Writing can be an isolating proposition.
Not to mention intimidating, particularly when stretching into new markets or mediums. Knowing that, and knowing how other writers have supported me, I put high priority on making sure writers at all points in their careers have access to mentors and networking opportunities.
In that spirit, I’m a member of several writing organizations and particularly active in the Get Publishing Communications Society. I’m pleased to say that Get Publishing is reaching out as never before to newcomer and immigrant writers, offering bursaries so that they too can benefit from being connected with publishers, mentors and fellow writers. It’s exciting to see the mix of cultures and ideas and energy that results—and to ponder how such synergy could inform our literary future.
I also invite opportunities to teach and mentor. It’s not unusual to find me in conversation with an emerging freelancer over steamed whatever at my favourite local haunt, Mandolin Books and Coffee Company. I also occasionally teach short courses for MacEwan University and serve as a manuscript reader for the Writers Guild of Alberta.
The desire to forge connections also fuels the volunteering I do in my community. For more than a decade, I edited the neighbourhood’s quarterly newsletter, shepherding the Highlands-Bellevue Highlights from a solo operation to a labour of love for an talented team that includes professional writers, editors, photographers and (soon, we hope) designers. An even larger team has taken over the task, and I like to think our neighbourhood is stronger as a result.
Professional and Community Ties
Get Publishing Communications Society (getpublishing.ca)
Connects writers with publishing opportunities through learning and networking events.
Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC.ca)
National organization supporting professional freelance writers.
Writers Guild of Alberta (writersguild.ab.ca)
Provincial service organization whose mission is to inspire, connect, support, encourage and promote writers and writing, to safeguard the freedom to write and to read, and to advocate for the well-being of writers, emerging to established.
Canadian Authors Association (canauthors.org)
National writing organization, with a bent toward books.
PEN Canada (pencanada.ca)
Envisions a world where writers are free to write, readers are free to read and freedom of expression prevails.
Canadian Freelance Union, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Local 2040 (cfunion.ca). Helps independent media workers in print, radio, TV and web deal with wage and contract inequities.
Keiskamma Canada Foundation (keiskammacanada.com)
Raises funds and awareness to combat poverty and AIDS in rural South Africa through art, health, gardening and other projects operated by Keiskamma Trust.
Highlands Community League (highlandscommunity.ca)
Coordinates soccer, social events, summer park programs, communications vehicles (including the quarterly Highlands-Bellevue Highlights) and other activities that help to build a strong community.
Fellowship Christian Reformed Church (fellowshipcrc.awardspace.com)
I volunteer as liturgist and occasional musician for a small justice-focused congregation that meets at The King’s University College in near-south Edmonton. The worship space is fully wheelchair accessible, and services usually include an American Sign Language interpreter.
“I wish to congratulate you for an outstanding newsletter. I have had numerous compliments from friends and neighbours as to the quality and depth of this initiative. Congratulations to you and all those involved.”
-Darrell Halliwell, MAAA, Principal, Stantec Architecture, Highlands resident
“Thanks for your kind instruction. I learned a great deal from you, and found you to be truly inspirational.”
-Bohdan Woud, writing workshop participant
“I totally enjoyed the class on Saturday. You’ve given me so much to think about. Perked me right up! Thank you for your offer of mentorship. It’s worth its weight in gold.”
-Deborah Barrett, writing workshop participant
“I can see from the evaluations that you had a great class. Thank you for putting so much into it! What a wealth of information the students got from you and the speakers.”
-Susan Lieberman, Writing Works, MacEwan
“I would mostly like to thank you! I so appreciated the quality of the class and information.”
-Jolaine Kochisarli, writing workshop participant