CNC Chapbook Awards by Paul Strickland

CNC Chapbook Awards by Paul Strickland

CNC’s creative writing class, after almost four months of tutelage by Graham Pearce, had their yearly manuscript release party on April 12th. It turned out to be a lively, varied event where the students entertained an audience of over a hundred.


In a hand out Pearce claimed that, "students were drawn from varied areas such as Nursing, Social Work, Education, Web and Graphic Design, Fine Arts, Kinesiology, and the Spruce Kings to take this course. And these students chose to write in an assortment of genres: Fantasy, Memoir, Western, Horror, Erotica, and Super Hero fiction."


In his introductory speech, Pearce noted that, "people are moving away from traditional media and going on-line." To emphasise his point, Pearce relayed the efforts of three students in his First Nations Literature course who, in response to an assignment to write a World View paper, submitted a video instead. They addressed such topics as heartbreak, the concept of privilege and the "trickster" theme found in some FN legends. In the video, these students also revealed how they became friends.


Pearce said creative work takes place in an atmosphere where students can comfortably think and say what they really mean.


"The point I'm trying to make is that the students are expressing themselves freely," he continued. "They are being honest. It is no secret that Humanities departments are being criticized for brainwashing students," he said. "Tonight, you'll see in these readings what happens when writers are told to write whatever they want. Censorship is an increasing problem on college and university campuses. But not here. Not under my watch."


Kyle Rowell, enthusiastic skier and outgoing editor of the CNC newspaper, The Confluence, started the readings off with an excerpt from his chapbook, 'The Snowboard Murders: A Short Love Story.' Using the first rule of writing — “write what you know,” Kyle did just that. He rolled snow, skiing and love into his work.


Chantal Chabot read on behalf of Ashley Clarke, a New Media Communication and Design student who was featured in the Citizen earlier in April for her plans to obtain a graphic design degree from Vancouver Island University. The story read by Chabot was called 'Letters from Jupiter,' about a college student's best friend who has disappeared. The issue of disappearances along the Highway of Tears is a prominent one and on going in the Central Interior. Clarke chose this sensitive topic about which to write.


Kyla Morgan read excerpts from her children’s book, “The Adventures of Emmett and Ella. First inspired by her grandfather and well-known Baptist minister, Lance Morgan, Kyla’s first love is painting and she combined that with her writing to produce her tale of the two children.


Rylan Watson followed Morgan and read a portion of his creation, a 90-page adventure novel that centers on a serious domestic incident during which a stepfather beats the hero's mother. The hero responds by stabbing his stepfather several times. I won’t give away the ending.


After intermission at which time Watson provided music and students and visitors purchased and/or traded manuscripts, the audience enjoyed stories about super heroes, about murdered families and about great salmon runs. There were stories read about the writing of stories and stories about a lesbian’s first kiss from, ugh, a boy! There were magic mushroom stories and drug dealer stories. There were even stories about good people doing bad things. Most stories were set in and around Prince George.


Pearce closed the event with encouragement for everyone, student or non-student to, “continue the discussions outside class with family and friends,” and to “hook up with friends and create a separate universe."


Copies of these chapbooks are available from the authors or through Graham Pearce at CNC.

Author's Bio

Paul, in his 28 years as a full-time journalist and 6.5 years as a free lance journalist, Paul has worked for newspapers in Nevada, Medicine Hat and Prince George. Besides being an investigative reporter, he is a poet, a short story writer and an essayist. He presently resides in Prince George and haunts all the literary scenes that appear in town.