Creative Writing Workshop & NorthWords AGM

Richard Van CampFirst, take in a Creative Writing Workshop with Richard Van Camp. In this creative writing workshop, Richard will walk you through the process of building characters and establishing setting and tone. He will answer individual questions about writing, marketing, agents and the business of making a living as a writer. Please bring your laptop, writing pads, pens and pencils as you will be working on individual writing exercises that honour wherever you are in your craft. This is going to be fun and inspiring!

November 16, 10 am – 2 pm, Room 307, Aurora College, Yellowknife
Fee: $50 (includes lunch)
Registration at Yellowknife Book Cellar
Please note, NorthWords does not give refunds.

Then, the NorthWords Writers Festival Society AGM:

This is your opportunity to find out what NorthWords is all about. Agenda items include President’s and Executive Director’s reports, 2013 Financial Statements and an election of directors to serve on the NorthWords Board. All eight positions on the Board are up for election and each director will be elected to a two-year term.

NorthWords memberships will be on sale just prior to the AGM or at the Yellowknife Book Cellar at any time.

November 16, 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm, Room 307, Aurora College, Yellowknife


Online Mentorships

NorthWords is pleased to announce the launch of the One-on-One Online Mentorship Prograrm.

NorthWords One-on-One Online Mentorship Program will give writers, at any stage of their careers, an opportunity to connect with a professional author to get their writing/publishing related questions answered or to get feedback on their work.

The program which will  run from November 4, 2013 to March 31, 2014 offers two types of Mentorships:

1. Talk to an Author

Participants can book an hour of email time with one of five professional mentors to discuss anything about writing, publishing, self-publishing, agents, the writing process, ideas for articles etc.

Mentors will not read you work in this type of Mentorship.

2. Get Feedback on Your WorK

Participants can submit a piece of prose of a maximum of 5,000 words or five double-spaced pages of poetry. The mentor will read your work and then spend one hour of email time with you to talk about how it can be improved.

Fees:  $20 an hour

For information on Mentors and how to apply please go HERE.


And the winners are. . .

gloria song photo

Gloria Song

NorthWords is delighted to announce the winners of 2013 Great Northern Canada Writing Contest.

The main prize goes to Gloria Song of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut for her moving piece of fiction The Mercy of the Loon. Gloria will receive a cash prize of $500 and her story will be published in above&beyond, Canada’s Arctic Journal. 




Oli Anderson

The emerging writer’s prize goes to Oli Anderson of Yellowknife, NWT for his non-fictional account of a river journey Paddling the Coppermine River with Hearne and Matonabee. Oli will receive a cash prize of $250 and his story will be published in above&beyond, Canada’s Arctic Journal.

Congratulations to the winners and also to all those who entered the contest. A big thank you also goes out to our sponsors above&beyond, Canada’s Arctic Journal for publishing the stories  and De Beers for providing the cash prizes. The two winning stories will be published in the November/December issue of above&beyond.

NIGHTHAWK! by Jamie Bastedo wins 2013 NorthWords Prize

Nighthawk coverNorthWords NWT and DeBeers and pleased to announced that the 2013 NorthWords Prize has been presented to Nighthawk by Yellowknife Author Jamie Bastedo. Nighthawk follows the migration of a solitary nighthawk from the tropical rainforests of Columbia to the northern Tundra. Wisp is a vagrant, an individual who doesn’t follow the normal path of his fellow nighthawks and is determined to get farther north than any of his species ever has before. He and his sister, Willo, make their way over the terrifying high mountains of the Western Andes and down to the beaches of Panama where they have to outwit the volcano Popocatapetl, across the Arizona desert, Yellowstone, over Calgary and then the oil sands, and eventually to the Northwest Territories. Along the way, there are adventures involving a stray raven who decides to join them on the flight and provides a lot of the comic relief, as well as another vagrant who could eventually become Wisp’s mate.

Jamie Bastedo is a biologist turned storyteller who intimately connects readers of all ages with the magic and mystery of nature. He has written 12 award-winning books celebrating the North, including two climate change thrillers, On Thin Ice, and its sequel, Sila’s Revenge. Jamie’s recent non-fiction includes the Official Guide to the Northwest Territories Trans Canada Trail. His latest fiction (featured at this year’s Festival) is a young adult novel - NIGHTHWAWK! -  which captures a literal birds-eye view of migration all the way from the Amazon to the Arctic and was hailed by CM Magazineas “timely, refreshingly honest, and funny… an engaging adventure tale which will have a broad appeal.” Jamie’s newest fiction project follows a “screenager’s” perilous descent into digital addiction.

The $1,000 NorthWords Prize is sponsored by the De Beers and is awarded each year to an outstanding book set in the NWT and written by an NWT author.


Announcing authors for NorthWords 2013

Author shot Coupland

Douglas Coupland

The word has been out for some time that Canadian Author/Designer extraordinaire Douglas Coupland will be headlining the 8th NorthWords Writers Festival to  be held May 30 – June 2, 2013 in Yellowknife, NWT.

What you don’t know, but probably guessed, is that the rest of our guest authors are just as exciting.

If you love mysteries, this is the year for you. We will have three mystery writers at this year’s festival including  the award-winning author of the John Cardinal mystery series, Giles Blunt. He will be joined by mystery writers Vicki Delany and Barbara Fradkin.

It will also be a year for poetry with the City of Edmonton’s Poet Laureate Anna Marie Sewell and Reneltta Arluk who published her first book of poetry in 2012. They will be joined by Teller and Writer for people of all ages, Sylvia Olsen, who is in a category all her own.

Our guest authors will be joined by a roster of all your favourite new and emerging northern authors for an amazing four days of readings, panel discussions, mentoring and workshops, including our famous Blush Open Mike where you can expect to see the unlikeliest people read their erotic stories.

