Creative Writing Courses & Workshops

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

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

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

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

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Notes:

  • For special events, drop in programs and more, please visit our EVENTS page.
  • Not sure how to gauge your experience level? Try this quick guide to help. If you’re still not sure, please feel free to contact us for advice.
  • Want to know more about our Instructors?
  • Questions? Please contact us by email or phone 403.264.4730

     

2020/21 Courses & Workshops 

ABLit Book Club

ABLit Book Club
Heidi Klaassen
Thursdays 7-8:30pm
October 22, 2020 (Every 5 Weeks)
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

Welcome to the ABLit Book Club registration page!

Registration will allow you access to all of the book club meetings for 2020/21. Please support your local book seller when purchasing books. If you are in Calgary, Owl’s Nest Books offers a 10% discount for ABLit Book Club members – just tell them you’re in the club!

Meetings will take place every 5 weeks, with a 6-week break over the holiday season.

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

Level: Adult Event: Book Club

Register & Details

Drop-In Programs

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

No experience required.

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

The Story Salon is a place for writers to come together, share ideas, write collaboratively or alone. We’ll write, share and discuss. Each week we start with sharing writing from the previous week or work on a prompt; we discuss brewing issues about the writers life such as moving past rejection, comparing ourselves to other writers, sharing our successes and roadblocks. Sometimes we write, sometimes we chat. We always have a good time.

Guest speakers may appear.

Registration Required.

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

Register & Details

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

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

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

Click link below to view upcoming dates

Register & Details

R.I.W.O. – Reality Is Woefully Obligatory
Emily Firmston
Third Friday of the Month 7-8:30 PM
(Year Round)
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

When reality is no longer optional, come and join a group to find a way to move forward through your writing and creative projects with the help of your new writing community. For ages 16-25 to share community, creativity, interests, writing, and more.

Offical meeting once a month with daily chats on Discord.

Join today!

Level: Ages 16-25

Register & Details

Adult Multi-Week Courses (Daytime)

ONLINE The Transformative Magic of Memoir
Karen Lee
Tuesdays 10am-1pm MST
January 26, 2021 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $360
Non-member Price: $480

Memoirs are a very popular genre right now – have you thought of writing one? In this course, you will learn about what memoir is and what it isn’t, how to start a memoir, how to elicit those illusive memories, how to deal with emotions – your own and the ones you are writing about. We cover memoir structure, dialogue, character description, and more. We will deal with the fears and the joys of writing your memoir.

Memoir writing is not therapy – we will stick closely to the writing process – but many find that writing their memoir is therapeutic, enlightening, and even transformative. Writing a memoir can, for some, transform their understanding of their own life’s journey and the challenges they have faced.

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

Karen E. Lee, M.A., is an author, writing instructor, public speaker, workshop leader, a retired clinical psychologist and management consultant. She has authored two non-fiction books, Consulting into the Future 2002 about management consulting, and The Full Catastrophe 2016, a memoir of her two marriages, widowhood, healing and learning to live again after trauma. She has also authored articles that range from psychology and management topics, journal articles, memoir and history. She is presently working on another memoir – a work of creative non-fiction about the village in Ontario where she grew up.

 

Level: All Levels Course Type: Memoir , Nonfiction

Register & Details

ONLINE Truth-telling and Vulnerability: Writing trauma in poetry and micro-essay – FULL!
Rayanne Haines
Fridays 1-3pm MST
Feb. 5, 2021 (4 weeks)
Member Price: $120
Non-member Price: $160

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

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

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

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

Rayanne Haines is an award-winning, multi-genre author of five traditionally published books (her sixth on the way in 2021) in poetry, non-fiction, and genre fiction. Her writing has appeared in Fiddlehead, Freefall, Funicular, and Indefinite Space among others. She is the Alberta/NWT rep for the League of Canadian Poets and a 2019 Edmonton Artist Trust Fund Award recipient. Her poetry and prose have been shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award and the John Whyte Memorial Essay Alberta Literary Award. Rayanne’s current work focuses on mental health and intergenerational female trauma. Tell the Birds your Body is Not a Gun (her second poetry collection) is forthcoming in 2021 with Frontenac House.

