Pen & Inkling Festival : Event Details

Pen & Inkling Festival

The Prince Edward Island Writers’ Guild (PEIWG) turns twenty this year and are celebrating with the Pen & Inkling Festival on the weekend of September 18 – 20, 2009.

This three-day, three-county event will celebrate Island writers through the Island Literary Awards ceremony, a conversation about poetry between John Smith and David Helwig, a book launch of Brent MacLaine’s new book, workshops, special guest readings, open mic events (including readings by newcomers in their first language), a songwriter’s circle by young musicians, zen writing, zen sketching, writing games, book sales, and a big, birthday party with live music (courtesy of The Count and the Cuban Cocktail and The Blueprints), and, of course, libations! We will also launch “The Figure in the Landscape” calendar. It features words by Island writers, and images of Island writers photographed by well-known photographer John Sylvester and designed by Deborah Vail-Waring.

The festival is dedicated to poet and educator, Frank Ledwell, and is supported by sponsors, individuals, and the Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour. Go to for details or contact Pen & Inkling Festival Coordinator Laurel Smyth at: or

Get Your Story Straight – Screenplay Workshop

In Charlottetown, Queen’s County, on Friday the 18th of September there will be a day-long screenplay development workshop to kick off the Pen & Inkling Festival. Led by Sceenwriters’ Bootcamp veteran leader, Louise LaLonde, it promises to be a great opportunity for anyone interested in developing a screenplay.

It will take place in the Confederation Centre Boardroom between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. You will be on your own for lunch breaks and snacks. There is a suggested donation of $25.00 for the day. Enrollment in Get Your Story Straight! is limited to 10.  To apply for your spot, please email Louise directly at for more details.

Write Night East and West: Friday, September 18 from 7 – 9:30 p.m.

The Pen & Inkling Festival will have two simultaneous events in two counties: Write Night East at the Courthouse Theatre in St Peter’s (Kings County) and Write Night West at Britannia Hall in Tyne Valley (Prince County).  Each of these literary evenings will include Guest Authors readings, Open Mic, Clothesline Poetry and other word play, launch of “The Figure in the Landscape” calendar, and light refreshments.  We are asking those who bake to bring butter tarts or brownies for a Taste-Off – there will be blind-taste-test, and prizes for the winning sweets. For more information go to

See What I Mean: Image-Making

This is the Pen & Inkling Festival’s second workshop, and it is focused on descriptive writing. Facilitated by Brent MacLaine, it takes on Saturday, September 19 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This workshop will provide hands-on experience for both novice and seasoned writers.  Participants will learn how good descriptive writing can invite the reader in and shape meaning.  Bring your writing tools of choice – pen, pencil, paper, or laptop. Space is limited and there is a $10.00 suggested donation, please register in advance at

Island Literary Awards

The PEI Writers’ Guild will host the 22nd Annual Island Literary Awards on September 19, 2009, 2-4 p.m. in Studio Theatre One at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. For over 20 years the Island Literary Awards (ILAs) have recognized the best in Island writing with cash awards, sponsored from the community, for the winning entries in short story, poetry, children’s literature, and creative non-fiction categories from writers of all ages. This year the PEIWG has added a new Screenplay Category that offers professional development prizes! Many past award winners are now published authors, and in this sense the Island Literary Awards and the PEIWG play a vital role in fostering writing on Prince Edward Island.

The Big Birthday Bash!

At the Confederation Centre of the Arts, between 7-11 p.m. in the Studio Theatre on September 19th, the PEI Writers’ Guild is celebrating 20 years of support for the literary arts on Prince Edward Island!

Just before the dancing and libations begin, those in attendance at 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. will be in for a special time as John Smith and David Helwig, have a sort of intimate fireside chat about “A Life in Poetry.”  Being taped “live-off-the-floor” this conversation is bound to entertain and enlighten.

The party will begin afterwards, with some time to meet, eat, and mingle while the Count and the Cuban Cocktail set up. Then dancing and libations follow with the closing set of music performed by the Blueprints. There will be CAKE of course!

A Life in Poetry: an Armchair Discussion

An exciting meeting of minds will occur on Saturday, September 19, from 7 – 8 p.m in the Studio One at the Confederation Centre when Poet Laureate David Helwig sits down to converse in public with PEI’s first Poet Laureate John Smith. These two bright lights in the Island’s literary sky will share their thoughts on poetry, writing, and how they impact on an artist’s life.  All are welcome to this Pen & Inkling Festival event.  Free or by suggested donation ($7)

Events Under Tents:  Sunday, September 20, 1 – 5 p.m.

The Pen & Inkling Festival will finish off with a smorgasbord of literary fun on the concourse outside the Confederation Centre of the Arts:  a Reading Tent with Invited Authors and Open Mic readings in any language; a Book Tent with books by Island Authors for sale, as well as The Figure in the Landscape Calendar featuring Island writers in nature; a Young Writers’ Tent including a Songwriters’ Circle; and a Writing Exercise Tent where anyone can experience short writing exercises just as if they belonged to a writers’ group.  There will also be roving artists offering Zen Poetry on demand, and Zen Sketchers to capture a moment for just a loonie or toonie to support the PEIWG.  All are welcome to this wheelchair accessible, free event.

Athena Becomes a Swallow Book Launch

Athena Becomes a Swallow, Brent MacLaine’s fourth book of poetry, will be launched as part of Pen and Inkling Festival (Sept 18-20) on Sunday, September 20, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Confederation Centre Studio One Theatre.   The book contains twenty-seven monologues spoken by characters who appear in Homer’s great epic The Odyssey. However, these are not the voices of the major players, the heroic movers and shakers; rather, these are the voices of the minor characters, the bit players and hangers-on, who receive scant attention in the original. The launch will include projections of photographs of Greece as well as a performance of some of the monologues by a few of PEI’s seasoned actors. Book sales and signing. Everyone is welcome.   Brent MacLaine is Professor and Chair of the Department of English at UPEI where he teaches modern literature. He won the Atlantic Poetry Prize earlier this year for Shades of Green (Acorn Press 2008).

The Calendar & the PEI Writers’ Guild

The PEI Writers’ Guild, 2010 calendar, “The Figure in the Landscape” is dedicated, as is the Pen & Inkling Festival, to the memory of Frank Ledwell.

John Sylvester, one of PEI’s most respected photographers, took the photos of Writers’ Guild members on the stunning coastal property of Rock Barra Artist Retreat. Graphic design artist Deborah Vail-Waring then took John’s sometimes serious, sometimes playful images, along with writing excerpts from Island authors, and crafted this stunning art calendar. One of PEIWG long-time sponsors, Kwik Kopy Design & Print Centre, printed the calendar at a reduced rate. Writers’ Guild members participated in this calendar by donating their time, submitting writing, and posing for pictures—sometimes in the almost-nude—so that we could have all sorts of figures in the landscape!

The funds raised through this calendar will go towards the Pen & Inkling Festival, and 2010 programming such as Writers in the Schools.

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