Categories: Entertainment

Writer-in-res reaches ‘The End’

PEN MEETS PAPER – Natasha Deen

It’s been a good run, says Natasha Deen. The first writer-in-residence at the St. Albert Public Library is just wrapping up her four-month stint, helping local residents to put pen to paper in varied, fun and meaningful ways.

The author-slash-mentor was aghast that the time has gone so fast.

“Can you believe it?” she exclaimed.

“April has been so bittersweet because on the one hand, I’m really excited to go to Sherwood Park and get a chance to redo my sessions and meet new authors. On the other hand, it’s going to be sad not having an office in the library any more.”

As she prepares to wrap up her time here, she is simultaneously gearing up to take on writers with the Strathcona County Library at 401 Festival Lane in Sherwood Park.

She said that her experience with writers here has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

“I’ve been so impressed with the level of talent and creativity. The depth and the breadth and the scope of stories,” she began, mentioning that she has seen everything from memoirs and fan fiction to young adult, fantasy, horror and everything in between. Some of what she read also tackled difficult subjects.

“It’s just been incredible, the amount of skill that St. Albert writers have. Also, just the courage in coming and sitting down. It’s disconcerting to take your pages to somebody and say, ‘Okay, read this and tell me what I’m doing wrong’ or ‘tell me how to make it better.’ I’m impressed with the level of emotional courage.”

It helped that Deen held regular office hours and was ultimately approachable throughout.

To celebrate her time and to thank her for her service to the literary community, the library will be hosting a special party. Coffee, Cake and (Writing) Creations will be held on Sunday, April 28 from 2 to 4 p.m. The occasion will feature coffee and treats, naturally, plus prizes. The Saint City Writers, a local writers’ circle, will offer some readings.

As a final note, Deen said that, even though she will no longer be stationed in St. Albert, she would still serve any writer who catches up with her in Strathcona County. “The office changes locations but really, I still belong to St. Albert for the year,” she reassured, mentioning that she can be contacted by phone at 780-240-1194 or via e-mail at regionalwir@gmail.com. More information can be found at the Metro Writer-in-Residence website at www.metrowir.com.

She has already started serving her next posting. She is taking part in the Chapter 8 Writing Conference on Saturday, April 27. Her next program is on Tuesday, April 30. SCIF Writing My Story takes place at the Stanley Milner library in downtown Edmonton.

Deen does have one program left at the St. Albert Public Library. A Gift for the Grandkids: Write and Illustrate a Story from Your Life starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 4.

For more information, visit www.natashadeen.com.

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.