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

Register & Details

Adult Multi-Week Courses (Evening)

ONLINE The Play’s The Thing
Marty Chan
Mondays 7-8pm MST
February 1, 2021 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $120
Non-member Price: $160

Release your inner Shakespeare and learn how to craft a stage play. Marty Chan reveals his insights on what stories work best on stage, how to craft dialogue, and how to create drama. He’ll share easy-to-understand tips that will have people penning their own plays before the curtain falls.

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

Marty Chan’s best known for his hit play Mom, Dad, I’m Living with a White Girl, which toured across Canada and had an Off Broadway run in 2004. In addition to writing over 25 produced plays, he’s also worked as a story editor in television, written two radio dramas, and written 16 books for kids. He works and lives in Edmonton with his stage manage wife Michelle and their non-theatre cat, Buddy.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Playwriting

Register & Details

ONLINE Beyond The Chosen One: Developing Characters for Genre Fiction
Kim Firmston
Wednesdays 6-8pm MST
March 3, 2021 (4 weeks)
Member Price: $120
Non-member Price: $160

The best part of making a story is creating the characters. In this course, you will not only dress your characters up using environment, ethnicity, race, lore, etc. but, using your chosen brand of genre fiction, nuance them to show off their personality, backstory, status, and unique items.

Learn how to avoid Mary Sues, overly tragic characters, and The Chosen One trope by creating well rounded main characters while keeping genre rules in mind. Incorporate goal, motive, conflict, education, style of conflict management or fighting, and hobbies or interests. Create engaging antagonists. Then get to know what your characters think of the world when not engaged in the plot.

Make your world a diverse place without falling into harmful stereotypes. Learn methods to research and incorporate disabilities (hidden or physical), ethnicities, gender, and sexuality, and what traps to avoid. Explore how to mirror and comment on real-world issues and using your genre’s characters.

Finally, delve into your characters’ past to discover their voice and create distinct dialogue. Create genre-specific slang that makes sense and isn’t cringeworthy. Mirror physical movements with dialogue using everything that makes your characters unique to make them come alive.

When you are done you will have a cast worthy of your plot.

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

Kim Firmston is a published YA novelist, specializing in teaching all aspects of writing and genre fiction for the past two decades. When not teaching, Kim works on writing everything from novels to plays to video game scripts (though computer coding still eludes her). She is often found in her basement creating stop motion animation or reading her extensive comic book collection. She loves teaching and has been part of the AWCS for over fifteen years.

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

Register & Details

Adult One-Day Workshops

ONLINE Unstick Yourself – FULL!
Meghan Victoria
Saturday 10am-3pm MST
January 30, 2021
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.

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

Meghan Victoria 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, Creative Nonfiction Genre: All Genres

Register & Details

ONLINE Finding the Elephant in the Chunk of Marble
Gail Bowen
Saturday 10am-2pm MST
February 6, 2021
Member Price: $70
Non-member Price: $90

When an artist was asked how she made an elephant out of a chunk of marble, she replied, “it’s simple.  I just chip away everything that isn’t elephant.” Publishers today lack the resources to pay editors to find the novel in a promising but flawed manuscript.  This workshop will show writers how to give their manuscript a professional edit before submitting it for publication.

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

Gail Bowen is a prolific author, playwright and teacher. Her best known works are the Joanne Kilbourn series of mystery novels, all of which are set in Saskatchewan. These books have received national and international acclaim for their realistic, continually evolving heroine and examinations of contemporary social issues ranging from child prostitution to feminism, racism and domestic abuse. Six books in the series have been successfully adapted for an international television audience. Among her numerous writing awards are a lifetime achievement award from the Crime Writers of Canada and the Distinguished Canadian Award from the University of Regina and the Lifelong Learning Centre. Readers’ Digest has called her Canada’s best mystery novelist. She is also a playwright, specializing in children’s literature, and has adapted a number of classic works such as Peter Pan and Beauty and the Beast for the stage and radio. In 2018, she was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and the Grand Master Award of Crime Writers of Canada.

