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Registration opens as instructor for UBC Creative Writing Course named

By Contributor
July 6th, 2015

An award-winning author, editor and teacher with a national profile, Sonnet L’Abbe, will be the instructor this fall as the University of B.C. offers a credit creative writing course in Nelson.

L’Abbe won the national Bronwen Wallace Award for emerging writers in 2000, and has two collections of poems with Toronto’s McClelland and Stewart publishers to her credit.  She edited the annual anthology Best Canadian Poetry 2014, and has taught for the University of Toronto, and UBC’s Kelowna campus. 

She is currently the writer-in-residence at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, and an online creative writing instructor for Vancouver Island University.

L’Abbe will offer in Nelson, on behalf of the Creative Studies department of UBC Okanagan, a credit course called “Writing from the Ground Up.”  The course will be held over four weekends, with the class meeting every other Friday evening and Saturday day on Sept. 25-26, Oct. 9-10; Oct. 23-24 and Nov. 6-7. 

Writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama of whatever level of experience are welcome to develop their skills in a workshop setting.  Classes will be held at the new UBC West Kootenay Teacher Education centre at 266 Baker St.

More details, including how to register for the course, are available on the website of the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival,, under the “Courses” tab.  Registration for the course opened on Monday, June 29.

“We’re proud that Sonnet will be teaching for us in Nelson this fall,” said Dr. Ashok Mathur, head of UBC Okanagan’s Creative Studies department.  “She brings a depth of experience in all the genres, plus a breadth of knowledge about the current Canadian writing and publishing scene.”

During September, October and November L’Abbe will be available to the Nelson community as the Nelson Rotary UBC writer-in-residence, providing advice and feedback on manuscripts to aspiring writers of all ages and backgrounds. 

Nelson Rotary in April donated $1,000 towards the costs of the writer-in-residency portion of UBC’s offering.  Details of how to contact L’Abbe for an appointment will be released early in the fall.

L’Abee said she’s excited about both aspects of the UBC job .  “I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in the notebooks and file folders of everyone writing in Nelson,” she said.  “I got my own start in writing with the support of a writer-in-residence, so while I’m in Nelson I’m happy to talk to anyone looking for that kind of support.”

Housing for Abbe is provided by Nelson’s Kootenay Literary Society, parent organization of the city’s literary festival.  And the response to date of West Kootenay residents to the initial announcement of the UBC course has been heartening, said Tom Wayman of KLS’s education committee.

“We quickly heard from a flood of people wanting to be notified when registration opened for the course—double the number UBC had named as the minimum enrollment for their class,” Wayman said.

“UBC has said that they’ll accommodate as many people as are interested in taking the course.  Since KLS wants to show UBC that there’s solid interest in a credit writing program in Nelson, we hope everyone possible registers.

“Besides the chance for you to gain skills this fall at writing anything from a family history to a novel to a film script, you’ll be potentially aiding the development of a much larger credit educational opportunity right here at home.”


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