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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

Announcing the WordsThaw Prize Winners!

Last night, we announced the winners of the inaugural WordsThaw Prize!

Wanda Hurren, micro text category, for “Making it Up”

Nancy Yakimoski, poetry category, for “Cartesian Lover”

All shortlisted candidates were presented with a $25 gift certificate to Munro’s Books, and the winners were awarded a $500 gift certificate each.

The winning entries will be published in UVic’s Martlet newspaper on March 23.

In the photo below, from left to right: WordsThaw Prize contest judge, Janet Rogers; Wanda Hurren; Nancy Yakimoski; and Malahat editor, John Barton.


WordsThaw Prize Shortlist Reading Tonight in Victoria


Attend tonight’s special WordsThaw Prize shortlist reading!

The six finalists (three in poetry, three in micro-text) will each read her shortlisted piece, and will receive a $25 certificate to Munro’s Books courtesy of the GVPL. At the end of the night, contest judge Janet Rogers will announce the winners, who will take home $500 each! The winning poem and micro-text submissions will be published in the UVic Martlet newspaper on March 23.

Best of luck to all the emerging authors on the shortlist:

POETRY – Simone Blais, April Ripley, Nancy Yakimoski
TEXT – Keva Glynn, Sarah Hamill, Wanda Hurren

Joanne Arnott at WordsThaw: Master Class and Readings

wt2017-master-class-posterDon’t miss this chance to hear Joanne Arnott read at the WordsThaw Writers Festival!

On Friday, March 17, 1:30 p.m., hear her read for free as part of UVic Writing’s Orion Lecture Series. She will also read that night, 7:30 p.m., as part of Words on Ice. Both events will be held at the First Peoples House on UVic’s campus.

The Master Class takes place Sunday, March 19, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. at the downtown Victoria public library. This interactive writing workshop exploring embodiment and breath as bases for writing, editing and performance. The class will  consider oral and literary text traditions, and ourselves as points of confluence and congruence. Limited space available, so hurry and buy your ticket today!