Level: Intermediate Course Type: Fiction Genre: All Genres

Register & Details

ONLINE Sensory Writing: Restoring the Weary Writer’s Heart – FULL!
Christy Ann Conlin
Saturday 10am-3pm MST
February 13, 2021
Member Price: $80
Non-member Price: $105

This five hour workshop invites the weary writer to a revitalizing experience where you will once more fall in love with your writing practice. Through a series of writing explorations, we will travel deep into the realm of sensory writing, and see how this brings originality and distinctiveness to language, voice and story. Sensory writing offers a critical pathway into the lush literary landscape we want our stories, and our readers, to inhabit. Our workshop focus is on clarity, honesty, and tenderness in our writing, as well as for ourselves. Where there is sharpness, there is softness. Where there is despair, there is hope. We will work with childhood memory and examine the manner in which it ripples into present day story, the connection between the past and the present, all through the illuminating lens of sensory writing. How can touch, taste, scent, sound and sight enrich language and develop character, setting, action, voice and theme? This workshop is perfect for writers both new and seasoned, writers of fiction and creative nonfiction. Writers need restoration and replenishment, self care and enrichment for the creative heart which beats in our stories, and the creative heart which beats in our daily lives. Be your own literary cupid.

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

Christy Ann Conlin grew up in Nova Scotia on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. Her first love was theatre and this eventually led her to writing. Her debut novel, Heave, published by Doubleday in 2002, was a national bestseller, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, a finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and was shortlisted for the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and the Dartmouth Book Award. Her second novel, The Memento, published by Doubleday in 2016, garnered rave reviews. Watermark, a collection of short stories was published by House of Anansi Press in 2019, and was a finalist for the Evergreen Award, the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the winner of the Miramichi Reader Short Fiction prize. Christy Ann’s short stories and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals including Best Canadian Stories, Brick, Geist, Room and Numéro Cinq. Her work has also been longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the American Short Fiction Prize. Christy Ann’s radio broadcast work includes co-creating and hosting CBC Fear Itself, a national summer radio series, along with documentaries for CBC Doc Project and Outfront.  Christy Ann studied screenplay writing at the University of British Columbia. She has taught creating workshops and as an online instructor at the University of Toronto for many years. Christy Ann works as a mental health advocate and lives in Nova Scotia with her sprawling sandwich generation family. Her next novel, Speed of Mercy, will be published by House of Anansi in March 2021.

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

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ONLINE Ghostwriting: Writing a Story That’s Not Your Own
Sharon McLeay
Saturday 10am-3pm MST
February 20, 2021
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Have you ever been tempted to say “yes” when a family member or friend has asked you to help write a memoir? Ghostwriting can be a fun and worthwhile pursuit if you know the right steps to take before and during the project. In this 5-hour online ZOOM class, Sharon Pearce-McLeay (author of three ghostwritten memoirs) will cover all the bases, including everything from setting an initial agreement, identifying purpose and audience, to research, writing in someone else’s voice and pitfalls to avoid.

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

Sharon McLeay MA, CJF is the author of three memoirs as well as newspaper and magazine articles and creative non-fiction that has been published in various anthologies. She has a master’s degree in life writing and has taught memoir and creativity at AWCS for several years. Her current efforts are focused on her own memoir, developing a series of online memoir courses, a memoir instructor’s certification program and on writing a book to help memoir writers compose authentic life stories.

 

Level: All Levels

Register & Details

ONLINE Backstory Secrets
Susan Forest
Saturday 10am-2pm MST
March 13, 2021
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $80

Backstory is tricky to interweave into your story effectively. Often, our mistake is to introduce it too soon, or all at once in one large infodump. When and how can it be feathered in effectively? Think of your backstory as a series of secrets your protagonist does not want to reveal. Make your audience hungry for backstory and deliver it at just the right moment! Bring your plot line of story events, and your backstory events, and use the tips from this one-day workshop to analyze your piece for optimal revelation of scandalous secrets!

