The Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society has opened up a new chapter for Valley writers, approving funds for a Writers’ Forum and Circle.

An ad hoc committee report, submitted by Jonathan Churcher and Craig Spence to the  board’s July 9 meeting, was approved unanimously, signalling the CVCAS’s desire to get writers into Valley’s arts and cultural tent.

Included in the plan are:

Reading Circles – The Writers’ forum will host face-to-face and online Zoom reading circles, where authors can share works in progress and finished works, offer critiques, and exchange ideas.

Writers’ Online – Members of the Writers’ Forum will be offered an online space where they can post a bio and contact information, along with brief samples and a description of their work.

CVCAS Literary Awards – Based on a process of selection by their peers, writers will be recognized for works of Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-Fiction, and Drama.

Video Readings (ReachOut!) – Awarded writers will be encouraged to do videoed readings of excerpts from their works, to be shared through the CVCAS’s ReachOut! Program on social media and the CVCAS web site.

Publication – An annual booklet of recognized Writers’ Forum works will be produced, with forum members receiving one free copy, and additional copies at a discounted rate. Copies will also be made available for purchase at participating outlets in Chemainus.

Mentoring – We will be looking for a list of mentors, who may be interested in working directly with individual writers, or putting on workshops on specific aspects of writing. These would be offered to CVCAS members first, at a member’s rate; then to non-members.

Collaborations – Writers will be encouraged to participate with artists in other disciplines in collaborative projects. The stimulation of music, sculpture, visual art and other creative forms can open up new modes of experiencing and expressing themselves to writers. It can also lead to innovative modes of presenting works. This ties into a collaboration initiative and register being considered by the CVCAS.

Writers’ Festival – In the long-term, the Writers’ Forum may consider organizing a writers’ festival in the Chemainus Valley, if a niche can be identified that would attract participants from outside the region.

“We’re talking long-term in the report,” Spence said. “The heart of the project will be the Writers’ Circles, and participants will help us determine directions to move in from there.”

If you’d like to know more, or want to join go to the Literature tab at CVCAS.ca.