The organizing committee is pleased to announce that the 9th Annual Mission Writers and Readers Festival will be on Saturday March 5, 2016 at Heritage Park Centre.

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Download Brochure Click on ” Writers & Readers Festival Brochure”

Date: Saturday, March 5, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 p.m.
Location: UFV Mission Campus, Heritage Park Centre
33700 Prentis Avenue, Mission BC V2V 7B1


  • Regular admission (after Feb. 14): $40.00
  • Students (student id required): $20.00
  • Includes Light Lunch (Subway sandwiches, fruit/chips, beverages)

Festival Committee

  • Daniela Elza – Poet and Author
  • Shelley Haggard – Poet and Author
  • Helene Littmann – UFV Faculty – English Department
  • Trevor Carolan – UFV Faculty – English Department
  • Diana Muntigl – Lifetime Learning Centre
  • Courtney Novotny – Fraser Valley Regional Library


Lifetime Learning Centre
32444 – 7th Ave.,
Mission, BC V2V 2B5 

Hours of Operation

Tuesday – Thursday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Phone 604-820-0220

Mission Writers and Readers Festival 2016

Event Schedule

Workshop Schedule

9:30 AM              Registration
10:00 AM            Welcome / Introduction
                                 M/C  Shelley Haggard
                                 Dr. Ian Graham, President, Lifetime Learning Centre Society
                                Dr. Mark Evered, President UFV
                                Simon Gibson, MLA Abbotsford-Mission
                               Jenny Stevens, Acting Mayor District of Mission
10:20 AM             Keynote Speaker Jen Sookfong Lee-UFV Writer-in-Residence

11:00 AM             Morning Workshop Sessions
  • Jen Sookfong Lee “When Memoir Inspires Fiction”
  • David Hobson “IMPROVe Your Confidence”
  • Liisa Nessim “Song Writing 101”
12:30 PM              Lunch and Open Microphone Readings
                               UFV’s The Louden Singletree Journal 
1:30 PM                Afternoon Workshop Sessions
  • Brian Antonson “THE ART OF WRITING BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS: How to write a book when it’s an avocation, not a vocation”
  • RC Weslowski “Free Silly: Finding a way to willingly be seen as silly”
  • Trevor Carolan “The Writer and Social Responsibility”


Workshop: When Memoir Inspires Fiction with Jen Sookfong Lee

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Write what you know,” and many of us are taking that to heart, using our memoirs or the memoirs of those we’re close to as springboards for a novel or a collection of short stories. However, using personal experience as fodder for your fiction can be riddled with challenges that most of us never anticipate. Jen Sookfong Lee will lead a fiction workshop that explores the issues of using what you know to create something entirely new. We will be discussing novels and short stories by established writers who have been open about mining their own experiences for their work. As well, Jen will talk about the publishing process and how to manage promotion when your book is intimately connected to your personal life or the lives of people you’re close to. Participants will be asked to describe their current fiction project, which will be discussed during the workshop.

Jen Sookfong Lee About the Author

Jen Sookfong Lee was born and raised in Vancouver’s East Side, where she now lives with her son. Her books include The Conjoined (forthcoming Fall 2016), The Better Mother, a finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, The End of East, and Shelter, a novel for young adults. Her poetry, fiction and articles have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including Elle Canada, Hazlitt, Room, and Event. A popular radio personality, Jen was the voice behind CBC Radio One’s weekly writing column, Westcoast Words, for three years. She appears regularly as a contributor on The Next Chapter and is a frequent co-host of the Studio One Book Club. Jen teaches writing in the Continuing Studies departments at both Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia.

Workshop: Free Silly: Finding a way to willingly be seen as silly with RC Weslowski

This workshop is a combination performance and writing workshop.  The goal is to create and alter ego of ourselves that is able to express the silly and nonsensical side of ourselves all the while playing with the knowledge that this alter ego is rooted in our “real self.” By embracing the silly side of ourselves we are able to introduce a lightness into heavier subject matter and approach it with a kindness and empathy that can sometimes be difficult to come by when we usually talk with ourselves.