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

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

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

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ONLINE From Rumi to the Rubiyat
Jade O'Riley
Saturday 1-5pm MST
March 20, 2021
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $80

Bacchanalian symbolism of wine, taverns and drunkenness spills from the mystical poems of the Persian poets; these are Sufi expressions of divine love. Using the symbolism of the Sufi poets Jelaluddin Rumi and Omar Khayaam, we’ll write the Rubiyat; at one time, the most popular Sufi poem to be translated into the English language. And write the Persian song poem: the Ghazal, a short lyrical poem written in couplets linked in rhyme that expresses love and the meaning and beauty of life. These Persian poetry forms turn the story of work-a-day life turns into the love of living. Your poetry will dance with the dervishes. There’s time in class to share your poems and get feedback.

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

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

Level: All Levels Course Type: Poetry

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ONLINE Writer-In-Residence Workshop – Travelling Different Worlds: The Importance Of Setting
Alison Clarke
Saturday 10am-3pm MST
March 27, 2021
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Setting is key to story and can often plays as much of a role as the characters. Join AWCS 2021 Writer-In-Residence and award-winning author Alison Clarke on a journey exploring the importance of setting through different creative mediums, writing exercises, discussion, and more.

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

As well as being the 2021 AWCS Writer-In-Residence, Alison Clarke is a #1 bestselling author on Amazon, and a poet as well as a fantasy author who has a Master’s degree in Children’s literature from Hollins University. She is also a creative writing and visual arts instructor and experiences life as a spoken word artist, performing at festivals in Edmonton, like Black Arts Matter.

Alison is the author of Phillis: A Poetry Collection, to be published by the University of Calgary Press in October 2020. She is also the author of The Sisterhood, a young adult fantasy novel about Oppie, a sorceress’ daughter, and her best friend, Aurie, who is a dragon, and the journey they go on to save the universe. The Sisterhood is Book One of The Sisterhood Series, for which Alison won the award 2016 Writer of The Year by Diversity magazine. The second book in the series is Racine and the third is Circle which was released on November 27, 2018.

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

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ONLINE Writer-In-Residence Workshop – Adventures In World Building: The Power Of Mythology
Alison Clarke
Saturday 10am-3pm MST
April 24, 2021
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

World building is the key to creating unforgettable fantasy novels. Wonder Woman… the Amazons… the power of Greek mythology. Fantasy novels like Percy Jackson, his universe made famous by the Greek Gods and Goddesses, Zeus, Athena, Aphrodite, and others. The Sword In The Stone and other books that also explore the realm of mythology, legends like King Arthur and the Round Table. Experience the trip fantastic with artistic exploration. Follow your literary compass with exercises that spark your creative muscle, and delve into discussion with AWCS 2021 Writer-In-Residence Alison Clarke.  This fantasy author will take you into the magic of world building.

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

As well as being the 2021 AWCS Writer-In-Residence, Alison Clarke is a #1 bestselling author on Amazon, and a poet as well as a fantasy author who has a Master’s degree in Children’s literature from Hollins University. She is also a creative writing and visual arts instructor and experiences life as a spoken word artist, performing at festivals in Edmonton, like Black Arts Matter.

Alison is the autho

r of Phillis: A Poetry Collection, to be published by the University of Calgary Press in October 2020. She is also the author of The Sisterhood, a young adult fantasy novel about Oppie, a sorceress’ daughter, and her best friend, Aurie, who is a dragon, and the journey they go on to save the universe. The Sisterhood is Book One of The Sisterhood Series, for which Alison won the award 2016 Writer of The Year by Diversity magazine. The second book in the series is Racine and the third is Circle which was released on November 27, 2018.

 

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

Register & Details

ONLINE Writer-In-Residence Workshop – Poetry: Art In Motion
Alison Clarke
Saturday 10am-3pm MST
May 29, 2021
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Travelling different worlds, we will enter the realm that is visual art powered by masters such as Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. We will write poetry sparked by the dreams of these masters. Using visual art as a springboard, we will delve into the world of poetry, with simile as our ship, metaphor as the mast, and imagery as our ocean. We will be sailors, navigating the sea that is poetry with writing exercises and discussion, while also flexing our poetic muscle.

