Yesterday, a top floor meeting room at Surrey Central Library was a site of celebration. The first batch of Southbank writers, those participating in the Surrey summer writing program launched this May by The Writers Studio, Simon Fraser University, completed their program with by participating in a public reading of their works.
TWS Program Director Wayde Compton opened the ceremony by reading a 4000-year-old poem found on cuneiform tablet at Ur. The students readings followed, kicked off with a story about girls and horses. After a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction pieces, the readings closed with poetry about plane trees, campfires, and solitary retreats.
Also joining the writers and their mentors in celebration today were, Katherine McManus, Program Director of the Writing and Communications Program, and Andrew Chesham, who also works with the Writers' Studio.
Further excitement was generated by Surrey Writers' International Conference representatives Ursula Maxwell-Lewis and Camille Netherton, who held a special draw. SIWC 2012 passes were awarded to lucky writers Leanna Greenway and Janet McLarty Fretter.
Southbank mentors*, along with the group of writers who have worked intensively with them since the end of May, felt a twinge of sadness along with the celebration. How could it all be over so soon?
With the reading complete and the pictures taken, the whole group repaired to Central City Brewing Company to raise a glass and enjoy a celebratory dinner.
Under the auspices of The Writers' SFU Harbour Centre, Southbank Writers' Program in Surrey has completed its inaugural year. We'll be back next summer. Meantime, keep on writing, everyone!
Claire de Boer
Carol Tulpar (yes, lucky me)