2018 Words North Line Up and Schedule

Tickets are limited. Available through Tickets in the Peace.


Want to learn more about the writers featured at Words North? Click here.

Travelling from out of town? The Stonebridge Hotel is Words North’s official hotel, offering reduced rates to those attending Words North. Just let them know you are a festival goer.


Thursday September 27
Opening Night (opening event is free to all community members)

4 pm – 7 pm / KPAC Foyer
Registration for Words North and Welcome

7 pm – 8 pm / KPAC Foyer
Words North Art Exhibit Opening 
(Refreshments provided by Juice Five O)
Visual artists from across the region have created work inspired by the words of our feature writers. The opening will take place in the foyer of the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre.

8 pm – 10 pm / KPAC Theatre
Peace Songwriters Coffee House
The Peace Songwriters have supported and encouraged writers and musicians for nearly 20 years. Just one of their many activities and events is hosting an open mic coffee house on the last Saturday of each month. For the month of September, the Peace Songwriters will be changing their time and format to host the opening concert for Words North. This concert will feature an exceptional variety of local songwriters and musicians who will all be performing 100 per cent original material.

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Friday September 28 (Ticket Holders Only)

9 am – 10 am / KPAC Theatre
Continental Breakfast (included in ticket price)

10 am – 12 pm / KPAC Theatre
The Publishing World – Traditional, DIY, Self-Publishing, Agents and More!
Four regional writers will share their experiences in and knowledge of the publishing world.

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Tracy Krauss
, an established author and playwright with more than 20 published titles will share her experience in various aspects of the publishing industry – from working with agents and traditional publishers to the explosion of DIY options – Tracy will illuminate various aspects of the industry with a focus on working with literary agents and trade publishers. Tracy has worked with a literary agent and has had several contracts with both larger publishing houses and small independent presses in the United States. She has also had experience with fee-for-services publishers (otherwise known as vanity presses) and has most recently delved into self-publishing through her own imprint, Fictitious Ink. “There are pros and cons to every avenue,” says Krauss, “so come with an open mind! No one method is best – only what is best for each individual.” Kraus will focus on the following in her presentation:

  • Why bother? What can an agent do for me?
  • Finding an agent that is the right fit: it’s all in the relationship
  • Limitations of the agent relationship
  • Pros and cons of ‘traditional’ publishing deals
  • Variety as a business plan

Ronnie Roberts and Pat Ferris will then present an informative and entertaining presentation on Indie vs. traditional publishing. Ronnie and Pat are local writers who have written 17 books between them and have been there in the trenches. “We will lay out the facts about writing and publishing in today’s market, possibly saving you months, even years, of research, thousands of dollars in costs and help you make the best choice for you as a writer,” says Ronnie.  “Want the skinny on what’s happening in publishing today? Come to Words North and take in Friday’s presentation. You’ll be glad you did.”

Finishing off the two-hour session will be Rebekah Rempel, a Dawson Creek writer who has many publishing credits to her name in both traditional literary journals and in literary anthologies. “Most writers will agree that submitting to literary journals, magazines, and traditional publishers can be frustrating and discouraging—so why bother at all?” Rebekah will discuss the various rewards, incentives, and opportunities that go along with the challenges of traditional publishing. She will also provide an overview of the process for those who are new to the publishing world and are interested in starting to submit their own work. These steps will include preparing your work for publication, selecting journals or publishers that are a good fit for your work, submitting your work, and dealing with acceptance or rejection.

Time will be given after each presentation for questions from the audience.

12 pm – 1 pm / KPAC Theatre
Lunch (included in ticket price)

1 pm – 2 pm / KPAC Theatre
Presenter: Clea Roberts
Speaking the Unspeakable

What does it mean to “speak the unspeakable”? How do we articulate a life-changing time or event (and the associated joy or grief) when words are not adequate? How do we access the truth that the unspeakable contains and how does this access change us? In her book, Auguries, Clea Roberts writes about the decade in which she both became a mother and lost a mother. Clea will speak about this time in her life, and how attempting to speak the unspeakable influenced her writing. Join her to explore how the reading and writing of poetry can plumb our depths and help us to navigate our own unique psychological landscape to arrive at a place of greater understanding and connection.

2 pm – 3 pm / KPAC Theatre
Presenter: Jeanette Lynes
Getting Back to the Heartland, Re-Obsessing, the Anti-Twitter Talk

Has social media kidnapped your writing practice? Do you look up a word in your thesaurus and find yourself on Facebook? Have you become a hash tag? Have you been counting ‘followers’ instead of words?

