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Becky Livingston Publishes Memoir: The Suitcase and the Jar

Becky Livingston, 2015 VMI alumna, will publish her memoir, The Suitcase and the Jar: Travels with a Daughter’s Ashes, on Sept 14, 2018.

For twenty-six months, Livingston travelled to Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, India, England, Ireland and North America, coast to coast, with her daughter’s ashes. Her publisher, Caitlin Press, has called The Suitcase and the Jar a “profoundly moving story of a mother’s courage and resilience.”

Learn more about Livingston’s experience in a brief interview below and pre-order from Chapters/Indigo.

Video courtesy of Adrian Juric

Oscar of Between adapted for musical performance

Oscar of Between by Betsy Warland will be performed with musical accompaniment on September 19, 2018!

You are cordially invited to a read-through performance of The Art of Camouflage for mezzo soprano/baritone, piano & percussion by Lloyd Burritt.

Betsy’s publisher, Caitlin Press, shares the beginnings of Oscar and the epiphany of camouflage:
In 2007, at the age of sixty, Betsy Warland finds herself single and without a sense of family. On an impulse, she decides to travel to London to celebrate her birthday, where she experiences an odd compulsion to see an exhibit on the invention of military camouflage. Within the first five minutes of her visit, her lifelong feeling of being aberrant reveals its source: she had never learned the art of camouflage.
This marked the beginning of Oscar of Between: A Memoir of Identity and Ideas. Taking the name Oscar, she embarks on an intimate, nine-year quest by telling her story as “a person of between.” As Oscar, she is able to make sense of her self and the culture that shaped her. She traces this experience of in-betweenness from her childhood in the rural Midwest, through to her first queer kiss in 1978, divorce, coming out, writing life.
Read excerpts from Oscar, learn more about Betsy’s memoir of identity and ideas at Caitlin Press, and revel in Lloyd Burritt’s composition of Walt Whitman’s poetry at the Queer Arts Festival in 2014.
                               Event info:
7 pm Wednesday
                                        September 19th
                                     CMC Adaskin Salon
                                        837 Davie Street

As of Aug 27, seats are sold out.


Vancouver Manuscript Intensive Accepting Applications

The Vancouver Manuscript Intensive is accepting applications for 2019. VMI is an in-depth one-to-one mentorship program that pairs you with a professional author to develop your manuscript to its fullest potential.

VMI mentorship begins with an in-person meeting to develop a rapport, discuss your manuscript, and confirm your goals. In preparation for this meeting, your mentor will read and assess your entire manuscript, or body of work from which the basis of a manuscript is determined, before developing a suggested strategy for your ongoing work together. Our newest mentors are Jonina Kirton and Shazia Hafiz Ramji (VMI Solo).

Throughout the next six months, your mentor will provide editorial advice and feedback in three two-hour coaching sessions. Between each session you’ll share progress, queries and ideas via regular email communication. You will be given suggestions for revisions, reshaping, and additional writing required to enhance your work. As a VMI writer you will be also invited to attend two group meetings to learn more about craft, structure, and the publishing industry.

Our program culminates each year with a public reading given by each year’s graduates. This celebratory event consistently attracts an audience of more than 60 people. This spring, eight writers read at the annual VMI celebration held at the Havana Theatre, emceed by Betsy Warland. You can watch their readings here or below.

If the six-month VMI Program does not suit you, we also offer VMI Solo, where you work independently with a VMI mentor. Acceptance into VMI Solo is determined by a sample of your work, your goals, and if a suitable VMI mentor is available. The cost and duration of VMI Solo is determined directly between you and the VMI mentor. A VMI application and referral fee of $100 applies.

Applications for VMI close on November 19, 2018. Have a look at our roster of experienced and award-winning mentors, success stories from authors such as Jonina Kirton and Leanne Dunic, and contact Betsy if you have any questions!

Application deadline: November 19, 2018

Notification: November 28th, 2018
Tuition: $2,800 + GST
Tuition due by: December 14, 2018

Upcoming Deadline: The Malahat Review’s “Queer Perspectives” Issue

The Malahat Review invites writers identifying as LGBTQ2S? to submit their work for consideration for an issue celebrating contemporary queer writing in Canada!

Guest editors Ali BlytheTrevor Corkum, and Betsy Warland are interested in considering submissions of exciting contemporary LGBTQ2S? writing by poets, short-story, and creative-nonfiction authors whose work makes vivid and particular their experience of being alive in the world.

In an interview about the editing and evaluation process for the issue, Betsy emphasizes embodiment and reflexivity: “Just as the exploration of our queer bodies provokes us to ‘make it new,’ so does compelling queer writing. Everything matters! The narrative might be engaging but if the writer has given very little thought to what style, form, narrative position, and arc embodies that specific narrative, the piece will not lift off the page: you will forget what you read very quickly.”

Editors will work collaboratively to select work for the “Queer Perspectives” issue of The Malahat Review to emphasize inclusivity, trust, and diversity.

Submissions close on July 15, 2018.

Visit The Malahat Review to read more.


Chelene Knight Named Executive Director of Word Vancouver Festival

Chelene Knight

Chelene Knight, acclaimed poet and memoirist, has been appointed as the new executive director of the Word Vancouver festival, Western Canada’s largest free festival of reading and writing. Knight succeeds Bryan Pike, the festival’s fourth and previous director, in its twenty-four year history.

Knight, who studied under the mentorship of Betsy Warland at The Writer’s Studio, will continue with her writing endeavours and as the programming director of Room magazine’s Growing Room festival, as well as the managing editor of Room magazine. She will lead Word Vancouver with the help of Meghan Bell, publisher of Room magazine, who has been appointed as the development director.

In a press release, Knight said, “With a focus on mentorship and amplifying marginalized voices, I hope to take Word Vancouver to a whole new level.” Knight was appointed executive director by Word Vancouver board members after a nation-wide search for a fitting candidate.

Knight is a publishing professional as well as the author of two books, most recently the memoir, Dear Current Occupant (Book*hug, 2018). She has been named by CBC as one of 18 Canadian women writers to read in 2018 and will be a familiar face to many in the arts and beyond.


If you’re enjoying the excerpts in Oscar's Salon, buy Oscar of Between and I’ll sign the copy with a personal message.