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Alberta Culture Days 2015

September 25 – 27, Province-Wide
During Alberta Culture Days, the WGA is partnering with numerous libraries and schools to bring Alberta’s acclaimed authors and artists to your community! Events will range from writing workshops to author presentations and readings.

Find out what WGA Culture Days are happening in your area!

Please note – all events are free and open to the public.

“Fighting – and Writing – for the Underdogs” with Fran Kimmel
Friday, September 25, 2:00 pm, Coronation Community Centre, 4820 Government Road

Event Description: Fran is passionate about the underdogs in hers and others’ writing. She will share how life experiences have influenced her own stories and characters, including the making of Rebee in The Shore Girl, whose childhood is a disaster. Fran will bring a stack of favourite books she recommends to those who want to root for the little guy, and she’s happy to answer any and all questions.

Bio: Fran Kimmel writes and teaches in central Alberta and is passionate about the underdogs in hers and others’ writing. Fran’s debut novel, The Shore Girl, tells the story of a remarkable young girl whose childhood is a disaster. It’s been chosen as both a Canada Reads Top 40 selection and the winner of the 2013 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award. Fran loves meeting with readers and is happy to share stories and answer any and all questions.

“Folk Tales from Alberta and Around the World” with Gail de Vos
Friday, September 25, 4:00 to 5:00 pm – storytelling with school-age students.
Saturday September 26, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm – Please contact library to register for workshop.
Camrose Public Library, 4710 – 50 Avenue

Gail’s specialty is telling contemporary legends to young and not so young adults. But whatever the story, she weaves a bond between herself and listeners, calling up memories and emotions and helping us understand ourselves and the world we live in. Gail de Vos combines the art of storytelling with folktales, both traditional and contemporary, legends and myths, and stories of local history and personal heroes to create unforgettable performances and engaging workshops and clinics. Participants in Canada, in the USA and in Europe have enjoyed Gail’s performances and writing and storytelling workshops at school events, libraries, historical parks, festivals, special events and on national radio. For many years she told stories at Fort Edmonton Park to bring the history of the Edmonton area alive through storytelling and was co-organizer of the annual Storytelling Festival held at the Park for 18 years.

“Getting Together with Separation Anxiety” with Miji Campbell
Friday, September 25, 7:00 pm, Penhold & District Library, #1 Waskasoo Avenue (Range Road 280) 

Event Description: On Friday September 25, the Penhold and District Public Library will host an evening with Miji Campbell, author of Separation Anxiety: A Coming of Middle Age Story. Miji will be reading from her memoir and looks forward to a lively discussion with the audience about writing, life and writing a life. Calgary born and raised, now living in Red Deer, Miji enjoys sharing her made-in-Alberta story.

Bio: Miji Campbell is a writer and teacher. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Today’s Parent Magazine, The Edmonton Journal, The Calgary Herald and Women’s Words: An Anthology, and has been broadcast on CBC Radio. Miji has received two National Magazine Award nominations and a literary arts grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. She owns Write Where You Are, a business that offers writing workshops to individuals, schools, community and corporate organizations. Born and raised in Calgary, Miji lives in Red Deer, Alberta.Separation Anxiety is her first book.

“Writing Children’s Books” with Leanne Shirtliffe
Saturday, September 26, 1:00 pm, High River Centennial Library, 909 –  1 St SW

Event Description: Beyond Dr. Seuss: Writing Picture Books in the 21st Century is an introduction to writing picture books in today’s changing market. After a brief overview of the format and general picture book do’s and don’ts, participants will learn the characteristics of great children’s stories, the problem with rhyme, and how to leave room for illustrators.

Bio: Leanne Shirtliffe is a Calgary-based author with over 20 years of classroom experience teaching Language Arts. Her picture book, The Change Your Name Store, was shortlisted for Alberta’s 2015 Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature. The follow-up to that title, No More Beige Food, will be in bookstores in January 2016. Leanne is also the author of the humour books, Don’t Lick the Minivan and Mommyfesto. Find out more about her at

“Life Into Story: Transforming Experiences Into Fiction” with Lori Hahnel
Saturday, September 26, 1:00 – 3:30 pm, Medicine Hat Public Library414 First Street SE

Event Description: Got a great story idea inspired by real life events but not sure how or where or why to begin writing it? In this workshop we’ll explore characters, plots and settings derived from real life. We’ll also consider how closely fiction should resemble real life, and whether some ideas are better suited to fiction or creative nonfiction.

