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INTERVIEW: You say you want a revolution? The 2012 Kootenay Literary Competition launches
The Kootenay Literary Competition (KLC) is back for 2012...and bigger and better than ever. New innovations for this year include larger cash prizes, lower entry fees, publication in the KLC anthology for all winners, writing workshops, a draw prize for emerging writers, and a special bonus prize for all youth winners. And if that’s not enough, the annual awards ceremony and celebration will feature winners’ readings, free desserts, and a very special guest performer and speaker – spoken word poet Sheri-D Wilson.
This week we had a chance to speak with KLC chair Kristene Perron about the latest edition of this important regional event.
ADRIAN BARNES: What's the KLC all about?
KRISTENE PERRON: The KLC is an annual Kootenay-wide creative writing competition. For adults, there is a theme -- this year it's "revolution" -- and entrants can explore this theme in a work of fiction, creative non-fiction or poetry. We also have the Kootenay Youth Creative Writing Competition, which is just for youth in grades 7 to 12. Youth entrants are given prompts that they must incorporate somewhere in their written work. This year, grades 7 to 9 must use the words 'domino', 'riddle', and any form of the verb 'to skulk'; grades 10 -12 must use the phrase 'there was only one thing to do'. The theme and prompts are used to encourage new work and challenge writers.
The deadline for entry is November 10, 2012, and the winners will be announced at our Awards Ceremony and Celebration on January 18, 2012. All winners will be published in the KLC anthology.
AB: What's new this year?
KP: We have so much new stuff this year I could fill a book. Sorry--bad writer pun. We’ve taken on a group of fantastic sponsors, which allows us to expand our vision for writing in the Kootenays. Most importantly, we've lowered entry fees ($25 for adults, $10 for youth) and we've increased prize money. First prize for adults is $500 and second prize is $250. For youth, along with a $200 first prize and $100 second prize, all winners will get to attend a weekend-long youth creative writing workshop in Nelson this spring, with meals and accommodation included.
We also want to continue to encourage new writers who may feel intimidated by jumping into a competition, so this year we have an Emerging Writer Draw prize for a $100 bookstore gift certificate - basically, any writer who has never won a prize or been paid for publication can win.
The other exciting addition is our partnership with Selkirk College in the west Kootenays, and College of the Rockies in the east Kootenays. Thanks to our partners, we are offering very affordable creative writing workshops at the end of September, in Trail, Cranbrook, Fernie, as well as some youth workshops in various high schools. Anyone can attend these workshops, whether they're working on a piece for the competition or they just want to take their writing to the next level. Registration and payment is online.
Also new this year is our website. Writers can get all the information they need in one place, plus entry and payment will be done through our online form and Paypal account. Anyone who signs up for our newsletter on the website will get regular updates with news and reminders.
Finally, our annual Awards Ceremony and Celebration will be held at the Prestige Hotel, in Nelson, this year. Last year's event, at the Hume, was standing room only (we ran out of chicken wings far too early), so we had to find a slightly bigger venue. Winners will be announced and read from their work, and we also have a special guest performer and keynote speaker coming in. Anyone who saw spoken word poet Sheri-D Wilson blow the crowd away at the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival will not want to miss this!
Whew, I think that's all. Oh wait, we're also on Twitter now, and of course folks can always visit our Facebook page.
AB: Why should people get involved and take the risk of sending in their stuff?
KP: KLC is more than just another writing contest, this is an opportunity to shine the spotlight on Kootenay writers, encourage and inspire new talent, and come together to share our stories from this unique corner of the world.
For writers, there's no better motivation than a deadline and the knowledge that you will have to put out your best effort. For young writers, all entrants will get feedback on their work, so this is a perfect opportunity to learn from experienced writers. For the community, the literary arts enrich our lives in ways too numerous to list. We're lucky to have such a bounty of literary talent in this region -- home to Anne DeGrace, Angie Abdou, Tom Wayman, Jennifer Craig, Mark Nykanen, and Susan Andrews Grace, just to name a very few -- and we should work hard to support and build on that legacy, especially with our youth.
AB: What's the most fun part of the event?
For writers, it's the creation, no matter how stressful that may feel in the moment. I've entered a lot of writing competitions and the prize, for me, is always having that finished piece of writing in my hand, being able to say, ‘I did it!’. For those who attend the KLC Awards Ceremony and Celebration, there's also the fun of coming out of the 'writing cave' and feeling part of a very diverse and welcoming literary arts community.
For me, the most fun is watching writers getting a chance to show off their hard work. Writing is a quiet art, we need events like this to be heard.
AB: Sounds great.
KP: Can I wrap up with a bit of bragging? We're still confirming our list of judges for this year but, so far, we have Canada's Poet Laureate, Fred Wah, judging the Adult Poetry category, and 2012 OBOK winner, Rita Moir, judging Adult Creative Non-fiction. I was thrilled and honoured at how readily these two talented authors agreed to our request. But then isn't that what the Kootenays are all about?
The Kootenay Literary Competition is open to all writers in the entire Kootenay region. For adults, this year's theme is "revolution" and should be explored in their original work. Adults may enter in three categories: Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, and Poetry.
The full judge list for 2012 has not been confirmed but the KLC committee is thrilled to announce that Fred Wah, Canada's Parliamentary Poet Laureate, will be judging the adult poetry category and the 2012 One Book One Kootenay winner, Rita Moir, will return to judge the adult Creative Non-Fiction category.
Prize amounts range from $100 up to $500 depending on the category. There will also be a draw prize for a $100 bookstore gift certificate for one adult emerging writer.
This year, all youth winners will be eligible to attend a weekend youth creative writing workshop, to be held in Nelson, BC, spring 2013 (details to be announced). This prize also includes meals and two nights’ accommodation for the winners, and one parent or legal guardian, at the Hume Hotel.
The 2012 Entry Fees are as follows:
$25.00 for each submission in the Adult competition (3 Categories)
$10.00 for each submission in the Youth competition (2 Age Categories)
Full information, rules, category descriptions, details, entry and payment is available at www.kootenaylitcomp.com For up to the minute announcements, writers can sign up for the email newsletter. KLC can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter @Kootenaylitcomp.
The maximum is 3,000 words in the adult competition and 2,500 in the youth competition, with 40 lines maximum for poetry. Entry is through KLC’c online form and payment is through their secure Paypal account. Visit the rules page on the website for full details.
Writers may submit in more than one category but each submission must be accompanied by a separate entry form and fee. All submissions must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 10th, 2012.
KLC has teamed up with Selkirk College and College of the Rockies to offer creative writing workshops in locations throughout the east and west Kootenay region. Information can be found online. The cost is $20 for adults, free for youth 18 and under.
In each workshop, participants will learn how to edit their work and how to bring their writing up to a professional/competition level. They will also have the opportunity to work on their own piece during the session.
Winners in each of the categories will be announced at the KLC Awards Ceremony and Celebration is January 18, 2012. Have fun and get writing!
The Kootenay Literary Competition is presented by Kootenay Writers Society and the Kootenay Literary Competition Committee, in partnership with College of the Rockies, Selkirk College, The Capitol Theater and sponsored by Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Osprey Community Foundation, Nelson and District Arts Council, Hume Hotel.