New workshop for emerging writers in Nanaimo

Literacy Central. (Robert Plante)
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This year Literacy Central in downtown Nanaimo will host a weekly workshop for emerging writers aged 15 – 30. The workshop will be facilitated by Greg Brown, a Nanaimo-born writer whose work has been published in Paragon, Postscript, Pulp Literature, Tate Street, Prism International, The Journey Prize 30: The Best of Canada’s New Writers, and others.

During the summer, Brown teaches at the University of Virginia’s Young Writer’s Workshop, and says that he enjoys working with young writers because of their enthusiasm for the craft.

“I found that the younger kids in general were more interesting to work with because they’re still figuring out who they are as writers,” Brown said. “I find that group has been particularly rewarding to work with—just to be part of their journey of discovery I think is really exciting.”

The workshop starts on February 11 and runs every Monday from 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm until the beginning of June. The workshop will then start back up in September, and run until November. Writers interested in attending the workshop who miss the February 11 or February 18 dates are encouraged to get in contact and try to attend on a weekly basis. The first 16 weeks of the workshop will be focused mainly on narrative storytelling, and in the fall the workshop will take a multi-genre approach.

“Part of the project in the fall will be preparing for public reading. Also, it’s our hope to put together an anthology. We’re going to try to collect and publish some part of what people have written over the course of the year,” Brown said.

Brown modelled the workshop in part on his experiences teaching at the University of Virginia. He hopes to give young people in Nanaimo an experience that is comparable to a college-level writing workshop.

“When I lived in Nanaimo, the downtown was a bit crummy. It was a lot of closed shops, bars, and strip clubs. Since moving back, what’s been really exciting is the amount of energy that seems to have grown, and the amount of interest in literary happenings. I was excited to see the creative writing program at VIU hosting readings downtown at the White Room. There was nothing like that when I was growing up, or very little of it,” Brown said.

During his time as a volunteer at Literacy Central, Brown designed the Emerging Writer’s Workshop with Samantha Letourneau, the Executive Director of Literacy Central. Along with providing the space for the workshop, Letourneau has been working to advertise for the group, and secured funding from the City of Nanaimo to run it. Literacy Central has been primarily focused on helping learners complete their GED, as well as helping younger students learn how to read. This workshop is one of the first opportunities where Literacy Central has hosted a group of writers.

Writers of all skill levels are welcome to join the workshop, however, the focus will be on writers with limited experience in writing and publishing. Regular attendance is encouraged. To sign up, or find out more information, contact Greg Brown at <gdb.brown@gmail.com>.