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

Varies
Varies
Varies
Varies (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

Spring Writing Camps – March 25-29, 2019

Erin Vance (Writing Adventures) and Adam Hildebrandt (Teen Camp)
March 25-29, 2019
9am-4pm
(5 days)
Member Price: $275
Non-member Price: $340

Does your child or teen love writing, creating, drawing, and playing with words? Well, this camp is for them! Explore language, make friends, create incredible works of art, learn all kinds of new things and improve on already established skills. These camps are perfect for both the writing dabbler and the word expert. At least half of the camp is spent actively, exploring the environment, playing outside, and creating on our feet. It’s fun, creative, and awesome. What are you waiting for? Register today!

TWO CAMPS AVAILABLE 

  • Youth Writing Adventures (Ages 9-13)
  • Teen Writing Camp (Ages 13-17)

Before and after care available from 8:30-9:00 AM and 4:00-6:00 PM $2.50 / quarter hour. (contact the office to make arrangements – info@alexandrawriters.org)

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Youth and Teens - Youth Programming: Writing Camp View Course Details & Register

PD Day Workshops

Instructors vary
Days vary
9am-3pm
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $70

PD DAY 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! Workshops run from 9:00-3:00.

March 1 (Friday) – Write It! with Suzy Vadori – Explore the writing process, and develop plot and storylines for a story or novel through interactive exercises setting you on a path to success.

March 22  (Friday) –The Rad Poet’s Society with Erin Emily Ann Vance – Poetry is fun and innovative! In this one-day course, students will learn blackout poetry, haiku, play various poetry games, and take a look at different styles of poems. They will learn to communicate their ideas effectively and make poetry work for them! Students will leave the class with a new skill set and a new outlook on one of the most dreaded units in English class! – Class will be adapted to each individual’s comfort and learning level.

- Level: All grades View Course Details & Register

Summer Writing Camps

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
Teen Writing Camp for ages 13-17

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

Youth Workshops & Classes & Clubs

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

Beginning Writing with Kim Firmston
Do you have a young one who is just beginning to read and write or an older elementary youth who is struggling with these skills? Join us for a great adventure through sentence and story construction, spelling, printing, and grammar in this really fun class that will help reinforce the basics every child needs.

  • 8 Week Course
  • April 8 – June 3 (No class on April 22 & May 20)
  • 10:30 AM -12 PM
  • Elementary grades
  • 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 3 (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 3 (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 3 (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

Homeschool Winter Semester: Classes

Monday
Jan 21 (8 weeks)
Member Price: 180
Non-member Price: 225

WINTER SEMESTER – Jan 21 – March 18 (No class on Feb 18)

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM – Novel Writing – Grades 5 – 12 – Kim Firmston
Want to write a novel or just learn how to tackle a large project? This is the course for you! Learn novel writing, character and world building, editing, critiquing, and how to woo a publisher or publish your own book.

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM – Legends, Mythology, and Folklore – Elementary – Erin Vance – Hear some great stories, learn how mythology, legends, folklore fit into our collective landscape, and try your hand at creating one of your own.

1:00 – 2:30 PM – Writing through Women in History – All Ages – Kim Firmston – Explore both non-fiction and fiction writing while journeying into the past searching for the awesome women who have made an impact on the history of the world.

Get a Youth Membership HERE

Special pricing for a half-session currently available:

- Level: Home School - Youth Programming: Homeschool Winter 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 – One Scene, Many Tools

Bradley Somer
Saturday
10-3:30pm
April 13, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

In this one-day workshop, students will be encouraged to squeeze the absolute most out of every tool they have in their story writing toolkit. While traditional courses pick the story elements apart, this one will focus on how to get them to work together. Get ready to be put through the paces with exercises and intensive workshopping of a single scene to figure out how all the different elements can be made to work together for maximum impact. How can dialogue act as plot and characterization? How can setting illuminate character…or be a character itself?

 

- Level: Intermediate to Advanced - Event: Writer in Residence 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

The Word is Power w/ Karen Connelly

Karen Connelly
Saturday
10-4pm
May 11, 2019
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $200

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

Make ‘Em Laugh – Spring Feature Workshop w/ Terry Fallis

Terry Fallis
Saturday
10-4pm
March 16, 2019
Member Price: $175
Non-member Price: $220

Three steps to writing funny stories: 

1.   Acquire or otherwise procure a sense of humour.

2.   Use it when writing.

3.   Rinse and repeat.

Terry Fallis will lead a discussion of what it takes to be funny with only words on the page. The workshop will explore the types of humour that most lend themselves to the written form, and will examine various techniques used by successful comic writers. Time permitting, there will be a couple of exercises to help move the humour from theory to page. There should also be a few laughs along the way. 

