Tag Archives: bowen island

New blog for Bowen Island writing festival

I’ve just set up a new blog for the Write On Bowen festival. I’m on the board and also interviewed a couple of the presenters last week.

Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen runs six blogs and plays around a lot with different ads on her sites. “It takes a long time to earn money from a blog but it’s easy because it’s so much fun to put on different ads and experiment with what works,” she says.

Sylvia Taylor, executive director of the Federation of BC Writers, helps writers with their manuscripts and told me: “My authors all give me different nicknames: one calls me ‘The Literary Midwife’ and another calls me ‘Metaphora Editrix.’ ”.

Bowen Island’s Olympic moment

Marching down the road to the dock, Bowen Islanders prepare for the Olympic torch ceremonies the day before the big event.


By Alison Bate

It was dark and sleepy as I drove down to Snug Cove at 5:30 a.m. yesterday, but every house had its lights on.

I parked the car, offloaded my bike and pedalled across the cool damp field to Snug Cove. I passed walkers with their headlights on as I trundled across the boardwalk and left it outside the library.

“It’s like waiting for the bus,” I heard, as I stood outside the library, surrounded in the dark by hundreds of fellow islanders, many wearing red and white or the Olympic red mittens – none of which showed in the dark. It was chilly, and we were all huddled up, waiting for something to happen.

“Ooh, there it is,” and we looked up the road to see an orange wobbly flame, with a huge crowd of people walking behind it, ghosts in the dark. “Why are there two flames?” asked someone in the crowd. The flame or flames seemed to disappear from view somewhere near the General Store, and we resumed our waiting-for-the-bus positions. Continue reading

Online tips at Bowen Island writing festival

By Alison Bate

I learned about Freemiums and Long Tails on Saturday while moderating a panel at the Write on Bowen festival on Bowen Island, near Vancouver, B.C.

WriteBowen logo2As traditional media outlets struggle to make money on the web, panelist Lisa Manfield said Freemium was one way for companies to adapt. Freemium involves promoting services by offering basic features for free, but charging a premium for extra features.

Manfield, managing editor at Orato.com, also gave a great workshop on Writing for the Web on Sunday. She teaches web writing for Simon Fraser University’s Writing and Publishing Program, and managed to pack an incredible amount of useful information into a short time. Continue reading

Bowen Island’s festival kicks off

“I’m one of those people who embellishes everything,” Vancouver Poet Laureate George McWhirter told the first-ever festival for the written arts on Bowen Island this weekend.

“I can’t leave anything alone,” he said, before launching into a series of poems on opening night at Cates Hill Chapel.

McWhirter’s memories as a small boy, seeing oranges for the first time washed up on a beach, set the scene for his poem “Overboard”. While being bitten by a lady bug (“Twice!” he noted indignantly) morphed into “The Rouge and the Black.”

Arts council executive director Jacqueline Massey, making the introductions, quoted one of McWhirter’s previous observations: “A poem is anything you look at twice.”

The Write on Bowen! Festival was the brainchild of Carol Cram and showcased a mixture of island poets, writers, and songwriters.

After a full day of workshops and panels on Saturday, festival goers gathered on Sunday to walk in the Lieben Lands, a legendary writers’ retreat where notables such as Malcolm Lowry, Alice Munro, Margaret Laurence, and Eric Nicol worked and played.

Opening night was MC’d by the multitalented 17-year-old Calder Stewart. First up was author James Glave, who read an excerpt from his newly published book “Almost Green: How I Built an Eco-Shed, Ditched my SUV, Alienated the In-Laws, and Changed my Life Forever”.

In one section, six terrified males – The Green Team Extreme – try to move The Tankosaurus”, a behemoth rainwater storage tank, into position.

As a last resort, he’s forced to back his golden-pearl premium edition Lexus RX-300 into position to help move the tank and save the day. It seemed serendipitous that the SUV he was trying to ditch should play a leading role, he said. “It was as if the Lexus and I had made our peace.”

Lisa Shatsky read six poems, including “On Not Reading Newspapers” and “Tell Us Something Nice”, dedicating them to Bowen’s beloved Ross Carter, who died June 29 at the age of 79.

Songwriter Julie Vik performed two of her songs, closing with “Shudder”, as an alder tree grasps for life.

Perhaps the spirit of the festival could best be summed up by one of Bernice Lever’s poems, “Going For the Gold”, which she performed Friday night. It notes that sports and science set their benchmarks. . .

    “yet in the arts
    world-class achievement glows forever:
    a shine to spur others
    to their own excellence
    not to better or to bury others
    but to achieve their own brightness”