Afghani flight to freedom

Shahnaz Qayumi (left) writes about the aftermath of the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and details life under Taliban rule for young readers in her latest novel.FULL STORY


Federation fest at New West

March 28th, 2018

New West Festival of Words is a collaboration of the Federation of BC Writers’ Spring Writes Festival and LitFest New West.

This 3-day festival takes place at the Inn at The Quay and River Market and other New Westminster locations.

For info, contact:

Members of the Federation of BC Writers are eligible for discounts.

Festival Lineup

Friday April 13, 2018

Meet & Greet
Presented by the Federation of BC Writers
at Boathouse Lounge, Inn at the Quay
Friday April 13, 2018 3:30pm – 5:00pm
Join us in the lounge to connect with friends, old and new, from around the province. Have a bite to eat and/or a drink (cash bar). Feel free to bring your books to share.

Book Sales and Networking
Presented by the Federation of BC Writers
at Hyack Ballroom – Inn at the Quay
Friday April 13, 2018 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Network with other readers and writers and peruse books for sale by our four featured authors – Gail Anderson-Dargatz, JJ Lee, Roberta Rich, and Rob Taylor – and by FBCW members.

The Friday evening Gala
Presented by the Federation of BC Writers
at Hyack Ballroom – Inn at the Quay
Friday April 13, 2018 7:00pm – 10:00pm
The Gala features four well-known BC writers.

Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Gail Anderson-Dargatz is the author of A Recipe for Bees and The Cure for Death by Lighting, both international bestsellers and finalists for the Giller Prize. Her novels Turtle Valley and A Rhinestone Button were national bestsellers in Canada. Gail’s most recent novel, The Spawning Grounds, is already a national bestseller.

JJ Lee (white shirt photo) is the author of The Measure of a Man: The Story of A Father, A Son, and A Suit, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, the Charles Taylor Prize, the Hubert Evans BC Book Prize, and the Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Lee is the winner of a GOLD National Magazine Award and served on the jury for the BC Book Prize, CBC Canada Writes, the Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize, and the Governor General’s Award. He mentors the nonfiction workshop at Simon Fraser University’s The Writer’s Studio.


Roberta Rich

For most of her professional life Roberta Rich was a lawyer in Vancouver. She left her law practice several years ago to begin writing full time. In February of 2011 her first novel, The Midwife of Venice, was published by Penguin Random House Canada. It has since been published in 19 countries and translated into 9 languages. The sequel, The Harem Midwife, appeared in October 2013. Her third book, which completes the trilogy, A Trial in Venice, was published in the spring of 2017. Roberta lives in Vancouver and, in the winter, in Colima, Mexico. She has taught many workshops both in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.

Vancouver poet Rob Taylor is the author of “Oh Not So Great”: Poems from the Depression Project, The News, and The Other Side of Ourselves. Also a prose writer, Rob’s short stories and essays have appeared in Queen’s Quarterly, The Dalhousie Review, Grain and Little Fiction/Big Truths. In 2015 he received the City of Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award for Creative Writing (Emerging Artist), and in 2017 The News was a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Rob coordinates Vancouver’s Dead Poets Reading Series and lives with his family in Port Moody.

The Gala will feature these four writers reading from their latest works, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A emceed by New Westminster Poet Laureate Alan Hill.

Saturday April 14, 2018

Please choose from one of the three following simultaneous events.

Write-In at The Network Hub
Presented by the Federation of BC Writers
at The Network Hub, River MArket
Saturday April 14, 2018 9:00am – 12:00pm
Facilitated by Heather Jessup, the write-in is an opportunity to kick-start your creative juices in the company of other writers and to share your work in a safe space. Limited to 12 people.

Associative Leaps in Poetry (and how to use them in your prose) with Rob Taylor
Presented by the Federation of BC Writers
at Hyack Room South, Inn at the Quay
Saturday April 14, 9:30am – 12:00pm
By looking at traditional poetic forms from around the world, participants will consider how we jump, as readers and writers alike, from one sound, image or scene to the next, and will explore ways to open up both their poetry and prose to greater movement and risk. This workshop will involve handouts and short writing exercises, so please come prepared with pen and pencil. Limited to 36.

Overcoming Our Fears to Write Powerful Stories with Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Presented by the Federation of BC Writers
at Hyack Room North, Inn at the Quay
Saturday April 14, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Our fears can stop us from finishing a book, or even starting it. We may feel we need to stick to writing only what we know and write from personal experience, but then worry about what Mom will think. And we so often avoid our protagonist’s conflicts, for the same reasons we avoid our own. The result: passive protagonists and wandering storylines. Gail Anderson-Dargatz will draw from more than twenty years of experience as a writer, teacher and developmental editor to explore the many ways we avoid conflict in our projects and our writing lives and will offer solutions to help kickstart your writing and develop your project to the fullest. Limited to 36.

