Winter & Spring 2019

Courses & Workshops

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

Want to know more about our Instructors?

Questions? Please contact us by email or phone 403.264.4730

Membership

Membership

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

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

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

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

AWCS encourages young writers to express themselves. If you’re under 18, you can get all the benefits of membership at a reduced rate and enjoy special youth focused clubs, classes, one on one tutoring, and social events at a discount. For more information on youth programs please click here.

View Course Details & Register

Academic Tutoring

Academic Tutoring

Instructors vary
Days Vary
Times Vary
Start Anytime (4 x 1hr Sessions)
Member Price: $270
Non-member Price: $350

Struggling with academic writing? Need to learn to write academic papers or improve the quality of your university essays? Is English your second language? Are formatting and footnotes getting you down? AWCS has you covered. Qualified instructors will get you on track.

This course is one on one and booked in one hour, four-session sets, (you have the option to get more sessions if needed after the first set). Please contact Kim Firmston to book your class. kfirmston@alexandrawriters.org

PLEASE NOTE OUR CANCELATION, ABSENCE, AND RESCHEDULING POLICY:

All classes need to be canceled at least 24 hours in advance, via a phone call, text, or e-mail directly to the instructor, or the class is considered to have happened and will come off the total classes booked in the session. The instructor is under their own discretion whether to reschedule any canceled 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.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Academic Tutoring - Genre: Academic 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

Camps and PD Day Workshops

Summer Fun Days

Instructors vary
Wednesdays
9am-3pm
July 10, 24, Aug 7, 14 (Single day)
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $70

SUMMER FUN DAYS WRITING WORKSHOPS 

Why not take a writing workshop when school is out and improve on your writing skills? Lots of fun subjects to choose from! All grades and skill levels welcome.

Workshops run from 9:00-3:00. $60.00 for AWCS Youth Members or $70.00 for Non-Members.

July 10 – MAKE A MOVIE – with Kim Firmston – Write, plan, film, and edit a movie all in one day and then upload it to YouTube on the RIO TV channel so you can show your friends and family. Don’t forget the red carpet awards at the end of the day. Fun times! See last year’s creation HERE

July 24 – MADNESS, MYSTERY, MAYHEM! – with Erin Vance –  Write stories and characters that thrill and scare you. Find for your inner Sherlock Holmes or Jake Peralta while searching for clues.

August 7- WORLD BUILDING – with Dania Idriss – Spend the day learning the elements of genre and effective world-building, primarily Science Fiction and Fantasy (we will also be looking briefly at comic books) and apply those elements to their writing. Experiment in creating your own imaginative worlds!

August 14 – CHARACTER BOOT CAMP – with Suzy Vadori – Characters make the story, and writers get to make the characters. Personality, actions, appearance, emotions… so many layers go into making characters what we imagine in our minds. In this creative camp, we’ll learn tips and tricks to make our characters jump off the page and run down the street!

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

Summer Writing Camps

Suzy Vadori and Dania Idriss
August 19-23
9-3
(5 days)
Member Price: $275
Non-member Price: $340

AWCS SUMMER WRITING CAMPS

Have a kid writer? Why not let them enjoy the summer with these super fun, active, and adventurous camps where they can explore all kinds of writing and wordplay! This camp is great for all levels of writers, from novice to hardcore. Participants will explore language, enjoy the company of other writers, get outside,  and learn to do things they never thought possible! Shenanigans guaranteed!

We offer two camps:

Summer Writing Adventures for ages 9-13 – with Suzy Vadori

Unlocking the Secrets  
Explore different genres of writing with Themed Days! From non-fiction to the fantastic, mystery to playwriting, get to know how a story arc weaves its way through all our writing. Together we’ll build believable characters and vivid settings in a supportive environment.

Writers will discover their own writing voice and unique style throughout our immersive week, with the chance to create a story of their choosing, as well as write and perform a group play for their peers. Each day of camp, there will be indoor and outdoor activities that will get our creative juices flowing and build excitement about the writing process. Each camper will receive one-on-one coaching from a professional writer during the week to help them along their writing journey. All levels of writers welcome.

