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Write Here Readers Series

Explore writing from the North Island with NIC’s Write Here Readers Series and discover a region rich in stories and storytellers.

All Write Here Readers' Series events are open to the public, so come out and enjoy an exciting series of free lectures, launches, and intimate literary discussions, where you'll enjoy writers of national significance and writers from our own back yard.

Attend this exciting series of free lectures, launches, and intimate literary discussions, where you'll enjoy writers of national significance and writers from our own back yard. Join our Facebook Group and stay informed on all Write Here Readers Series’ upcoming events, as we discover stories that celebrate the people and places that make the North Island unique.

Past Events

Choose an author to view reading information.


When: Thursday, April 7, 7 pm
Where: Java Shack, 1041 Shoppers Row, Campbell River campus

Carrie Saxifrage loves adventure and, in 2006, commenced her most life-affirming adventure yet: putting climate change at the center of her personal and political decisions. This is The Big Swim, the title of her most recent book. It combines adventure and climate change, self-discovery and science. Carrie has written for The Vancouver Observer since 2006. Her reporting on the impact of the Northern Gateway Pipeline on First Nations in BC garnered significant critical acclaim.

When: Thursday, March 31, 7 pm
Where: North Island College, Tyee Lounge, Comox Valley campus

Join Victoria-based poets and authors Terence & Patricia Young as they read from Summertime Swamp Love and The End of the Ice Age.

Patricia has published eleven collections of poetry and one of short fiction. Her numerous awards include the Dorothy Livesay Book Prize, the Pat Lowther Awards and Arc's Poem of the Year. She has been shortlisted twice for the Governor General's Award. She will be reading from Summertime Swamp Love (Palmpsest Press).

Terence's five books include two collections of poetry and two collections of short fiction and a novel, which was awarded the Victoria Butler Book Prize. His poetry has been shortlisted for the Governor General's Award, the Gerald Lampert Award and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. He is co-founder of the international literary journal, The Claremont Review.

When: Monday, March 7, 7 pm
Where: Room S108, Port Alberni Campus

When: Tuesday, March 8, 7 pm
Where: Café Guido, 7135 Market St, Port Hardy

When: Wednesday, March 9, 7 pm
Where: Java Shack, 1281 Shoppers Row, Campbell River

Join Garry Gottfriedson, award-winning poet, as he reads from Deaf Heaven, Chaos Inside Thunderstorms, Skin Like Mine and Whiskey Bullets. A poet, teacher, and rancher, Garry Gottfriedson is a member of the Secwepemc First Nation. His work is strongly rooted in his cultural teachings. Gottfriedson has studied creative writing under Allen Ginsberg and Marianne Faithful and holds an MA in Education from Simon Fraser University. He has nine published book and his poetry has been published nationally and internationally.

When: Tuesday, March 1, 7 pm
Where: North Island College, Tyee Lounge, Comox Valley campus

When: Thursday, March 3, 7 pm
Where: Café Guido, 7135 Market St, Port Hardy

Join award-winning author John Vaillant as he reads from The Golden Spruce & The Jaguar’s Children.

John Valliant made a name for himself with his bestselling non-fiction, The Golden Spruce (Norton, 2005) and The Tiger (Knopf, 2010). The Golden Spruce won several awards, including the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction (Canada). His debut novel, The Jaguar’s Children (HMH/Knopf Canada) is a suspenseful narrative inspired by the immigrant experience he witnessed while living in Oaxaca, Mexico.

When: Thursday, February 25, 7 pm
Where: Tyee Hall Lounge, Comox Valley Campus

Munro will read from Blue Sonoma, the Canadian winner of the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize, the world’s largest prize for a first edition single collection of English poetry.

Blue Sonoma, published by Brick Books, is Munro’s sixth collection of poetry. The poetry was written while she was living on Vancouver Island and caring for her late husband suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It describes his crossing into Alzheimer’s with wit, wisdom and candour. Munro’s previous books include Active Pass (Pedlar Press) and Point No Point (McClelland & Stewart).

Her work has received the Bliss Carman Poetry Award, the Macmillan Prize for Poetry, the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry (2nd place), was nominated for the Pat Lowther Award and is included in The Best Canadian Poetry 2013. She is a member of the collaborative poetry group Yoko’s Dogs whose first book, Whisk, was published by Pedlar Press. She lives in Vancouver.

