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2018 RETREAT: Sept. 27 - 30, 2018

Our next event is shaping up to be a good one! We've lined up three fantastic presenters — Heather Ramsay, Ev Bishop and Jennifer Wickham — not to mention the usual selection of inspirational activities, like morning yoga, massage, wine tasting, hiking and much more! You'll be well-fuelled as once again we've got Small Potatoes Farms catering lunches and dinners. The festivities begin on the Thursday evening with dinner and orientation and continue until midday Sunday. See our draft schedule here and register here

Heather Ramsay (non-fiction)

Heather is deeply influenced by place. She has been a journalist in Smithers and Haida Gwaii and now lives and writes in the Fraser Valley. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and her writing has appeared in Numero Cinq, Maisonneuve, The Tyee, Canadian Geographic, Vancouver Review, Canada’s History Magazine, The Globe and Mail, Northword Magazine and more. She has written two books published by the Haida Gwaii Museum: Gina ‘Waadluxan Tluu: The Everything Canoe (2010) and Gyaagang.ngaay: The Monumental Poles of Skidegate (2012). Join Heather for an exploration of non-fiction craft focusing on, "Why is a sense of place important in non-fiction writing?"

Heather's small-group sessions will be: "Wish you were here: Writing about place." By playing with our perception of sight, sound, scents and texture, by engaging sentence style and rhythm workshop, participants will create their own homage to a special place. Our goal is to create a short piece that will make a place come alive for the reader. The truth of the piece will come out of the details you choose to use and they way they ordered on the page. We do not want to impose a narrative on these pieces, but to let it arise naturally.

Jennifer Wickham (poetry)

Join Smithers' very own poet, Jennifer Wickham, for a journey of finding voice and homecoming through poetry and story-telling. Join in the discussion on decolonization, identity, place and belonging. Jennifer will share her own journey of finding herself and decolonizing. In the smaller group sessions Jennifer will guide participants in grounding, land-based exercises to center the writing process. Jennifer is Gitdumt'en from the Wet'suwet'en nation. She recently moved home after being in Lekwungen territories for 13 years, where her journey began.

Ev Bishop (fiction)

Ev is a long-time columnist with the Terrace Standard, and her articles, essays, short stories, and poems appear in a variety of publications. Best known for her popular romance series, River’s Sigh B & B, she also has a standalone women’s fiction novel out (Bigger Things) and writes and publishes under the pen name Toni Sheridan. Born, raised, and growing old(er) in northern BC, Ev is well-versed in the joys, benefits and unique challenges of writing fiction for a living in a rural locale. Visit Ev online at or join her on Facebook. She’d love to connect with you and looks forward to meeting you in person and talking all things writing-related at this year’s Rural Writers’ Retreat!

Ev presents a large group workshop about, "Build a Writing Life You Love (and sell more books): A mini survive—and thrive!—workshop." She promises writers of all ilk and experience should find something thought-provoking, motivating or inspiring in this presentation! Ev's first small-group session is "An Intro to Writing Romance" — an excellent fit for anyone wanting to leap into the genre (or who is already writing in it). Although romance-centric, non-romance writers/readers will find a lot of the material is pertinent to them as well. Her second small-group session is "The Monster—er, ART—of Marketing and Promotion." It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a rural writer in possession of a good idea, thought, or obsession just wants to write—and that’s a completely legitimate way to live your creative life. If you also have dreams (needs?) of eating regularly, heating your home above freezing, or buying shoes occasionally and you don’t have a kind benefactor, however, at some point you need to find people who want to read (a.k.a. buy) your work. Ev will share the importance of having a marketing plan that fits you, three strategies she feels are critical for every author, plus other tactics that might be helpful. Please bring any questions you have!

Additional activities: 
Writing & Hiking with Morgan Hite

From John Muir to Cheryl Strayed, hikers have been moved to write about place and the experience of outdoor travel, whether in the desert, on the coast or in the mountains. In this workshop we'll grab notebooks and head out into the bush for a couple of hours to explore the twists and turns of inspiration and observation that make outdoor writing such a potent form for addressing both the personal and the universal.

Facilitated discussion about social media 
with Amanda Follett Hosgood

Whether you're an experienced blogger and social media expert or just starting out and interested in reaching a wider audience through your writing, this is an opportunity to ask questions, share knowledge and learn more about trying to promote your work through social media outlets. Amanda is a professional communication specialist and amateur blogger who has spent lots of time fumbling her way through the intricacies of new media. 

One-on-one editing with Paul Glover

Paul is a writer and editor who has lived most of his life in northwest BC. As former editor of NorthwordMagazine for more than seven years, he has come to know many northern writers through their writing andcorrespondence, if not inperson. While Paul is a down-to-earth kind of guy, and easy-going about writing styles, he is fussy about the elements that make a good story or article.

Morning Pages with Norma Kerby

Norma leads our Morning Pages this year. Using interesting and stimulating prompts to practise creative writing and generate original short pieces, participants will have the opportunity to present their work to a small group for friendly discussion.

Morning Yoga with Amanda Follett Hosgood

Start off your day of workshops with movement and introspection: Amanda finds that yoga is like writing in that it allow her to travel inward. She has been practising for two decades and brings her love of balance and flow to every class she teaches. A registered 200-hour yoga teacher, Amanda offers a gentle yoga flow each morning in the main hall. 

Professional Headshots with Thomas Camus

Whether it's for your blog or a magazine's contributors' page, every writer needs a good headshot! Thomas Camus is a photographer with a home-based business and studio in Smithers. Originally from France, he is currently residing in the gorgeous Bulkley Valley, where he started his business in 2016. His business portraits, wedding photos, family sessions, and virtual tours are appreciated by his clients all over the province, and his wildlife photography is sold in Canada as well as internationally. His experience as a photographer allows him to combine a photojournalistic style with art, action shots, and studio photo shoots. Thomas will be offering mini photoshoots during the retreat and providing two digital headshots for your personal use. NOTE additional cost to participants: $30. 

Massage with Shannon Rue

Shannon Rue is the owner of Mountain Massage Studio and has been practicing and training in a variety of different body work techniques for 17 years. Shannon also combines massage with her experience as a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor, Yoga Instructor and Health Coach to offer a unique experience to individual clients with the focus on mind, body and soul as a whole. NOTE additional cost to participants: $80 for 60-minute massage. View schedule here and contact Shannon directly to book. 

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