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    Poetry Workshops with CSWF

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Anybody know what happened to March? I've seen months go by too fast before but honestly cannot believe we're less than a week from April. It's a bit concerning when large chunks of time go by like that, but the good news is it's pretty much April already. And there's a lot going on around town for writers in April, including a world class festival that brings in poets from all over the world.

    The Calgary Spoken Word Festival starts April 6 and runs slams, open mics, special events, launches, and generally amazing displays of poetic performance right through the month. With the quality of performers visiting this year it might be best to just sit back and soak it all in, but for those looking to hone their own spoken word skills the festival is also a great chance to work with some of the best.

    There are 6 workshops this year:

    Sunday April 14, 9 - 11am, PENN KEMP

    Sunday April 14, 11am - 2pm, MOLLY PEACOCK

    Friday April 19, NOON - 2pm, ANDREI CODRESCU

    Friday April 19, 2:30 - 4:30pm, TOM WAYMAN

    Saturday April 20, 1 - 3pm, BOB HOLMAN

    Sunday April 21, 11am - 2pm, LIZ LOCHHEAD

    If you need a little inspiration to get in the mood, look no further than 'The Spoken Word Workbook' edited by the festival's Producer & Artistic Director Sheri-D Wilson. This learning tool is also available electronically at

    Is it April yet?

    Live at Central... Alice Sebold

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Annie DavidsonThe year is 1906.

    A 68-year old widow with a passion for books invites a small group of women to gather in the parlour of her Calgary home to start a women's reading club. She has lost 6 children, a bankrupt husband, and the solace she finds in books can only go so far as Calgary's extremely limited public reading resources.

    At a time when women do not have the right to vote, members of the Women's Literary Club go door-to-door in the community gathering signatures for a petition supporting a public library. She and the Club succeed in establishing the first Library Board that, through an endowment from Andrew Carnegie, build Alberta's first public library in Calgary in 1912.

    Fast forward a hundred years, a million people.

    As a centennial legacy, the Calgary Public Library creates the Annie Davidson Lecture to acknowledge the work of change agents like her. It's been a century in the making and we are now only ten days away from a very special evening with Alice Sebold, bestselling author of The Lovely Bones, Lucky, and The Almost Moon, who will grace the stage in the John Dutton theatre for a celebration of the ways in which reading, writing and libraries act as agents of change in our society.

    This event is generously funded by the Province of Alberta’s Community Spirit Grant. Admission is FREE.

    Tuesday, March 26, Central Library.

    Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Event starts at 7:00 p.m.

    Public reception and book signing to follow.

    Register here.

    Lucky The Almost Moon The Lovely Bones



    IFWA's 2013 Short Story Contest

    by Phil - 2 Comment(s)

    An exciting reminder from Calgary's most far out writing group...

    The Imaginative Fiction Writers Association invites you to submit your original written works of speculative fiction to our 2013 short story contest 'In Places Between'. You have a chance to win a $125 first prize and get published in the annual In Places Between anthology! Final judging will be done and the winners announced at the When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers in Calgary, Alberta on August 11, 2013.

    Entry deadline is April 4th 2013 and the theme is 'In Places Between'. Visit for complete details and contest rules.

    There is also a perfect opportunity to get to know what IFWA is all about coming up on Thursday March 14, as they take over Shelf Life Books for a reading of speculative fiction themed 'Beware the Ides of March'. The reading starts at 7pm (doors at 6:30pm). There will be wine and cheese to follow. Shelf Life Books is located at 100 - 1302 4th Street SW.

    For a complete list of upcoming events at Shelf Life Books click here.

    For previous winners of the short story contest, come visit us on the 4th floor of Central where our CHFH local history room holds the 2008 and 2009 In Place Between chapbook anthologies.

    Writing in Public

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    At our annual Writers' Weekend hosted in early February there was a very interesting discussion raised during an Ask the Writer panel session. Lori Hahnel, Naomi K. Lewis, and Deborah Willis all agreed that success did not automatically translate to a stream of easy, confident production. If anything, all three agreed that after publishing their first books they experienced strong feelings of self doubt and inadequacy. All three also agreed on carrying the same misconception that most, or at least many (and perhaps every) aspiring writer has - that publishing our first books will magically wipe away all our problems, including any difficulty we have with writing.

    Raised expectations, both external and self-imposed, are not the only new challenges an acclaimed artist must face.

    When nobody's watching, well, nobody's watching.

    So how does it feel when everybody's watching?


    Tuesday, March 12

    7:30pm - Free Public Reading and Talk in the Taylor Family Digital Library's Gallery Hall.

    Marina Endicott, 2012-13 Writer-in-Residence at the University of Alberta, comes to Calgary courtesy of the exchange program between the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program and the Department of English at the U of A. Each year, these institutions host the other school’s writer-in-residence for free public events.