Teen Writing Camp for ages 13-17– with Dania Idriss

Myth, Magic, and Monsters 
Draw inspiration from classic tales in order to create something new! Stories have helped us make sense of our world for centuries, and many of those old myths and folktales are still around today. The world has changed since the Ancient Greeks told their stories about their Gods, or since the Brother’s Grimm collected their tales, but these stories hold a place in our collective imagination. Elements of these old tales still leave traces in today’s literature, as writers build onto the worlds created by our predecessors. Writers from J.R.R Tolkien and J.K Rowling, to Neil Gaiman and Catherynne M. Valente have made use of mythology and folklore in order to create their own fantastic stories and worlds.
Over the course of this week the students will learn a new myth or folktale from around the world each day. Then write their own stories (or poems) using myths, motifs, and characters in new and original works.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Summer Camp - Youth Programming: Summer Camp View Course Details & Register

Youth Workshops & Classes & Clubs

Summer Fun Days

Instructors vary
Wednesdays
9am-3pm
July 10, 24, Aug 7, 14 (Single day)
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $70

SUMMER FUN DAYS WRITING WORKSHOPS 

Why not take a writing workshop when school is out and improve on your writing skills? Lots of fun subjects to choose from! All grades and skill levels welcome.

Workshops run from 9:00-3:00. $60.00 for AWCS Youth Members or $70.00 for Non-Members.

July 10 – MAKE A MOVIE – with Kim Firmston – Write, plan, film, and edit a movie all in one day and then upload it to YouTube on the RIO TV channel so you can show your friends and family. Don’t forget the red carpet awards at the end of the day. Fun times! See last year’s creation HERE

July 24 – MADNESS, MYSTERY, MAYHEM! – with Erin Vance –  Write stories and characters that thrill and scare you. Find for your inner Sherlock Holmes or Jake Peralta while searching for clues.

August 7- WORLD BUILDING – with Dania Idriss – Spend the day learning the elements of genre and effective world-building, primarily Science Fiction and Fantasy (we will also be looking briefly at comic books) and apply those elements to their writing. Experiment in creating your own imaginative worlds!

August 14 – CHARACTER BOOT CAMP – with Suzy Vadori – Characters make the story, and writers get to make the characters. Personality, actions, appearance, emotions… so many layers go into making characters what we imagine in our minds. In this creative camp, we’ll learn tips and tricks to make our characters jump off the page and run down the street!

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

AWCS Club Pass

5:00-6:30
September (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 10 (September - June)
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

Reality Is Optional Writing Club (RIO) – Need a place that understands you? Come and join us. Guest speakers, writing games, art, improv, friends and creativity. Play with your words. All Ages. (Free for Club Pass holders)

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

Novelmancers Novel Writing Club

Kim Firmston / Emily Firmston
2nd Thursday of the Month
5:00-6:30
Sept 13 (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 - Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Rogue Poets Poetry Club

Em Williamson
Third Tuesday of the month
5:00-6:30
September 18 (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 (September - June)
Member Price: $75.00
Non-member Price: $100.00

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

- Level: Grade 5-12 - Youth Programming: Clubs View Course Details & Register

Pen & Panel Comic Creation Class

Sebastien Ringuette
First and third Thursday
5 PM - 6:30 PM
Sept 6 - 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.

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

Tutoring and Homework Help

Instructor Varies
Afterschool and Saturdays
(4 sessions)
Member Price: $135
Non-member Price: $165

Struggling with writing? Want to know how to write an essay and impress your teacher?  Need more description in your work? Are formatting and footnotes getting you down? We have you covered. Top of the line instructors will get you back on track and that English and social studies mark where it needs to be.

This course is one on one and booked in one hour, four-session sets, (you have the option to get more sessions if needed after the first set). Please contact Kim Firmston to book your class. kfirmston@alexandrawriters.org

PLEASE NOTE OUR CANCELATION, ABSENCE, AND RESCHEDULING POLICY:

All classes need to be canceled at least 24 hours in advance, via a phone call, text, or e-mail directly to the instructor, or the class is considered to have happened and will come off the total classes booked in the session. The instructor is under their own discretion whether to reschedule any canceled 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.

