By Laura Keil

There’s a lot of stories in this valley and a lot of good writers, and now a group of locals are hoping to put some of that writing—and artwork—into a book.

Nancy Taylor said the book will be a fundraiser for the Dunster Schoolhouse, both its arts and culture programs and expenses. The operational costs alone of the former elementary school which is now a community arts centre are approx. $10,000 a year.

The idea for the book came out of the “Long Winters, Short Stories” writing group held at the Dunster Schoolhouse in 2020, prior to COVID-19. Participants in that workshop came up with the idea of compiling a collection of local stories for publication. They hope to market the book widely and have it in print by Christmas 2021.

The organizers are encouraging all kinds of writers and visual artists to submit memoir, fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, photos, and graphics.

“We are hoping for a representation of the richness and diversity of life in the valley…diversity in the characters we meet in the stories and the unique voices of the writers who share them,” the organizers wrote in an invitation letter. “The landscapes will be familiar and enticing; the settings varied, some inviting the reader to explore further afield. The possibilities are endless.”

A few simple rules: limit your story to 1500 words, meet the March 30th deadline, do not indent paragraphs but put a space between them. Single space the text.

Give your story a title and put the word count at the top of the page.

“We have a great start but … we need more submissions. Please consider having your writing in print as part of this collection.”

They are also looking for volunteers to sit on an advisory committee for the book. The committee will develop a set of selection criteria, read the submissions, suggest gentle edits and help with layout. Please give Bridget Uhl (250-569-3000) or Nancy Taylor (250-968-4358) a call if you are willing to submit your work and/or sit on the committee.