Are you distracted and having trouble concentrating? If so, you’re not alone. While this presentation fully acknowledges the importance of the promotion and marketing side of writing and publishing, there are times when we as writers need to power off, and return to the heartland – craft. Writing is a meditative art. It demands a level of obsession, an inward-looking stance. This presentation will offer some tips on how to go back home, to the things that matter: the words, the sentences, the lines of poetry, the turns of story. More than ever our attention is compromised; how do we stay true to what really matters? Discussion and lively debates will be encouraged.

3 pm – 4 pm / KPAC Theatre
Presenters: Rob Brown and Matt Preprost, moderated by Judy Kucharuk
Stop the Presses

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Do newspapers have a future? It depends on who you ask, but a pair of Peace Region inkslingers will say the business of selling stories is alive and well. With more than 30 years of newspaper experience between them, Matt Preprost, editor of the Alaska Highway News, and Rob Brown, editor of the Dawson Creek Mirror, will share stories of humour and horror and will provide insights to writers who wish to join the conversations in their respective pages. Stop the Presses will be interactive, taking in questions from columnist and session moderator Judy Kucharuk, as well as from the audience.

4 pm – 6 pm
Dinner Break

6 pm – 6:45 pm / Bin Top, Dawson Creek Art Gallery
Presenters: Rob Brown and Matt Preprost
Table Reading

Join Rob Brown and Matt Preprost in the Bin Top of the Dawson Creek Art Gallery for an interactive table talk on the creation of a sci-fi film script and pitch concept.

7 pm – 10 pm / Dawson Creek Art Gallery
Refreshments sponsored by Beards Brewing Company

Feature Reading by Clea Roberts

Clea Roberts lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. She was born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, but Whitehorse has been her home for the past 15 years. Her debut collection of poems, Here Is Where We Disembark (Freehand Books, 2010) was a finalist for the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Award for best first book of poetry in Canada, was nominated for the ReLit Award and was published in German (Edition Rugerup, 2013) and Japanese (Shichosha 2017). Clea’s poems have been published in journals and anthologies in Canada, Europe, the United States and Australia. She has received fellowships from the Canada Council for the Arts, Vermont Studio Centre, the Atlantic Centre for the Arts, the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity and is a five-time recipient of the Yukon Government Advanced Artist Award. Clea facilitates a workshop on poetry and grief through Hospice Yukon and is the Artistic Director of the Kicksled Reading Series. Auguries, her second collection of poetry, was published by Brick Books in Spring 2017.

Clea’s reading will be followed by performances by regional poets and songwriters.

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Saturday September 29 (Ticket Holders Only)

9 am – 10 am / KPAC Theatre
Continental Breakfast (included in ticket price)

10 am – 11 am / KPAC Theatre
Writing to Engage Community – Panel Discussion with Feature Writers
In this moderated panel discussion, our feature writers will discuss how their use of subjects ranging from grief to activism to historical events work to engage community.

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11 am – 12 pm / KPAC Theatre
The Poetic Line
Presenter: Rebekah Rempel

The line is one of the defining characteristics of poetry. Many elements help to shape and control the poetic line, but the line break is perhaps the most crucial. Line breaks have the potential to transform the reader’s experience of a poem, as well as the poem’s overall meaning, so every line break should be a conscious choice made by the writer. From controlling the pacing of the poem, to enhancing the emotion of the speaker, to creating double meanings, line breaks are exciting and versatile tools in poetry. This workshop will explore various line-break techniques and their impact on the poem.

12 pm – 1 pm / KPAC Theatre
Lunch (included in ticket price)

12 pm—1 pm / KPAC Theatre
Note: this will be an informal lunch hour session taking place at Jenna’s table in the theatre.
Twitter Pitch Party!
Presenter: Jenna Morland

There are many ways to reach agents and publishers, but have you tried a Twitter pitch party? That’s how YA author Jenna Morland’s most recent manuscript, Empress Unveiled, was picked up by Oftomes Publishing. In this noon hour table presentation, Jenna will explain the twitter pitch party and provide insights on how to craft your own one tweet pitch to pique the interest of agents and publishers. Jenna will also share her thoughts on which agents to follow, which pitch parties to enter and how to create an engaged community of readers through social media marketing and “building your brand.” Learn all of this and more from someone who grew their social media following from 0 to 17,000 in just one year!

1 pm – 2 pm / KPAC Theatre
Show and Tell with Songs
Presenters: Iyan Bruvold and Naomi Shore

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In this presentation, Iyan and Noami will share a few of their original songs, taking participants from first inspirations through to the process of writing the songs and, finally, to performing them. A question and answer period will follow.