A two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Terry Fallis is the award-winning author of six national bestsellers, including his most recent, One Brother Shy, all published by McClelland & Stewart.

His debut novel, The Best Laid Plans, won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and was crowned the 2011 winner of CBC Canada Reads as the “essential Canadian novel of the decade. In January 2014, CBC aired a six-part television miniseries based on The Best Laid Plans earning very positive reviews. It debuted as a stage musical in Vancouver in September 2015. The High Road was published in September 2010 and was a finalist for the 2011 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Terry’s third novel, Up and Down, was released in September 2012. It debuted on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list, was a finalist for the 2013 Leacock Medal, and won the 2013 Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award. In June 2013, the Canadian Booksellers Association presented Terry with the Libris Award for Author of the Year. Terry’s fourth novel, No Relation, hit bookstores in May 2014, opened on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list, and won the 2015 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Poles Apart was released in October 2015 debuting on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list. It was one of three finalists for the 2016 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. One Brother Shy was released in May 2017 and became an instant bestseller.

Terry Fallis earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McMaster University and then spent several years working in federal and Ontario politics. In 1995, he co-founded Thornley Fallis, a full service communications and digital agency with offices in Toronto and Ottawa.

He blogs at www.terryfallis.com and his twitter handle is @TerryFallis.

- Genre: Humour - Event: Spring Feature Workshop View Course Details & Register

The Writers' Circle

The Writer’s Circle – Annual Pass

Varies
Sundays
10:30-12:30pm
Member Price: $200
Non-member Price: NA

More than 50% savings.

Love the Writer’s Circle? Why not purchase an annual pass. Good for any sessions for up to one year from date of purchase. And it’s more than a 50% savings.

- Event: Writers Cirlce - Annual Pass View Course Details & Register

The Writer’s Circle – 10 Session Pass

Varies
Sundays
10:30-12:30pm
Member Price: $80
Non-member Price: NA

Love the Writer’s Circle? Tired of registering all the time? Why not purchase a 10 session pass for only $80. That’s 10 sessions for the price of 8 and they’re good for any Sundays of your choosing.

- Event: Writers Circle - 10 Session Pass View Course Details & Register

The Writers’ Circle: Writers’ Block

Nancy Bell
Sunday, March 17, 2019
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

What is it, how can it differ between fiction and non-fiction genres and ways to beat it?

- Level: All Levels - Event: Writers' Circle View Course Details & Register

The Writers’ Circle – Story Clinic

Vivian Hansen
Sunday, March 24, 2019
10:30-12:30pm
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

The oral experience of talking about your story is helpful to story direction.  This is like a pitch, but authors get to speak to their work, and bring it to life, for others as well as themselves.  Often these oral moments slow down the narrative direction, and help us envision the world of the story

- Level: All levels View Course Details & Register

The Writers’ Circle: Get Ready to Submit!

Erin Emily Ann Vance
Sunday, March 31, 2019
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

You wrote the poem. You finished the story. You’re ready to put your work out in the world, but where to begin? This workshop will walk you through organizational techniques for keeping submissions in order, common submitting platforms like Submittable, cover letters, submission packages, and the ins and outs of starting to submit! We will brainstorm a list of places to submit and get a package together.

- Course Type: submissions & markets - Event: Writers' Circle View Course Details & Register

The Writers’ Circle – Unbelievable Characters

Randy McCharles
Sunday, April 7, 2019
10:30pm - 12:30pm
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20
Nothing irks a reader more than seeing a character in a story do something they simply would not do, usually to just to make the author’s life easier. Sometimes they also fail to do something painfully obvious, again as a convenience for the author. Yes, if the protagonist behaved more realistically a novel may be reduced to a short story, but it’s the author’s job to face the challenge of keeping their characters believable for 300 pages. Join this discussion of failed characters and strategies for keeping characters likeable, engaging, and most importantly, believable.
- Level: All levels. View Course Details & Register

The Writers’ Circle – Villians and Conflict

Ron Friedman
Sunday, April 14, 2019
10:30-12:30pm
Member Price: $10
Non-member Price: $20

Conflicts stood at the heart of storytelling since the dawn of Humankind.  Join the conflict group discussion and explore how to grow three dimensional characters and complex societies that confront each other a in a believable manner. Eliminate the BS factor. Make your conflicts shine.