- Youth Programming: Homework Help View Course Details & Register

Home School Writing

HOMESCHOOL SPRING SEMESTER

Erin Vance and Kim Firmston
Monday
10:30-12 and 1-2:30
April 8 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $225

Weird History with Erin Vance
Learn writing skills useful in English and Social Studies while discovering some wacky, wild, and downright extraordinary history. Inspired by the podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class and the book Rejected Princesses, we’ll look at how people went to the toilet in Shakespeare’s time, the fates of Ireland’s Bog Bodies, and disasters like the Great Molasses Flood of 1919, plus more!. Weird History will be a celebration of the odd and unusual things that make us deeply human, deeply flawed, and deeply fascinating (The Great Emu War, anyone?).

  • 8 Week Course
  • April 8 – June 10 (No class on April 22 & May 20)
  • 10:30 AM – 12 PM
  • All ages
  • Member Price: $180
  • Non-Member Price: $225

Plunging into Poetry with Erin Vance
Learn some poems, write some poetry, and take a look at the lives of some of our most outrageous poets (before Lady Gaga, dadaist poet, Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven wore bird costumes and tomato cans, and Edgar Allen Poe died under circumstances as ominous and odd as his own poetry). This class will combine history, literature, and most of all, experimenting with poetry through games and exercises!

  • 8 Week Course
  • April 8 – June 10 (No class on April 22 & May 20)
  • 1-2:30
  • All ages
  • Member Price: $180
  • Non-Member Price: $225

Eight Week Novel with Kim Firmston
Want to write a novel or just learn how to tackle a large project? This is the course for you! Learn character, plot, editing, and more!

  • 8 Week Course
  • April 8 – June 10 (No class on April 22 & May 20)
  • 1 – 2:30 PM
  • Grades 5-12*
    (*or younger if the student is an advanced writer)
  • Member Price: $180
  • Non-Member Price: $225

Lunch hour supervision available – please contact Kim Firmston to inquire: kfirmston@alexandrawriters.org

Purchase a Youth Membership HERE

- Level: All grades - Youth Programming: Homeschool Spring Semester View Course Details & Register

2019 Writer in Residence

Writer in Residence (Additional or Non-Member Consultation)

Bradley Somer
Varies
Varies
March 8, 2019
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

View Course Details & Register

Writer in Residence Workshop – Lube for the Idea Machine

Bradley Somer
Saturday
10-3:30pm
May 11, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Most storytellers have little problem coming up with the ideas, many have issues executing them. This workshop examines ways to unstick a stuck story, poke those lazy characters into meaningful action, and make those contrived sections of the story a lot less so. This workshop would use methods to work through the problem spots of storytelling that are a little less traditional than often used, such as: plotting and defining character using tarot cards, the Ouija action-reaction scheme, understanding the anti-hero’s journey, constructing the lovable villain and hateable hero, among others.

 

- Level: Intermediate to Advanced - Event: Writer in Residence View Course Details & Register

2019 WO Mitchell Writing Retreat

W.O. Mitchell Writers Retreat – May 31-June 3, 2019

Self-Directed
May 31-June 3, 2019
Check in: 2pm May 31
Check out: 11am June 3
Member Price: $550
Non-member Price: $650

Now Open for Registration

Unplug for a weekend of writing with fellow writers at the W.O. Mitchell Retreat Centre just 15 minutes north of Cochrane for the AWCS annual writing retreat.

Retreat Facilitators

Bradley Somer & Liz Howard

More details here.

*Please note, if you’re unable to make it, and let us know by May 11, 2019, a refund minus a $30 admin fee will be given. Sorry, no refunds or credits will be issued after May 11, 2019.