When: Monday, January 4, 7 pm
Where: Mount Waddington Regional Campus, 9300 Trustee Road in Port Hardy

Join NIC Monday, January 4 to hear award-winning author Monique Gray Smith read from her recent works.

Smith's first published novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience, is a unique story of hope that captures the irrepressible resilience of Indigenous peoples everywhere. It won the 2014 Burt Award for First Nation, Métis and Inuit Literature and is used today in schools and Universities across Canada to share Indigenous history through story. Due to come out in March 2016, her next book My Heart Fills with Happiness is a children’s board book with award winning Cree/Métis illustrator, Julie Flett. Monique is a mixed heritage woman of Cree, Lakota an Scottish ancestry living on Lkwungen territory in Victoria, BC.

"Smith's talks stress nurturing, loving and fostering the potential of each and every child in an appropriate cultural context as an essential way for communities to heal and move forward." The Vancouver Weekly

When: Wednesday, October 7, 7 pm
Where: Tyee Hall Lounge, Comox Valley Campus

Join award-winning author Brian Brett for an evening of poetry and fiction as he reads from his recent works. Former chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada and a journalist for four decades, Brett is best known as a poet, memoir writer, and fictionist. He is the author of twelve books including his best-seller and award winning non-fiction book Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life. He is currently completing the third of a trilogy of memoirs, Tuco And The Scattershot World: A Life With Birds. Learn more at leave site.

“With inventive settings, lyrical descriptions and sophisticated use of dream imagery, Brett creates a myriad of complex worlds to perplex and stimulate the reader.” The Vancouver Sun

When: Tuesday, October 13, 7 pm
Where: Tyee Hall Lounge, Comox Valley Campus

Join Broadview Press founder and Nanaimo-based author Don LePan as he reads from his recent novel Rising Stories: A Novel and discusses the place of tall buildings in our world. Rising Stories is a sometimes wrenching, sometimes amusing, always thought-provoking novel about growing up and growing old; about hope and ambition; about cities and skyscrapers; about the world of the imagination and the world as it is; about love and desire; about what God or good may be; and about death and what we hope or fear may follow (Press Forward Publishing). Learn more at leave site.

When: Thursday, October 15, 7 pm
Where: Port Alberni Campus, Room S108


Discover “The Truth About Writing YA (Young Adult) Fiction” with award-winning Canadian author Monique Polak in this hands-on workshop for both beginner or practiced writers. Learn the many steps that go into writing a YA novel — from generating ideas and doing research to getting a manuscript ready for publication. In addition to reading excerpts from her work, Monique will share loads of practical tips. She will also do a short writing exercise designed to help participants find the stories they most need to tell. Monique Polak is the author of 17 novels for young adults. She is a two-time winner of the Quebec Writers’ Federation Prize for Children’s and YA Literature. She has been teaching English and Humanities at Marianopolis College in Montreal for more than 30 years and is a frequent contributor to the Montreal Gazette and to Postmedia publications across the country. Learn more about Monique at leave site.


Ann and Gary

When: Tuesday, February 10 at 7 pm
Where: Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus

Enjoy an evening of fiction and poetry with North Island College's Write Here Readers Series as celebrated local authors Ann Eriksson and Gary Geddes read from their recent works High Clear Bell of Morning and What Does a House Want? at NIC’s Comox Valley campus, Stan Hagen Theatre on Tuesday, February 10 at 7pm. All are welcome to attend.

As a novelist and biologist, Ann Eriksson combines a background in ecology with her life experiences to create works of fiction grounded in nature and populated with compelling characters.

Her recent release High Clear Bell of Morning (Douglas & McIntyre, 2014) is an elegant and affecting novel that illustrates the upheaval in the lives of families confronted with psychotic disorders, while at the same time celebrating the natural world and sending a cautionary warning of what we all have to lose.

What Does A House Want? Selected Poems (Red Hen Press, 2014) is described as a tongue in the ear and a red-hot needle to the conscience collection of poems written in Gary Geddes’s “brilliantly polished, cinematographic, white-knuckled style” (Montreal Gazette).

Gary Geddes has written and edited more than forty books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, criticism, translation, and anthologies, and won a dozen national and international literary awards, including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Americas Region), the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence, and the Gabriela Mistral Prize from Chile.

When: Thursday, Nov. 6 at 1:30 pm
Where: Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus

Join celebrated author and poet Don McKay as he reads from his latest collection of works, Angular Conformity: The Collected Poems 1970 - 2014 at 1:30 pm on Nov. 6 at the Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus. This presentation, offered as part of the Write Here Readers Series, is open to the public and free for all to attend.

