to your work. Learn some of the pros and cons for each form. We will also discuss the ethical issues that may arise from selecting one form over another.

Bring a piece or two of your own writing and see what fits for you.

Karen Lee is a lover of different forms of writing – she leans definitely on the non-fiction side but has been known to stray. Her first book was Consulting into the Future (2002) Hodder & Stoughton, and her second was The Full Catastrophe: A Memoir (2016) She Writes Press. She has been teaching memoir writing at the Alexandra Writers’ Centre for seven years and is presently working on a personal essay about the process of writing a difficult memoir.

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

Write on the Wild Side

Wilma Rubens
Saturday
10-3:30pm
April 4, 2020
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Are you ready to go beyond today’s fast paced technological world, to take time to stretch beyond the city concrete and listen to the Earth’s song? Here where the inner and outer worlds meet we can expand our creativity, courage and reawaken a sense of wonder. Writing prompts and guided imagery will lead us on an inner exploration to connect to nature and develop a deeper awareness. This will help us generate stories, reap insights and give us confidence to embrace the wild flow.

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

WIR Workshop – Foregrounding Language In Fiction and Poetry

Judith Pond
Saturday
10-3:30pm
April 18, 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.

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

Spring Feature Workshop w/ Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr
Saturday
10-3:30pm | 7pm
May 23, 2020 (One Day)
Member Price: $250
Non-member Price: $275

 

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.”

May 23, 2020 | 10am-3:30pm

Studio Theatre | 1st Floor, cSpace King Edward |

1721, 29th Ave SW, Calgary, AB

Lunch provided.

 

AWCS/WGA Members: $250

Non-Members: $275

 

 

Cancellation/Refund Policy – if you need to cancel for any reason and let us know by:

January 31, 2020 – Full Refund – minus $30 admin fee

From February 1 – May 1, 2020 – 50% refund

After May 1, 2020 – Sorry, no refunds.

 

Tickets are transferable. Please let us know who will be coming in your place if you suddenly can’t make it.

 

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

Adult Micro Workshops

Weird Poetry

Em Williamson
Saturday
10-1pm
February 22, 2020
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $50

Are you the sort of person who reads Shakespeare or Wordsworth and thinks it all just makes too much sense? Then come on down to the Weird Poetry workshop, where we’ll be writing poetry based on some of the strangest forms and prompts the human race has ever come up with. Nevermind sonnets or limericks, in this workshop we’ll be writing blackout poems, concrete poems, sestinas, skeltonic verse, and even attempting some rather confusing forms like the paradelle. No experience required, only the desire to be weird.

Sign up for both Weird Poetry and Poetic Destruction & Other Ruinous Media and receive $10 off. Use coupon code: WEIRD10 upon checkout. 

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

Poetic Destruction & Other Ruinous Media

Em Williamson
Saturday
2-5pm
February 22, 2020
Member Price: $40
Non-member Price: $50

Who says art is all about creation? In this workshop, we will be creating poetry, collages and even fusions of the two through the destruction of old books and magazines. Have a vendetta against a particular book or just think it’s laying around not doing much of anything? Feel free to bring your own to destroy too! Also a very good workshop for those interested in integrating poetry with visual media, even if you’re a beginner to visual art.

Sign up for both Weird Poetry and Poetic Destruction & Other Ruinous Media and receive $10 off. Use coupon code: WEIRD10 upon checkout. 

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

Adult Weekend Intensives

Show vs. Tell

Susan Forest
Saturday & Sunday
10-4pm
February 1 & 2, 2020
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $240

The first “rule” of fiction is to “show” story events scenically through action, as opposed to “telling” the story. But how is that accomplished? What are the craft techniques that lead to page-turning stories that immerse the reader so she forgets the book in her hands, and lives the story in imagination? And…when is “telling” the tool of choice? This two-day intensive workshop will explore techniques such as time dilation and interweaving dialogue, internal monologue, description, action, and emotion into well-structured, purposeful scenes.

Students should bring a half-page of work they consider “told” to workshop into a “shown” scene.

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

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

2020 WIR Workshops

Writer in Residence (Additional or Non-Member Consultation)

Judith Pond
Varies
Varies
February 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