Campus Life  

[email protected] Writer-in-Residence inspires next generation

Okanagan College Media Release

Writing and Publishing Diploma students at Okanagan College can get up close and personal with top Canadian writing talent, thanks to a Vernon writer-in-residence program.

Yvonne Blomer has been selected as the Kalamalka Press Writer-in-Residence at Caetani Cultural Centre ([email protected]) program. She is the author of travel memoir
Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur and three books of poetry, and is currently working on a mystery in poems called The Death of Persephone.Yvonne Blomer Oct 2019

“Being here makes me think of Virginia Woolf and that idea of a
Room of One’s Own or her diary entry from October 1927, ‘I will cut adrift – I will sit on pavements and drink coffee – I will dream; I will take my mind out of its iron cage and let it swim – this fine October,’” said Blomer. “I feel exactly this, released from daily life into a world where I can write and read deeply; where I can connect with other artists and students, learn about another place, its history and people and share in an exploration as a writer and visitor. Not to mention ghosts and family history at Caetani House.”

Blomer was born in Zimbabwe, and came to Canada when she was two years old. With her husband she has taught in Japan, cycled through Southeast Asia and lived in the United Kingdom, where she completed a Master’s in Creative Writing Degree with Distinction at the University of East Anglia. An editor, teacher and mentor in poetry and memoir, Blomer has served as the City of Victoria’s poet laureate from 2015-2018 and, in 2018, was also the writer-in-residence at the Robert Bateman Centre where she created a show of ekphrastic poems in response to Bateman’s art, the result of which is the collection
Ravine, Mouse a Bird’s Beak (Nose in Book Publishing, 2018).

In addition to her poetry, Blomer is editing an anthology on watersheds with Caitlin Press to be published in 2020, her second in a trilogy of water-based books after
Refugium: Poems for the Pacific (Caitlin Press, 2017).

“The Writer-in-Residence program affords students the opportunity to connect with an active writer outside of the classroom experience, providing insight into the writing process and the value of community connection,” said Kerry Gilbert and Jason Dewinetz, Kalamalka Press editorial board members and Okanagan College instructors.

Natalie Appleton Oct 2019Blomer will read alongside Natalie Appleton as part of Caetani Cultural Centre’s fall lineup next week. Based in Vernon, Appleton is the award-winning writer who authored the literary memoir,
I Have Something to Tell You. She has won Prairie Fire’s Banff Centre Bliss Carman Poetry Contest and her short non-fiction story “Fourth Son of Fourth Wife” was longlisted for the 2016 CBC Creative Non-Fiction Contest.

For over ten years, Kalamalka Press and Okanagan College operated a writer-in-residency plan in coordination with the Mackie Lake House Society. This program brought to the region numerous talented poets, essayists, and novelists, including Dennis Cooley, Robert Kroetsch, Mona Fertig, Brenda Schmidt, Gary Geddes, Peter Midgley, Leona Theis, and Kathleen Brown. Several of these authors have published notable creative and critical works that were composed or conceived of during their residencies. In 2015, the program was moved to the more centrally-located Caetani Cultural Centre, in part, to accommodate longer tenancies for visiting writers.

“We just love hosting artists. They bring such creative joy and skill into the community,” said Janelle Hardy, Caetani Cultural Centre’s Artist in Residence Program Coordinator.

Co-presented by the Writing and Publishing Diploma program and Caetani Cultural Centre, An Evening With Award Winning Poets and Memorists will be held on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The centre is located at 3401 Pleasant Valley Rd. Admission is free. Blomer is also offering a poetry workshop on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. in the Caetani House. Tickets are $75 and available online.

For information about Blomer, visit www.yvonneblomer.com
. Information about Appleton can be accessed atwww.natalieappleton.ca. Details of the Writing and Publishing Diploma can be found atwww.okanagan.bc.ca/writingpublishing. Discover the Caetani Cultural Centre online at www.caetani.org.


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