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

Fiction Foundations

Madelaine Wong
Tuesdays
12:00pm - 3:00pm
April 2, 2019 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $260
Non-member Price: $360

Do you want to write fiction? This introductory course will teach you how to create compelling and memorable characters, how to plot a short story or novel, and how to write good dialogue. You will learn about setting, point of view, how to create mood and show don’t tell. Discover the importance of writing beginnings that hook the reader and keep them flipping pages to the climax and resolution. This course is geared specifically to writers of fiction, whether you want to write literary fiction or romance, mystery, YA, horror, thriller, fantasy…

Class time will be split between instruction and lots of writing exercises. Bring a pen and paper or your laptop.

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

Introduction to Poetry

Laurie Fuhr
Tuesdays
10-12pm
April 9, 2019 (6 weeks)
Member Price: $170
Non-member Price: $220


Do you ever get a line from a movie, or a song lyric stuck in your head? If someone says something unusual or profound, does it catch your attention? If you enjoy interesting and expressive collections of words, you might be a poet! Here’s a class that lets you know it and show it, the perfect class for beginners, and for those who have never written poetry before. What makes a poem a poem, and not prose or fiction? What are some breathtaking poems to inspire us, both classic and contemporary? What is poetic to you, in particular? How can you turn your own ideas, or the stuff of everyday life, into poems you can be proud of? What is rhyming poetry, free verse poetry, form poetry, slam poetry? Where do poets get published? What goes on in the local poetry community? Our new Intro to Poetry class is the place to fulfill your curiosity, write your heart out, and “spread your gorgeous wings and fly away,” as Joni Mitchell put it. Wasn’t that poetic of her? Register now to explore poetry in a comfortable, safe, stress-free environment.  

- Level: Beginner - Course Type: Poetry View Course Details & Register

Finding Creative Bliss: A Muse SWAT Team Workshop

Sharon McLeay
Tuesdays
9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
April 9, 2019 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $260
Non-member Price: $325

Do you recognize creativity as a central source of meaning in your life? Do you feel your motivation/inspiration—your Muse—has become somewhat uninspiring, is taking too many coffee breaks and vacations or simply gone AWOL? If so it’s time to call in the creative big guns. The 9 Modern Day Muses (& a Bodyguard)© SWAT team is a highly trained para-creativity unit you can call on anytime to keep help you complete any artistic project. This elite squad offers specialized ways and tactics you’ve likely never experienced before, all designed to revitalize and/or boost your originality and minimize chances of getting twisted off, lost, stuck or giving up. At the end of the 8-week workshop you’ll take with you all the 9 Modern Day Muse (and a Bodyguard)© chutzpah and talents and create a personal Muse which will always be there to help you:

  • Protect your creative brilliance;
  • Raise big ideas without breaking a sweat;
  • Tap into high octane imaginative fuel to fly over creative barriers;
  • Include play and silliness in your artistic process (because experts say fun is the key to creativity);
  • Learn why chocolate, wine and self-appreciation are a must;
  • Understand the creative side of “oops,” “whoa” and mistakes;
  • Break rules to find rare starters/solutions;
  • Buck up the courage to embolden uninhibited uniqueness;
  • Take pauses (not procrastination) and diversions to artistic excellence;
  • Manage the incoherent madness and darkness that comes with the creative territory and;
  • Get going and tap into your creative bliss.

Recognizing that no SWAT unit member ever ‘finishes’ training, your Muse will continue to be your point person, helping you maintain your creative braininess whenever something discouraging this way comes.

INCLUDES $25 COURSE BOOK AND MATERIALS FEE

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

Legacy Writing

Ellen Kelly
Wednesdays
10 AM - 12 PM
April 17, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $275

Legacy writing is a way of documenting your life experiences, values, and opinions to share with others. It can be a cherished gift to family and loved ones, and healing for the writers themselves.”

How many times have you wished you could talk to someone from your past? Do you wish you knew who the people in the old photos were or how to make that amazing chicken soup your grandmother made? Do you wonder about life events that are now buried in the past? Come and create a legacy project that offers answers to the questions your children/grandchildren might ask. What was it like before the Internet/cell phones/even television? What was the best/worst Christmas ever? What were your feelings the day I was born? So many questions – the focus will be on life-changing events and the emotions surrounding them, as well as small victories and personal anecdotes . Come and write, discuss, share and be inspired by others while giving the gift of yourself to your family.