Bio: Lori Hahnel is the author of two novels, Love Minus Zero (Oberon, 2008) and After You’ve Gone (Thistledown, 2014), as well as a story collection, Nothing Sacred (Thistledown, 2009), which shortlisted for an Alberta Literary Award. Her work has been nominated for the Journey Prize three times and published in over thirty journals across North America and in the U.K.; her credits include CBC Radio, The Fiddlehead, Joyland and The Saturday Evening Post.  Lori teaches creative writing at Mount Royal University and the Alexandra Writers’ Centre.

“In Our Backyard – An Unknown Aspect of Alberta WWII History” with Karen Bass
Friday, September 25, 2:00 pm, McLennan Municipal Library, 19  – 1 Avenue NW

Event Description: Karen Bass talks about her newest YA novel, Uncertain Soldier, and about the history behind the story. Few people know that Canada took in large numbers of German prisoners of war; fewer people know that some of those prisoners worked for Canadians while they were imprisoned. Find out more about this fascinating slice of Alberta history, and about what goes into researching this kind of story.

Bio: When Karen Bass went to work at her local library, she fuelled her passion for reading, and discovered she possessed an equal zeal for writing. When she was growing up on a farm in north central Alberta, she travelled the world through books. She still does that, but now also visits far off places from time to time. That love of travel often shows up in her writing. Karen is the author of five YA novels, including the multi-award-winning Graffiti Knight, and her newest,Uncertain Solider, a WWII novel set in Alberta.

“Family Secrets: A Relaxed Approach to Writing Memoirs and Family Histories That Readers Will Enjoy” with Tyler Trafford
Saturday, September 26, 1:00 – 4:00 pm, Claresholm Public Library211 – 49 Avenue W

Event Description: “Family Secrets” will inspire genealogists and historians to add written stories to their research. Tyler brings enthusiasm and a positive attitude to the writing process with proven tips that will transform archival material and collected memories into the stories that future generations will read with a smile and gratitude.

Bio: Tyler Trafford’s most recent work, Almost A Great Escape (Goose Lane Editions), swept all three awards for which it was nominated at the 2014 Alberta Literary Awards.  The memoir about a World War II love affair between his mother and a Norwegian pilot, and Tyler’s discovery of his mother’s past received the $10,000 Alberta Readers’ Choice Award , the Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction, and the City of Calgary’s W.O. Mitchell Award. An earlier novel,The Story of Blue Eye (Thistledown Press), was a Grant MacEwan Literary Award finalist.

Public Reading and Meet & Greet with Annette Lapointe
Saturday, September 26, 2:00 pm, East side of Dixonville School, off Highway 689
Event Description: Annette Lapointe will be reading from her published novels, Stolen and Whitetail Shooting Gallery, and from her forthcoming collection of short fiction, You Are Not Needed Now.  She will also answer audience questions and discuss what it means to be a writer in northern Alberta.

Bio: Annette Lapointe was born in Saskatoon, and lived in rural Saskatchewan, Quebec, Newfoundland, South Korea, and Manitoba, before settling in northern Alberta. She has published two novels: Stolen (2006), which was nominated for the Giller Prize, and Whitetail Shooting Gallery (2012). Her next book, M is Dead, a collaborative novel, will be published later this year, and a collection of short stories, You Are Not Needed Now, will appear in 2016.

Writer/Storyteller Presentation for Children – in conjunction with St. Paul Municipal Library, with Kathy Jessup
Friday, September 25, 2:00 pm, St. Paul Elementary School, 4520 – 48 Avenue

Event Description: Hang on for the ride! Storyteller Kathy Jessup shares a collection of interactive tales delivering adventure, laughs, wisdom, and a surprise or two a long the way!

“Two Authors, Many Ideas, Much Enjoyment!” with Fran Kimmel and Stan Trautman
Friday, September 25, 7:00 pm, Home of Annie Mirza and Harvey Jones (Please contact Jane Ross for directions: [email protected])

Stan Trautman and Fran Kimmel will both read from their work and participate in a wide-ranging discussion about writing. Stan is an author with an in-depth understanding of the Battle River area, nature, and rural life. Fran’s writing style has been described as resonant and eloquently drawn. Join us for a free event with refreshments!

Alberta Culture Days events are made possible with the support of the Government of Alberta.

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