Shelburne, Nova Scotia’s writer-in-residence, E. Alex Pierce, and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medalist, DouglasArthur Brown, are coming to Moncton the first weekend in May. On the Saturday and Sunday, the award winning poet and novelist will be leading workshops on self-editing, understanding one’s writing from a reader’s perspective, and the aubade (participants will “draw on their relationship to landscape and its place in memory”).
Not only are Pierce and Brown master wordsmiths—you can hear them read from their works at a reception the Friday night before the writing weekend—they each have extensive experience facilitating writing workshops, mentoring and teaching. AE recently caught up with Brown to learn more about his own background and what participants can look forward to May 2-4 in Moncton.
|Douglas Arthur Brown|
Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
DAB: I was born and raised in Cape Breton. I also lived in Toronto for 9 years and Copenhagen, Denmark for 10 years before returning to Cape Breton.
What’s your earliest personal memory of writing or storytelling?
DAB: I’ve been writing since I was in grade three. That year we had a very imaginative teacher who introduced us to creative writing. I was also fascinated with the story-telling hour at our local library each Saturday morning and in grade eight had another wonderful teacher who would close the blinds in the classroom on Friday afternoon, sit in a wing chair she had in the corner of the room, light a candle and read to us for the afternoon. It was quite remarkable.
Congratulations on the release of your sixth book Seeds! What inspired the novel and how has the response been so far?
DAB: Thank you. Seeds was inspired in part by my love of gardening. All three of the main characters in the book have a horticultural background. The book moves between Canada, France, England and Niger. Response has been wonderful; the book is slated for a second printing later this spring.
What are you working on now creatively?
DAB: I’m hoping to complete a two-part YA novel by the end of this year.
You have extensive experience not only as writer, but also as mentor/teacher. What draws and excites you about leading writing workshops?
DAB: I have been offering creative writing workshops since 1997. It started with Writers in the Schools appearances and I was asked by the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia to conduct several long-form workshops before branching out on my own. The long-form workshops I have offered over the years allow me to choose a specific theme or challenge and I spent the year in advance of the workshop reading, researching and inviting guest writers to take part. I love that aspect of the process because I feel the self-directed study format I create for myself keeps me on my toes, wanting to learn more. I also get tremendous satisfaction from the discussions that entail during the workshops. Even though I lead the discussions I come away from every workshop with a fresh perspective and lessons I’ve actually learned from the participants that I can apply to my own writing.
How did you and E. Alex Pierce come together and have you worked together before?
DAB: I had invited Alex to appear as a guest writer at one of my long-form workshops a few years ago. Alex has extensive teaching skills and I loved her approach to workshops, which differed from my own. We compliment each other very well. Alex is also the senior in-house editor of my publishing company Boularderie Island Press.
Who do you recommend attends your writing workshops?
DAB: Again – as each set of the workshops I offer are tailored around specific themes and challenges, writers who are interested in exploring and developing those themes will benefit. For the workshop in Moncton we will concentrate on how readers approach a book, self-editing and applying your specific genre of writing to the creation of a new piece of writing based on the creation of an Aubade - writers draw on their relationship to landscape and its place in memory, concentrating on creating a balance of lyric and narrative in each individual writer’s voice.
How about those extreme newbies who may be hesitant…would you recommend they attend?
DAB: The workshop is suitable for anyone – newbie or established who loves to both write and read.
Creative Writing Weekend in Moncton
with E. Alex Pierce & Douglas Arthur Brown
May 2nd: Reading & Reception
May 3rd & 4th: Workshops
Register by April 11thhttps://www.facebook.com/events/685363621526026/