We are particularly excited that the festival will be extended to outside of Yellowknife this year. Sylvia Olsen will spend a day in Fort Smith to read and support the reading and writing community there. We hope to extend NorthWords to other communities in the future.

You can find the complete list of NorthWords, 2013 authors (at least the ones we’ve booked so far) HERE.



Generation North

NorthWords NWT Logo 4CThe Eighth Annual NorthWords Writers Festival will take place in Yellowknife, NWT, May 30 – June 2, 2013.

The 2013 festival will feature all the events you’ve grown to love — readings, panel discussions, mentorships and our world-renowned Erotica Open Mike — and more. You will have a chance to get up to the mike to read your work and you will be able hobnob with nationally-renowned authors as well as your northern favourites. There will be laughter and tears, joy and sorrow, a completely cathartic  literary weekend.

Mark your calendars now!

The theme of this year’s festival is Generation North to honour the flowering of northern literature which started with the publication of Richard Van Camp’s The Lesser Blessed in 1996 and continues today. Each year, more northern books are being published. In 2012 alone, at least seven new books appeared on the NWT literary scene, including Old Town by Fran Hurcomb, Talking Tools by Patrick Scott, Nighthawk by Jamie Bastedo, Godless but Loyal to Heaven by Richard Van Camp, On Good Ice by Bill Braden, Walking the Land, Feeding the Fire by Allice Legat and Coming Home, a northern anthology published by NorthWords and Enfield and Wizenty which features the work of 17 northern authors, half of whom published for the first time. Quite an accomplishment for a territory of 42,000 people! It is clear the time has come for northern writing. Northerners are telling their stories and the world is listening. Today’s writers are truly a Generation North.

In the coming weeks, we will be announcing our author lineup and the festival program so keep an eye on our website!

Sweat it Out: 2-day fiction writing workshop with Anita Daher

Anita and PacMan

Anita Daher

Are you writing a short story or novel and need help making it spit, flow, bleed, scratch, glow and generally knock the socks off an editor and reader? Or perhaps you wish to write but are not sure where to begin. Join author and editor Anita Daher for a two-day, intensive writing sweatshop designed to strengthen your skills and give you the creative boost you need. More info HERE.

Saturday, February 16, 2013: 9 am – 5 pm

Sunday, February 17, 2013, 10 am – 3 pm

Aurora College Room 308, Yellowknife, NT

Fee: $65 (10% discount for NorthWords members)

Registration at Yellowknife Book Cellar, after February 1, 2013.


Back by popular demand: Self-publishing workshop

Annelies Jan 10 2013 low res

Annelies Pool

 In this workshop, well-known northern Author/Editor/Publisher Annelies Pool looks at all aspects of being an indie publisher. She’ll examine the pros and cons of traditional, POD and ebook publishing, the costs, the steps involved, what to watch out for, promotion and publicity and more.

Saturday, January 26, 2013, 1:30 – 4:30 pm; Room 308, Aurora College, Yellowkife; Fee: $40 (10% discount with NorthWords membership).  Registration at Yellowknife Book Cellar.  More info HERE.


COMING FEB. 15 & 16, 2013: Sweat it Out: 2-day Fiction Writing Workshop with Winnipeg author and former Northerner Anita Daher. More details HERE.

Wow, what a party!

On November 16, 2012, one of our dreams came true with the official launch of the NorthWords Anthology, Coming Home: Stories from the Northwest Territories. Funded by DeBeers and published by Enfield and Wizenty of Winnipeg, the Anthology features stories by seventeen NWT writers. It is the first contemporary anthology of northern writing and we are very proud. Thank you to DeBeers for making the dream come true and to ECE, Great Plains Publications and Judith Drinnan and the Yellowknife Book Cellar for their support.

(DeBeers/Bill Braden photo) For more photos go to: Launch

Merv Hardy Ferry Stories

On November 30, 2012, traffic started to move across the new Mackenzie River Bridge. Yellowknife and the North Slave region of the NWT became permanently linked to southern Canada for the first time. That same day, the much-loved Merv Hardy ferry which has served Northerners for decades crossed the Mackenzie for the last time.

To mark the occasion, NorthWords held an impromptu writing contest on Facebook, inviting people to post short stories about the Merv Hardie ferry. It was a quick and fun contest with a deadline only hours after the original post. We got three responses and are re-printing them all here. We like all the stories but our favourite came from Angele Cano of Hay River who wins a copy of the northern anthology Coming Home. Here are the three stories:

The ferry was the only way we could get to the hospital. I was on the highway with my sister, heading home to Hay River after a final road trip: just the two of us. She was nearly 35 weeks preggo, not due in Yellowknife for another week yet. The bumps and dips musta’ done something to this born again northerner, because she started leaking. We had been in Kakisa to see the falls. We started driving north, not even one bar on my phone. In the bathroom of the Merv Hardie ferry that leak became a splash and suddenly cell reception was the least of our worries.

–Angele Cano

The Old Woman leaned over the icy railing murmuring the Slavey prayer for safe passage across the Big River. It was dark and minus 40. Mist swirled over stretches of open water. Powerful beams reflected off splinters of ice. Eerily the boat moved in slow motion and seemed to turn in a circle following the deepest channel. Deck hands’ coveralls layered with ice resembled the glaze on a chocolate cake. With a wheeze the Merv Hardy slid onto the ramp. With reverence the Old Woman bowed her head. The crossing was over. The journey had begun.

Patti-Kay Hamilton

I keep thinking about all those seagulls at the ferry landing and how we would feed them – then watch and laugh to see who got what first. I think they will be sad today.

Carol Morin