2 pm – 3 pm / KPAC Theatre
From Hard Lines to Heart Lines
Presenter: Helen Knott

Writing uncomfortable truths that make people squirm in their seats is never the ultimate dream of writers. Hard lines are words written from the crossroads of injustices and oppression that often provide insight and build understanding. Heart lines are words that have evolved from human experiences that are emotionally charged with “the feels.” Often hard lines and heart lines are intertwined and can be utilized to not only provide powerful social commentary, but to deepen our abilities to connect to each other as human beings. Helen will discuss how she has used both poetry and writing to heal from oppression and to illuminate social injustices. Discover the power that is in the uncomfortable hard and heart spaces that are often avoided.

3 pm – 4 pm / KPAC Theatre
Writing as Ceremony
Presenter: Jasmine Netsena

What helps you to find your writing flow? How does routine and ritual help us write? Some writers go for a drive or a walk. Some ski. Sometimes a simple “change of scene” can get your writing juices flowing. Where does motion and writing meet? Join Jasmine in this discussion around writing, ritual and movement. Participants will also engage in some writing exercises, so don’t forget your notebook and pen (as if you would:)).

4 pm – 5 pm (Space for this workshop is limited to 10 participants – please RSVP Donna Kane at dkane@pris.ca along with your most important question before September 12th)
Songwriting – Down to Earth and Personal
Presenter: Peace Songwriters
A panel of local songwriters will draw upon their skills, experience, and knowledge to answer questions posed by workshop attendees. From finding your inspiration to registering with SOCAN, you will get answers, guidance, advice, and support from members of the Peace Songwriters, a group that has been mentoring and supporting local songwriters/musicians for nearly 20 years.

5 pm – 7 pm
Dinner Break

7 pm – 10 pm / KPAC Theatre
Refreshments provided by Juice Five O

The night will begin with readings by regional writers. 

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Followed by:

Feature Writer Jeanette Lynes

Jeanette Lynes‘ second novel, The Small Things That End The World, was just released by Coteau Books. Her first novel, The Factory Voice, was long-listed for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize and a ReLit Award. Jeanette is also the author of seven books of poetry; her most recent collection, Bedlam Cowslip: The John Clare Poems, received the 2016 Saskatchewan Arts Board Poetry Award. Her poetry recently appeared in The Anti-Languorous Project and Forget Magazine. Jeanette directs the MFA in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan.

Collaborative Performance by Helen Knott and Jasmine Netsena

Helen Knott is a Dane-zaa and Nehiyawak writer, spoken word poet, and advocate from the Prophet River First Nations living in Fort St. John, BC. Currently completing a Masters in First Nations Studies at UNBC, Helen was recently named one of 16 Nobel laureate-honoured world activists and one of 150 Indigenous Canadian artists honored with the Hnyatyshyn Foundation REVEAL Indigenous Art Award. She has published short stories and poetry in the Malahat ReviewRed Rising MagazineCBC Arts, the Surviving Canada Anthology, alongside other publications and poetry video productions. Helen has forthcoming academic pieces that focus on connecting violence against Indigenous lands and bodies. Her first book is a memoir that weaves in poetry entitled, In My Own Moccasins Now, to be released in Fall 2019 by the University of Regina Press.

Music is Jasmine Netsena’s first language. From the age of five, the award-winning singer-songwriter, who is of the Dene and Tahltan Nations, learned to sing from her grandmothers in their Indigenous languages. Classical voice training only strengthened that bedrock, and now, Jasmine has been honing her songwriting and guitar skills for close to 15 years. Jasmine released her debut album, Take You With Me, in 2014. For her second record, she uses her voice to uncover long-buried issues. The daughter of a residential school survivor, Jasmine wants to use music to add to the dialogue of intergenerational healing. Jasmine has charmed audiences in New York City, Nashville and across Canada. She is the first recipient of the 2018 Socan Indigenous Songwriter Award. In 2014, the Fort Nelson, B.C. resident won Best Folk/Acoustic Album in the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards and was nominated for at Indigenous Songwriter of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. She’s been featured on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network show Rising Stars, and in 2012, she performed at the Grand Ole Northern Opry with Grammy Award winner Laurie Lewis.  You can learn more about her and listen to her music at www.jasminenetsena.com


Sunday September 30th (this event is free to all community members)

10 am – 12 pm / Dawson Creek Public Library
Student Reading Emceed by Jeanette Lynes

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12 pm – 1 pm / Dawson Creek Public Library
Lunch and Wrap-Up of Festival

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