What’s in a Name? Would a Shebeen by Any Other Name be as Intriguing?

“The Algonquin Round Table”, by Al Hirschfeld

“The Algonquin Round Table”, by Al Hirschfeld

A few years ago, the group regularly met in the tiny, upstairs room of the Irish Heather that was called “The Shebeen” (for the origins of that word head here), and thus the name was applied to the literary group which we have today.

Today, however, the Irish Heather has moved across the road, the room is now its own Shebeen Whisk(e)y House out the back of the gastro-pub, and the group mainly meets at the Revel Room a few streets west from ‘The Heather’. The name itself has never meant much more than the location of origin, and doesn’t reflect its raison d’etre: to exchange information and promote the arts of writing in all forms, be it journalism, novels, poetry, plays, or marketing of all those.

So: how do people feel about any of the following options:

  • The Vancouver Algonquin Group (after the original one)
  • The Vancouver Bloomsbury Group (after the original one)
  • The Vancouver Literary Circle (which is dull, but somewhat self-explanatory)
  • Keep the extant name
  • [insert your own suggestion here]

Anyone…? Anyone…? A what kind of revolution…?

My feeling here is that what we have is the opportunity to create a central group and/or monthly event where people can discuss their trials and tribulations, exchange intelligence and information, and generally enjoy fellowship with their fellow travellers in the hacking together of words into paragraphs, as well as promotion of them therefore.

The idea of this group has always been to create a group for professionals and semi-pros who use words to gather, but the active welcoming of people other than novelists and short-story writers has met with less-than-the desired results. Where are the playwrights, the non-fiction writers, the journalists, the publishers, the book-sellers, the editors, the newspaper people, the marketing people, and so on? Is this partly because the name ill-befits our purpose? What do people think of that as a solution? Do you think it simply is a good idea, simply from a marketing standpoint so as to attract ‘fresh brains’* to the monthly meetings?

* mmmm… brainz…!

The Surrey International Writers’ Conference Writing Contest

Sharpen your pencils!

Sharpen your pencils! It's time for the SIWC Writing Contest

Now that I’m not on the board anymore, I should enter this. Then again, email submissions are not allowed (honestly, is it SO hard???) and I don’t have a printer. Maybe I’ll make a web video of me typing it out on my old ’59 Hermes and get some juice out of it that way.

Wow, they’re getting specific with these. The deadline has a time as well as a date!

Deadline for entering is 4 p.m., Friday, September 10, 2010

1. The Surrey International Writers’ Conference Writing Contest is open to all writers 18 years and older. Young writers should check out Surrey Public Library’s Young Writers’ Contest.

2. Submissions from employees of the Surrey Continuing Education Department, instructors in the Surrey Creative Writing Diploma Program, and members of the Conference Board of Directors cannot be considered.

3. All submissions must contain original material, and may not have been previously published, accepted for publication, or have been a winner in another contest prior to the September 10th deadline.

4. Four Categories:

SIWC Storyteller’s Award: short stories 3,500 — 5,000 words

SIWC Non-fiction Award: maximum length 1,500 words

SIWC Poetry Award: one poem per submission: 40 lines max.

SIWC Writing For Young People Award: short stories, maximum length 1,500 words

5. Standard manuscript format — double-spaced, typed, one side only on white 8-1/2 x 11″ paper (letter-sized),each page to include title and page number only. No staples, please. Poetry may be single-spaced.

6. Blind submissions — the author’s name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript except cover page.

7. Include a cover page listing the writer’s name, address, email address, phone number, entry title, word length, and award competition category. Attach to manuscript with paper clip. All information is held in strict confidence, and will be destroyed after the contest winners are announced. Manuscripts are not returned.

8. In addition to hard copy, all entrants must be able to submit their work by email if requested. (This enables us to forward short-listed work to the final judges, and to produce the anthology of winning work in time for the conference). Short-listed writers will be notified in early October.

