The evening opened with Peggy Worrell, who read from her short story collection Proudflesh. Worrell spoke of the places she’s studied: not only Munster in Ireland and the Banff Centre in Alberta, but also in workshops at St. Peter’s College, where she met renowned writer and mentor Seán Virgo, who was instrumental in helping her find a publisher for her work.
Brent Loehr read next from his book, The Global Baseball Classroom. He presented a variety of slides to accompany his performance, wherein he talked about his travels throughout the world. Brent is a graduate of the Writing Diploma program at St. Peter’s College, and wrote several of the stories that are in his book during his studies here. He spoke highly of the program, and entertained the audience with humorous and exciting stories.
After an intermission for refreshments, the evening concluded with performances by six contributors: Vernie Reifferscheid, Sarah Miller, Veronica Hermiston, Br. Kurt Van Kuren, and Diana Koenning.
The Society 2016 is a particularly special issue, jam-packed with work by emerging artists and writers alongside a fantastic, star-studded cast of professionals, many of whom have either taught, visited, or read at St. Peter’s. A partial list includes:
- Allan Neilsen, photographer and professor, Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Scotia. Allan co-taught a workshop on photography and poetry at St. Peter’s College in 2008. His photos have graced the Society many times.
- Br. Kurt Van Kuren, O.S.B., longtime writer, visual artist, and musician. Br. Kurt is the Psychology instructor at St. Peter’s, but is also well known as a creator across the media.
- Christian Riegel, poet, professor, and Head, Department of English at Campion College and the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Regina.
- Dave Carpenter, whose novels, short stories, poetry, and nonfiction have led him to be interviewed many times on CBC radio and TV (including pieces with Peter Gzowski, Shelagh Rogers, and Eleanor Wachtel). Several films have been made about Carpenter and his work. He is the former fiction editor for Grain magazine and was most recently the recipient of the Kloppenburg Award for Literary Excellence in 2015. Carpenter is a regular at St. Peter’s SWG retreats, and performed at the launch of St. Peter’s College’s Student Art Exhibition at the Humboldt and District Gallery this spring.
- Dave Margoshes, who has published novels, poetry and a biography. He’s won the Stephen Leacock Prize for Poetry, the John V. Hicks Award for fiction, the City of Regina Writing Award twice, Book of the Year and the Anne Szumigalski Poetry Prizeat the Saskatchewan Book Awards, and has been a finalist for the ReLit Award and the Journey Prize. His work has been broadcasted on CBC, he’s given readings and workshops across the country, and he’s been writer in residence in Winnipeg and at the Saskatoon Public Library. Dave has attended many retreats at St. Peter’s and will be offering a workshop at St. Peter’s (July 29-Aug. 1, 2016).
- dennis cooley, who has published some 20 books of poetry, and has won both the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Manitoba Writers Guild and the League of Canadian Poets' Lifetime Award. Native to Saskatchewan, Cooley is professor emeritus. He always has multiple manuscripts on the go. His latest book of poetry, departures, was released this spring, along with a collection of essays on Robert Kroetsch, entitled RePlacing. Cooley read with Fred Wah at the launch of the Society in 2011. He lives in Winnipeg and will be offering a workshop at St. Peter’s College from October 24-26, 2016.
- Elizabeth Greene, who is an astonishing novelist, poet, editor, and professor emeritus from Kingston, Ontario. Greene has attended SWG retreats and has read at St. Peter’s College.
- Gail Bowen, professor emeritus and beloved author of the best-selling Joanne Kilbourne mystery novel series. Bowen was named “Canada’s Best Mystery Novelist” by Reader’s Digest. She lives in Regina and has taught two sold-out workshops on novel-writing for St. Peter’s College.
- gillian harding russell, whose work has been published in Descant and The Antigonish Review, and included in recent anthologies. She is a longtime contributor to the Society and lives in Regina.
- Saskatoon’s Glen Sorestad, former Saskatchewan Poet Laureate, whose poetry has appeared in more than 60 anthologies and textbooks and has been translated into at least seven languages. Glen has contributed often to the Society.
- Kelley Jo Burke, award-winning playwright and poet, director, storyteller, documentarian, and broadcaster. Her plays and poetry have been produced and published in Canada and around the world. She teaches at the University of Regina and comes up to Muenster to teach Creative Nonfiction II at St. Peter’s College.
