Battle Tales IV: WRITING PROMPTS!

Greetings all you smart and super-talented writers of Prince Edward Island! Are you ready to partake in the fourth-ever Battle Tales short story contest? If so, you’ve come to the right place. If not, you’ve clearly made a wrong turn somewhere, but we sure would love it if you stayed anyway.

Behold your writing prompts:

  1. A secret told in confidence.
  2. An old memory triggered by a familiar touch.
  3. A telephone ringing in the night.

Now remember: your story must be based on all three of these prompts. Beyond that, it’s up to you. Be creative. Take these prompts and build something lovely— or terrifying— with them. However you do it, really try to give our judge a run for his money.

Just imagine the possibilities. Maybe Little Sally Pipsqueak made you swear you won’t tell her mom about the time she kissed Jimmy Droopy Drawers out behind the school house at last summer’s strawberry social. Or maybe a local politician has just let his wife know about the body resting on the bottom of the Saint Lawrence River. Secrets may not be healthy in a relationship, but in a story, well, they’re almost magical.

What about that late-night telephone call? Could it be an old boyfriend using up his scant payphone privileges from the county jailhouse? And that touch— is it coarse, like the stubble on your groom’s face that time you slapped him for kissing your maid of honour? Or could it be that sense of strong arms holding you, like how it felt when your grandmother hugged your for helping her roll out dough for biscuits? Who knows. It’s up to you to tell us.

Oh, don’t forget to checkout out the contest rules before you get started. We want a good, clean battle, after all. None of that sneaky ninja-in-the-shadows stuff.

And while you’re here, check out this excellent advice to help guide your writing, prepared by our judge Steven Mayoff.

Good luck, everyone. May the best literary gladiator win!

Battle Tales IV: Free Advice From Our Judge

What makes a good Battle Tale? We asked Steven Mayoff, our wise and very cool Battle Tales judge, to share a few things he’s looking for in a submission. Here’s what he said:

“I will be judging the stories using the usual criteria of story and character development, language, etc. I will also be looking to see how creatively the three prompt words are integrated into the story, rather than just embedded so the story qualifies for the contest. Writers should also think about why this story is important to them. Give me a sense of it, not as an overt statement, but more imaginatively. Condense it to a single image or a situation or maybe as a bit of dialogue. Challenge yourselves and challenge me.”

Heat Rising: A New Romance Workshop with Michelle Helliwell

On Saturday, February 9, the heat will rise at the Haviland Club in downtown Charlottetown, as writers of all levels gather to learn more about romance writing in the twenty-first century. Open to both members and non-members of the PEI Writers’ Guild, this sizzling workshop, entitled Heat Rising: Writing the Romantic Revolution, promises to warm participants up from the mid-winter cold.

Led by Michelle Helliwell of the Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, this day-long workshop will cover romantic arcs, tropes, sub-genres, and how to best use each in order to meet your readers’ expectations. Exercises will include ‘beating out’ that romantic novel outline, and writing that all-important sex scene.

Finally, Helliwell will inform participants about the publishing process specific to the romance genre.

For more information on this workshop, please check out the official workshop page.

PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic Series – A tribute to John Smith

The PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic Series returns after the holidays with its first event Thursday, January 10, 2019 at Receiver Coffee Co., 128 Richmond St. in Charlottetown. The featured reader portion of this open mic is dedicated to When We Rise From the Sea, a tribute to the late John Smith.

The son of working-class immigrant parents from Britain, John Smith earned a B.Sc. in Physics and Math from the University of Toronto and taught high school in Huntsville, Ontario. He returned to the U of T for an M.A. in English, then found his intellectual home at UPEI, personal home on Fitzroy Street in Old Charlottetown, and contemplative home on the trails and beaches of Prince Edward Island. He was UPEI’s first Dean of Arts and a co-founder of the PEI Council of the Arts.

For twenty-five years at UPEI, and after his retirement in the early 1990s, John’s luminous intelligence, elegant wisdom, and glorious voice brought Shakespeare and other realms of poetry to life. With his dazzling mind, graceful spirit, delightful wit, radiant face, and generous heart, he enthralled and inspired students, colleagues, and other Islanders for decades.

John’s conversation, teaching, and poetry drew upon a boundless knowledge and reverential curiosity: weaving “strands the length of the wind” from astronomy, geology, biology, archaeology, history, music, visual arts, philosophy and religion, even from baseball and Sumo wrestling. As he wrote in “The World: Further Hypotheses,” “The world is a hat. You put it on when you rise from the sea.” He was always rising from the sea. His hat was voluminous. He bestowed that hat on the heads of countless students, friends, and fellow authors. When the PEI Legislature established the position of Poet Laureate, John Smith was the inevitable first choice.

“We meet again by the ancient stream,” John wrote, “we too who are so much running water.” On January 10 at Receiver Coffee, come sit together by that ancient stream with the running water of John Smith’s poems.

Readers of John’s work will include:

Laurie Brinklow     Lobie Daughton
Julie Dennison       David Hickey
Deirdre Kessler       Richard Lemm
Brent MacLaine

All are welcome to this free event. The first ten writers to sign up for the open mic portion may read from their work, either poetry or prose—for up to 5 minutes. Following a short break, the When We Rise From the Sea will begin.

The PEI Writers’ Guild – Open Mic Series will continue to run on the second Thursday of each month.

go outside…
go under the trees
feel the wind,
watch the birds…
listen to the songs of the world…
above all things… be kind…

– Penned by Julia, daughter of John Smith

Battle Tales IV: We Battle On!

The writing battle will continue into the new year with Battle Tales IV–a fun, super-swift short story contest which will run from January 20th at 12:01 am, until January 26th at 11:59 pm.

