The Kamloops Young Writer’s Festival: An Inspiring Event

The following is a guest post by Julie Burtinshaw. To learn more about Julie and her work, please visit her website.

On Thursday morning Norma Charles, Lee Edward Fodi and Lori Sherritt-Fleming piled into Norma’s van and headed for Kamloops. We stopped at my favourite café in Hope, The Blue Moose, because it’s impossible to pass Hope and not give into my craving for their fair trade, delicious coffee and chocolate chunk brownies. All of us indulged before heading up the very wet and cold Coquiahalla Highway. We made great time, possibly because when you put four writers in a van, there is never a lack of things to talk about.

We arrived at the Thompson River University around 4 and what a lovely campus. We were treated like stars – put up in lovely suites and pampered by the teachers and volunteers with a wine and cheese and snack reception. I can’t say enough about these volunteers and the huge amount of work they put in to make this weekend such a success for all of us.

On Friday Morning my helpful colleagues made sure I limped into the Clock Tower on campus on time – these torn tendons are really slowing me down. I had two seminars to teach, each just over two hours long and despite some issues with technology (nothing new about that for me), my morning class got off to a great start and just got better and better. We focused on character in both the morning and afternoon classes with some fun YouTube vids dispersed throughout.

Every student in my classes, whether they were in grade twelve or grade seven, put all of their creative energies into the exercises I’d designed for them and the results were impressive and incredible. I know for a fact that some of these kids will be tomorrow’s great writers. Because of their high level of interest and participation, the day flew by and pretty soon all of us were back in Norma’s van and heading toward home; a happy and exhausted group.

As we approached Hope, we came upon Crystal Stranaghan and kc dyer by the side of the road.

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As can be seen from the looks on their faces, they too had been chatting the whole way and somehow missed that sign just outside of Merritt that says something like: You will not find a single gas station between here and the end of the world.

We didn’t keep driving, but they had Roadside Assistance and within the hour we all met up again at the Blue Moose for more tasty calories and a group debrief about the great time we had in Kamloops.

Big thanks to all of the students, the staff and the volunteers. I was thrilled to be a part of this festival!

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