The group will be working both individually and with partners throughout.

We begin by creating a group sound poem then move into impulse energy passing and getting ourselves into our bodies so we can feel the blood flow and our organs work and we prepare to start writing. After the solo writing time the participants, pair off with someone they don’t know and tell the story of their alter ego.  Then the duos take turns telling their partners story using only sounds that aren’t from any recognizable language. A final writing exercise follows and we conclude with sharing of the work created.  No one will be forced to reveal what they have written but it is expected that the workshop attendees will be comfortable enough to read what they have written.

We end with a good bye sound poem created on the spot by the group. This is the basic outline but there is also the flexibility for it to change depending on the needs and nature of the group.

Participants for RC’s workshop are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes for workshop activities.

RCWeddAbout the Author 

RC Weslowski is the 2012 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion and has been a 2 time World Cup of Poetry Slam Finalist in Paris, France.  RC has recently been published in two separate anthologies: “The Nights are Twice as Long” from Goose Lane Editions and has been published in Arc Poetry Magazine, CV2, Quills and The Liar.  RC is the co-director of Hullabaloo: The BC Youth Poetry Slam Championships as well as founder and curator of the Vancouver Youth Poetry Slam and Dewey Decibel Youth Poetry Slam.  RC has led workshops at the Banff Centre for the Arts Spoken Word Program, at the Tucson International Poetry Festival, the Winnipeg Spoken Word Festival and the Victoria Spoken Word Festival plus others.

Workshop: IMPROVe Your Confidence with David Hobson

Imagine being able to come up with a quick-witted response in conversation; making an off-the-cuff remark which has people in stitches laughing; or just being able to deal with anything life throws at you. Imagine being able to come up with ideas to help your writing skills and overcome those moments of “writer’s block”. And imagine learning how to do that in a no pressure, no preparation and nothing but fun way. This enjoyable and highly interactive session will show you ways to use improve comedy in your life and will give you the confidence you need to deal with almost any situation. If you need to have fun and need to improve your creative skills, you need to attend this session.

David Hobson About the Author

David Hobson is an award winning international speaker, trainer, author and professional Master of Ceremonies. He specializes in helping people develop their business communication skills and improve their personal confidence. David is a Distinguished Toastmaster with Toastmasters International and a Professional Trainer. As a winner of several public speaking contests, and the Presentation Mastery Award from the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers’ Vancouver Chapter, David inspires and entertains audiences with motivational, humorous, informative and interactive presentations. He has trained with the Vancouver Theatre Sports League Improv Comedy Company and has performed on stages locally with both scripted and unscripted comedic companies. David is also the author of “From Presentations Kill? To Presentation Skill! – 7 simple steps for time challenged glossophobia sufferers”.

Workshop: Song Writing 101 with Liisa Nessim

In the two hours participants will learn about basic chord structures and melody lines. We will also touch upon musical form and lyric structures. Then the class as a whole will write a song together using a given structure and brain storming activities

Lissa Nessim
About the Author

Liisa Nessim: As a music educator, conductor, singer/songwriter, and event coordinator, Liisa Nessim has worn many hats while carving out a living in the music business over the past 30 years. A UBC Bachelor of music graduate, Liisa primarily likes to teach music and runs her own teaching studio called Stepping Stone Music Co. located in Matsqui Village. She also conducts Joy Vox Community Choir and Voce Destino, two award winning choirs who perform throughout the lower mainland. She is also the artistic director and coordinator of the Mission Coffee House Concert Series, events that promotes local talent of all ages. Another passion of Liisa’s is writing music. She founded the band Kitchen Sync, who primarily performs music she has written, and now has two CD’s that document her writing. She is currently working on the next body of work to be recorded sometime in the spring. A friend suggested that Liisa start a song writing circle, and this has enabled her and other artists to collaborate on ideas and the challenges of song writing. They meet once a month at the Mission Arts Centre and have inspired Liisa to continue to work on her creative skills.