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

The Artist’s Way

Caroline Russell-King
Wednesdays
10-12pm
April 17, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $275

The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life. Still as vital today–or perhaps even more so–than it was when it was first published over a decade ago. Playwright Caroline Russell-King will lead you through the 12 steps to creating provocative and inspiring work and personal artistic success whether you are a poet, playwright, prose writer or visual artist.

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

Multi-Week Courses - Evening

3-Month Novel Project (WAITLIST)

Sarah L. Johnson
Tuesdays
7-9pm
April 9, 2019 (12 weeks)
Member Price: $300
Non-member Price: $425

THIS CLASS IS NOW FULL. PLEASE EMAIL TO BE ADDED TO THE WAITLIST

Powering through to a complete first draft in 12 weeks.

This course is all about what Anne Lamott famously refers to as “shitty first drafts.”  A gentler more realistic version of the well known 30-day challenge, 3MoNoPro is designed to offer the support, information, and tough love you need to get you across that finish line to your very own garbage, but nevertheless complete, first draft.

Each class will look at a different element of writing with an eye toward finding inspiration in our obstacles. Through exercises, word count tracking (goal of approx. 6000 words per week), and sharing our shitty pages, we’ll cheer each other on and finish what we start.

This course is for writers of all levels. Whether you’re just starting, half way through or almost done a manuscript, sign up and by week 12 you could very well be typing THE END.

 

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

Being You in Memoir

Sharon McLeay
Wednesdays
7-9pm
April 10, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $275

Are you having difficulty starting, structuring and/or finishing your life story? Sometimes the difficulty stems from too much knowledge about other memoirists’ personalities, approaches, styles and voices and not enough understanding of our own. Socrates’ “know thyself” was never more appropriate than in the case of the memoir writer. Readers depend on a genuine representation of you for interest and meaning and to identify with your story. Without authenticity there can be no trust between the reader and writer.

Being You in Memoir is an eight-week course designed to help you use memoir writing to probe deeper into who you are—your values, beliefs, fears, life passions, expressions, cultural influences and more—and figure out how to infuse that ‘flavor of you’ into your memoir. Your life influences and societal norms have molded you into the unique person you are today, a ‘you’ who should be reflected in every title, chapter, story, character, voice and more. Through the use of journal writing you will:

  • Explore identity;
  • Develop your memoir purpose;
  • Work out a design/organizational strategy;
  • Develop a genuine voice;
  • And write authentic titles and stories.

At the end of the eight weeks you’ll leave with a stash of titles and stories under your arm and a personal plan to guide you to the completion of an authentic memoir.

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

Delivering the Message

Anne Metikosh
Thursdays
7-9pm
April 11, 2019 (8 Weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $275

A lyricist wrote ‘bad moon on the rise.’  Listeners heard ‘bathroom on the right.’  Mondegreens happen often in songs, but misunderstandings can happen in novels, too.   If your message doesn’t come across the way you hoped it would, maybe you need to look at your delivery.

Grammar’s important in telling a story, sure, but so are voice, tone, word choice and rhythm.  Metaphor and simile.  Knowing when to say a little more, and when enough’s enough.

In this 8-week course, we’ll examine elements of language that contribute to a well-told tale.   Join us for a chance to learn why your story doesn’t read the way it sounds inside your head.

*note: for the first class, please bring a short (one paragraph) sample from your favourite writer

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

MIND F**K – Crafting the Psychological Thriller (WAITLIST)

Philip Vernon
Thursdays
7-9pm
April 18, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $275

Suspense. Domestic Noir. Psychological Thrillers. These twisty tales probe the underside of human nature. Behind veneers of normalcy, secrets are kept, loved ones betrayed, and voyeurism abounds. We’ll explore crafting psychological thrillers using core elements of storytelling—character development, plotting, scene and sequel, etc.—viewed through the dark lens’ of Daphne du Maurier, Laura Lippman, Gillian Flynn and more. Loose genre expectations aside, a Big Twist (or two or three) is non-negotiable, so expect a high-concept driven course replete with writing exercises, robust discussion, and assignments to electrify your storytelling.

 THIS CLASS IS NOW FULL. PLEASE CONTACT US TO BE ADDED TO THE WAITLIST.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: fiction - Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Noir View Course Details & Register

Creative Writing Basics (Evening)

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.

