Last night we launched the first-ever Writer-in-Residence program in The Pas, with me as the writer, in residence at The Pas Regional Libraryw-in-r-launch

The whole project is being funded by the Manitoba Arts Council (thank you!) and will take us from these unseasonably chilly (sorry, Calgary: no complaints here!) September days right through to Christmas with a closing event (hopefully a reading by my students!) to take place either in December or early January.

There are lots of plans afoot.

On Monday night, I met with my adult writing workshop group and we wrote and talked writing for three hours. Tonight I start coaching six 13-15 year olds toward the discovery that writing is about so much more than making sure you make proper sentences and don’t use too many exclamation marks.

There will also be weekend afternoon workshops (first one on September 28th) and the opportunity for one-on-one consultations (sign up at the library).

I’ll also be popping by the library every now and then, to spend an hour or so working on my stuff. I’ll announce these times on my Facebook author page, so please ‘like’ it, if you haven’t already (or, if Facebook is dead to you, just ask at the library).

Last night (aside from someone deciding to tell me how terrible my writing is, which brought to mind this wonderful and helpful essay by writer Angie Abdou), we talked about how to encourage new writers, finding voice, self-publishing and traditional publishing, and so much more.

It was a fabulous night – with tea and cookies and ripe strawberries and pineapple chunks and that goopy delicious pink dip they’ve invented for fruit – and truly the start of a dialogue about the art and craft of writing that I hope only deepens over the coming months.

Cottage North has a terrific article in their latest issue about the residency. Take a look (it’s on pages 44 and 45), and I hope to see those in the north who are interested in words, reading, and putting their stories down on paper!