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

Special Events

Mother’s Day Memories Writing Salon

Pamela Clark
Sunday, May 12, 2019
1pm - 3:30pm
Member Price: $50/pair
Non-member Price: $65/pair

Sharing family memories through artifacts, photographs and stories connects us to our history and weaves the thread of understanding between generations. This workshop is intended for adult children and their mothers as a celebration of the past and the unveiling of a story, still untold. Through guided, active, immersive discussion prompts, participants will explore a story they want to share with their loved one, one that hasn’t yet been told, but that defines them, through an artifact or treasured photograph that they will bring to the session.

Afternoon tea and treats will be provided.

Pam Clark’s journey to writing her first novel, Kalyna, began with exploring her family history in Edna-Star. Pam has melded her love of history, storytelling and poetry into her career as an educator and was inspired to write the novel as a celebration of the human spirit, the ability to forgive and the necessity to move forward in turbulent times. Pam has also written freelance for magazines, ACUA Vitae, and Creatures All as well as the scholarly journal, Canadian Children. Her poetry chapbook entitled, “Riding the Waves of a Newfoundland Summer”, earned her a place at the People’s Poetry Festival in Calgary. Pam is honoured to have been the 2018-2019 Writer Mentor for the Canmore Shoe Project as well as currently mentoring with Borderlines Writers’ Circle Calgary. She teaches elementary school in Calgary where she lives with her supportive family.

- Level: All levels - Genre: creativity View Course Details & Register

The Word is Power w/ Karen Connelly

Karen Connelly
Saturday
10-2pm
May 11, 2019
Member Price: $120
Non-member Price: $150

Writing as a political act.

Vulnerability paired with strength: this contradiction is a physical truth of all sentient life. For humans, it’s the source of much brilliant creative work. Yet most of our power structures remain based on a distance from the human body and a denial of painful historical truths. Can we write against that distance and that denial? What are the costs and rewards of doing so? Join one of Canada’s most political and most personal writers for this talk and fire-igniting workshop.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Feature Workshop - Genre: All genres View Course Details & Register

In Conversation w/ Karen Connelly

Karen Connelly
Friday
7pm
May 10, 2019
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $25

AWCS is pleased to welcome, Governor General Award Winner for non-fiction, Karen Connelly for an intimate evening of conversation over wine.

Grab a glass of wine and get comfortable as we discuss the challenges of writing steamy sex scenes with Karen Connelly. How does it feel? How do people react? What happens to our writing when we open up and let ourselves be free? And why is it so dang hard for most of us to do?

We’ll talk about the writing process, publishing and what happens when the book is out in the world and we anxiously wait for reader reactions.

Karen will read from her most recent work of fiction, The Change Room.

The Change Room, published by PenguinRandomHouse in 2017, has been called “revolutionary” and “boundary-breaking” in its treatment of women’s (harried, crazy-busy) lives and sexuality. It’s hot and mildly kinky. 

Karen is the author of eleven books of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, and has been called “one of Canada’s smartest, fiercest and most intrepid writers.” (that was CBC’s Bill Richardson, in 2017; and he knows!) An outspoken human rights activist, a polyglot, a provocateur, she’s spent extended periods in various European countries, travelled in the Middle East and North Africa, lived in Thailand and on the Thai-Myanmar border among refugee and dissident populations. Three of her books–poetry, fiction, non-fiction–have explored the struggles of Burmese dissidents, political prisoners, revolutionary soldiers, and refugees.

Her writings (books, essays, poems) have been translated into fifteen languages and published in seventeen countries.

Thanks to The Writers Union of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts for their generous support.

View Course Details & Register

The Writers' Circle

Creating Moments of Joy

Susan Forest
Sunday, April 28, 2019
10:30pm - 12:30pm
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

While conflict is the basis of story (and many stories fall flat because the authors don’t have the heart to be mean to their characters), a never-ending march into depression is not a great read. How do you relieve your stories’ danger and earnestness with bright moments?

- Event: Writers' Circle View Course Details & Register

Anecdote vs. Personal Essay

Ellen Kelly
May 5, 2019
10:30pm - 12:30pm
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Anecdote vs. Personal Essay What’s the difference? And how can you use them to your advantage?

