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.

PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic Series – Featuring Erin Suurkoivu

Erin Suurkoivu will be the featured reader for the PEI Writers’ Guild Open Mic on Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 7pm at the Receiver Coffee Co., 128 Richmond St. In Charlottetown.

Erin Suurkoivu was born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, and has lived in Ottawa, Vancouver, Sooke B.C., and Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is a passionate environmentalist, yogi, and surfer (when she can be). Her debut poetry collection, Blood for Honey, is available at Indigo, Bookmark and also online. She lives in the country with her husband and their two children.

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. Following a short break, Erin will read.

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

A Poet For All Seasons – A.F. Moritz Reading at UPEI

In a Globe and Mail review, Doug Fetherling writes, “In somewhat the same way that a person can become a highly decorated soldier, A.F. Moritz has become a highly decorated poet. The process has taken years.” With a half-century of campaigns on the poetic front, twenty books, and a wall-full of awards, A.F. (Al) Moritz will give a Winter’s Tales reading in Charlottetown on Monday, October 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the UPEI Faculty Lounge.

Moritz’ all-seasons subject matter includes love and eroticism; divine presence and mortality; contemplation of nature; history, modernity, and current events; philosophical, ethical, sociological, and political inquiry; and an elegant evocation of life’s exaltation and ennui, emptiness and fulness.

He won Canada’s most lucrative poetry prize, the Griffin, with The Sentinel. In the title poem, readers witness the anxieties of a sentinel for an armed camp bedded down for the night. He must report to his commanders, who may find him lacking or, worse, a foreign agent. Mortiz says it is also “an allegory of the poet and poetry” – the poet at once a far-seeing scout, ethical bellwether, and troublemaker.

Born in Ohio, Moritz moved to Toronto in 1974, worked in journalism and advertising, and has taught part-time at the University of Toronto since 1986. “I’ve never considered myself anything but a poet who does other things to support himself.” As famous literary critic Harold Bloom said, Moritz is “a true poet.” At UPEI, he will read from his newest book, The Sparrow, a selection of poems from his forty-five year vocation.

The evening is sponsored by the UPEI Dean of Arts and Department of English, with generous support from The Canada Council for the Arts.

An Evening with David Helwig

To date, Canadian poet, novelist, and essayist David Helwig has published close to fifty books and edited numerous others. He has written for television and radio, worked at the CBC, taught at Queen’s University, been Poet Laureate of Prince Edward Island, and named to the Order of Canada. Yet, he remains little known.

David Helwig: Essays on His Works is the first book to gather new essays, an interview, and earlier material — by George Fetherling, Douglas Glover, D.G. Jones, Simon Lloyd, Tom Marshall, Rob McLennan, Shane Neilson, Ingrid Ruthig, Mark Sampson, and Lorraine M. York — in order to introduce and explore Helwig’s body of work while documenting the broad range of his literary talents and accomplishments.

The editor of this edition, Ingrid Ruthig, writer, poet, visual artist, said, “Within any literary community there are those writers who simply go about the business of writing — diligent, dedicated, building a body of work without fanfare. They seem disinclined to court chatter and celebrity, to inflate image and ego, or to stake out a place centre-stage. David Helwig is one of those unassuming craftsmen. Since he first aspired to it more than six decades ago, he has been living “the life of a writer.”

On September 25th at 7:30 PM at The Carriage House, 2 Kent Street, Bookmark and PEI’s Poet Laureate PEI, Deirdre Kessler, along with 20 Island poets and writers will present an evening to celebrate David Helwig and his remarkable literary accomplishments. This event is free and the public are encouraged to attend and meet a Prince Edward Island literary giant.

Villains: The Characters We Love to Hate – a New Workshop From Author Anne Emery

To register for this workshop, and to find out more, please see the event page.

What drives a good crime-mystery novel? The answer is obvious: a really bad, nasty, devious, twisted, elusive villain who’s always one step ahead of our poor hero as they desperately try to re-establish order and protect the innocent.

The PEI Writers’ Guild will present a day-long writing workshop on this topic on October 13 at the Haviland Club in Charlottetown. It will be led by Anne Emery, a Halifax lawyer and award-winning author of the Collins-Burke mystery series.

Her ninth novel, Lament for Bonnie, is now available in hard cover. Anne has won a number of awards and writing prizes, including the 2007 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel for her novel Sign of the Cross. Find out more about Anne here.

Anne will explore the factors that contribute to engaging villains, and how villains can be used to drive a story narrative. Participants will be tasked with defining what they enjoy in a villain, sharing villains in their own stories, and will be given the opportunity to create new villains based on the material covered in the workshop.

Registration is open now! To register and to find out more, please see the workshop page.

Lobsters, Armageddon, and Poetry – Book Launches at Beaconsfield

Two Island poets, Steve McOrmond and Chris Bailey, will launch their new books on Monday, September 17, at 7:00 p.m. in the Carriage House at Beaconsfield in Charlottetown. McOrmond’s poetry has captivated readers across Canada since his first book, Lean Days, in 2004, while Bailey, from a North Lake fishing family, is a newcomer to the literary scene.

Bailey, a recent UPEI Psychology graduate, has been living in Toronto and Hamilton, earning a Master’s degree in Creative Writing. He comes home during the summers, working on the family boat. Many of the poems in What Your Hands Have Done (Nightwood Editions) focus on the lives, work, and relationships of fishing families. This is the first major poetry book by an Islander to honour, at length, the realities and lore of PEI’s fishing community.

Bailey’s interests also range beyond the traditional land/seascape and livelihoods of PEI. His influences vary from Elmore Leonard, Warren Zevon, and Charles Bukowski – the “laureate of American lowlife” wrote Time – to Neil Gaiman and Lorna Crozier. Just as the wider culture’s zeitgeist pervades the Island, Bailey’s poems take readers on lively trips beyond the decks, wharves, and fishers’ homes.

McOrmond’s imaginative takes on experience, and his satirical wit, are evident in his other book titles: Primer for the Hereafter and The Goods News About Armageddon. With ironic perceptions in “Come Play on the Island,” he contrasts touristic summers with our winters, and in “The Lobster” he reveals the sardonic “second thoughts” of a PEI restaurant cook. In a bittersweet voice, he evokes Maritime outmigration in “So This Is Goodbye”: “The story of the Island is the story of paradise: / we have always had to leave.”

A 1995 UPEI graduate, Steve has lived in Toronto for two decades, returning yearly to the Island. His metropolitan experiences and computer software business career ingeniously permeate his new book, Reckon (Brick Book): “And we felt fortunate to live in the afterglow of Steve Jobs” and though “the air smells like burning tires…I love it here, I really do”;

His new poems reflect and critique the growing domination of our lives and consciousness by digital platforms and realms: “Deep in an offshore data centre, my vagaries / are tracked, time-stamped, mined / for meaningful adjacencies.”

A special guest poet, Annick MacAskill from Halifax, will give a short reading, followed by McOrmond’s and Bailey’s featured readings, a book signing, and a reception. The evening is sponsored by the UPEI Dean of Arts and Department of English, with generous support from The Canada Council for the Arts.