Angular Conformity presents, for the first time, the collected poetic works of one of Canada's preeminent writers. Taken together, these poems comprise a body of work without equal. McKay gives life to phenomenological philosophy in playful and lucid - but never simple - verse.

Matt Radar

When: Oct 18
Where: Comox Valley Art Gallery

Join Matt Rader as he reads from his new short story collection What I Want to Tell Goes Like This (Nightwood Editions). In What I Want to Tell Goes Like This, Rader braids tales of Vancouver Island’s turbulent labour history with present-day stories of people living in the same landscape, in the indeterminate echo of history. Winner of the Joseph S. Stauffer Prize for Literature from the Canada Council for the Arts, Rader teaches in the Department of Creative Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. The final story in this collection, All This Was a Long Time Ago, about a ferry ride across the Salish Sea with the ghost of James Joyce, was awarded the Jack Hodgins Founders Award from The Malahat Review. Learn more about Matt Radar at leave site.

Kim Bannerman

When: Oct 22
Where: Comox Valley campus

Join acclaimed Cumberland author Kim Bannerman as she officially releases Mark of the Magpie, her latest novel and the much-anticipated sequel to her 2011 Victorian murder mystery Bucket of Blood. Immerse yourself in evening of gothic mystery staged in BC history as Bannerman reads from Mark of the Magpie: a tale of corruptions, bitter artistic rivalries, betrayal and clandestine affairs, where, in a shining seaside city of flowers and fine china, everyone has something to hide and nothing is quite what it seems. Kim Bannerman is the author of four previous novels. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in publications across Europe, Australia, and North America. Learn more about Kim Bannerman at leave site.

When: Nov 5
Where: Comox Valley campus

All are invited to attend a reading by Ian Weir leave site, an award-winning screenwriter, playwright and novelist, at the Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus. This reading, part of the Write Here Readers Series, begins at 7 pm and admission is free.

Ian Weir is the author of Daniel O’Thunder (D&M Publishers Inc, 2009) and three young adult books, and has written extensively for television, including over 100 episodes for nearly two dozen series, ranging from ReBoot to Flashpoint. He was the executive producer of the acclaimed crime-thriller Dragon Boys, a CBC mini-series that first aired in 2007. Amongst his awards and nominations, he has won two Geminis, four Leos and a Writers’ Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award.

He will be reading from his new book, Will Starling, which the National Post has described as “…one of the 25 most anticipated (Canadian) books of 2014”.

When: Mar 2, 3, 4
Where: Campbell River, Port Alberni and Port Hardy Campuses

Join Mohawk/Tuscarora writer Janet Rogers for an evening of poetry and spoken word performance.

As an artist and activist in the Victoria/Vancouver area for over 20 years, Janet Rogers is well known for her award-winning radio documentaries and as host of the Native Waves Radio program on CFUV FM and Tribal Clefs on CBC Radio 1 in Victoria BC. Her poetry CDs Firewater (2009), Got Your Back (2012) and 6 Directions (2013), have all been nominated in the best spoken word categories by Native Music Award programs throughout North America.

When: Mar 12
Where: Comox Valley Campus

Ivan Coyote has been pushing boundaries for years; blurring the lines of gender, the written word, storytelling, and music.

Join the Write Here Readers Series for an evening with Ivan. E. Coyote. As one of Canada’s only transgender household names, Coyote’s body of work has long provided a space for discussion surrounding all things gender-related. An award-winning author of eight collections of short stories, one novel, three CDs, four short fi lms and a renowned performer, Ivan’s first love is live storytelling. Learn more about Ivan at leave site.

When: Mar 26
Where: Comox Valley Campus

Join celebrated BC poet Russell Thornton as he reads from his collections: Birds, Metal, Stones & Rain and The Hundred Lives. Russell Thornton is the author of six collections of poetry. His poems have appeared in many anthologies, among them Open Wide a Wilderness: Canadian Nature Poems and Best Canadian Poetry in English 2012. His work has the rare ability to be keenly observant of the minute details of his environment and intensely introspective. His startling imagery will stay with you long after turning the final page. Learn more about Russell Thornton at leave site.


When: June 10, 2014
Where: Cafe Guido, Port Hardy at 7 pm

George Littlechild

Attend an evening with author George Littlechild at Cafe Guido in Port Hardy on April 23, 2014. The reading begins at 7 pm and is free for everyone to attend.

