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Creative juices flow for return of Shuswap’s Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival

Virtual event offers opportunities to learn from long slate of talented authors, musicians
Word on the Lake Writer’s Festival alumnus Michael Slade will take part in this year’s fest, once again hosting Shock Theatre with a production of Boomerang scheduled for Saturday, May 8. (Contributed)

COVID-19 can’t stop writers and readers from attending the 2021 Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival.

The popular literary event is going virtual, allowing people from across the world to Zoom in as long as they register by midnight on May3.

“It’s a calorie reduced festival because there’s no banquet or lunch this year,” said festival chair Kay Johnston, who notes the event would not have been possible without generous support from the BC Arts Council and local organizations, and countless volunteer hours.

“What you do get is award-winning poets, authors and singer-songwriters sharing their craft and wisdom with you, all packed into a couple of days, May 7 to 9.”

At $195, full registration includes workshops covering a wide range of genres and public events such as Café Lit, Shock Theatre and Askew’s Word on the Lake Writing Contest Awards Ceremony.

Karen Lee White, writer of short stories, novels, plays and songs, comes from the tradition of the Tlingit-Tagish people of the Yukon and spent three years among the Shona of Zimbabwe. Her sessions cover writer’s (artist’s) block and how to be a fearless writer despite being shy and terrified.

Former broadcaster, teacher, professional cowboy, football coach, stage and film actor and author of the Cullen and Cobb mystery series, David A. Poulsen will speak about creating believable stories.

Sylvia Taylor is a writer, editor and educator from Vancouver. She was director of the Federation of BC Writers for 13 years and is a director for the Arts Council of Surrey. She will cover life story writing: finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Master of the thriller novel, Michael Slade creates monstrous villains, all-or-nothing conflict and relentless tension. Learn from him how to craft “I-can’t-put-it-down” roller-coaster fiction.

The Saturday Master Class features musicians Blu & Kelly Hopkins, who blend traditional with contemporary tunes. The song-writing, multi-instrumentalist duo will focus on creating original material, including the use of a “hook” in song construction. They will work with rhyme and meter, identifying different song forms and creating lyrics to fit within them, and demonstrate how to create imagery with lyrics – saying more with less.

In Sunday’s Master Class, Scott Fitzgerald Gray addresses the language of story. He believes that while outlining is a contentious topic among authors, both the approaches by proponents and challengers can be one hundred per cent right at the same time. His class covers an approach to plotting that can help to visualize, clarify and focus your story.

Read more: Shuswap’s Word on the Lake Writer’s Festival returns for 2021

Read more: Workshop offers nuts and bolts of writing for screen

Tickets for Michael Slade’s Shock Theatre production of Boomerang on the evening of Saturday, May 8, are $20, as are tickets for Friday evening’s Café Lit where presenters read from their work . Or purchase tickets for Café Lit, Shock Theatre and the Askew’s Writing Contest Awards Ceremony for $45.

Investigate all bios and workshop descriptions and register for the festival at More information is also available at the Word on the Lake Facebook page.