In the past Liisa has worked with many people in different areas of music in the Lower Mainland. Always wanting to help with the promotion of talent in the Fraser Valley, she has volunteered and worked with the Mission Folk Music Festival, Twilight Concert Series in Mission, the Mission Arts Council, the Abbotsford Arts Council, the Mission Children’s Festival, plus many other events and organizations. She won the Outstanding Artist in Performing Arts- Music Category 2006 from the Abbotsford Arts Council. Her work in the community has earned her a nomination for the Myrtle Everett Award (2007) and she was given the Mission Muse Award (2014) for Arts Advocate. Liisa firmly believes that if you support your community, the community will support you. 

Workshop: “The Writer and Social Responsibility”

“Social and political advocacy marks the work of many of our finest contemporary writers.  Join author and film-maker moderator Trevor Carolan in exploring how the writer invigorates his or her material for a public audience.  How does the socially-engaged writer help shape a new vision of what can be?  Can cultural responsibility become a burden for the literary artist?”

Trevor CarolanAbout the Author

Trevor Carolan began writing at 17 for The New Westminster Columbian, filing dispatches from San Francisco’s countercultural music scene. He has published many books of non-fiction, poetry, translation, anthologies and journalism.  Currently the International Editor of Pacific Rim Review of Books and a former literary coordinator with the Calgary Olympic Winter Games and The Banff Arts Centre, he has also worked as media advocate for aboriginal land claims and Pacific Coast watershed issues.  He served as an elected Councillor in North Vancouver, holds a PhD, has written as political columnist, and teaches English and Creative Writing at University of the Fraser Valley.  His current book is entitled The Literary Storefront: The Glory Years, 1978-1985.  Recently, his half-hour documentary film Powerground, which explores the environmental crisis through interviews with acclaimed writers and ecologists, was received enthusiastically at its premiere in Brussels.

His books include the memoir Giving Up Poetry: With Allen Ginsberg At Hollyhock; Return to Stillness, an award-winning account of his 23-year training with Tai Chi Master Ng Ching Por in Vancouver’s Chinatown; a road novel The Pillow Book of Dr. Jazz; and his guest-edited eco-anthology Cascadia: the Life and Breath of the World, that received a 2013 Best American Essays Citation.


Workshop: THE ART OF WRITING BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS: How to write a book when it’s an avocation, not a vocation

  • The devil be damned:  so what if you’re not a writer, write anyway!
  • The importance of interest in an interesting topic.
  • The importance of a publisher being interested in your interesting topic.
  • Crucial research hints:  when Google becomes your second best friend.
  • Interviewing for fun and profit.
  • Fighting with collaborators for even more fun and profit.
  • Generating electrons.
  • “Killing your little darlings”.
  • Respecting patience as being virtuous.
  • Crucial marketing hints:  playing nice with your publisher.
  • Self-publishing when no publisher will touch you.
  • Presenting proper presentations.
  • “It never stops until the last book is sold, and then there may be reprints!”

Brian Antonson[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=About the Author

Brian Antonson retired from a career in broadcasting and broadcast education as head of the Broadcast and Media Communications department at BCIT in 2010, and ever since, has been busier than ever.  He was president of the Mission 2014 BC Winter Games, and president of the Mission Heritage Association.  His writing career began early, when he teamed up with colleagues Rick Antonson and Mary Trainer to produce 1972’s “In Search of a Legend:  Slumach’s Gold”, a telling of the tales built around the legendary lost gold mine at Pitt Lake.  This sold 10,000 copies, making it a Canadian best seller twice over, and led to the establishment of Antonson Publishing, a company which published almost 30 different works in the ‘70s and ‘80s.  In 2007, a massive updating of the Slumach book became an immediate best seller, and to date has sold over 10,000 copies of its own.  Their latest venture, “Whistle Posts West”, carrying great stories from Canadian railroading in British Columbia and Alberta, launched in October 2015, and hit immediate success.  Brian’s variety of interests include Arthurian history, Britain, Corvettes and other fine cars, the outdoors, photography, community involvement, trains, travel and reading numerous books and magazines.  He and his wife Sue have been proud residents of Mission for over four decades.