- Event: Writers' Circle View Course Details & Register

Mother’s Day Memories Writing Salon

Pamela Clark
Sunday, May 12, 2019
1pm - 3:30pm
Member Price: $50/pair
Non-member Price: $65/pair

Sharing family memories through artifacts, photographs and stories connects us to our history and weaves the thread of understanding between generations. This workshop is intended for adult children and their mothers as a celebration of the past and the unveiling of a story, still untold. Through guided, active, immersive discussion prompts, participants will explore a story they want to share with their loved one, one that hasn’t yet been told, but that defines them, through an artifact or treasured photograph that they will bring to the session.

Afternoon tea and treats will be provided.

Pam Clark’s journey to writing her first novel, Kalyna, began with exploring her family history in Edna-Star. Pam has melded her love of history, storytelling and poetry into her career as an educator and was inspired to write the novel as a celebration of the human spirit, the ability to forgive and the necessity to move forward in turbulent times. Pam has also written freelance for magazines, ACUA Vitae, and Creatures All as well as the scholarly journal, Canadian Children. Her poetry chapbook entitled, “Riding the Waves of a Newfoundland Summer”, earned her a place at the People’s Poetry Festival in Calgary. Pam is honoured to have been the 2018-2019 Writer Mentor for the Canmore Shoe Project as well as currently mentoring with Borderlines Writers’ Circle Calgary. She teaches elementary school in Calgary where she lives with her supportive family.

- Level: All levels - Genre: creativity View Course Details & Register

It’s Not Fun Until Someone Loses an Eye

Kim Firmston
May 26. 2019
10:30pm - 12:30pm
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Action scenes are hard, be they battles, horse races, or a stupid prank gone wrong. Discuss the best techniques to get the action across without bogging down the pacing.

- Event: Writers' Circle View Course Details & Register

Poetry Cafe

Poetry Cafe

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

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

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

click link below to view upcoming dates

View Course Details & Register

Multi-Week Courses - Daytime

Writing for Teens

Suzy Vadori
Tuesdays
9:30-12pm
May 7, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $260
Non-member Price: $325

Are you keen on writing for teens? Whether you’re just starting out on your writing journey, or a seasoned writer looking to write for young adults (YA) in any genre (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Contemporary, etc.) this workshop is for you. Learn the difference in structure, pace, character building and dialogue among other things needed to write a compelling novel for this popular age group.

Class time will be split between instruction, discussion and writing time. Instructor will provide critiques of 2 written assignments through the duration of the course. Participants are welcome to work on a current project or start something new for each exercise.

- Course Type: Fiction - Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade View Course Details & Register

Manuscript Bootcamp – WAITLIST

Ali Bryan
Wednesdays
10:00am - 12:30pm
May 8, 2019 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $260
Non-member Price: $325

This class is now full. Please contact the office to be added to the waitlist.

Bring your fiction or creative non-fiction work-in-progress for an 8-week manuscript bootcamp designed to boost accountability, generate words, improve technique, problem-solve and blast through plateaus. Whether your manuscript needs to lean out or bulk-up, or if your practice simply needs an old-fashioned ass-kicking, Ali Bryan will draw on her years as a personal trainer to help you set achievable goals, sort through problem areas, and bring shape and focus to your craft. Through a combination of micro-lectures, writing exercises, word generation activities, workshopping and discussion, participants will strengthen their creative muscles and whip their manuscripts into shape. Programming will also be customized to meet the needs of the class. No burpees required.

Ali Bryan’s first novel, Roost, won the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was the official selection of one Book Nova Scotia 2014. Her second novel, The Figgs, was released in May of 2018 and was a CBC 15 Hilarious Books for the Comedy Lover on Your List, holiday gift guide pick. Her creative nonfiction has been shortlisted for the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize and longlisted for the CBC Creative Non-Fiction Prize. She is a 2018 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Emerging Artist Recipient.

