Community Programs

On this page … You’ll find information on:

  • PWAP monthly meetings
  • The British Columbia Youth Writers Camp
  • Clem Battye Legacy Award writing contest (poetry and short stories)
  • Mentorship
  • Workshops and Conferences
  • Raise A Reader

PWAP Monthly Meeting

Members host a monthly meeting on the third Thursday of each month, 7-9 pm at Leir House, from September to June, to encourage members and the public wishing to hone their writing and publishing abilities. Contact Yasmin John-Thorpe for more information:

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The British Columbia Youth Writers Camp

Campers - Youth Writers Camp

British Columbia Youth Writers Camp

Co-founder Yasmin John-Thorpe organized the first British Columbia Youth Writers Camp in 2008. Each July young creative writers, artists and readers from across Canada and the United States converge on Penticton to attend the one week day-camp. They are instructed in the writing, illustrating and publiFast Fictionshing industry by experts in the field.

BC Youth Writers Camp 2016 runs from July 3-8, 2016 at Okanagan College in Penticton.

Check out the Youth Writers Camp 2016 Rules_Registration information, and the Camp Gems rules 2016 (these are the 2016 Camp anthology rules)–and send in your registration and your anthology submission today!

Here is the BC Youth Writers Camp 2016 schedule for you to print out.

The 2016 Camp presenters and workshops will be posted as they are confirmed:

Karen_Autio b

2016 BC Youth Writers Camp Keynote Speaker, Karen Autio, grew up horse-crazy and book-loving in Nipigon, Ontario, then graduated from the University of Waterloo, married, and worked as a software developer for several years. When her youngest child entered grade one, Karen decided to pursue her long-held dream of writing for children. She signed up for a “Writing Fiction for Children” course, joined a writers’ group, and focused in earnest on writing—and re-writing—her stories.

Karen Autio is the author of a trilogy of historical novels for young readers about the Finnish immigrant Mäki family in early Thunder Bay, Ontario. Book one is Second Watch, inspired by the tale of her Finnish grandmother’s silver spoon and the 1914 wreck of the Canadian Pacific steamship Empress of Ireland—Canada’s Titanic. The second book in the trilogy is Saara’s Passage, also inspired by her Finnish grandmother. Mystery surrounded her battle with tuberculosis until after her death, when her family discovered letters she had written to her infant daughter while quarantined with TB. Both of these titles were shortlisted for the BC Chocolate Lily Award. Sabotage, the third book, is an adventure tale based on real espionage, sabotage, and paranoia in Canada during the Great War. This novel was a finalist for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Juvenile/YA Crime Book and the 2015 Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award, and it was a Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens Spring 2014 pick.

Karen’s newest book is called Kah-Lan, the Adventurous Sea Otter, and is illustrated by Victoria, BC, artist Sheena Lott. Karen fell in love with sea otters in 1984 while visiting the Vancouver Aquarium. The following year she took her first children’s literature course, for which she wrote and illustrated a story about Kah-Lan, a wild west-coast sea otter. Over the years Karen revised her story and sent it out to publishers. As determined as Kah-Lan, she persisted until reaching her goal: a book in readers’ hands.

In the fall of 2016, Karen’s picture book exploring Okanagan history will be released: Growing Up in Wild Horse Canyon, illustrated by Kelowna artist Loraine Kemp. All of Karen’s books are published by BC publisher, Sono Nis Press.

At the Youth Writers’ Camp in July 2012, Karen was one of the writing workshop leaders. Karen has participated in several Raise a Reader events in the South Okanagan and thoroughly enjoys presenting to students in schools and libraries.

As a writer and editor, Karen now lives in Kelowna, BC, only a little less horse-crazy and far more book-loving. To learn more about Karen Autio and her books, visit

Karen’s keynote address at the BC Youth Writers Camp 2016 is entitled Kah-Lan: The Story that Would Not Let Go .

The camp will be providing a copy of one of Karen’s books for each camper. Please check out the URLs for more details so you can learn about each book and decide which one you’d like to receive. Then you can indicate the title with your registration.

Second Watch
Saara’s Passage’sPassage.html
Kah-Lan the Adventurous Sea Otter

2016 BC Youth Writers Camp Presenter, Adam Lewis Schroeder:

Adam Lewis Schroeder lives in Penticton with his 8- and 10-year-old boys, and teaches Writing of the Novel at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus. He is author of the historical-fiction novels Empress of Asia (2006), finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize as well as the in Canada First Novel Award, and In the Fabled East (2010), a finalist for the Commonwealth Regional Writers Prize. His literary zombie novel All-Day Breakfast was selected by’s editors as one of the 25 Best Books of 2015. Adam is a former treeplanter, youth hostel desk staff and CBC Radio One columnist.

