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The Local Literary Arts Community

Reports for The St. Paul and District Arts Foundation on The local literary arts communityCompiled by Eileen Schuh / / ph: 780-645-7890

28 July 2014
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to provide the Arts Foundation with a brief overview of the St. Paul and area literary arts community.

This reports includes:

  • A partial list of local authors with mention of the genres they have published
  • A partial list of local businesses and organizations who have historically supported the literary arts in St. Paul
  • A few initial ideas on how to incorporate the literary arts into your Foundation and venue
  • A list of writing resources for children (including funding options and grants available)
  • A list of useful writing links for adults

The following is only a partial list of area authors, those with whom I’m familiar. I have spoken to most, but not all, about their interest in your organization. I did not ask for a commitment from any of them. All those I spoke to expressed an avid interest in having a local venue to showcase and sell their work and a place to network with other authors.

Their interest in other possible activities (outlined later in this document) was less easy to gauge.

Local authors and their genre. Note that many write children and teen novels.

  • Eileen Schuh: Gritty teen fiction, adult SciFi
  • Diane Beveridge, writing as Diane Peeling, poetry, A JOURNEY IN WORDS: Discovering my Being
  • Shannon Ouellette, writing as Shannon Raelynn, Romance, SEASCAPE
  • Award winning author, Diane Robinson, two books in her children’s series: SIR PRINCESS PETRA and SIR PRINCESS PETRA’S TALENT
  • Ella Drobot: semi-autobiographical anthology BEHIND THE KITCHEN STOVE
  • Nicholas Verbisky: autobiographical EMBARRAS PORTAGE: Before, and After
  • Ardith Trafzik
  • Keith Pugh: cowboy poetry, THE CUTLINE POET
  • Diane Ziomec, Fiction (mystery/romance) and Nonfiction (Crochet patterns, home making help for teens, writing & publishing tips)
  • Jen Van der Hoek: Mystery (teen)
  • Dianne Korpan (teen fiction, Christian non-fiction)
  • Judith Graves (teen fiction)
  • Dianne Tchir (poetry)
  • Aaron Lehman (aboriginal teen fiction)
  • Eric John Large (nonfiction—aboriginal issues)
  • Margo Legasse (nonfiction)

The St. Paul community has been very supportive of my writing career, from buying my books to promoting me and my work. The following businesses and organizations have helped me immensely:

Local Literary Arts Supporters

  • Value Drug Mart (sells local books)
  • St. Paul CoOp Gas Bar & CoOp Mall (sells local books)
  • The Kutting Edge (sells my books)
  • Nails by Shawna (sells my books)
  • The People’s Museum (sells local books)
  • The Visual Arts Centre (displays and sells books)
  • The St. Paul Municipal Library (Buys books from local authors. Sponsors author presentations/signings. Runs a Book Club. Holds Literacy events)
  • The Northern Lights Library System (NLLS) Promotes local books to member libraries across northern Alberta. Sponsored my 23-stop author tour. Invited local author participation on panels at their 2013 annual Provincial Convention.
  • Regional High School –St. Paul Alternate Education Centre has invited me several times to speak to students and purchased my books for their outreach libraries.
  • The St. Paul Journal- covers author events
  • 97.7 The Spur – interviews authors
  • The Town of St. Paul Community Learning—promotes literacy events
  • Portage College – promotes literacy events

There could very well be other businesses and organizations currently supporting the literary arts, but these are the ones of which I am aware. The lengthy list shows there is a keen interest in the literary arts in our community.

Possible ways for the Literary Arts to participate in the Arts Foundation: Help from the Foundation with the organization, funding, advertising and promotion of these events would be vital to their success.

  • Display authors’ books in the main street windows. Make them available for purchase. (I do understand the logistics may be difficult, but this opportunity could be something to work toward)
  • Hold author events that lend themselves to promoting book sales—books launches, signings, readings.
  • Hold author events that encouraging networking within the literary community. Perhaps workshops, guest speakers, SKYPE visits with industry insiders, etc.
  • Hold author events in conjunction with themes: i.e invite schools to participate in an event showcasing our children and teen authors. Promote a poetry event. Showcase our history authors in an event coinciding with the Rodeo celebration. Join with the library, Community Learning and Portage College to run events during Literacy Week
  • Invite authors to lead workshops on writing. This could involve children and/or adults. If grants or workshop fees allowed authors to get paid for doing this, it would be grand!
  • Run special workshops to encourage youth to write. Perhaps initiate a project to publish their own book. Cater in a like manner to children, teens, and adults from the aboriginal communities. There are grants available to pay professional writers to lead projects like this. (see attached lists of resources)

Resources

Attached are two lists I compiled of resources available for writers. One contains information especially relevant to juvenile writers. These lists include grant information, funding options, links for relevant writing information, publishing options, writers’ organizations, etc.

These lists, although well researched, are not exhaustive and are now a couple of years old. Additional resources and funding are likely available for projects specific to identifiable groups such as the aboriginal community, at-risk teens, women, immigrants (English-as-a-second language), French language, to name a few.

Recommended Next Steps

If the Foundation feels the literary arts should have an active presence in its activities, I’d recommend a more comprehensive list of authors in the area be compiled with all authors being contacted about their needs, wishes, ideas and desire and ability to participate.

The Foundation might like to establish some formal liaison with the writing community, perhaps by establishing a committee or designating a specific liaison person who could also network with the local businesses and organizations that support writing and literacy.

Conclusion

I hope this report proves useful to those making decisions about the future of the Foundation. I look forward to seeing the literary arts play a role in the Foundation’s future success.