George Littlechild was born in Alberta, the son of a Plains Cree mother and a Celtic father, and was raised by foster parents in Edmonton. George has exhibited in galleries around the world, and his art is in several important collections. Many of his paintings are inspired by the Cree concept of Wahkomkanak, which means “our ancestors.”

In addition to his artwork, he has also written and illustrated several children’s books, including This Land is My Land, which won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. His most recent book is The Spirit Giggles Within. He lives in Courtenay, BC.

When: April 15, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Where: Tyee Building, Comox Valley campus

Kim Bannerman

Attend an evening with author Kim Bannerman at the Comox Valley campus on April 15, 2014, as she launches her latest novel, The Tattooed Wolf. This reading, part of the Write Here Readers Series, begins at 7:30 pm in the Student Lounge, Tyee Building. Admission is free.

Kim Bannerman has written four novels, including Bucket of Blood, a historical murder mystery based in the Comox Valley. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in publications across Europe, Australia, and North America, including Room of One's Own, Parabola, She's Shameless, Teen Angst Poetry, and The Girl at the End of the World. She currently resides in Cumberland.

When: March 26 and 27
Where: various locations

Lee Maracle

Lee Maracle, the author of Sojourner’s and Sundogs, Daughters Are Forever, Will's Garden, and Ravensong, will read from her works on March 26 in Campbell River and on March 27 in Port Alberni.

Ms. Maracle was born in North Vancouver and is a member of the Sto: Loh nation. The mother of four and grandmother of seven Maracle is currently an instructor at the University of Toronto. She is also the Traditional Teacher for First Nation’s House and instructor with the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and the S.A.G.E. [Support for Aboriginal Graduate Education] as well as the Banff Centre for the Arts writing instructor. In 2009, Maracle received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from St. Thomas University. Maracle recently received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work promoting writing among Aboriginal Youth. Maracle has served as Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, and the University of Western Washington.

Lee Maracle will appear at the Theatre at the Campbell River campus at 7:30 pm on March 26, and at the Port Alberni campus on March 27. Both readings are free to attend and open to the community.

When: March 13, 2014
Where: Cafe Guido, Port Hardy

Jeannette Armstrong

Join NIC staff and students for an evening with author and Indigenous activist Jeannette Armstrong at Cafe Guido in Port Hardy on March 13, 2014. The reading begins at 7 pm and is free for everyone to attend.

Jeannette Armstrong is Syilx Okanagan, a fluent speaker of nsyilxcen and a traditional knowledge keeper within her Nation. She currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy at UBC Okanagan, and she has a Ph.D. in Environmental Ethics and Syilx Indigenous Literatures.

Awarded BC’s Community Achievement Award in 2012, Armstrong is also the recipient of the EcoTrust Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership, and distinguished with Honorary Doctorate’s from the University of BC, the University of St. Thomas, and the University of Queens. She holds the Okanagan College Lifetime Fellow award and is the Executive Director of En’owkin Centre, the cultural research and education facility of the Okanagan Nation.

Armstrong has been instrumental in the research and implementation of a successful nsyilxcen adult language fluency and revitalization program. Her published works include literary titles and academic writing on a wide variety of Indigenous issues. She currently serves on Environment Canada’s Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee.

When:Mar 17 and 19
Where: various locations

Sarah de Leeuw

NIC’s Write Here Readers Series is pleased to present Dr. Sarah de Leeuw, a creative writer and human geographer, who will read from her work on March 17 and March 19 in the Comox Valley.

A two-time recipient of a CBC Literary Prize for Creative Non-Fiction, she is the author of three creative literary books including Geographies of a Lover which, in 2013, won the Dorothy Livesay Award, a BC Book Prize granted annually to the best book of poetry by a BC author. She currently holds a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) Partnered Scholars Award and is the Research Director of the recently established Health Arts Research Centre (HARC) and is an associate professor in the Northern Medical Program at UNBC, the Faculty of Medicine at UBC, where she teaches and undertakes research in the areas of medical humanities and health inequalities.

Her creative writing appears in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Prism International, Fiddlehead, Riddle Fence, ARC Poetry Magazine, filling station and Wascana. Her research appears in multiple scholarly journals, including The Annals of the American Association of Geographers, The Canadian Journal of Native Education, The International Journal of Mental Health and Addictions, and The Canadian Geographer.