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

As well as being the 2021 AWCS Writer-In-Residence, Alison Clarke is a #1 bestselling author on Amazon, and a poet as well as a fantasy author who has a Master’s degree in Children’s literature from Hollins University. She is also a creative writing and visual arts instructor and experiences life as a spoken word artist, performing at festivals in Edmonton, like Black Arts Matter.

Alison is the author of Phillis: A Poetry Collection, to be published by the University of Calgary Press in October 2020. She is also the author of The Sisterhood, a young adult fantasy novel about Oppie, a sorceress’ daughter, and her best friend, Aurie, who is a dragon, and the journey they go on to save the universe. The Sisterhood is Book One of The Sisterhood Series, for which Alison won the award 2016 Writer of The Year by Diversity magazine. The second book in the series is Racine and the third is Circle which was released on November 27, 2018.

Level: All Levels Course Type: Poetry

Register & Details

ONLINE Spring Feature Workshop w/ Anthony Doerr
Anthony Doerr
Saturday 10-3:00pm
May 29, 2021 (One Day)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $225

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 29, 2021| 10am-2:00pm

ONLINE

 

AWCS/WGA Members: $200

Non-Members: $225

 

 

Level: All levels. Event: Spring Feature Workshop

Register & Details

Adult Micro Workshops

ONLINE The Dreaded Query Letter – How. Why. Where. – FULL!
Rayanne Haines
Monday 6-8pm MST
February 1, 2021
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

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

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

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

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

Rayanne Haines is an award-winning, multi-genre author of five traditionally published books (her sixth on the way in 2021) in poetry, non-fiction, and genre fiction. Her writing has appeared in Fiddlehead, Freefall, Funicular, and Indefinite Space among others. She is the Alberta/NWT rep for the League of Canadian Poets and a 2019 Edmonton Artist Trust Fund Award recipient. Her poetry and prose have been shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award and the John Whyte Memorial Essay Alberta Literary Award. Rayanne’s current work focuses on mental health and intergenerational female trauma. Tell the Birds your Body is Not a Gun (her second poetry collection) is forthcoming in 2021 with Frontenac House.

Level: All Levels Genre: All Genres

Register & Details

ONLINE We Got The Beat!
Josephine LoRe
Monday 6-9pm MST
February 8, 2021
Member Price: $45
Non-member Price: $60

Poetry is to words what melody is to music.  This three-hour workshop will explore the sound possibilities in poetry, the meter, the rhythm.  We will open up the secrets of how to create new and engaging poetry following the principles and beats of rhythm. We will look at poems that contain examples of each of the six meters:  Iambic, Trochaic, Anapestic, Dactylic, Spondaic and Pyrrhic. Are these meters obsolete?  Does free-form prevail? Does anyone write in Iambic Pentameter anymore?  The sonnets, the ballads, are they relics from the past, from long-buried Shakespeares and Elizabeth Barrett Brownings, Lord Byrons, and Robert Services?  Or can we intentionally embed our poetry with rhythms that lead the reader to wanting more?  And what about performance poetry, the tat-ta-ra-tat of Slam Poetry … what role does rhythm and beat play in these forms? Learn how to modulate and regulate your sound to create effect.  Be ready to listen and learn, to write and share and provide constructive feedback.

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

Josephine LoRe is the author of two collections which integrate poetry and photography, ‘Unity’ and the Calgary Herald Bestseller ‘The Cowichan Series’, as well as the short story “Cornflower”. Her words have been read on stage, put to music, danced, and rendered into visual art.  They appear in anthologies and literary journals in nine countries including FreeFall Literary Magazine, The Prairie Journal, Japan’s Mount Fuji Tanka Grand Prix, the AWCS War Memory Project, Pendemic poetry in Ireland, Calgary’s People’s Poetry Festival, The Parkland Poets’ Poetry and Photography Pairings, TapPressRead, YYC PoP and the upcoming (M)othering Anthology.Josephine has a Maîtrise in Comparative Literature from l’Université de Rouen, France, an Honour’s BA in Modern Languages and Literature and is cleverly disguised as a Junior High French Immersion teacher by day.

