Writers come to jam
Event aspires to build up community of authors
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 02, 2013 06:00 am
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
10 to 11 a.m.: Mingling
11 a.m. to noon: Shelley Leedahl – Presentation on her book, The Bone Talker
Noon to 1 p.m.: Janice MacDonald – Presentation on her Randy Craig mystery series
1 to 2 p.m.: Candas Jane Dorsey – Presentation on her book, The Future is Real
2 to 3 p.m.: Eva Blaskovic – Presentation on her book, Beyond the Precipice
3 to 4 p.m.: Jay Bardyla, owner of Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton – Presentation on selling writing and art
What do you get when you take a few authors and some people who are very knowledgeable about the publishing industry and set them up at the Morinville Community Library for a few hours?
You get jam. The Writer Jam, to be specific.
Ashley Janes, librarian assistant and head of teen programming, explained that the event is meant to be the equivalent of something like an author reading, just with more authors and a broader scope.
“I didn’t want to limit it to just author talks. I wanted it to be more of a workshop-y feel,” she stated, very much looking forward to the big day. “I’m so excited! I’m insanely nervous!”
She said that this has always been a priority for her since she started working at the library. She’s arranged other workshops for adults and youth writers. This event has had a long gestation period. This upcoming event will help to promote those as well.
“What I wanted to do was a day where local aspiring writers could come in and listen to these people talk about how they got their careers started and how publishing books works. The whole point of the day is to get people together and promote a writers’ community in Morinville and surrounding area.”
That’s why she invited a variety of successful writers to present, and one Edmonton business owner as well. Jay Bardyla of Happy Harbor Comics will talk about selling writing and art.
“He’s fantastic!” Janes exclaimed.
The theme, she continued, is Writing is Real “to inspire the idea that you can actually do this for a living, that you can write. You can be a journalist. You can be a novelist. It’s not just something you do in your fairy-tale mind.”
This is the first event of its kind in the town.
Along with Bardyla, the slate of writer presenters includes prolific multi-genre author Shelley Leedahl. She has a string of recent and popular fiction works mostly for youths and adults but she is also a published poet, dabbles in creative non-fiction, video poems, and children's literature. Her catalogue includes titles like Listen, Honey, Wretched Beast and The House of the Easily Amused.
She regularly offers creative writing workshops and has been the past Writer-in-Residence with the Quebec Writers Federation, the Writers Guild of Alberta, the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, and Sage Hill. She has oodles of writing experience as well, having worked as an editor, manuscript evaluator, book reviewer, and freelancer, radio advertising copywriter and presenter on writing to schools and universities.
She said that she’s very much looking forward to the opportunity to talk with other writers in Morinville. Her presentation will focus on her multi-award-winning book, The Bone Talker but she’ll likely veer off that track a fair bit, considering the breadth of her work.
“Depending on the audience, I may share some new poetry or I will read the manuscript of my forthcoming book, The Moon Watched It All, which, like The Bone Talker, is also a poetic, fable-like tale concerning an old woman.”
She described The Bone Talker as an all-ages book.
“I call it that rather than a children's book because I've been told it is used in seniors' homes. The story celebrates intergenerational friendships, community spirit, and the beauty of the prairie landscape, and I've had many adults tell me they bought it for their friends, as well as for their children and grandchildren,” she explained, adding that the book is the only one of her titles that wrote itself.
“The first line of the story came to me in a dream, and the rest of the story seemed to flow right down my arm and through my pen, as if I really had nothing to do with it. It was a gift, and I am exceedingly grateful.”
It has received the Rocky Mountain Book Award, the White Ravens Award and Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year for Children in the United States. It was nominated for the Saskatchewan Book Award's Book of the Year and the Children's Literature Award as well.
The one tip that she wanted to share up front: if you want to be a good writer, you should be a good reader.
“I've learned most of what I know about writing from reading good books.”
The Writer Jam takes place on Saturday, October 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s free to attend. Some authors will also have books available for sale.
The Morinville Public Library is located at 10125 100 Avenue in St. Germain Place. Call 780-939-3292 or visit www.morinvillelibrary.ca for more information.