- Level: Intermediate, Manuscript-in-Progress - Course Type: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Memoir - Genre: Fiction, YA, Creative Nonfiction - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Stranger Than Fiction – The Personal Essay

Ellen Kelly
Thursdays
10 AM - 12 PM
May 16, 2019 (6 weeks)
Member Price: $170
Non-member Price: $220


Do you have true stories to tell? Experiences you would like to share? Skeletons in your closet that you want to write about? Passionate feelings about a subject that you would like to explore? This course gives participants the opportunity to find deeper meaning in their writing by experimenting with various personal essay formats through discussion of characterization, scene, narration, theme, voice, truth, and markets/publication. Specific interests of the class participants will be addressed and participants will be encouraged to write both briefly in class and more extensively at home. Sharing is encouraged.

Ellen Kelly Blog

- Level: Beginner, Intermediate - Course Type: personal essay - Genre: memoir, creative nonfiction, personal essay View Course Details & Register

Epic to Wuxia: Writing Fantasy Fiction

Susan Forest
Thursdays
1-3pm
May 23 (6 weeks)
Member Price: $170
Non-member Price: $220

Fantasy fiction comprises a huge range of subgenres, but all magically sweep the reader away to worlds of awe, pitting protagonists against forces that speak to worlds larger than our own. This course will provide participants with the opportunity to examine elements commonly found in fantasy stories, as an underpinning to planning, writing, or revising their own works. Come to this course prepared to workshop your own short stories or novel openings, to improve your craft with the goal of publication.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Fiction - Genre: Fantasy - Event: Course View Course Details & Register

Multi-Week Courses - Evening

Creative Writing Basics (Evening) – WAITLIST

Olyn Ozbick
Wednesdays
7-9:30pm
April 24, 2019 (10 weeks)
Member Price: $260
Non-member Price: $360

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

This class is now full. Contact us to be added to the waitlist.

- Level: Beginner - Course Type: fiction, creative nonfiction View Course Details & Register

Manuscript Bootcamp (Evening)

Ali Bryan
Mondays
6:30pm-9pm
April 29, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $260
Non-member Price: $325

Bring your fiction or creative non-fiction work-in-progress for an 8-week manuscript bootcamp designed to boost accountability, generate words, improve technique, problem-solve and blast through plateaus. Whether your manuscript needs to lean out or bulk-up, or if your practice simply needs an old-fashioned ass-kicking, Ali Bryan will draw on her years as a personal trainer to help you set achievable goals, sort through problem areas, and bring shape and focus to your craft. Through a combination of micro-lectures, writing exercises, word generation activities, workshopping and discussion, participants will strengthen their creative muscles and whip their manuscripts into shape. Programming will also be customized to meet the needs of the class. No burpees required.

No class on Victoria Day.

Ali Bryan’s first novel, Roost, won the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was the official selection of one Book Nova Scotia 2014. Her second novel, The Figgs, was released in May of 2018 and was a CBC 15 Hilarious Books for the Comedy Lover on Your List, holiday gift guide pick. Her creative nonfiction has been shortlisted for the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize and longlisted for the CBC Creative Non-Fiction Prize. She is a 2018 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Emerging Artist Recipient.

- Level: Intermediate - Course Type: Manuscript in Progress - Genre: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Memoir View Course Details & Register

Keeping the Channel Open: Tools for Building a Generative Writing Practice

Laura Nicol
Tuesdays
7-9pm
May 7, 2019 (4 WEEKS)
Member Price: $110
Non-member Price: $160

The ability to easily and consistently generate raw material is the foundation of any successful writing practice, yet we often avoid this work, believing it to be messy, inefficient, or pointless. In the spirit of serious play, participants will develop a repertoire of writing exercises that will build their capacity to generate image-rich material, remove barriers to productivity, and strengthen discipline. Whether you’re deep into an on-going project or writing your way into a new one, this workshop will fuel your work with an abundance of fresh directions, insights and images.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: word generation, writing strategies, process - Genre: All Genres View Course Details & Register