 

Level: All Levels Course Type: Poetry

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ONLINE Buoyant Lit Mag Submissions
Samantha Jones
Wednesday 7-9pm MST
February 17, 2021
Member Price: $30
Non-member Price: $40

Float to the Top of the Slush Pile…

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

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

Samantha Jones (she/her) is a Calgary-based poet of mixed European and African Canadian heritage. She is a lit mag enthusiast with poetry published or forthcoming in Blanket Sea, blueskiespoetry.ca, CV2, the Eunoia Review, Grain Magazine, New Forum, and Room Magazine. Her words also appear in March 2020: A COVID-19 Anthology published by the /tɛmz/ Review and 845 Press, and in Tap, Press, Read, an anthology of Calgary area writers curated and published by Loft on EIGHTH. Samantha holds a Certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Calgary and is currently a PhD Candidate in Geography at the same institution.

Level: All Levels Genre: All Genres

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ONLINE Let’s Talk About Dialogue
Heather Osborne
Monday 6-9pm MST
February 22, 2021
Member Price: $45
Non-member Price: $60

Are you having difficulty mixing dialogue with setting and character? Ever feel like you’re jumping from a block of description to a block of action, without creating a flow between the two? Getting the right balance of description, dialogue, and action in your scenes can be tricky. A strong paragraph uses all three elements, working together, to help create tension, deepen characterization, and advance the plot. Once you have the basics down, you can mix and match the three elements to create a quick, choppy, tense scene, or a slow dramatic one. In this three-hour mini workshop, ideal for the beginning fiction writer, we’ll start with the basics—punctuating dialogue—and then use writing exercises to develop a variety of combinations of description, dialogue, and action.

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

Heather Osborne writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance. She earned her doctorate of creative writing from the University of Calgary, and she is associate editor of the International Review of Science Fiction. Her latest short story, “From the Shoals of Broken Cities,” is available in the anthology Shades Within Us (Laksa Media 2018).

Level: All Levels

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ONLINE Poetry For A Song
Jade O'Riley
Saturday 1-4pm MST
February 27, 2021
Member Price: $45
Non-member Price: $60

Write poetry that makes your lyrics sing and your songs stand out. Create melodic lyrics, song hooks and titles that leave an impression; use rhyme and symbols to deliver your song’s emotional message. This class is open to anyone interested in writing lyrics for songs. There’ll be time in class to debut your brand new song!

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

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

Level: All Levels Course Type: Poetry, Songwriting

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ONLINE Writing In Isolation
Vivian Hansen
Thursday 7-9pm MST
March 18, 2021
Member Price: 30.00
Non-member Price: 40.00

Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the Great Plague.  Is it possible for us to write something equally as amazing during the Pandemic? Why are writers challenged by isolation, or is it solitude?  What’s the difference?  The Pandemic drives new perspectives on writing practice as we endure alone – in both isolation and solitude. This workshop will explore how isolation and solitude can be a writer’s friend – or not.  Get a start to creativity in isolation!

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

Vivian Hansen is poet and creative nonfiction writer. She teaches creative writing with the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University and the Alexandra Writers Centre. She has two chapbooks: Never Call It Bird – the Melodies of AIDS, and Angel Alley – the Victims of Jack the Ripper. Her first full length book Leylines of My Flesh came out in 2002. A Bitter Mood of Clouds (2013) chronicles the life and times of Arne Petersen, a transgender Dane who received sex reassignment in Denmark in 1953. A Tincture of Sunlight was published with Frontenac in 2017.

Level: All Levels

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Youth Classes and Clubs - Sept-June

Young Journalist Program
Patti Edgar
First and Third Mondays of the month 6:30-8:30 PM
September 21, 2020 (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.

*Online For Now – This normally in-person program is currently running online until it is safe to return to the classroom.

