St. Eugene writers conference beneficial for new and established wordsmiths alike

Paul Rodgers

Whether you’re a fledgling writer or you already have numerous published books under your belt, the St. Eugene Writers Conference, taking place from November 9 to 13, will have something for you, to help develop aspects of your craft.

There are writing workshop sessions for development, afternoon panels discussions on the challenges of writing and publishing in this day and age, discussions focused on the Ktunaxa Nation and their isolate language, and a one-day self-publishing workshop.

Fernie based, self-described ski bum and writer Keith Liggett is the man behind the conference. As a ski writer his work has appeared in over 75 newspapers and major ski journals, he’s written an award-winning cookbook and has published numerous books on poetry and other subjects, among many other accomplishments.

“The conference is really different,” said Liggett, “they asked me to put it together for them, and my background as a teacher is doing workshops. I don’t sit up and talk for two hours about how you build a character and stuff like that, I work with people over a long term.

“It’s an incredible way to learn and refine your craft because you recognize what you do in other peoples’ work and what they do and then how to change it and make it more effective.”

Liggett will be joined by a host of, as he puts it, “college prof type people” including University of British Columbia’s Sioux Browning, and University of Calgary professor emeritus Tom Wayman.

The conference will also see a special guest speaking presentation from Angie Abdou, who recently published her book “In Case I Go.”

“The other thing that happens with something like this is you have — so everybody who’s teaching or talking here is established in the writing community,” Liggett said, “and the way you get out of being a local sort of writer is to get into a larger community.”

Liggett, who formerly was involved with the Fernie Writers Conference and hosted one at St. Eugene around five years ago, said that the most commonly used word to evaluate this unique style of workshop is “transformational.”

“Because you’re not having the opportunity to go home and say I’ll do it next week,” he explained. “It’s like, at 10:00 Saturday morning you have to be there with a revision on your work from Friday.

“And so you’ve got some deadlines, there’s discipline to it and you’re forced into some writing habits which you don’t have when you’re on your own or until you’ve written for a long time.”

Liggett says that the plan for the writers conference moving forward is to host one biannually; one in November and one in April with one literary event per month.

The St. Eugene Resort has partnered up with Pacific Coastal Airlines and so will be offering a 20 per cent discount on airfare from the airports in Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria.

Furthermore, there are multiple scholarships offered. Two, in partnership with Pacific Coastal, will cover airfare and tuition, one from Kelowna, and one from Lower mainland. There is also a St. Eugene Scholarship and a Jeanne and Don Liggett Memorial Scholarship that each cover tuition. They are granted based on need and craft.

See full details on the workshop including registration rates, scholarship forms and schedule at here.

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