Dr. de Leeuw will appear at the Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus, at 7:30 pm on March 17. She will also appear on March 19th at 7 pm, at the Fanny Bay Hall. These readings are free to attend and open to the community.

When: March 6, 7:30 pm
Where: Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus

JJ Lee

NIC’s Write Here Readers Series is pleased to present JJ Lee, the author of The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit, who will read from his work on March 6 at the Comox Valley campus.

Critically-acclaimed, The Measure of a Man was shortlisted for the 2011 Governor-General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction, the 2012 BC Book Prizes Hubert Evans Prize for Non-Fiction, and the 2012 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize. Lee received the National Magazine Award for Best Short Feature. He lives in New Westminster and leads a bicycle gang made up of 3- to 10-year-old boys and girls, known as the Royal City Bike Rangers.

JJ Lee will appear at the Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus, at 7:30 pm on March 6. This reading is free to attend and open to the community.

When: Feb 25 to 27
Where: various locations

Sharon Butala

NIC’s Write Here Readers Series is pleased to present Sharon Butala, author of sixteen books of fiction and non-fiction, at three separate events: Feb. 25 at the Fanny Bay Hall, starting at 7 pm; Feb. 26 at the NIC Theatre at the Campbell River campus, starting at 7:30 pm; and Feb. 27 at the Stan Hagen Theatre at the Comox Valley campus, starting at 7:30 pm.

Butala's work speaks to the collision of geography and spirituality, blending myth and truth with the Canadian landscapes that she loves. Always interested in the stories of women, she endeavors to represent new viewpoints as she reinterprets western society, and her stories don't hesitate to use the brutal, the unpleasant, or the shocking to peel away the layers of rural life.

When: Nov. 26, 2013 starting at 7 pm
Where: Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley Campus

Matt Rader and Renée Sarojini Saklikar

Write Here Readers Series is proud to present Matt Rader and Renée Sarojini Saklikar, who will be reading from their works at the Stan Hagen Theatre at the Comox Valley campus on Nov. 26. 2013, starting at 7 pm. Admission is free.

Matt Rader's most recent collection of poems is A Doctor Pedalled Her Bicycle Over the River Arno (House of Anansi, 2011). His poems and stories have appeared in magazines and journals around the world, most recently The Walrus, The New Quarterly, The Malahat Review, 32 Poems (US), All Hollows (US/RO), and B O D Y (CZ). His first collection of stories is forthcoming from Nightwood Editions in 2014. He lives in the Comox Valley.

Renée Sarojini Saklikar was 23 years old when her aunt and uncle were murdered on June 23, 1985 in the bombing of Air India Flight 182. In her first book of poems, Children of Air India: un/authorized exhibits and interjections (Harbour Publishing, 2013), Saklikar's powerful, deeply personal work offers a fresh perspective on a heartbreaking chapter in Canada’s history—the bombing of Air India Flight 182 that killed all 329 passengers and crew, including 82 children under the age of 13. Her poems ask us to confront and contemplate the nature of loss, the impact of terrorist acts, and the response of our nation to these events.

When: Wednesday, Oct.28 starting at 7 pm
Where: Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley Campus

Arleen Paré

Join NIC staff and students for an evening of literature with Victoria poet and novelist Arleen Paré on Oct. 28th, 2013 at the Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus. The reading begins at 7:30 pm and is free for all members of the public to attend.

Arleen Paré's first book, Paper Trail, was nominated for the Dorothy Livesay BC Book Award for Poetry and won the Victoria Butler Book Prize in 2008.

Her new novel, Leaving Now, was released in 2012 by Caitlin Press. Her third book, a collection of poetry called Lake of Two Mountains, is forthcoming from Brick Books in 2014. Originally from Montreal, Paré lived in Vancouver for many years, where she worked as a social worker in community mental health.


When:April 26, 2013
Where: Mt. Waddington Regional campus

Wanda John-Kehewin has studied Criminology, Sociology, Aboriginal studies and creative writing with Simon Fraser University’s’ TWS Writing Program. She uses writing as a therapeutic medium to understanding and responding to the near decimation of First Nations culture, language and tradition, and her work has been published in Quills Poetry, Salish Seas, UBC’s Aboriginal Anthology, and SFU’s Emerge Anthology. Her first book of poetry, In The Dog House, comes out in April 2013.