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.

See our Website http://www.zednewsyyc.weebly.com

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: Jr/Sr high Course Type: Journalism Genre: Non-Fiction Youth Programming: Class

Register & Details

Pen & Panel Comic Creation Class
Sebastien Ringuette
First and third Thursday 5 PM - 6:30 PM
Sept 5 - Join anytime (September - June)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $260

*Online For Now – This normally in-person program is currently running online until it is safe to return to the classroom. 

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 skillset. Suggested Ages 12 and up. September to June, join any time.

Course Type: Comics Youth Programming: Course

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Reality Is Optional Writing Club
Kim Firmston
Monday (2nd and 4th Monday of the month) 5:00-6:30
Runs year round (Sept - June) Join anytime (10 months)
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $195

*Online For Now – This normally in-person program is currently running online until it is safe to return to the classroom. 

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!

Level: All Ages Course Type: Writing through games Youth Programming: Clubs

Register & Details

Novelmancers Novel Writing Club
Kim Firmston
2nd Thursday of the Month 5:00-6:30
Sept - June (10 months)
Member Price: $100
Non-member Price: $130

*Online For Now – This normally in-person program is currently running online until it is safe to return to the classroom. 

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. Do writing activities and join in on discussions to get your skill level up. Take part in critique circles (optional). Join our NaNoWriMo classroom and write in. Become the writer you want to be.

All Ages. Join anytime

Level: All Ages Course Type: Novel Writing Youth Programming: Clubs

Register & Details

Rogue Poets Poetry Club
Em Williamson
First and Third Tuesday of the month 5:00-6:30
September 15 (September - June)
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $195

*Online For Now – This normally in-person program is currently running online until it is safe to return to the classroom. 

Rogue Poets Poetry Club – Explore what poetry can be, then take it past those limits. Join Coach Em Williamson on a journey to the outer edges of poetry and performance. Have the opportunity to perform on various stages with the Rogue Poets, hone your poetic craft, create collaborative work the likes of which you’ve never imagined, and even compete at the Can You Hear Me Now provincial school poetry slam. Jr/Sr High students only, please.

Registration from July – January

 

Level: Jr/Sr High School Genre: Poetry Youth Programming: Clubs

Register & Details

Dungeons & Dragons Club
Adam, Anna, Kim, & Emily
Second and Last Saturday of the month 6:00-9:00 PM
Starts: September 12 (Online only) & 26 (Regular D&D) (Sept-May)
Member Price: $150 *remainder of the 2020/21 year $120
Non-member Price: $195 *remainder of the 2020/21 year $155

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.

OUR REGULAR D&D*Online For Now – This normally in-person program is currently running online until it is safe to return to the classroom.  –  Grades 4-12 (split by age into groups of 5-8 players) and played on the Fourth Saturday of the Month.

These groups will be playing the dungeon – Curse of Strahd with Level 1 5E Characters (which we can help you make should you need it). This Dungeon will be in three groups led by Iris, Anna, and Kim.

NEW!!! D&D ONLINE EXCLUSIVE – this exclusively online group is for anyone who doesn’t envision themselves feeling safe enough to return in person and those who live far away. This is played on Discord and is for Grades 6-12, on the Second Saturday of the Month.

This group will be playing the dungeon – The Adventurers’ Academy with level 6 5E Characters (which we can help you make should you need it). This Dungeon will be led by Emily.

REGISTRATION FOR THE 2020/21 SEASON CLOSES DEC 25TH

Level: Grade 4-12 Course Type: Fantasy Role Playing Youth Programming: Clubs

Register & Details

R.I.W.O. – Reality Is Woefully Obligatory
Emily Firmston
Third Friday of the Month 7-8:30 PM
(Year Round)
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

When reality is no longer optional, come and join a group to find a way to move forward through your writing and creative projects with the help of your new writing community. For ages 16-25 to share community, creativity, interests, writing, and more.

Offical meeting once a month with daily chats on Discord.

Join today!

