Prairie Quills Writ­ers' Group host­ing a read­ing event in Swift Cur­rent

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBEN­BERG— mlieben­berg@prairiepos­

The mem­bers of the Prairie Quills Writ­ers' Group found in­spi­ra­tion for their up­com­ing pub­lic read­ing dur­ing a nos­tal­gic jour­ney on an old train.

They will take their au­di­ence on a lit­er­ary train ride dur­ing their railthemed read­ing Whis­tle Stops at the Swift Cur­rent Branch Li­brary, Oct. 19.

The mem­bers of the group vis­ited Ogema dur­ing their fall re­treat for a trip on the South­ern Prairie Rail­way's tourist train and they have been pre­par­ing their pieces for the read­ing.

“Each mem­ber is writ­ing some­thing about the train ride or any­thing to do with trains,” Prairie Quills Writ­ers' Group Pres­i­dent Tina-Marie Letwiniuk said. “I don't think we've re­ally shared much be­tween each other with our dif­fer­ent ideas for sto­ries. So it will be in­ter­est­ing to see what we all come up with.”

She felt the ob­ser­va­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences dur­ing the train ride were use­ful to the mem­bers of the group when they started to write their sto­ries.

“I think each of us were hop­ing to get in­spired in some way and just hear­ing what the other ladies were talk­ing about, it does sound like they gath­ered rail­road in­for­ma­tion from the trip,” she said. “We started in Ogema and ended up in Hori­zon. So it was about a two hour train ride, there and back, which was pretty cool.”

The Prairie Quills is an ac­tive group of writ­ers. They have pro­duced six an­tholo­gies and they also sharpen their writ­ing skills through themed read­ing events.

“We try to come up with ideas that are lo­cal, whether it be Swift Cur­rent or whether it be Saskatchew­an or Cana­dian,” she said. “As a re­treat, it just un­folded that way that our train ride be­came the topic for our read­ing this year.”

The read­ing event is an op­por­tu­nity for group mem­bers to ap­ply their cre­ativ­ity to a com­mon theme, but their sto­ries are still dis­tinc­tive and it will re­flect each per­son's unique style.

“Each one of them writes in a dif­fer­ent style,” she said. “We have a chil­dren's writer, we have a dra­matic writer, we've got a graphic artist writer now. So it is go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing to see the dif­fer­ent flavours of sto­ries.”

Ac­cord­ing to Letwiniuk the read­ing will be a fun even­ing for any­one who wants to lis­ten to lo­cal writ­ing tal­ent.

“It's fun to lis­ten to lo­cal au­thors,” she said. “Any lo­cal tal­ent that we have in Swift Cur­rent al­ways amazes me, whether it's artists, mu­si­cians or writ­ers. We have just such an in­cred­i­ble tal­ent that it's fun for peo­ple to come and ex­pe­ri­ence the dif­fer­ent cre­ativ­ity that we have in lit­tle Swift Cur­rent. We're just this dot on the map, but we are so full of tal­ent.”

She hopes the event will also be an in­spi­ra­tion for some who want to ex­plore their own cre­ativ­ity through writ­ing.

“I'm hop­ing that when they see the di­ver­sity of sto­ries that come out of our group that they will per­haps be in­spired to take up writ­ing in their own way,” she said.

She has been a mem­ber of the group since 2015 and her own writ­ing has ben­e­fit­ted from in­ter­act­ing with other writ­ers.

“There are pub­lished au­thors and they have just a wealth of in­for­ma­tion,” she said. “It's scary to come into a group as a new­bie and want­ing to write, but not confident in the abil­ity to write, and then these women are just so ac­cept­ing and en­cour­ag­ing. It would be awe­some if we could get some men to join our group, just to have that di­ver­sity as well. ... As pres­i­dent it's one of my goals to try and reach out to as many peo­ple in Swift Cur­rent as pos­si­ble and sur­round­ing ar­eas. We're try­ing to get some kind of tele­con­fer­enc­ing go­ing so that we can get peo­ple from small towns and have them join our meet­ings.”

The Prairie Quills Writ­ers' Group cur­rently has 10 mem­bers, in­clud­ing a few who joined re­cently.

“That's ex­cit­ing, be­cause we're al­ways look­ing for new mem­bers,” she said.

The group meets on the third Tues­day of each month in the meet­ing room at Phar­masave in Swift Cur­rent.

“We have changed the for­mat of our meet­ings now so that we are ac­tu­ally do­ing less busi­ness and more writ­ing,” she said.

Dur­ing the meet­ing a mem­ber of the group will pro­vide a short work­shop on a par­tic­u­lar topic, for ex­am­ple how to in­cor­po­rate con­ver­sa­tion into a story, and there­after they will spend time on their in­di­vid­ual writ­ing projects.

“The cre­ative en­ergy around the ta­ble with all the other mem­bers just re­ally in­spires and mo­ti­vates us to ac­tu­ally spend 90 min­utes on writ­ing,” she said.

Their ac­tiv­i­ties take place from Septem­ber to May, with a break in De­cem­ber for the fes­tive sea­son.

“So it's a sea­sonal kind of group, and then we pick up again in the fall with a re­treat of some sort to get the ball rolling for the new year,” she said.

Any­one who wants to de­velop their writ­ing skills or who wants to be­come a more ac­tive writer is wel­come to at­tend a monthly meet­ing of the group.

“Writ­ing is fun,” she said. “It's ex­cit­ing and it's cre­ative and it has just been the best thing that I've done for my­self in many years. I re­ally en­cour­age any­body who thinks that they've got a story to tell to just come and see what we're all about, and maybe we can get them go­ing on telling their own sto­ries.”

The Whis­tle Stops lit­er­ary even­ing takes place at the Swift Cur­rent Branch Li­brary on Oct. 19, start­ing at 7 p.m. There will be re­fresh­ments and works by mem­bers of the group will be on sale.

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