    While walking through the University of Alberta’s Humanities Centre, you may come across Marina Endicott’s office. Unlike other writers-in-residence, Marina doesn’t mind the fishbowl effect of the huge window, and writing on display. On Tuesday, March 12, 2013, Marina will switch campuses to read from her novel-in-progress Hughtopia and speak on how public writing – book club visitations, writers’ festivals, and even being a writer-in-residence – feeds into or disrupts the writing process. The 7:30 p.m. reading and talk in the Taylor Family Digital Library’s Gallery Hall will be free and open to the general public. A book signing and reception will follow.


    For complete event details, click here.

    For Marina Endicott's website, click here.

    Not familiar with Marina Endicott's work? Check out these titles on the shelves of your local library:

    Open Arms Good to a Fault The Little Shadows

    Zombies Hungry for Poetry, Not Brains

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Get your zombie on this weekend in Inglewood!

    It's a masquerade ball with Calgary Poet Laureate Kris Demeanor and the RE:act Collective. Other than promising a supremely great time at Inglewood's THE AREA, featuring FIRE PITS! BEER! WOOD OVEN PIZZA! LIVE ART! And prizes for best mask. And Best Mardi Gras themed zombie-esque costume...

    Money raised will go towards RE:act's Calgary Anthology Project and youth literacy initiatives.

    Click here for ticket information.

    Speaking of the Calgary Anthology Project, RE:act is working with Frontenac House and House of Blue Skies to publish "a gorgeous coffee table anthology of poetry and visual art about the City of Calgary, created by Calgarian writers and artists". If you are a Calgary writer or artist, click here for the CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS. Here's what they're looking for:

    We are looking for works about, or inspired by, the City of Calgary. We hope to articulate the experience of the city through creative language and art. What stories is our city ready to tell us through our poets and artists? What sings in our green spaces? What thrives in the fast lane? What struggles in the margins? What chatters in the Plus 15s? What two-steps in the alleys? What surprises us, wounds us, heals us, makes us run, or woos us to stay?

    The print anthology will be launched in April 2014.

    House of Blue Skies is responsible these two beautiful anthologies, available at your local library:

    Writing the Land: Alberta through its poets Home and Away: Alberta's finest poets muse on the meaning of home


    The Literary Secrets of Superheroes

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    There are still a few spots left to come and listen to a presentation from one of Calgary's finest poets. Richard Harrison will be at the Central library this Wednesday, February 27, at 6:30pm, to illuminate the hidden connections between the superheroes you thought you knew.

    Without much of a background in the world of comics I have no idea what kind of bridges Mr. Harrison has built, or where his lines are drawn, but I know for sure it will be an interesting hour of literary investigation from a very accomplished poet and experienced university professor. For a sneak peek into "The Dark Knight Origin of the Man of Steel", check out the book that contains the essay of the same title:

    Secret Identity Reader: Essays on Sex, Death, and the Superhero

    ...Comic-book superheroes have risen from their newsprint beginnings to dominate films, infiltrate the literary establishment, and become an integral part of popular culture. Secret Identity Reader: Essays on Sex, Death, and the Superhero is a collaboration between two authors who investigate, and often disagree on, key facets of the superhero character and storyline. Masculinity, origin stories and the problem of the side kick are all fair game in this wide-ranging discussion, which also considers the superhero's place in a post 9/11 world and considers why these characters keep dying and coming back to life.

    For more on Richard Harrison, click here to read his Mount Royal University profile. And if you're more interested in the poetic side of things make sure to pick up a copy of the Governor-General nominated book of poems: 'Big Breath of a Wish' and his most recent release 'Worthy of his Fall'.


    New in the 'Nook

    by Phil - 1 Comment(s)

    A roundup of the most useful and inspirational titles landing in the 'Nook... it's been tough keeping up with the newest of the new, so please excuse the twenty-twelvishness of the bottom two. I just had to include them in the list because 'Architectures of Possibility' is a totally unique approach to the concept of a writer's manual/handbook, and Don Fry's 'Writing Your Way' has a cute illustration of an assembly line on the cover (and it doesn't shy away from the fact that it's up to you to figure out how you write best).

    The Canadian Writer's Market (19th edition)

    The essential guide for freelance writers, now completely updated and revised. The Canadian Writer's Market is the authority on who publishes what and how best to bring your work to their attention. It offers practical advice on everything from manuscript preparation to copyright law, from information on pay rates to writers' workshops.

    This useful guide also includes comprehensive and up-to-date listings for: consumer magazines; literary and scholarly journals; trade, business, and professional publications; daily newspapers; book publishers; literary agents; awards, competitions, and grants; writers' organizations and support agencies; writers' workshops, courses, and retreats.

    Good Prose, by Tracy Kidder & Richard Todd

    Good Prose explores three major nonfiction forms: narratives, essays, and memoirs. Kidder and Todd draw candidly, sometimes comically, on their own experience--their mistakes as well as accomplishments--to demonstrate the pragmatic ways in which creative problems get solved. They also turn to the works of a wide range of writers, novelists as well as nonfiction writers, for models and instruction. They talk about narrative strategies (and about how to find a story, sometimes in surprising places), about the ethical challenges of nonfiction, and about practical aspects of making a living as a writer. They offer some tart and emphatic opinions on the current state of language. And they take a clear stand against playing loose with the facts. Their advice is always grounded in the practical world of writing and publishing.