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

Make it Write for Teachers

Kim McCullough
Wednesdays
4:30-6:30pm
April 24, 2019 (4 weeks)
Member Price: $110
Non-member Price: $160

Calling all teachers! Do you have a story to tell? Have you always wanted to write your memoirs or a personal essay? Do you want to learn how to put the creative in creative non-fiction? Teachers who are interested in learning to be (better) writers are invited to bring a favourite journal and come create and play with words. This is not a how-to-teach-writing class, but an opportunity to get your own words on the page. The best writing teachers write! Come write with us.

- Level: For Teachers - Course Type: Creative Writing View Course Details & Register

To Prose or To Poem

Vivian Hansen
Mondays
7-9pm
April 29, 2019 (8 weeks)
Member Price: $210
Non-member Price: $275

What is the essential shell of a prose poem and why would a writer opt for its beauty instead of just writing a page of prose? A prose poem often lacks the line breaks associated with poetry, but we read rhythmic punctuation and notation in its lines. The prose poem maintains a poetic quality, often utilizing techniques common to poetry, such as fragmentation, compression, repetition, and rhyme. The prose poem allows the writer with difficult material to explore recesses of meaning through its experimental style. If you are a prose writer, this course will be of interest to you in navigating the essential prose line through a poetic lens.

- Level: Intermediate - Course Type: Poetry - Genre: Poetry, Prose 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

March Workshops

Make ‘Em Laugh – Spring Feature Workshop w/ Terry Fallis

Terry Fallis
Saturday
10-4pm
March 16, 2019
Member Price: $175
Non-member Price: $220

Three steps to writing funny stories: 

1.   Acquire or otherwise procure a sense of humour.

2.   Use it when writing.

3.   Rinse and repeat.

Terry Fallis will lead a discussion of what it takes to be funny with only words on the page. The workshop will explore the types of humour that most lend themselves to the written form, and will examine various techniques used by successful comic writers. Time permitting, there will be a couple of exercises to help move the humour from theory to page. There should also be a few laughs along the way. 

A two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Terry Fallis is the award-winning author of six national bestsellers, including his most recent, One Brother Shy, all published by McClelland & Stewart.

His debut novel, The Best Laid Plans, won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and was crowned the 2011 winner of CBC Canada Reads as the “essential Canadian novel of the decade. In January 2014, CBC aired a six-part television miniseries based on The Best Laid Plans earning very positive reviews. It debuted as a stage musical in Vancouver in September 2015. The High Road was published in September 2010 and was a finalist for the 2011 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Terry’s third novel, Up and Down, was released in September 2012. It debuted on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list, was a finalist for the 2013 Leacock Medal, and won the 2013 Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award. In June 2013, the Canadian Booksellers Association presented Terry with the Libris Award for Author of the Year. Terry’s fourth novel, No Relation, hit bookstores in May 2014, opened on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list, and won the 2015 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Poles Apart was released in October 2015 debuting on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list. It was one of three finalists for the 2016 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. One Brother Shy was released in May 2017 and became an instant bestseller.

Terry Fallis earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McMaster University and then spent several years working in federal and Ontario politics. In 1995, he co-founded Thornley Fallis, a full service communications and digital agency with offices in Toronto and Ottawa.

He blogs at www.terryfallis.com and his twitter handle is @TerryFallis.

- Genre: Humour - Event: Spring Feature Workshop View Course Details & Register

Creative Journaling

Wilma Rubens
Saturday
10 AM - 3:30 PM
March 23, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

Nourish your artistic spirit with inspirational exercises, activities and meditations which will use your imagination and intuition to uncover more clarity and passion in your writing. By tapping into your creative flow, you can discover and develop your talents and abilities. No previous writing experience required.

- Level: All Levels - Course Type: Creativity, Journaling - Event: Workshop View Course Details & Register

Pushing Gender Buttons in Rupi Kaur’s Poetry

Vivian Hansen
Saturday
10-3:30pm
March 30, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

What makes Rupi Kaur’s poetry so successful? Is it really poetry? Or carefully worded thought diagrams like Hallmark? This class will open up dialogue about gender and it’s role in constructing poetry. We will also hold discussion and workshop on constructing our own gender and gendered, experiences. Open to men, women, LGBTQ, and trans-identified people.

- Level: All levels. - Course Type: poetry View Course Details & Register

April Workshops

Ekphrastic Poetry Now!

Erin Emily Ann Vance
Saturday
10-3:30pm
April 6, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

APRIL IS POETRY MONTH!

