Campus Life  

Evening marking 15 years of OC Writing and Publishing program celebrates creative community

OC English Professor Hannah Calder (left) with Lake Country poet Sharon Thesen

Writers and fine artists in the North Okanagan have found a lot of reasons to celebrate this fall. Fifteen years’ worth of reasons, to be exact.

The community of poets, fiction and creative non-fiction writers are coming together for Celebrating 15 Years of Writing and Publishing, an evening devoted to the collective showcase of students, alumni, instructors and former faculty members.

“We have such a dedicated and talented community of writers, with a long history of promoting creativity in the region. This is a significant milestone for the program, and this showcase is a great way to celebrate our students, faculty and alumni,” said Judith Anderson, Okanagan College Dean of Arts and Foundational Programs.

On Sept. 22, the Okanagan College Vernon campus will host the evening function to celebrate the achievements of up-and-coming writers as well as established names in the literary community, whose passion for the written word and publishing have served as a gravitational pull for like-minded creatives.

The evening will feature a documentary screening of Why We Write: Poets of Vernon, which has a special connection to Okanagan College. The film was produced and directed by OC English Professor Hannah Calder and former OC student Curtis Emde.  The two sought out interviews from poets born and/or based in Vernon, including Syilx storytellers who have long been on this land.

“There is a rich, vibrant writing community here that has sustained me and many others, and the film screening is a chance to celebrate that community,” Calder said.

John Lent

The celebration will feature student readings and scholarship announcements from OC’s English and Fine Arts Department. OC Instructor Jason Dewinetz will share news about Kalamalka Press, which publishes books of poetry, fiction and literary criticism as well as letterpress-printed, hand-bound limited editions of works. The press supports the Writing and Publishing Diploma program, providing students with practical, hands-on experience designing, setting and producing chapbooks and other materials from The Bunker, the letterpress printshop located at the Vernon campus.

Community artists and supporters of the literary community will also be in attendance, such as Read Local Okanagan, which will have a table available to sell books by authors from the region.

Celebrating 15 Years of Writing and Publishing will be held on Thursday, Sept. 22 at the OC Vernon campus, 7000 College Way. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the event starts at 7 p.m. The community is welcome to attend, and admission is by donation. The trailer for Why We Write can be viewed online, and details are available online about OC’s Writing and Publishing Diploma.

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