Workshops at the Readers & Writers Festival

This year the Readers & Writers Festival offers four dynamite workshops for those who want a little extra excitement in their lives!  Workshops have a maximum of 10 participants and last 3 hours, so they enable personal contact with an author not possible in a Solo Reading or Main Stage session.

Whether it’s hot fiction tips from Heather O’Neill, insight into research and non-fiction writing from Andrew MacLeod, hands-on work writing a play with Dante Ambriel, or immersion in the world of poetry with Billeh Nickerson, our workshops are sure to give participants truly memorable experiences.

Heather O’Neill writes some of Canada’s most delicious prose, replete with imaginative metaphors, intriguing plots, and unusual settings.  The characters in her books stay with the readers.  Here is how Heather describes her workshop, entitled Moments of Grace:  “Together we will explore how to create and stage the transcendent moments that make literary fiction magical.”

Andrew MacLeod writes crisp, behind the scenes stories about real life issues – grinding poverty, inequality in the midst of plenty, health care woes and successes – and his work has confronted politicians and bureaucrats.  This is what he expects to focus on in his Just the Facts workshop:  “Take your non-fiction toolbox to the next level.  Topics may include interview techniques, research skills, and using freedom of information laws to find out what you need to know.  Once you have the facts, it’s up to you what to do with them.”

Denman’s own Dante Ambriel has written and directed plays and is a full member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada.  Those who have seen her work at the Stardust Festival and at the Community Hall will definitely want to attend her workshop, called Creative Playwriting.  This is how she sees the three hours:  “We will explore the five elements of a great play, and consider pacing and timing.  At the end of three hours, each participant will have completed what is called a ‘Treatment’ for their play.”

Billeh Nickerson’s poetry combines acute observation of the world around him with a wry sense of humour.  As a writer and educator at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, he calls his workshop The Poetry of Place and throws out this challenge to his workshop participants:  “How writers can develop the good, the bad, the ugly and the snuggly of place in their work.  This class will feature writing exercises, group discussion and other explorations.  Participants need not be poets.”

The Ambriel, MacLeod and Nickerson workshops will all be held on Thursday, July 18th, and the O’Neill one (only 3 slots left) will be on Saturday, July 20th. The fee for each workshop is $70.  Don’t delay in signing up for one or more of these sessions.  Click here for full details of these four workshops.     Half-day Workshops

Stewart Goodings
May 2019


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