Arts | Arts

Alexandra Writers Centre Society

A place for writers to connect with one another, share stories, encourage and support. Whether you're just learning the craft or want to hone your skills, this is the place to do it.

Our Story

Why We Exist

The following story came across my desk last year and sums up a big part of why AWCS does what it does.

“Three years ago, the idea that I could be surrounded by a caring, supportive group of like-minded people seemed like some utopian dream. It might as well be set on a cloud, where we all sprout wings and float around like butterflies. Yes, it seemed that far-fetched and impossible. I was experiencing the worst depression of my life. I withdrew from friendships. I suffered from low self-worth. I was told I had a cognitive thinking disorder, and that the negative stories my mind conjured on a daily basis perpetuated my feelings of low self esteem. I isolated myself to cope. I was not accustomed to these long bouts of doldrums that I couldn’t just snap out of, so I was growing more hopeless. Thoughts of harming myself were increasingly more common. I hated the man I was. 

One day I was asked about my job. I dismissed it, not being the most career-oriented. When asked what I would rather do, I talked about my love of writing. I had always been drawn to writing, but rarely practiced it. I didn’t think myself a good writer at the time but believed maybe with the right guidance I could be. All that said, the idea of putting my own writing into the public sphere was terrifying. I focused on all the reasons not to pursue it: I didn’t have the time. I thought I should write more before joining. I had looked up the Alexandra Writing School and it sounded too professional, or too advanced in skill level for a newbie like me. But, with the coaxing of a close friend, I signed up for my first AWCS short story class. I was petrified.

I’ve now been a member of AWCS for three years, having enrolled in multiple classes – both novel and short story – and am supremely grateful for their persistence in fostering an open, caring community dedicated to the pursuit of writing. There is such a mutually shared desire for writing, and not even to be the best but just to see it through – to develop confidence in your literary voice.  Even without writing, just having a collective of amiable souls under a single literary umbrella gave someone like me ambition – an attainable goal I could work toward on my own volition – something I hadn’t had in a long time. I’ve since developed my own group of nerdy, literary friends from various AWCS classes, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They’re my anchor and have become some of my closest companions. The biggest change in my life brought on by AWCS was that I began to identify as a writer. We all battle through the same author struggles, and there’s solace in that sort of shared perseverance. 

AWCS has, without any doubt, bettered my life. I would recommend them to any person who may even have the inkling of an urge to write. At worst, you may just fall into a great group of friends.” 

Our Impact

What We Do

The Alexandra Writers Centre supports and encourages writers in the art of creative writing. Through courses and workshops to hone or develop your skills, or general discussion groups to connect with other writers, we provide an environment like no other. Located in the new cSpace King Edward arts hub in Marda Loop, art is in every corner of this historic building. Write and be inspired through a myriad of programs.

Our members come from all walks of life. Youth, hobbyists, memoir writers, those on their way to publication and more.

With over 500 members, the needs are ever-changing. Since 2016 we have seen a growth of over 30% in membership and people accessing our programs. Youth make up almost 15% of that number.

So many have realized their dreams of publication, have gone on to be mentors and teachers.

Our youth prosper in other areas of their lives: improvement in school and social life because they have found those who “get them”. They are better equipped to meet the challenges of adulthood.

Some of our members come to writing to overcome trauma or other real life situations.

 

 

Our Programs

How We Do It

Forget what you’ve heard that writing is a solitary endeavour. This is only partially true. While the writing itself takes discipline and a quiet place, no writer has to go it alone. When you get stuck, there’s nothing better than being able to bounce ideas off of a friend or colleague. For most, family doesn’t understand what it takes.

Everything you’re feeling, someone else has been there.

Courses and workshops keep you engaged and accountable. Writing groups can do the same. And when the words just won’t come, socialize with like-minded individuals, network, get advice.

We offer an annual Author Development Program, Writer in Residence Program, Blue Pencil sessions whenever you need them and year-round courses, workshops, presentations, round-table discussions, writers circle, poetry café and so much more.

Our Requests

What You Can Do

In 2018, AWCS turns 37 and to celebrate we are collecting birthday wishes. Our goal is to receive 1000 wishes of $37 by September 22, 2018.

Our youth programs are growing at an astounding rate. Support our youth with a program sponsorship to cover supplies, new programming initiatives and more.

The Writer in Residence Program supports nearly 100 writers every spring and we are always in need of sponsors so we can keep programming costs low.

All donations and sponsorships are tax deductible. Sponsors receive recognition on our website and all marketing materials.

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Contact

Robin van Eck

Executive Director

403.264.4730

Charitable Number: 119211852RR0001

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