Brought to you by the PEI Writers’ Guild, Battle Tales gives Island writers a kick in the pants to get them started on their New Year’s writing resolutions.

Brave participants get three writing prompts and one precious week–that’s seven whole days–to write a short story for the chance to win all the glory this frantic, low-stakes contest has to offer.

Battle Tales is free to enter and it’s cold outside, so you have no excuse to not enter. Turn off the Netflix. Get creative. Get writing.

Author and playwright Steven Mayoff is back as our battle-hungry judge and will be sharing writing tips to get everyone warmed up, so stay tuned to the official contest page for his advice, for contest rules, and for the all-important battle prompts.

The winner will be featured online, both here and in our newsletter. They will also receive a year’s membership to the PEI Writers’ Guild, and will be given the highly-coveted Battle Tales trophy.

Oh, and there’ll also be a knighting ceremony.

About our judge
Steven Mayoff was born and raised in Montreal and moved to Prince Edward Island in 2001. His fiction and poetry have appeared in literary journals across Canada and the U.S. as well as in Ireland, Algeria, France, Wales, England and Croatia. He has written two books of fiction: the story collection Fatted Calf Blues (Turnstone Press, 2009) and the novel Our Lady Of Steerage (Bunim & Bannigan, 2015). Upcoming is a poetry collection Swinging Between Water And Stone to be published by Guernica Editions in 2019.

Don’t forget to check out the rules on the Battle Tales contest page!

Deep Water Pearls: A Collection of Women’s Memoir BOOK LAUNCH

Deep Water Pearls will launch launch at The Mount in Charlottetown, 141 Mount Edward Rd, in the chapel space, this Saturday, December 8th at 1pm.

Thirteen writers dive into the deep emotional waters of their lives to write their most personal, honest stories. In doing so, they transform the grit of female experience into pearls of truth and beauty.

Guided by memoir coach and editor Kathleen Hamilton, the writers reveal the most intimate turning points in their lives, memories deeply charged with meaning, moments after which their lives were never the same.

The stories are diverse: we meet a PEI farm girl exploring her early intuitive knowings, a tattooed millennial struggling with PTSD, a mature academic rebounding from the betrayal of her marriage, and a bride whose wedding day is a triumph over a treacherous past.

Contributors are R.M. Alice, Orysia Dawydiak, Alexandra Dixon, Yvette Doucette, Sharla Goodwin, Kathleen Hamilton, K.J. Johnston, Jo MacKinnon, Liza Oliver, Katie Poirier, Heather S?uin, Hope Sollows, and E.G. Todd. While the writers are all from PEI where many of the stories take place, their journeys take us farther afield to potent moments in their lives in the logging towns of BC and the ranch culture of Utah, to formative experiences in the Magdalene Islands and Newfoundland.

32nd Cox & Palmer Island Literary Awards: Call for Submissions

Call for Entry! The 2019 Cox & Palmer Island Literary Awards competition is open. The deadline is February 28, 2019. Submissions may now be made online, as well as by mail or at any public library.

For details, please check out our official announcement page. Entry forms for submissions via mail or the public library may be found here.


The Rotary Club of Charlottetown Royalty Creative Writing Awards for Young People competition is now open as well!  The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2019. Submissions may now be made online, as well as by mail or at any public library.

Further details are on our official announcement page. Students may wish to review our student submission rules, while teachers may be interested in brushing up on our teacher submission guidelines. Entry forms for submissions via mail or the public library can be found here.

Best of luck to all our entrants. We look forward to celebrating the art of writing with you at our gala events this coming May.

Esi Edugyan, author of WASHINGTON BLACK at the Mack Theatre Nov. 12

We are thrilled to welcome author Esi Edugyan to The Mack Theatre for a reading, Q&A and book signing. Esi’s new novel, Washington Black has been shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and longlisted for the 2018 Giller Prize. It is a dazzling, original novel of slavery and freedom, from the author of the international bestseller Half-Blood Blues. From the blistering cane fields of Barbados to the icy plains of the Canadian Arctic, from the mud-drowned streets of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black teems with all the strangeness of life. This inventive, electrifying novel asks, What is Freedom? And can a life salvaged from the ashes ever be made whole? The evening will be hosted by Lee Ellen Pottie, well known UPEI professor, writer and editor. This event is free, and is hosted by Bookmark.

Please note the location for this event has been changed to the Mack Theatre, from the Confederation Centre of the Arts Studio One.

PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic Series – Featuring Richard Lemm

Richard Lemm will be the featured reader for the PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic on Thursday, November 8, 2018 at 7pm at the Receiver Coffee Co., 128 Richmond St. In Charlottetown.

Richard Lemm has taught literature and creative writing at the University of Prince Edward Island since 1988. He has published six poetry collections, most recently Jeopardy. He received the Canadian Authors’ Association Poetry Prize for Prelude to the Bacchanal, and two CBC Literary Competition prizes of poetry. His short fiction collection, Shape of Things to Come, won a PEI Book Award. His biography Milton Acorn: In Love and Anger received a PEI Heritage Foundation Award. He edited Riptides: New PEI Fiction, an Atlantic Book Awards finalist for Best Atlantic Canadian Published Book, and winner of a PEI Book Award. He also edited Snow Softly Falling: Holiday Stories from Prince Edward Island. He is currently completing a memoir entitled Promised Land: Life and Times of an American-Canadian, and fumbling his way into a novel set mostly on PEI. His grandchildren say that he makes the best waffles.

All are welcome to this free event. The first ten writers to sign up may read from their work—poetry or prose—for up to 5 minutes. We’ll be shaking things up this month by having our featured reader perform first. Following a five minute break, the open mic portion of the evening will begin.

The PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic Series will continue to run on the second Thursday of each month.