In The Dog House was written with forthright honesty for those of First Nations ancestory who understand pain and loss. It explores the effects of colonization on a personal level, through a First Nation woman’s perspective, and provides a raw discussion on the loss of culture, finding ways to adapt through reflection, and stumbling upon ‘right’ answers. Using taboo topics like alcohol addiction, abandonment, religion, and sexual abuse, In the Dog House uses the creative writing process to break through shame and stigma while embarking on a healing journey.

"Playful, painful, indignant, compassionate, a new voice emerges into the realms of Canadian poetry. Wanda John-Kehewin is a smart, sharp observer, and an articulate craftswoman. Her poetry shines.” – Joanne Arnott

When: March 18, 19, and 20, 2013
Where: Various locations

Eden Robinson is the renowned author of Traplines, Monkey Beach, The Sasquatch at Home, and the much anticipated Blood Sports. She lives in Kitamaat Village, B.C. and is a member of the Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations.

“Monkey Beach creates a vivid contemporary landscape that draws her reader deep into a traditional world, a hidden universe of premonition, pain and power.” - Thomas King

When: March 7, 2013
Where: Comox Valley Campus

Lorna Crozier’s latest publication is a book of prose poems called The Book of Marvels: A Compendium of Everyday Things. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a fellow of the Royal Society and a Distinguished Professor at the University of Victoria, as well as the recipient of several awards for poetry, including the Governor-General’s Award, and two honorary doctorates for her contributions to Canadian literature.

“What a joy to have a volume of selected poems by this marvelous Canadian poet, storyteller, truth-teller, visionary.” - Ursula LeGuin (The New York Times Book Review)

Patrick Lane is one of Canada's pre-eminent poets, winner of numerous awards, including the Governor General's Award for Poetry, the Canadian Authors Association Award, the Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence and three National Magazine Awards. His distinguished career spans fifty years and twenty-five volumes of poetry as well as award-winning books of fiction and non-fiction, including Red Dog Red Dog and What the Stones Remember.

“Lane is talented and five decades as a poet are evident in his prose: rich and evocative, yet always precise.” —The Observer (UK)

When: February 13, 2013
Where: Campbell River Campus

When: February 14, 2013
Where: Comox Valley Campus

Esi Edugyan’s Half Blood Blues won the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, The Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, and the Roger’s Writers Trust Fiction Prize. It was also long listed for the 2012 Orange Prize for fiction.

Steven Price’s first book, Anatomy of Keys, a poetic biography of Harry Houdini, won the Gerald Lampert Award, was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Prize, and was named a Globe & Mail Best Book of the Year. His second book and first novel, Into That Darkness, is set on Vancouver Island.

When: Wednesday, Jan. 30 starting at 7 pm
Where: Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley Campus

When: Monday, Feb. 25, starting at 12 noon
Where: NIC Theatre at the Campbell River Campus


Charlotte Gill worked as a tree-planter in clear cuts across Canada for 17 years. Her bestselling memoir, Eating Dirt: Deep Forest, Big Timber and Life with the Tree-planting Tribe, journeys through BC’s coastal rainforests in exploration of the wild and solitary lives of professional silviculture workers. This Vancouver Island story is a slice of tree-planting life in all its soggy, gritty exuberance as well as a look at the role conifer plantations play in the logging industry.

Eating Dirt was nominated for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize, the Charles Taylor Prize, two BC Book Prizes, and won the 2012 BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. Gill teaches creative writing at UBC and the Banff Centre and is this year’s Haig-Brown Writer-in-Residence in Campbell River. Read the NIC News Release pdf.

When: Thursday, Dec. 13, at 7 pm
Where: Zocalo Café, Courtenay

Dinner and a story

On Thursday, December 13th, writers and faculty from North Island College’s English Department, along with Comox Valley writers, will read between each of the six-course Tapas dinner offered by Zocalo Café.

“The story slams are great, but a little intense. I wanted to combine the readings with something more relaxed,” explains Steve Schoenhoff, who teaches creative writing courses at NIC. “Mixing story-telling and dining seemed like a perfect combination. Think of it as a literary sandwich.”

Featured writers include Karina Kudryavtseva, Anne Cumming, Harold Macy, Danny Zanbilowicz, and Leela Tiwari. Read the NIC News Release pdf.

When: Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7 pm
Where: Union Street Grotto, Courtenay

Steve Schoenhoff Scholarship

Help NIC instructors and authors raise money for the new Steve Schoenhoff Creative Writing Scholarship. Join Derek Hanebury, Steve Schoenhoff, Matt Rader, and Janet Bergunder as they read from selected works. This event is open to the public. Admission is by donation to the annual scholarship.