Ekphrasis is the Greek word for description. Ekphrastic poetry responds to and describes a piece of visual art. CSpace is full of art- from installations to galleries and pop-up exhibitions, there is no shortage of work to respond to. Join us for a one-day workshop where we will learn about and generate ekphrastic writing and how to bend the rules of ekphrasis to create some truly unique work.

- Course Type: Poetry View Course Details & Register

Mapping A Novel

Anne Metikosh
Saturday & Sunday
10 AM - 2 PM
April 6-7, 2019
Member Price: $130
Non-member Price: $170

You have a great idea. Maybe you’ve dreamed up some dynamite settings and scenes. But how do you turn all the bits and pieces into a novel? You know you need an engaging plot to keep the reader glued to the page. You know your characters have to grow and change. You know your story has to reach an emotionally satisfying conclusion. But you can’t figure out how to get there from here and you’re spending a lot of time spinning your wheels. What you need is a roadmap. In this class we’ll design a working model for your novel. We’ll discuss the basics, like the value of a three-act structure and why the incidents that make up a plot need to be linked by cause and effect. But we’ll also consider the underlying questions of goal, theme, character motivations and consequences as they relate to the particular story you want to tell. By the end of the workshop, you should have an integrated plan to follow as you write. This class involves brainstorming and discussion. Materials provided.

- Level: All levels - Course Type: Novels - Genre: All genres - Event: Weekend Intensive View Course Details & Register

Writer in Residence Workshop – One Scene, Many Tools

Bradley Somer
Saturday
10-3:30pm
April 13, 2019
Member Price: $75
Non-member Price: $100

In this one-day workshop, students will be encouraged to squeeze the absolute most out of every tool they have in their story writing toolkit. While traditional courses pick the story elements apart, this one will focus on how to get them to work together. Get ready to be put through the paces with exercises and intensive workshopping of a single scene to figure out how all the different elements can be made to work together for maximum impact. How can dialogue act as plot and characterization? How can setting illuminate character…or be a character itself?

 

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

I’m Not from Here, I Just Live Here

Dymphny Dronyk
Saturday
10:00am - 2:00pm
April 13, 2019
Member Price: $60
Non-member Price: $85

Writing as an immigrant: writing in and honouring your mother tongue, writing in English, and the pros and pitfalls of translating your own work. How knowing more than one language gives you insights into seeing and describing the world. Finding and working with a translator and/or editor sensitive to the nuance of languages. This is an interactive workshop where we’ll learn from other’s experiences as ESL writers.

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

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
10-4pm
May 11, 2019
Member Price: $150
Non-member Price: $200

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

Spring Feature Workshop

Make ‘Em Laugh – Spring Feature Workshop w/ Terry Fallis

Terry Fallis
Saturday
10-4pm
March 16, 2019
Member Price: $175
Non-member Price: $220

Three steps to writing funny stories: 

1.   Acquire or otherwise procure a sense of humour.

2.   Use it when writing.

3.   Rinse and repeat.

Terry Fallis will lead a discussion of what it takes to be funny with only words on the page. The workshop will explore the types of humour that most lend themselves to the written form, and will examine various techniques used by successful comic writers. Time permitting, there will be a couple of exercises to help move the humour from theory to page. There should also be a few laughs along the way. 

A two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Terry Fallis is the award-winning author of six national bestsellers, including his most recent, One Brother Shy, all published by McClelland & Stewart.

His debut novel, The Best Laid Plans, won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and was crowned the 2011 winner of CBC Canada Reads as the “essential Canadian novel of the decade. In January 2014, CBC aired a six-part television miniseries based on The Best Laid Plans earning very positive reviews. It debuted as a stage musical in Vancouver in September 2015. The High Road was published in September 2010 and was a finalist for the 2011 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Terry’s third novel, Up and Down, was released in September 2012. It debuted on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list, was a finalist for the 2013 Leacock Medal, and won the 2013 Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award. In June 2013, the Canadian Booksellers Association presented Terry with the Libris Award for Author of the Year. Terry’s fourth novel, No Relation, hit bookstores in May 2014, opened on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list, and won the 2015 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Poles Apart was released in October 2015 debuting on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list. It was one of three finalists for the 2016 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. One Brother Shy was released in May 2017 and became an instant bestseller.

Terry Fallis earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McMaster University and then spent several years working in federal and Ontario politics. In 1995, he co-founded Thornley Fallis, a full service communications and digital agency with offices in Toronto and Ottawa.

He blogs at www.terryfallis.com and his twitter handle is @TerryFallis.

- Genre: Humour - Event: Spring Feature 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

View our Terms and Conditions