My creative writing classes return in Port Moody

I’m happy to be back as an in-person instructor at the City of Port Moody, BC, facilitating creative writing classes again. After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, it’s great to see some of our regular students again and to meet new faces. It’s a joy to workshop high-quality content in multi-genres from poetry and screenwriting to fiction, historical romance, and nonfiction. Always a delight.

For this session, the weekly program runs from April 4 to June 13, 7 to 8:30 pm.

My online course Writing From Pain to Power begins Feb. 23

I am teaching an 8-week, online creative nonfiction class Writing From Pain to Power in the spring of 2022 through the University of King’s College in Halifax. My students are from across the country, writing about real-life traumas in their lives. Most are hoping to publish a memoir or essays. Using a trauma-informed approach, we create a safe, supportive atmosphere that honours everyone’s response to pain and trauma. Class runs from Feb. 23 to April 13.

Click here (scroll to the end) to see the course description.

Pleased to return to in-person teaching at Powell River Digital Film School

It was a joy to be back in person teaching at Powell River Digital Film School in early February. Spent two days with the grade 12 students analyzing and discussing short documentaries and learning how to write and conceptualize them. Also did a day of hands-on SoulCollage(R) exercises and learning.

Thoroughly enjoyed the students’ level of awareness of social justice issues and their willingness and courage to share sensitive personal and family stories. I look forward to seeing what films they produce this year.

Jessica Silvey weaves the legacy of ancestors in cedar

 

 

It was a delight to profile Jessica Silvey, who’s shíshálh and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) with the ancestral name Kwahama Kwatleematt, and has been weaving cedar baskets, hats, and décor for more than 30 years. I profiled her, the owner of Red Cedar Woman studio, as the cover story for the winter 2021 issue of Sunshine Coast Life Magazine.

Click here to read the feature and see photos.

 

 

Heather Conn photo

Want to support literacy in a fun way?

Check out Simbi.io

Guess what? Kids can interact and learn in a fun, new way with my picture book Six Stinky Feet and a Sasquatch. By using the Simbi web platform, they can see and hear me read the book and follow along, page by page. Then, they can record themselves reading aloud, at their own pace, and listen back. They can also hear children in other countries read aloud. Isn’t that a great idea? Simbi founders, in Vancouver, BC, Canada, wanted to promote literacy in a globally accessible way. I am proud to be participating in this effort. Check out readings of my book here.

New trail signs to honour value of old-growth forest and shíshálh heritage

I am delighted to have worked as an editor on a new series of interpretive signs for the Community Health Trail on Mt. Elphinstone on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. As part of an initiative by Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF), the signs highlight the importance of old-growth forests and their flora and fauna. With himus (Calvin Craigan), a shíshálh Nation knowledge-keeper as consultant, we included shíshálh words on each sign and the First Nations medicinal use of various plants and trees.

I learned a lot on this project, which reinforced how the shíshálh Nation, for many centuries, has lived in harmony with these forests, making full use of bark, berries, trees, and plants to sustain their lives and culture, while today’s non-Indigenous industries seem bent on destroying these lands.

This four-kilometre stretch of trail, designated by ELF, traverses a low-elevation, emerging old-growth forest on the slopes of Mt. Elphinstone. It connects two isolated parcels of Mt. Elphinstone Provincial Park and ELF hopes that the park will expand around it. These small areas face possible destruction by adjacent development and logging.

Watch my Sept. 19 reading on YouTube

In case you missed my Sept. 19 Spoken INK reading on Zoom, you can watch it here on the Burnaby Writers’ Society YouTube channel. About 20 minutes long, it features excerpts from three sources: my essay “A Slow Goodbye,” about love and loss; my romantic visit to the Taj Mahal, from my memoir No Letter in Your Pocket, to be published in 2023; and the start of my 2019 picture book Six Stinky Feet and a Sasquatch.

Port Moody in-person writing classes resume Sept. 27

Want to join a supportive group of committed writers in a class that focuses on content feedback? Still spaces left in my Mon. night program at Kyle Centre, Port Moody. Sept. 27-Dec. 6, 5:30 to 8 pm.

Many students have published books and/or contribute regularly to publications. All genres and levels welcome. Participants find in-class feedback truly valuable. All COVID protocols followed. Pre-registration required. Call 604-469-4556 or register online before Sept. 25 at this link.

Writing workshop

I’m offering a two-hour online workshop Wild Mind: Freeing the Writer Within on April 10 from 1 to 3 pm. Designed to cure writer’s block and access your deepest writing self. For all skill levels. Contact the Royal City Literary Arts Society to register.

Picture book launch Dec. 7: Six Stinky Feet and a Sasquatch

It was fun presenting my new picture book, Six Stinky Feet and a Sasquatch, to an audience of young and old Dec. 7 at Sechelt Public Library. Andy Johnson, storyteller for the shishalh Nation, shared a sasquatch song he composed and told a sasquatch story. I’m honoured to know that he plans to read my book to shishalh kids.

At the event, I wore a red hoodie with the sasquatch design by shishalh Nation member Candace Campo. She explained to me how cultural Indigenous tradition determines the shape of each eye of the creature’s face. At the end of my fictional story, I include some cultural history and trivia regarding the sasquatch and a few URLs and book titles for those who want to find out more about this mysterious creature.

The hard-cover book, published by Peppermint Toast Publishing, features illustrations by talented Vancouver, BC animator Lillian Lai. The book is $18. Ten per cent of proceeds support pediatric palliative care in British Columbia.

Click here to see media photo and event coverage.

Click here to find out more and order a copy.