9. Entries are also accepted by email. Please follow the submission guidelines as noted above and copy your submission into the body of your email. Send your email to contest@siwc.ca. Attachments will be deleted, unread. The contest coordinator will print and format your submission (including a cover page) as per above instructions for consideration by the judges. Send your cheque or money order to

SiWC Writing Contest

SD #36, Unit 400, 9260 – 140 Street

Surrey, BC V3V 5Z4


Emailed entries will not be considered until the entry fee is received.

10. No entries will be returned. If you want the receipt of your entry acknowledged, please enclose a stamped,self-addressed postcard.

11. Final judges to be announced.

12. a) Mail deliveries:

SiWC Writing Contest

Unit 400, 9260 – 140 Street

Surrey, BC V3V 5Z4


b) Courier or hand deliveries:

SiWC Writing Contest

Unit 400, 9260 – 140 Street

Surrey, BC V3V 5Z4


c) Email entries:

Submit your work in the body of your email to contest@siwc.ca. Attachments will be deleted.

13. DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: All entries must be postmarked by 4 p.m., Friday, September 10, 2010. No late entries will be considered.

14. All entries must be sent by email, regular mail, courier, or hand delivered. Faxed entries will not be accepted.

15. Only work which conforms to all the guidelines can be considered. Due to the volume of entries, we are unable to contact writers whose entries are incomplete. Check that yours meets every requirement before submitting.

16. The judges and conference/contest organizers cannot comment on individual entries.

17. Entry fees: $15 per submission. You may enter as many pieces as you like in one or more categories, but each entry must be accompanied by the $15 fee. You may combine fees in one cheque or money order. Fees must be received by September 10, 2010.

18. Cheques/money orders must be included with all entries, and be payable to SiWC. Emailed entries must send cheque or money order by mail to

SiWC Writing Contest

Unit 400, 9260 – 140 Street

Surrey, BC V3V 5Z4


19. Winners will be informed by October 13, 2010. Prizes will be awarded at the Awards Ceremony on the first evening of the Conference, Friday, October 22. Winners will be listed on the conference website http://www.siwc.ca in the week after the conference.

20. Prizes:

Storyteller’s Award: 1st Place $1,000 and anthology; Honourable Mention(s) $150 each.

Nonfiction Award: 1st Place $1,000 and anthology; Honourable Mention(s) $150 each.

Poetry Award: 1st Place $1,000 and anthology; Honourable Mention(s) $150 each.

Writing for Young People Award: 1st Place $1,000 and anthology; Honourable Mention(s) $150 each.

In some cases, prizes might not be awarded exactly as noted, according to the discretion of the judges.

All winning entries will be published in the Writing Contest anthology which will be available at the conference Friday evening, immediately following the announcement of the winners.

21. Submission implies the author is granting first right of publication to the SiWC, as winners will be published in our annual anthology. Rights then revert to the author. Entering the contest also grants the SIWC the right to publish the entrant’s name in the contest anthology and the SIWC website, should the entrant be short-listed for, or win, a SIWC writing contest prize. Please see the SIWC website (siwc.ca) for the SIWC’s full privacy policy.

Direct any queries about the contest to kc dyer: contest@siwc.ca.

NB. Young Writers should investigate Surrey Public Library’s Young Writer’s Contest


Got this via Facebook. Sounds like a terrific event and a good cause.

As a born socialist and also a Canadian who’s had cancer, I’d like to let you know that no, BC Medical does not cover all your costs. In fact, for many long months I was on an immune system booster that cost $1700 an injection, and had to be taken twice a month; it was not covered until my life savings had been eaten up completely and I was forced onto medical welfare. Even ambulance rides are no longer covered, remember. And when you are ill and in treatment, there are many small things, like neck pillows, special meals, and support services, that can make all the difference between enduring and living.

$20 for poetry, community, a good time, a burger and a beer. Can’t beat that with a shoplifted copy of On the Road. Geddit?

Cottage Bistro by berglind_hafsteinsdottir

Cottage Bistro by berglind_hafsteinsdottir

Wednesday Nov 25th
Pandora’s Collective Presents
Pandora’s Collective and folks in the poetry and music community are holding a Benefit for our friend Marc Creamore, who is battling lung cancer. Marc has been an active part of Vancouver ‘s poetry community for many years. Join us in support of Marc and his family at this evening of poetry, music, spoken word and shared memories.