Level: Ages 16-25

Register & Details

Novelmancer Write In
Kim Firmston
First and third Thursday 7-8:30 PM
Sept 3 - Join anytime (September - June)
Member Price: Free
Non-member Price: Free

Need to get that Novel or other long work done? Come join us on Discord for chill tunes, comradery, and the dedicated writing time you need. This is for all writers aged 25 and under. 12 and under are welcome but you will need to have your parents make a Discord account for you. And for those of any grade, come join us at Novelmancers for some intensive writing education specific to your novel or longer work (screenplay, short story collection, graphic novel, etc.).

Level: Ages 13-25 Youth Programming: Write-in

Register & Details

Student Support

Write Away! Creative Writing for Homeschoolers
Anne Hodgson
Monday 10:30-12
Jan 11 (no class Feb 15) (8 weeks )
Member Price: $220
Non-member Price: $285

Write Away! for homeschoolers aged 8-13 (suggested). In-Person in our writing centre (COVID-19 safety precautions in place – masks required) or online if COVID restrictions prevent us from being in the classroom.

Ignite your imagination! Students will have the opportunity to engage in fun and creative writing activities while focusing on specific skill development such as spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting. Activities will be tailor-made to meet students’ needs and interests. Students will participate in one to one and group editing sessions with a goal towards self-editing.

Meet the Teacher! Anne Hodgson inspires children and youth with her passion for writing, reading, and history. She recently retired from teaching with the Calgary Board of Education after 39 years. Her experience spans all grades, as well as E.L.L., and students with learning needs. With a Fine Arts background, she combines creativity and project-based learning with the acquisition of specific skills and knowledge. Anne enjoys getting to know her students to inspire and develop confidence in themselves as writers. Anne is a writer, storyteller, and playwright.

Level: Ages 8-13 Course Type: In-Person (on-line if needed) Youth Programming: Student Support

Register & Details

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

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

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

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

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

Register & Details

Online Learning Pods
Kim Firmston and Erin Vance
Days and Times Vary
(4 hours of lessons in your configuration)
Member Price: $275 per group
Non-member Price: $275 per group

Create your own learning pod of students, pick a topic within the English Language Arts or Social Studies framework (Grade 1-12), and choose the length of classes and the frequency that works best. Then, let us create the perfect course for you and teach it to your group.

Minimum 2 students – Maximum 5

LEARN MORE HERE

Level: Grades 1-12 Youth Programming: Student Support

Register & Details

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

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

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

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

Academic Post-Secondary Tutoring

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

PLEASE NOTE OUR CANCELATION, ABSENCE, AND RESCHEDULING POLICY

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

Register & Details

Tutoring

Writing Improvement for Adults
Instructor Varies
Monday-Saturday Times Vary
Member Price: $155
Non-member Price: $185

NOW ONLINE!

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

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

Writing Improvement for Adults

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

PLEASE NOTE OUR CANCELATION, ABSENCE, AND RESCHEDULING POLICY

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

Register & Details

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

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

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

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

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

Register & Details

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

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

All Ages / All Skill Levels / All Styles and Types

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

Academic Post-Secondary Tutoring

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

PLEASE NOTE OUR CANCELATION, ABSENCE, AND RESCHEDULING POLICY

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

Register & Details

Special Events

Spring Feature – In Conversation w/ Anthony Doerr
Anthony Doerr
Friday 7pm
May 28, 2021 (One Day)
Member Price: $50
Non-member Price: $75

For Writers & Readers

In Conversation w/ Anthony Doerr

May 28, 2021 | 7pm

AWCS/WGA Members: $50

Non-Members: $75

 

In conjunction with the AWCS/WGA Joint Conference – May 28-30, 2021, 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.

Level: All levels. Writers & Readers

Register & Details

ONLINE Spring Feature Workshop w/ Anthony Doerr
Anthony Doerr
Saturday 10-3:00pm
May 29, 2021 (One Day)
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: $225

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 29, 2021| 10am-2:00pm

ONLINE

 

AWCS/WGA Members: $200

Non-Members: $225

 

 

Level: All levels. Event: Spring Feature Workshop

Register & Details

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