    Architectures of Possibility: after innovative writing, by Lance Olsen

    ...theorizes and questions the often unconscious assumptions behind such traditional writing gestures as temporality, scene, and characterization; offers various suggestions for generating writing that resists, rethinks, and/or expands the very notion of narrativity; visits a number of important concerns/trends/obsessions in current writing (both on the page and off); discusses marketplace (ir)realities; hones critical reading and manuscript editing capabilities; and strengthens problem-solving muscles from brainstorming to literary activism. Exercises and supplemental reading lists challenge authors to push their work into self-aware and surprising territory.

    Writing your way: creating a writing process that works for you, by Don Fry

    Writers write the way they were taught, which may not suit them at all, making their writing slow, painful, and not what they want to say. Writing Your Way shows you how to create your own unique writing process that magnifies your strengths and avoids your weaknesses. It shows you a multitude of ways to do the five key stages: Idea, Gather, Organize, Draft, and Revise. You can then design your own collection of techniques that work for you. You'll write clearer, faster, and more powerfully, with less effort and suffering. The second half of this book shows you how to create and modify your own voice, one that sounds like the real you, that sounds the way you want agents and publishers and readers to experience you.


    What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank

    by Phil - 1 Comment(s)

    Other than breathing, every single living person has at least one thing in common - FOOD. We all eat. Heck! Even those language-impaired animals eat. And what we eat says a heck of a lot about who we are. The person who eats a bag of chips for lunch is quite a bit different from the person chowing down on a fifty dollar steak or an organic beet green salad. That's why food is an essential tool for fiction writers. When a reader sees what a character eats it not only reveals unique personality traits, it also establishes a visceral connection with the reader through taste. This is no problem for writers working with modern-day settings, but what did food taste like a millenium ago? What will food taste like in the future?

    On February 20, a Wednesday, fantasy author Krista D. Ball will be at the Fish Creek library to share her discoveries on the eating habits of epic fantasy characters. Whether you are a lover of fantasy novels, a writer looking to strengthen the taste of your work, or a food lover interested in a voyage to the past, join us at 7 pm on the main floor of the Fish Creek library.

    Click here to register, or call 403-260-2620.

    To learn more about Krista D. Ball, visit her website at

    Library copies of Tranquility's Blaze are on the way. Click here to place a hold.

    Thank You!

    by Phil - 1 Comment(s)

    Just wanted to put out a great big huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out last Saturday for Writers’ Weekend 2013.

    We truly hope you enjoyed the marathon presentation ride as much as we did, had a chance to solve any mysteries cropping up in your writing life, and met some new friends.

    We are already hard at work crafting a fresh, exciting lineup for 2014 and would love to hear if there’s anything you’d like to see more, or less of. Leave a comment below or go to our fancy electronic suggestion box. And remember there’s a lot more to the library’s writerly support than just one day out of one weekend. Whether it's in-depth research, formatting specifics, where to submit, block break-throughs, or inspiration from the masters, we've got all the resources you need, year round, seven days a week. And don't miss any of these upcoming visits from local authors:

    What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank – A Fantasy Lover’s Food Guide by Krista D. Ball

    Wednesday, Feb 20
    7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
    FISH CREEK - Main floor - Open Area

    Join fantasy author Krista D. Ball as she takes you on a voyage of discovery about cooking and preserving food and feeding the armies of epic fantasy, while giving food history lovers a taste of the past.

    The Dark Knight Origin of the Man of Steel

    Wednesday, Feb 27
    6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
    CENTRAL - Main floor South

    Join Richard Harrison, poet and literary detective as he unravels the hidden connections between the superheroes you thought you knew.

    Writing in the Works

    Thursday, Apr 11
    7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
    MEMORIAL PARK - Basement

    Readings from new works by Ken Cameron, Lori Hahnel, Steve Passey, Inge Trueman and Roberta Rees, emceed by Susan Calder.

    Telling Stories – A Poetry Workshop - CANCELLED!

    Saturday, Apr 13
    2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
    CENTRAL - Lower level - Meeting Room 2

    Join Wendy Morton for a dynamic workshop! Learn to turn the stories of others into poetry. Co-presented with Calgary Spoken Word Festival.

    Writers' Weekend 2013 - TODAY!

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It's not too late to come on down to the John Dutton Theatre at the Central library to experience our full day of expert presentations geared toward informing and inspiring writers. I've been trying my best to highlight each presenter over the past month, focusing on credentials and all the ways in which they'll be able to shed light on some of the mysteries and roadblocks writers face, but as anyone who's been to our 'Weekend' before knows - it isn't just about what's happening on the stage that matters.

    This is also a chance to get to know some of Calgary's most supportive players in the writing community. If you're familiar with the 'Nook you've probably heard of some of these groups, and today many of them will set up tables outside the theatre to show off the opportunities they have to offer. Make sure to stop and chat!











    And, of course, the CALGARY PUBLIC LIBRARY!

    Make sure to stop at our table to see all the resources we've put together. And let us know what you thought about the presentations and what kind of speakers you'd like us to try to bring in for next year.


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