Starting in 2013, the award will be available to a full- or part-time continuing student college-wide, with the highest grade in a creative writing course in the previous academic year. Overall grade point average will also be considered. Read the NIC News Release pdf.

When: Tuesday, Oct 23, at 7 pm
Where: NIC Theatre, Comox Valley campus

Cornelia Hoogland

Hornby Island poet Cornelia Hoogland returns to NIC read from her new book Woods Wolf Girl, October 23 at the Campbell River campus. Based on the fairy tale, Red Riding Hood, Woods Wolf Girl (Wolsak and Wynn, 2011) is Hoogland’s 6th book of poetry. It is shortlisted for the 2012 Relit Award, which acknowledges the best new literary works released by independent publishers. The fairy tale is also the source of her play, Hungry Wolf, chosen to premiere at the Women Playwrights International in Stockholm, Sweden, this past August. In May 2013, Fountainhead Theatre will produce the play's Canadian premiere in London, Ontario. Hoogland's 5th book of poetry, Crow (Black Moss Press, 2011), was longlisted for the 2012 Relit Award and Sea Level was a finalist in the CBC 2012 Literary Nonfiction Awards. Hoogland founded Poetry London in 2004. Read the NIC News Release pdf.

When: Tuesday, Oct 16, at 7:30 pm
Where: Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus

Emily St. John Mandel

Emily St. John Mandel was born in Comox and grew up on Denman Island. She studied English literature at North Island College and contemporary dance at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York. Her most recent novel, The Lola Quartet, was the #1 Indie Next pick for May 2012. Her previous novels are Last Night in Montreal (an Indie Next pick and a finalist for ForeWord Magazine’s 2009 Book of the Year) and The Singer’s Gun (winner of an Indie Bookseller’s Choice Award and a #1 Indie Next pick.) Her essays and short stories have been included in numerous anthologies. She is married and lives in Brooklyn. Read the NIC News Release pdf.


Kim Bannerman

When: Wednesday, Sep. 21, reception at 7 pm, reading to follow
Where: Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus

Immerse yourself in a night of the Comox Valley’s most twisted, wicked fiction yet. Don’t miss Kim Bannerman as she reads from her up-and-coming novel, Bucket of Blood, at this free launch.

Part BC history, part gothic murder mystery, Bucket of Blood is a grim journey through loss, self-discovery, redemption, and vengeance that will surely horrify the faint of heart.

Kim Bannerman’s stories have appeared in publications worldwide. She has three published novels: The Tattooed Wolf (Double Dragon, 2004), The Wolf of Gilsbury Cross (Double Dragon, 2006), and The Fire Song (Fox and Bee, 2011). Her fourth novel, Bucket of Blood, is available now.

Bill Gaston Dede Crane

When: Thursday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 pm
Where: Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus

Bill Gaston is the author of several much-praised story collections and novels, including Sex is Red, The Good Body, Mount Appetite, and Sointula, and is the recipient of many prizes and accolades. In addition to his Giller Prize nomination in 2002, he was the inaugural recipient of the Timothy Findley Prize, awarded by the Writers' Trust of Canada to a distinguished male writer for a stellar body of work. He lives with his wife, writer Dede Crane, and family in Victoria, British Columbia.

Dede Crane is the author of several novels including the nationally acclaimed Sympathy, which was a finalist for the Victoria Butler Book Prize, and the teen novel The 25 Pains of Kennedy Baines. Her most recent books are The Cult of Quick Repair, a collection of stories and (as co-editor) Great Expectations, a collection of essays about the experience of giving birth. Her first published story was short-listed for the CBC Literary Award, and she has since published stories in numerous literary journals, as well as reviewing books for The Globe and Mail, The Shambhala Sun, and The Times-Colonist.

Carol Neufeld

When: Thursday, Nov. 24, reception at 7 pm, reading to follow
Where: Comox Valley Art Gallery

Joe Denham is the author of two poetry collections, Flux (2003) and Windstorm (2009), and one novel, The Year of Broken Glass (2011). His work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including Open Field: 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets, The New Canon: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry and Breathing Fire 2: Canada's New Poets. He lives with his wife and two children in Halfmoon Bay, BC, and works as a commercial fisherman throughout coastal British Columbia.

