Today was the final day of the 2008 Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild‘s Online Youth Mentorship Program, and a fine day it was. The twelve teens who have been taking part in the program and the four mentors (of whom I was one) met this morning at St. James’s Anglican Church in Saskatoon and, with the guidance of the fine folks from Jack Pine Press, preceded to construct chapbooks containing pieces created by all of the young writers.
That went well–I really enjoy the process, myself, possibly because its focus on scissors, paper and glue takes me back to halcyon kindergarten years–then, after a break of a couple of hours, we assembled at Mano’s Restaurant for pizza, after which we made a short jaunt down the street to McNally Robinson where, with myself as emcee (a slightly maniacal one, as you can see!) all 12 of the young writers read some of their work, mostly (though not entirely) what appeared in the chapbook.
The mentors, besides myself, included:
Ibi Kaslik, internationally published novelist whose first book, Skinny, made the New York Times Bestseller List, and who is currently the writer-in-residence at the Regina Public Library;
Adrienne Gruber, a Saskatoon poet whose work has been published in literary magazine across Canada, whose first book, This is the Nightmare, will be out this fall from Thistledown Press;
Holly Luhning, whose peotry has appeared in various journals and anthologies and whose first book, Sway, was nominated for a Saskatchewan Book Award; she was also 2996-2007 CBC Regional Poetry Face-Off Winner.
The students (remember these names!) were Owen Nimetz, Celeste Partingtonand Nicole Jacobson (mentored by Ibi), Christi Zimmerman, Teresa Yang and Brieanna Lommerse, (mentored by Holly), Justin Cojocar, Nicole Jacobson and Melissa Saunders, (mentored by Adrienne), and my talented trio of Jaimie Horn, Gabriella Lindgren and Jennifer Weiland.
What did I learn? That there are some very talented young writers in the province who may soon be giving us old ‘uns a run for our money.
Also, to always double-check that you’ve inserted the pages in your book the right away around, unless you really want your bookmark ribbon to come up from the bottom.
Here’s the whole group, with the 50 chapbooks created this afternoon: