maureen brownlee, valemount, robson valley, rocky mountains, the rockies, canadian rockies, canadian fiction
Maureen Brownlee, author of Loggers’ Daughters

Seven aspiring writers stood in a line at the Dunster Fine Arts School and took a big step forward. Maureen Brownlee, local novelist, told them “You now have permission to call yourselves writers.”

Brownlee told the group that she’d been going to writing workshops for some time, when she finally realized what she really needed was permission to call herself a writer. She told the group they’ve already taken the first step, and like the attendant at a fair ride, checking you are tall enough to get on the ride, she confirmed they are allowed. They may not want to get on the ride, but it’s up to them now, she says.

Cathy Greenhough says people were making suggestions of courses they’d like to see run at a Dunster Fine Arts School Society meeting, and, a poet herself, she was interested in seeing a writing course.

“I also thought it would be successful, as I have sensed a lot of interest in the valley towards writing,” Greenhough says. So she organized the two-day workshop, held the last weekend in April at the Dunster School. Part of the fees for the workshop went to the Dunster School Society to help pay off the mortgage.

Greenhough got local playwright Sharon Sterns and Brownlee on-side to facilitate the workshop. Stearns and Brownlee took turns leading the group in individual writing challenges and group writing games, and gave participants opportunities to read their work, and to hear it being read by someone else. Many of the participants said they were amazed at the variety and quality of writing that was produced, and a few said they shocked themselves with their own writing.

“I would love to organize as many writing courses or workshops as the valley could take,” says Greenhough. She is hoping people interested in writing will contact her to let her know what sort of group they’d like to participate in, and how often.

By: Korie Marshall