UBC Okanagan has announced that Sonnet L’Abbé will teach the upcoming creative writing course

UBCO names Nelson creative writing instructor

Writing from the Ground Up will be taught by award-winning author Sonnet L’Abbé, who will also act as writer-in-residence.

The four-weekend creative writing intensive being offered by UBC Okanagan at its new campus on Baker Street in Nelson this fall has hired its instructor—award-winning author Sonnet L’Abbé.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity, especially because it means I get a chance to live in the Kootenays,” L’Abbé, who is currently the writer-in-residence at Wilfred Laurier in Waterloo, told the Star.

A poet and a critic, L’Abbé writes about identity, race, gender and language. She’s a regular reviewer of fiction and poetry for the Globe and Mail, has taught at the University of Toronto and in 2010 she won the Bronwen Wallace memorial Award for most promising writer under 35.

On top of teaching the class, L’Abbe will act as a writer-in-residence for any interested Kootenay writers thanks to a donation from Nelson Rotary.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in the notebooks and file folders of everyone writing in Nelson,” she said.  “I got my own start in writing with the support of a writer-in-residence, so while I’m in Nelson I’m happy to talk to anyone looking for that kind of support.”

And though she’s primarily a poet, she’s happy to look at work from all genres and offer insight.

(L’Abbe’s first name isn’t the result of prescient parents anticipating her poetry career. Instead, it’s a portmanteau of their names, Jason and Janet.)

Tom Wayman of the Kootenay Literary Society said he’s thrilled by the interest they’ve received from the Nelson community so far.

“We quickly heard from a flood of people wanting to be notified when registration opened for the course—double the number UBC had named as the minimum enrollment for their class,” he said.

“UBC has said that they’ll accommodate as many people as are interested in taking the course.  Since KLS wants to show UBC that there’s solid interest in a credit writing program in Nelson, we hope everyone possible registers.”

Wayman said the class is part of their continuing push to develop the writing scene in the Kootenays.

“Besides the chance for you to gain skills this fall at writing anything from a family history to a novel to a film script, you’ll be potentially aiding the development of a much larger credit educational opportunity right here at home.”

Housing for L’Abbé is provided by the Kootenay Literary Society, parent organization of the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival.

The course will be held on September 25 and 26, October 9 and 10, October 23 and 24, and November 6 and 7.

“We’re proud that Sonnet will be teaching for us in Nelson this fall,” said UBCO’s head of creative writing Ashok Mathur. “She brings a depth of experience in all the genres, plus a breadth of knowledge about the current Canadian writing and publishing scene.”

Details on how to register at available at emlfestival.com under “Courses”.

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