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WordsThaw Readings: Friday, March 16

WordsThaw 2018 opens with Words on Ice, an evening of readings.

Words on Ice
7:30-10:00 p.m. (doors open at 7)
UVic, Harry Hickman Building, Room 105

julie paulBarton (Photo Credit UVic Photo ServicesCrossEnnsMacLeodMunroGaston_JenSteelePhotography_069Dan MacIsaacFrances Backhouse


Julie Paul


  • John Barton
  • Morgan Cross
  • Karen Enns
  • Joan MacLeod
  • Sheila Munro
  • Bill Gaston
  • Dan MacIsaac
  • Frances Backhouse

WordsThaw Panels: Saturday, March 17

Being Liminal
(10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)

Yvonne BlomerRobin StevensonMadeline SonikMichael Kenyon


Yvonne Blomer


Robin Stevenson, Madeline Sonik, and Michael Kenyon

Writing is an act of communicating with the self, an act of opening, of witnessing, of being liminal—between spaces and places. This panel will explore how important it is for a writer to be vulnerable in order to write toward honesty and to explore truths both personal and of the world. When and how does the sensitive person turn to writing as a safe place? How can one explore personal experience with a view to eventually sharing that experience? What should readers expect when invited to enter this world of vulnerability and liminality?

Writing Victoria
(1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Micaela MafteiHeather Dean - Author PhotoJill MargoCarl Cavanagh


Micaela Maftei


Heather Dean, Jill Margo, Carl Cavanagh

For writers, the physical environment in which they work often feeds into their texts, and perhaps into their sense of what it means to write and belong to a community. This panel will look at the act(s) of writing in Victoria – its tradition and history, how and where it’s done now, and how it is celebrated and supported. We’ll discuss individuals and groups around the city working to influence and shape its writing culture, consider how this changes over time, and how a writing culture can be preserved.

Shaped by Islands
(3:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.)

Carol MatthewsJudyLeblanc_026-2jStreetlyAuthorPicBowering, Marilyn


Carol Matthews


Judy LeBlanc, Joanna Streetly, Marilyn Bowering

For many writers, islands have been a focus—either as the place where they live and work or as the theme or subject of their writing. “Shaped by Islands” will explore what it is about islands that draws writers and how it influences their writing. Are islands a psychological escape as much as a physical one?  Does an island offer entry into a different mindset, a fantasy world? How do you know you are on an island when you cannot “see” that you are? Three writers whose work involves islands will discuss these and other questions and talk about their particular experiences as “island writers.”

Master Class with Carla Funk: March 18

Funk Headshot 2

Registration is CLOSED for this year’s WordsThaw Master Class led by Carla Funk. Sorry, Master Class tickets are now SOLD OUT. Please email if you’d like to be put on a wait list.

When the Poem Sings a Story

Borrowing from the traditions of oral storytelling, dramatic monologue, fables, folklore, blank verse, parables, sonnets, lunch-room gossip—and more!—this master class will outfit the poet with tools and techniques to turn the story into a poem and make that poem sing. Through a sequence of readings that stretch from Shakespeare and Browning to contemporary narrative poetry, guided literary exercises, and lessons on craft, each writer will work with story as fuel for three new poems, and will put into practice a variety of techniques for authenticating the speaker’s voice and character.

Sorry, the Master Class is SOLD OUT! Thank you for your support and interest. Please email if you’d like to be put on a wait list.

About Carla

Born and raised in Vanderhoof, BC, Carla Funk lives and writes in Victoria, where she taught for 15 years in the Department of Writing at UVic. She served as Victoria’s inaugural poet laureate (2006-2008), and helped to promote the literary arts in the city. Gloryland (Turnstone Press, 2016) is her fifth book of poems. Currently, she’s wrapping up a creative nonfiction collection about childhood, God, loggers, and small-town imagination. When she’s not working as a private writing mentor and running writing classes for women in her home, she’s probably out walking her dog and scouting the green world for literary fuel. You can follow her literary adventures at

WordsThaw Prequel: Writers and the World

On January 19, City of Victoria Poet Laureate Yvonne Blomer hosts an evening of poetry inspired by the environment we live in and the political world we’ve made. Readings by David Leach, Garth Martens, Philip Kevin Paul, and Patricia Young.


WordsThaw is The Malahat Review‘s fifth-annual spring symposium, March 16 to 19, 2017. Readings, lectures, master classes to celebrate the publication of the Winter 2016 issue, Indigenous Perspectives: A Very Contemporary Literature. Continue reading

New for 2017: The WordsThaw Prize


WordsThaw Prize for Victoria Writers

To celebrate the WordsThaw Writers Festival in 2017, The Malahat Review is pleased to announce the first-annual WordsThaw Prize. An exciting showcase of emerging talent in Greater Victoria, this contest will award a cash prize of $500 each in two categories: Poetry and Micro Text (either short fiction or creative nonfiction). The entry fee includes a full WordsThaw pass and a one-year subscription to The Malahat Review, starting with “Indigenous Perspectives,” the Malahat’s Winter 2016 issue. The winners will be published on the Malahat’s WordsThaw website. See full contest details here.