- Lynda Monahan, who facilitates creative writing workshops and has been writer-in-residence at a St. Peter’s College facilitated retreat and at Balfour Collegiate in Regina. In 2015 she was writer-in-residence at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.
- Mari-Lou Rowley, whose most recent book, Unus Mundus, was shortlisted for three Saskatchewan Book Awards. She has published, performed and lectured nationally and internationally and is currently pursuing an interdisciplinary PhD at the University of Saskatchewan. Mari-Lou has read at St. Peter’s and attended SWG retreats here.
- Maureen Scott Harris, who won the Trillium Book Award for poetry in 2005. In April 2009, she was the first non-Australian to be awarded the WildCare Tasmania Nature Writing Prize which included $5,000, roundtrip airfare to Tasmania and a two-week long residency in a Tasmanian National Park. She lives in Toronto. Maureen wrote and launched her Trillium-winning Drowning Lessons at St. Peter’s and attended many SWG retreats here.
- Michele Yeager, who lives south of Moose Jaw. She shares the mayoralty of Buttress with her husband, serving a citizenry that consists of horses, dogs, turtles, cats, birds, and an itinerant population of relatives and friends. She teaches creative writing and has come to St. Peter’s to attend writing workshops.
Nancy Mackenzie, who, with over 28 years of experience as a writer, editor, and communications specialist, also crafts books of poetry, technical manuals, reports for MLAs and Ministers, and now has her own company, Bronze Horse Communications. Nancy is a longtime contributor to the Society.
Sally Ito, award-winning poet and fiction writer. Born in Taber, Alberta, she currently lives and teaches creative writing in Winnipeg. She has published three books of poetry, as well as a collection of short stories. Ito was educated at UBC and the U of A, and also studied in Japan. She has done translations of contemporary Japanese poetry.
Toronto’s Sandra Campbell, whose first novel, Getting to Normal, was one of NOW Toronto magazine’s choice for best books. Campbell writes that she is grateful for each of her fifteen SWG summer residencies at St.Peter’s. The excerpt in the Society 2016 is from her second novel, The Pig and the Soprano, and has animated many of these residencies.
Shelley Banks, who is a professional writer with more than 30 years of writing experience, including a decade as a reporter with The Vancouver Sun, and several years of freelance work with a wide range of trade, consumer and corporate magazines. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and an MA in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario. She is now based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Shelley taught a workshop on photography at St. Peter’s.
Saskatoon’s Sylvia Legris, whose next book, The Hideous Hidden, is forthcoming in 2016 with New Directions in New York. In 2013 New Directions published her collection Pneumatic Antiphonal. Her third book, NerveSquall (Coach House), won the 2006 Griffin Poetry Prize (the top prize in Canada for poetry) and the 2006 Pat Lowther Award. Her writing has appeared widely in journals and magazines, among them The New Yorker, Poetry, The Capilano Review, and Conjunctions. She is the 2014 recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Saskatchewan Artist Award and the 2012 recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for outstanding artistic achievement by a mid-career writer. Sylvia read at the launch of the Society in 2014.
Tiffany Banow, writer, photographer, registered dietitian, and former Nutrition instructor at St. Peter’s College. Tiffany is a graduate of the Writing Diploma program and her photos have been the cover for the Society in both 2014 and 2016.
Tim Lilburn, who has won the Governor General's Award, the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award, and the Canadian Authors Association Award, among other prizes. Lilburn is also the author of two essay collections and has edited collections on poetics. His work has been translated into French, Chinese, Serbian, German, Spanish, and Polish, and has been widely anthologized. Lilburn was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2014. He taught Philosophy and Creative Writing at St. Peter’s College for many years, and initiated the Creative Writing Diploma Program before moving in 2004 to become a professor at the University of Victoria. Tim read at the launch of the Society in 2009.
William Robertson, who is a sessional lecturer with the Department of English at the University of Saskatchewan and has taught at ITEP (Indian Teacher Education Program) since 1996. He has published four collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Just Living, and a biography of singer k.d. lang. He was awarded a Teaching Excellence Award by the USSU in 2013. Bill taught creative writing for St. Peter’s College for several years and has been published in the Society.
Please note that, due to space constraints, this list does not include the terrific emerging stars whose work we are proud to feature. Watch for news of them as they pursue their careers in the years to come!