Tickets: $20 at the door includes entertainment, a burger with fries and beer. After costs, all proceeds go directly to Marc and his family.
There will also be door prizes, and Marc’s published poetry books will be available for sale.

6:00-6:30 Brief Introductions by Bonnie Nish and Ruth Kozak followed by
Poetry and ♫♫ David Campbell
6:30-7:00 Spoken Word Al Mader The Minimalist Jug Band
7:00 – 7:30 ♫♫ Jess Hill
7:30 -7:45 Spoken Word CJ Leon
7:45- 8:15 Spoken Word and Poetry Steve Duncan and Diane Laloge
8:15-9:00 ♫♫ Sandy Bone
9:00- 9:30 Open Mic
9:30-9:45 Spoken Word & ♫♫ CR Avery
9:45-10:15 Poetry Daniela Elza and Robin Susanto
10:15-10:45 ♫♫ Hi-Rise Dex (Kempton Dexter)
10:45-11:15 Spoken Word Bill McNamara and RC Weslowski
11:15-12:00 Open Mic Closing Words.

There will be an open mike for poets and friends to share their words with Marc.
Time: 6 – 12pm
Location: The Cottage Bistro
4468 Main Street @ 29th Avenue
Hosts: Bonnie Nish and Ruth K ozak
RSVP if possible
Contact: blinsh_pandoras AT yahoo DOT ca

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Writing Short Screenplays: The Good News and Bad with Ric Beairsto

Ric Beairsto

Ric Beairsto

Got this from a Facebook message from the Vancouver International Film Festival group or page or whatever it is that I joined sometime last year and now can’t remember. But I found the direct Facebook Link anyway. I’m dogged like that, yo.

And really, you CANNOT beat that price! Best price I’ve ever seen on a screenwriting workshop, and with the VIFF behind it, you know it’s going to be quality.

Attention Filmmakers and Creative Writers:

This Saturday Nov 22, 2:00pm, Vancity Theatre

Writing Short Screenplays: The Good News and Bad with Ric Beairsto

This three-hour workshop will address the art of storytelling in its broadest, most accessible sense, then range through to the much more exacting craft of short story writing for the screen. Focus will be on the increased flexibility of short form (the good news) but will include discussion of the impact of the obvious constraints of writing within more immediate boundaries (the bad news). Particular attention will be paid to the evaluative skills involved in determining which story ideas lend themselves best to short screenplay, as well as an examination of the means of writing a short screenplay designed to give the filmmaker the best chance of producing a truly compelling ‘calling card.’ A number of successful short films will be screened during the workshop, some locally produced, some international in their origins, with a continued emphasis on the story characteristics and genres which lend themselves well to successful execution in short form. Copies of  THE TYRANNY OF STORY: Audience Expectations and the Short Screenplay will be available for sale to workshop attendees at a discounted rate.

Ric Beairsto is an award-winning screenwriter, director and producer who has been active in the Canadian film and television industry since 1980. He has written more than a dozen feature-length screenplays, and his TV writing credits begin with The Beachcombers for CBC and extend to Mixed Blessings, currently in production for APTN, where Ric is the Creator and Head Writer. Since 1987, Ric has also taught screenwriting on a part-time basis at various post-secondary institutes, including the Vancouver Film School, The Interior Film and Television Centre, Trinity Western University and Langara College, where he has actively workshopped more than 1500 short screenplays. He is the author of  THE TYRANNY OF STORY: Audience Expectations and the Short Screenplay, first published in 1998, and now available in a revised 2 nd edition. The book is about story form in general, and short screenplay form in particular, and has been used as a regular textbook in over a dozen North American film schools, including UCLA and the American Film institute

Adults $20 // Students $15

For tickets and info: http://www.viff.org/tixSYS/vifc/filmguide/event.php?EventNumber=1711

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=9198386989&ref=ts#/event.php?eid=212018593942&ref=mf


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