Young writers camp returns to Penticton

To be eligible for having your work published in Gems of B.C. anthology those planning on attending must submit their before April 15

Young writers from around the province looking to expand their knowledge and be inspired will be Penticton this summer for the B.C. Youth Writers Camp.

Penticton Writers and Publishers are inviting young writers ages eight to 18 to their Youth Writers Camp held July 2 to 6.

Presenting a workshop on writing fantasy at the camp is Michelle Barker. The Vancouver native received a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from UBC and worked as an editor and researcher before turning to writing full-time. She has published short fiction, non-fiction and poetry in literary reviews, magazines and newspapers. Barker’s fantasy short story The Monkey-Maker won honours at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. The Begger King (Thistledown Press, 2013), a young-adult fantasy, is her first novel.

Barker has sailed across the Pacific Ocean, lived in Jerusalem and France, got lost in the woods (twice) and won an epic canoe race across Moraine Lake in Alberta. She currently lives in Penticton and studying for her MFA in creative writing at UBC’s optional-residency program.

Barker’s workshop will look at the many different types of fantasy writing and talk about how to make magic. Participants will learn why the best fantasy writing also has a strong link to reality, character building, mapping your own world, writing exercises and more.

Linzi Sheldon, a reporter at WSOC Channel 9 Eyewitness News in Charlotte, North Carolina will be presenting a workshop on news writing and reporting. Sheldon has covered U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to nearby Durham, N.C., Hurricane Irene, the criminal trial of former U.S. Senator John Edwards and the Democratic National Convention. She is originally from Penticton and took post-secondary schooling at Dartmouth College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

The workshop will incorporate multimedia, including interviews, video and clips from newscasts to teach the attendees the differences between novel writing, newspaper writing and TV news writing. Participants will learn how to take a story from an idea to conducting interviews to logging and writing a script. Sheldon will also cover some of the challenges of news and how to cover difficult stories.

Johann Wesels will demonstrate how to tell a story in images by breaking it down into simple chunks. Wessels was born in South Africa where he taught the History of Art, printmaking and drawing at a number of universities before leaving for Canada and eventually moving to Penticton in 2011. Using the concept of graphic novels, book illustration and movie making, participants will be led to discovering their own visual voice which should allow them even clearer approaches when writing or formulating any story line.

Youth attending the camp also have the opportunity to be published in the Gems of British Columbia Anthology. Those who want to be published can submit their best short story (five pages max) or five poems (one per page.) Each camper receives a complimentary copy of the anthology and the deadline to submit is April 15.

Camp attendees will receive two snacks and lunch daily, a souvenir bag, art supplies for an illustration demo and a copy of the keynote speaker’s book.

The writing camp is held at Okanagan College, Penticton Campus from July 2 to 6. Registration forms and camp details are available at