Lunch at Inn at the Quay
Presented by the Federation of BC Writers
Saturday April 14, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Lunch is complimentary for attendees of Saturday events at Inn at the Quay, but you must reserve your lunch ticket by April 10, 2018.

Federation of BC Writers – Annual General Meeting
for FBCW members only
at Hyack Room South, Inn at the Quay
Saturday April 14, 12:15pm – 2:15pm

Please choose from one of the four following simultaneous events.

Blue Pencil Cafe
Presented by New West Writers
at The Network Hub at River Market
Saturday April 14, 2018 1:00pm – 4:00pm
FREE! Just need to pre-register – Click here for more information and to register
Writers can wonder: Does my opening have a hook? Are my characters believable? Have I built suspense? Would you want to read more? Talking to an experienced reader/writer can help break through the doubts that attack all writers. This workshop will be supporting and encouraging others by hosting City of New Westminster Poet Laureate Alan Hill, Jennifer Sommersby, and Betsy Warland, to offer face to face feedback at a Blue Pencil Café. Each writer is invited to bring along no more than 600 words of prose in any genre or two poems for a supportive discussion with one of our guest writers. The panel members will not pre-view the pieces. Writers will be offered a 15-minute slot between 1 – 4 pm. Featuring Alan Hill, Jennifer Sommersby, and Betsy Warland.

A Guided Hallucination into the Past with Roberta Rich
Presented by the Federation of BC Writers
at Hyack Room North, Inn at the Quay
Saturday April 14, 2:30 – 5:00
Writing historical fiction is like standing in the middle of a lovely painting— Canaletto, Caravaggio, Rubens—holding out your arms and saying to the reader: come, let me show what life was like then. This is how people ate, slept, made love, cooked their meals, heated their houses, sewed their clothes, worshiped their divinities, disposed of their corpses, courted, gave birth, and – if indeed they did, bathed – hundreds of years ago. Participants will learn the ways and means of creating this lost world through description, dialogue, and setting. The workshop will also include a discussion of the bedrock of all historical fiction—research. The format of the workshop will be a talk on the craft, writing exercises, and a brief Q&A. Limited to 25.

The Unexpected Memoir with JJ Lee
Presented by the Federation of BC Writers
at Hyack Room North, Inn at the Quay
Saturday April 14, 2:30 – 5:00
This event will focus on two writing exercises based on JJ Lee’s own experience writing his acclaimed memoir, The Measure of a Man. The first will help writers develop compelling questions that will act as points of departure for their projects. The other will explore a method to recapture vital memories that may elude writers. Limited to 36.

Slam Poetry Reading
Presented by NWSS Creative Writing Club
at Old Crow Coffee Company
Saturday April 14, 2018 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Join the New Westminster Secondary School Writing Club for a Slam Poetry reading in the back room of Old Crow Coffee Co.

Read Aloud: An Evening of Writers
Presented by LitFest New West
at River Market Food Hall
Saturday April 14, 2018 7:30 pm 9:30 pm
Come and be enriched with the works of four acclaimed poets, Aidan Chafe, Curtis LeBlanc, Mallory Tater, and Shazia Hafiz Ramji, share from their compelling collections of work. Hosted by Sean Cranbury and Dina Del Buchia from the Real Vancouver Writer’s Series. The evening will also include readings from the winners of the LitFest New West Short Story Competition, which was sponsored by Dale Darychuck, QC.

Sunday April 15, 2018

Publicity and Marketing Workshop
Presented by City of New Westminster Art Services
at Anvil Centre Room 417
Sunday April 15 2018 9:00 am 12:00 pm
Registration Fee: $20.50 (1 class) – Click here for registration
Wondering how to get the word out about your show? Looking for tips to do publicity on a shoestring? This workshop will focus on low-cost ways to use media relations, social media, advertising and more to connect with your audience and tell your own story effectively. Instructor: Emma Lancaster

Poetry New West
Presented by Royal City Literary Arts Society
at the Heritage Grill
Sunday April 15 2018 2 pm – onwards

We acknowledge and appreciate the financial support of our sponsors:
City of New Westminster
Province of British Columbia
BC Arts Council
Darychuk Law
New West Record
McLaren Trefanenko Inc

Federation of BC Writers

LitFest New West is a partnership by the New Westminster Public Library, Arts Council of New Westminster, Royal City Literary Arts Society, and New West Writers

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