Kirsty Elliot was accidently born in England because she’s Scottish. Her mom was a midwife and her Dad was a chemical engineer. She lived in Carnoustie until she was three and then moved to the Bahamas until she was seven. Life was all glass bottom boats and swimming all day until her dad was recruited by a nuclear power plant in Ontario. She spent the rest of her childhood in Inverhuron and then she thinks she went to high school in Port Elgin but she’s kind of blocked it out. She attended Trent University until a global cycling addiction prevented her from finishing her Native Studies degree. She spent a decade living in the Yukon and Northwest Territories before moving down south to care take a dreamy, private island. She spent three years living all alone in a house that floated in the ocean and looked like a walnut that fell from outer space. It was here that the poems in True (Leaf Press, 2011) began to make themselves known. She now lives with her husband and their two children on Lasqueti Island where they cleared some land, dug some ponds, made a garden and built a cute little plastic shack. They just spent their fourth winter all together in the plastic fantastic. So please buy this book. Hell, buy two.

Carol Neufeld, a Comox Valley-based poet, reads from the unpublished collection “Refugia”. This collection explores what it has meant to be human in the Comox region over the last ten thousand years. Her published works include Drums & Colours (2002), People of the Book (1999), The Country Where Love Begins (1998), and Gusting to Ninety (1996). Her poems have been read and published internationally; commissioned for CBC radio; as video at Visible Verse, Pacific Cinématheque; performed at the Campbell River Writers Festival, Words on the Water; performed at the Sointula Writers Festival; and performed in Ireland. She is an alumnus of the Banff Centre Writing Studio and has an M.F.A. in creative writing.

Jan Zwicky

When: Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 pm
Where: Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus

Jan Zwicky’s newest poetry collection is Forge, which has just been released from Gaspereau Press. Other collections include Wittgenstein Elegies(Brick Books, 1986), The New Room (Coach House Press, 1989), Songs for Relinquishing the Earth (Brick, 1998) which won the Governor General’s Award in 1999, Robinson’s Crossing (Brick, 2004) which won the Dorothy Livesay Prize, and Thirty-Seven Small Songs & Thirteen Silences (Gaspereau Press, 2005). Her books of philosophy include Lyric Philosophy (UTP, 1992; second edition, Gaspereau, forthcoming), Wisdom & Metaphor (Gaspereau, 2003, 2nd ed., 2008), and Plato as Artist (Gaspereau, 2009). Her poetry has been translated into French, Spanish, Czech, and Serbo-Croatian.

Zwicky has published widely as an essayist on issues in music, poetry, philosophy, and the environment. She has taught creative writing at the University of New Brunswick, led numerous workshops, taught in the Writing Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and lectured widely in North America and Europe. She has taught philosophy at a number of North American universities, most recently, the University of Victoria. She is also a violinist, with a strong interest in baroque performance practice. Since 1986, she has edited poetry for Brick Books. A native of Alberta, she now lives on Quadra Island, off the west coast of British Columbia.

Gary Geddes

When: Wednesday, January 11th
Reading at 7:30
Where: Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus

Gary Geddes has written and edited more than forty books and won a dozen national and international literary awards, including the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Americas Region), the Lt.-Governor's Award for Literary Excellence (BC), and the Gabriela Mistral Prize from the government of Chile.

Gary Geddes has written a much-anticipated book called Drink the Bitter Root: A writer’s search for justice and redemption in Africa, based on his trauma and human rights interviews with victims of violence in Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somaliland.

When: Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 pm
Where: Stan Hagen Theatre, Comox Valley campus

When: Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7:30 pm
Where: Mt. Waddington Region, Cafe Guido

Garry Thomas Morse is the author of Transversals for Orpheus, Streams, Death in Vancouver, and After Jack. In 2008, he received the City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist. His current book Discovery Passages (Talonbooks) is the first collection of poetry about the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) First Nations. His sixth book (and second book of fiction) concerning surrealist and speculative genres are available at Talonbooks.

Andrew Findlay

When: Wednesday, March 14, at 7:30 pm
Where: Trades Building, Room 101, Comox Valley campus

Andrew Findlay is an award-winning journalist and photographer with a home base on Vancouver Island. Magazine and newspaper assignments have taken him to lands and cultures as diverse as the Great Bear Rainforest of B.C. in search of coastal wolves, the remote mountains of northwestern Guatemala by mountain bike and the frozen ice hockey ponds of northern India.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts which last year invested $24.3 million in writing and publishing throughout Canada.

Canada Council for the Arts     

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