Call for Workshop Proposals for 2019

Information about last year’s New West Festival of Words

New West Festival of Words - Poster - 2018.jpgNew West Festival of Words – Poster – 2018

Federation of BC Writers to hold Spring Writes Festival, AGM in New Westminster

The Federation of BC Writers announced New Westminster will be the setting for its 2018 Spring Writes Festival, to be held at the Inn on the Quay April 13 and 14. The Federation of BC Writers – a non-profit society with 700 members – is province’s organization for established and emerging writers. The event is open to members and non-members alike.

This year’s event packs an extra punch because we’ve joined together with Litfest to create a gala weekend we’re calling the New West Festival of Words,” said Ann Graham Walker, president of the FBCW board of directors. “New Westminster is a community rich in writers and it has been a privilege working with the organizations that are here.”

The Friday Gala features four outstanding BC writers – Gail Anderson-Dargatz, JJ Lee, Roberta Rich and Rob Taylor, an event hosted by New Westminster poet laureate Alan Hill. “We’re looking forward to spending an evening with these artists, up close, and at Saturday’s workshops there will be plenty of inspiration for writers of all levels of literary experience,” Walker said.

On Saturday, April 14, the FBCW’s annual general meeting (a members-only event) will be held from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m.

“Saturday’s AGM will be an opportunity for us to share some exciting signs of growth in our organization, and highlight upcoming opportunities for our members,” Walker said.

To register for the weekend’s events visit


Festival presenter 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.

Festival presenter JJ Lee 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.

Festival presenter and acclaimed historical fiction writer Roberta Rich is the author of The Midwife of Venice, The Harem Midwife, and A Trial in Venice, all published by Penguin Random House.

Festival presenter and 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.

Friday’s 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.

Prior to the gala, a Meet & Greet, hosted by the Federation of BC Writers, will be held from 3:30-5 p.m. at The Boathouse Restaurant. There will be a Book Sales & Networking event featuring books by featured authors and FBCW members at 6 p.m.


Sat., Apr. 14 – 9 a.m.-12 noon: Write-In from 9 a.m.-12 noon. This $10 event is limited to 12 people. Facilitated by a professional author, 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,.

Sat., Apr. 14 – 9:30 a.m.-12 noon: Gail Anderson-Dargatz will lead Overcoming our Fears to Write Powerful Stories. 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 storyline. With more than twenty years of experience as a writer, teacher and developmental editor she explores the many ways we avoid conflict in our projects and our writing lives, and offers solutions to help kickstart your writing and develop your project to the fullest. This event is limited to 36 participants, at $25 for Members, $30 for Non-members.

Sat., Apr. 14 – 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon: Rob Taylor will lead Associative Leaps in Poetry (and how to use them in your prose). 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. This event is limited to 36 participants, at $25 for Members, $30 for Non-members.

Sat., Apr. 14 – 2:30 -5 p.m.: Roberta Rich will lead A Guided Hallucination into the Past.
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. $25 for Members, $30 for Non-members

Sat., Apr. 14 – 2:30-6 p.m.: The Unexpected Memoir with JJ Lee 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,” a spokesperson said. Limited to 36. $25 for Members, $30 for Non-members.

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