Kerry Gilbert, left, and Natalie Appleton’s new e-workshop seeks to help young women writers uncover their voice. (Camillia Courts Photography)

Vernon writers launch online workshop for teens, young adults

Storymakers’ Raise Your Voice workshop seeks to help women writers uncover and use voice

Local writers are working to inspire future writers to uncover their voice.

Two years ago, as writers Kerry Gilbert and Natalie Appleton were talking about a 16-year-old who was struggling in high school but getting through it in part because she’d discovered writing, they realized young women can’t take creative writing classes the way they can sign up for basketball or drama, and they wondered: What if young women had the tools, inspiration and mentoring they needed to uncover their voice, unstuck their writing and become writers?

“Both of us immediately remembered what it was like to discover writing as teenagers, and what it would have meant for us to have had that interest nurtured,” said Gilbert, a poet and creative writing instructor at Okanagan College.

Within weeks of that conversation, she and Appleton had founded Storymakers and were hosting their first creative writing workshops for teenage girls in Vernon at the Caetani Cultural Centre.

“It was kind of magical watching these bright, talented young women gather and find the way to their unique writing voices and some really powerful, beautiful work,” said Appleton, who focuses on memoir and literary non-fiction.

Related: Vernon author shares her story in literary memoir

The workshops were so successful and impactful, the pair recently took Storymakers online and, in June, launched Raise Your Voice, a self-paced online creative writing workshop that focuses on helping students feel inspired, and make their writing “gutsy, gorgeous and urgent.”

“There’s such an amazing creative momentum and energy out there among women artists, and summer can be such a pensive, tense time for both teenagers and twenty-somethings—it’s the perfect space for writing through angst,” said Gilbert.

But a lot of writers have trouble getting past the notorious blank screen, and a lot of high school and college reading lists aren’t always inspiring or relatable for young women.

“We wanted to introduce students to a real range of writers who are pushing boundaries in all kinds of ways and who students may not be familiar with. We wanted to focus not on devices like plot, but themes that are really relevant to them: courage, love, vulnerability, et cetera, and give them the creativity tools to harness that electric creative energy young women,” said Appleton.

Each of the 12 Raise Your Voice thematic lessons includes writing prompts, creativity challenges, writing exercises and readings and interviews with edgy authors across genres and via multi-media. Each lesson could take a few hours to complete and can be done at each student’s own pace. While the lessons are downloaded online, students are encouraged to go offline to do the exercises and tap into their creativity free of screens and distractions.

“We’ve had a great response from parents who want to nurture this healthy, powerful interest of their daughters’, and we’re nearing that time when summer boredom starts to set in,” said Gilbert.

For more information or to enrol, visit www.ourstorymakers.com.


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan College to develop wellness strategy for drug use

The Kelowna campus has 28 employees trained in the use of naloxone.

Black Mountain Cub Crawl returns to Kelowna

Its the 3rd year of the obstacle course fundraiser

No joke: Kelowna’s first zero-waste grocery store to open April 1

Farm Bound Zero Waste has announced its opening date

Kelowna council ready to consider pot shop rezonings

Seven rezoning applications for cannabis retail stores on council’s agenda Monday

UPDATE: Highway 97 now open at Drought Hill

A collision near Peachland has caused a backup in traffic on Highway 97

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Pet Planet picks up Okanagan’s cannabis for pets

True Leaf Medicine International expands retail distribution to 3,500 stores worldwide

AquaVan comes to Okanagan Science Centre

200-litre mobile touch tank allows you to get up-close with marine invertebrates

Army of support behind Black Press saleswoman battling cancer

GoFundMe helps empower Sue Folliott’s fight

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Homeless South Okanagan man allegedly doused in ice water while he slept

Community outraged at treatment of well-known homeless community member

Most Read