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Writers festival features Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate

This year's Wild Words North writers festival continues today with a series of virtual workshops and a reading from Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate.
Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer
Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer, Parliamentary Poet Laureate 2021-2022.

This year's Wild Words North writers festival continues this weekend with a series of virtual workshops and a reading from Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate.

“From song writing to storytelling, from student writers to those who have been creating for decades, Wild Words North hopes to encourage our region’s writers to share and to learn and in so doing broaden PLRAC’s mandate to provide opportunities for arts and culture and heritage for the people in northeast BC,” says Artistic Director Donna Kane.

Saturday afternoon features a reading and discussion with Louise Bernice Halfe — Sky Dancer, who was appointed Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate for 2021-22 earlier this year.

Halfe is the ninth poet to hold the title, and well regarded and awarded for her works Bear Bones and Feathers (1994), Blue Marrow (2004), The Crooked Good (2007) and Burning in this Midnight Dream (2016), and for weaving Cree language and teachings into her works.

Halfe will be joined by University of Victoria writing professor Gregory Scofield, won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 1994 for his debut collection, The Gathering: Stones for the Medicine Wheel, and has since published seven further volumes of poetry.

The writers festival opened Friday with performances by Theresa Gladue, Serena Brent, Paul Brent, Penny Dumais, and Shelley Supernant. 

It also features readings this weekend by local writers Denise Gardiner and Norma Rrae, as well as Tim Lilburn, Jan Swicky, Robert Bringhurst, and George Murray.

This year's Ekphrastic Writing Exhibit, which focuses on a writer’s response to a work of visual art, features readings from Seanah Roper, Jeannie Lindgren, Pamela den Ouden, and Shannon M. Craig.

Workshops include the art of writing books for kids, how to produce a literary podcast, and a crash course on getting published.

The Wild Words North festival continues through Sunday, Sept. 26. Many of the festival's events can be found and replayed on the Peace Liard Regional Arts Council YouTube channel.