there’s a workshop for that) – Nelson Star

Writers don’t come out of the womb fully formed. As Ernest Hemingway said so well: “There is nothing to write about. All you do is sit in front of a typewriter and bleed.

Of course, you may have been born with a propensity to observe and record; you might have good hand-eye coordination or a beautiful singing voice. But anyone who brings a creative idea to fruition knows that it takes work – and a little guidance goes a long way.

Enter the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival Workshop Series. The festival, which runs June 23-26 in Nelson, sees artistic development as key to nurturing the next batch of writers and others to woo us down the road. Besides, it’s a fucking business, this art thing: we need all the help we can get.

Three small-group workshops offer opportunities to hone skills (even get your blood pumped).

Musician-in-Residence Dawn Pemberton offers Sing me a Story, a two-part workshop on the art of creating lyrics. The Vancouver soul queen is a versatile singer-songwriter who knows how to tell a story through song. Dawn’s childhood home was steeped in music, a collaborative environment that inspired her to want to help others achieve their dreams – or at least tackle a relatively bloodless project with a healthy dose. fun to build confidence.

The setting for this workshop is unbeatable: a beautiful acreage of Blewett with a century-old barn that has seen unforgettable house gigs. Spend the morning of Thursday, June 23 learning the intricacies, then come back on Friday to work on your new stuff with the band.

Dawn also presents a soul concert at the Capitol Theater on Sunday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a panel discussion on storytelling (tickets at

Bob Keating, a longtime CBC radio reporter, retired from Mother Corp. to devote himself to his other passion: podcasting. And he has! He traveled coast to coast to create episodes for The Ocean Project and produced The Headwaters, a Kootenay Mountain Culture Magazine and Columbia Basin Trust project.

He captivated listeners with weird and wonderful stories in Kootenay Time (remember Bear Dude?). And he knows that with more than a million podcasts hitting the airwaves each year on this continent, it takes a creative savvy to get heard. This is where a Bob Keating podcast workshop is a smart move to start.

Bob’s two-part workshop (June 23 and 24, 9 a.m. to noon), Podcast Planet, will help students design, write and record a show. This workshop has an early registration deadline of June 16th.

Stories Out Loud is a workshop offered by “agitator and talkative” performance artist Magpie Ulysses. This is oral storytelling – in whatever form – as it’s meant to be: totally engaging. Magpie knows how to get your attention: a veteran of the Canadian poetry slam community, she’s been on the podium with two national champion poetry slam teams from Vancouver. She will teach storytellers and poets how to choose stories, plan delivery and compel audiences to sit up and listen. This hands-on, three-hour workshop takes place on Saturday morning, June 25.

Magpie takes the stage herself at Words and Wine: A Storytelling Speakeasy on Friday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Prestige Lakeside Resort, where she will be joined by actor-comedian Lucas Myers and performance poet Ellen Burt.

Brave students and mentees can strut their stuff on the Hôtel Royal’s Happy Hour stage on Saturday, June 25 at 4 p.m. Admission is free, the crowd is friendly and it’s a great way to spend a summer afternoon.

The truth is out: bloodshed isn’t really a requirement of the creative enterprise. Just gather some must-have tips, roll up your sleeves, and get started.

EMLF offers author readings, round tables, etc. See for presenter, mentor and instructor biographies, as well as schedule and tickets. The number of workshops is limited and early registration is encouraged (and sometimes required). Grants are available.