Crafting Memorable Characters

Robin van Eck
Tuesdays
6:30pm-9pm
May 14, 2019 (6 weeks)
Member Price: $180
Non-member Price: $225

Whether you’re writing short stories, a novel or creative nonfiction, at the heart of any good story are the characters in it. In this six week course you will discover how to build and bring to life complex, vivid and memorable characters. Through discussion and writing exercises (in class and at home) we will discuss the choices a writer makes to bring their characters to life and practice various techniques to create a variety of characters, learn how to use our own life experiences and the people we know to develop complex inner and outer lives for our characters and how this can lead to richer, more interesting stories.

No experience necessary.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: fiction, creative nonfiction - Genre: all genres View Course Details & Register

April Workshops

OMG Tea: A Beginner’s Guide to Publishing in Britain and Europe

Lexie Angelo
Thursday
6-9PM
April 25, 2019
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $65

In this micro workshop, we’ll look into the submissions process for short fiction in European publications, as well as an overview of the publishing industry in the United Kingdom. Ideal for anyone interested in learning the basics about the publishing industry.

Lexie Angelo holds a  Master’s with First Class Distinction in Creative Writing from The University of Edinburgh and a Bachelor of Arts from Royal Roads University. Her work has been published in a variety of publications and anthologies on both sides of the pond.

 

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

Dark Folklore

Erin Emily Ann Vance
Saturday
10-3:30pm
April 27, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

You’ve heard of the leprechauns at the end of the rainbow, but what about the leprechauns that skin their enemies alive as revenge? Join folklore-enthusiast Erin Emily Ann Vance and learn the dark side of stories we loved as kids and how folklore interacts with very real moments of darkness in history. And, of course, learn how to mine these tales for your own writing in a series of generative exercises.

- Level: All levels View Course Details & Register

May Workshops

Mother’s Day Memories Writing Salon

Pamela Clark
Sunday, May 12, 2019
1pm - 3:30pm
Member Price: $50/pair
Non-member Price: $65/pair

Sharing family memories through artifacts, photographs and stories connects us to our history and weaves the thread of understanding between generations. This workshop is intended for adult children and their mothers as a celebration of the past and the unveiling of a story, still untold. Through guided, active, immersive discussion prompts, participants will explore a story they want to share with their loved one, one that hasn’t yet been told, but that defines them, through an artifact or treasured photograph that they will bring to the session.

Afternoon tea and treats will be provided.

Pam Clark’s journey to writing her first novel, Kalyna, began with exploring her family history in Edna-Star. Pam has melded her love of history, storytelling and poetry into her career as an educator and was inspired to write the novel as a celebration of the human spirit, the ability to forgive and the necessity to move forward in turbulent times. Pam has also written freelance for magazines, ACUA Vitae, and Creatures All as well as the scholarly journal, Canadian Children. Her poetry chapbook entitled, “Riding the Waves of a Newfoundland Summer”, earned her a place at the People’s Poetry Festival in Calgary. Pam is honoured to have been the 2018-2019 Writer Mentor for the Canmore Shoe Project as well as currently mentoring with Borderlines Writers’ Circle Calgary. She teaches elementary school in Calgary where she lives with her supportive family.

- Level: All levels - Genre: creativity View Course Details & Register

Pitch It – Introduction to Query Writing

Lexie Angelo
Thursday, May 2, 2019
6-9pm
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $65

If you have a completed manuscript, or are nearing completion, this micro workshop will help prepare you for querying literary agents in Canada, the US and abroad. We will discuss submission guidelines, the synopsis and review query letters. Come prepared with a draft query letter for in-class workshopping.

- Level: Completed Manuscript or Near-Completed Manuscript - Course Type: Queries, Picthes, Synopsis - Genre: All Genres - Event: Micro Workshop View Course Details & Register

Word Painting

Robin van Eck
Saturday
10am-3:30pm
May 4, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Bring images to life on the page through only the magic of your words. Spend the day immersed in exercises to energize your creativity and get you writing more descriptively. How much description is too much? Not enough? If you think you overburden your writing with description, or maybe don’t write descriptively enough, this is a great workshop to learn what details are important and which are not, while also having fun.

 

- Level: All levels - Course Type: craft - Genre: all genres View Course Details & Register

The Word is Power w/ Karen Connelly

Karen Connelly
Saturday
10-2pm
May 11, 2019
Member Price: $120
Non-member Price: $150

Writing as a political act.

Vulnerability paired with strength: this contradiction is a physical truth of all sentient life. For humans, it’s the source of much brilliant creative work. Yet most of our power structures remain based on a distance from the human body and a denial of painful historical truths. Can we write against that distance and that denial? What are the costs and rewards of doing so? Join one of Canada’s most political and most personal writers for this talk and fire-igniting workshop.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Feature Workshop - Genre: All genres View Course Details & Register

Writer in Residence Workshop – Lube for the Idea Machine

Bradley Somer
Saturday
10-3:30pm
May 11, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Most storytellers have little problem coming up with the ideas, many have issues executing them. This workshop examines ways to unstick a stuck story, poke those lazy characters into meaningful action, and make those contrived sections of the story a lot less so. This workshop would use methods to work through the problem spots of storytelling that are a little less traditional than often used, such as: plotting and defining character using tarot cards, the Ouija action-reaction scheme, understanding the anti-hero’s journey, constructing the lovable villain and hateable hero, among others.

 

- Level: Intermediate to Advanced - Event: Writer in Residence View Course Details & Register

Writing Memoir: Finding a Structure and a Framework to Tell Your Story

Leanne Shirtliffe
Saturday, May 25, 2019
10 AM - 2 PM
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Writing Memoir: Finding a Structure and a Framework to Tell Your Story explores the difference between a structure and a framework, and delves into several ways to structure your memoir (above and beyond chronological). Participants will also learn tips for discovering the essential narrative arc of their manuscript and will have the opportunity to learn strategies to brainstorm a variety of scenes. Samples from 21st-century memoirs will be shared.

Leanne Shirtliffe the author of several picture books and the humour memoir, Don’t Lick the Minivan: And Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say to my Kids. When she’s not trying to put words in some semblance of order, Leanne can be found teaching high school or hanging out with her family in the suburbs. She used to travel.

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

Summer - July

Writing “I”: Autofiction, Memoir – the Space Between

Jani Krulc
Saturday
10-3:30pm
July 6, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

How do we approach the first person? The narrative “I” vacillates. It confesses, brags, moans and lies. “I” often presents fiction as fact and fact as fiction. The “I” can be complicit, defenceless, or even a god. From the Old Testament omnipotent proclamation from the Hebrew God, “I am that I am,” to Popeye’s defensive and braggadocio laden claim, “I am what I am,” to the “I” of the witness or the “I” of victim, the first-person pronoun’s weight is grounded in immediacy, primacy and power, or the lack thereof.

This full-day workshop explores distinctions between the “I” of autofiction and the “I” of memoir. Are these distinctions a matter of aesthetics, ethics, gender or power?

 

- Level: All Levels - Genre: Memoir, Autofiction - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Summer - August

The Art of Persuasion

Fran Kimmel
Saturday
10-3:30pm
August 24, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

As writers we are heavily invested in the art of persuasion. Not only must we persuade people to read our stories, we also want them to be moved by our storylines, to emotionally invest in our characters, and to root for their success. This doesn’t just happen by accident. In this workshop, we’ll learn some techniques to help us arouse and hold the attention of the reader. From great beginnings and endings to points in between, we’ll focus on ways to breathe life into our writing and to persuade readers to stay with us.  Bring a pen, paper, and favourite novel with you, and together, we’ll search for the gold.

Fran Kimmel is the award-winning author of two novels, The Shore Girl (2012) and No Good Asking (2018). Fran’s short stories have been published in literary journals from coast to coast and have twice been included in Journey Prize Stories anthologies. Born and raised in Calgary, Fran now lives and writes in Lacombe.

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

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

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