Workshop – “Plot Plus What Else?”

For younger levels this will consist of fun exercises in describing people and places, while older levels will receive more emphasis on how details define character which in turn defines plot, with further exploration of narration defining characters, and even how we can make characteristics deliberately misleading.

2016 BC Youth Writers Camp Presenter, Anne Barton:

Anne Barton is a retired veterinarian and flight instructor. She has written 10 mystery novels, one autobiographical book and numerous articles and short stories. Her short story won the Bloody Words contest in 2001 and is published in Bloody Words:The Anthology. She currently has two short stories in World Enough and Crime.

Born in Drumheller, Alberta, Anne grew up in Northern Idaho, returned to Canada, and now lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, where she is involved with Habitat for Humanity and her Anglican Church work. She enjoys horseback riding, camping and curling.

Anne Barton also writes under the pen name of Carolyn Dale.

Anne Barton’s books include: the Robin Carruthers series: The Evil That We Do, The Third Day, The Death of the Wicked, Evil in Their Hearts, The Devil Laughs; and the Dr. Erica Merrill series: Till Hell Freezes Over, A Switch in Time, and Cat and Mouse. Written under the pen name, Carolyn Dale: Living With Death, Cui Bono? (to be released April 1)

Workshop : Beginnings – How to catch your readers and keep them reading and wanting more!

2016 BC Youth Writers Camp Presenter, Yam Cooper

Workshop: Writing and Illustrating with Purpose : Campers will learn about the process of creative writing with a purpose and message in mind, and the power of visuals to enhance a text. Creating a short story with a moral or positive message, they will learn about character design and begin illustrating one or more scenes for their story, coming home with new ideas and an awesome project to continue!

2016 BC Youth Writers Camp Presenter, Calvin Jay:

For writer/musician Calvin Jay, the West Coast of Vancouver is home. As the senior editor of Link Magazine and as a contributor to other publications like the arts and culture quarterly, Sad Magazine, Calvin has been pursuing his career in journalism, broadcast, publication, and creative writing. During his one year of Journalism at BCIT, Calvin had the opportunity to intern with news organizations like CKNW and Shaw Media. Although humble to the word “success,” Calvin still acknowledges his wonderful experiences at the 2008 British Columbia Youth Writers Camp and the to Penticton Writers and Publishers for stoking his writing passion. Although still learning, Calvin is excited to share his experience in self/peer editing, the industry of writing, and what editors look for in a writer.

Workshop: Being the best You! There’s more to a writing career than banking on your first book being a NY Times Best Seller. Dream big, yes–but, there is a whole industry awaiting your aspiration. Sad Magazine contributor and Link Magazine senior editor, Calvin Jay has the inside scoop on just what publications are looking for in a writer. His workshop will include interactive editing exercises and hands-on peer/self-editing tips drawn from his experiences at BCIT’s school of Journalism. Campers can bring their own personal pieces for critique and peer/self-editing and should leave with a better editorial sense.

2016 BC Youth Writers Camp Presenter, Lorna Schultz Nicholson:

Lorna Schultz Nicholson has published over thirty books. She has also been a television co-host and reporter, radio host and reporter, theatre and murder mystery actor, fitness coordinator and rowing coach. Whew! Thankfully now she is now just a full-time writer. She has published picture books, middle-grade fiction, YA fiction and hockey non-fiction. Mostly her books are about kids: and their friendships and school and family life and emotions and feelings and … well, the ups and downs of life. We all have those ups and downs, don’t we? Lorna divides her time between Edmonton and Penticton and lives with her hubby and two dogs, a whiny bichon shih tzu, and a naughty puppy she rescued from Mexico.

Workshop: The Super Series : Children and adults love it when their favourite characters become Series Stars. For a writer, churning out a series can be rewarding but challenging. Lorna Schultz Nicholson has written her fair share of series, including picture books, middle grade fiction and young adult. In this session, you will learn how she keeps organized, grows her characters, and makes each new book exciting. Plus, you will try and figure out a series that you can write!

2016 BC Youth Writers Camp Special Presenters (Friday afternoon):

Lee Edward Fodi is an author, illustrator, and educator—or, as he likes to think of himself, a daydreaming specialist. He is the creator of the Kendra Kandlestar series and has illustrated books for other authors. He loves to visit exotic places where he can find tombs, mazes, castles, and crypts—not to mention tiny places tucked between the cracks of Here and There. He lives in Vancouver with his wife and unhelpful cat.

Workshop: Inspiration for Fantastical Settings and Magical Marketplaces: Author and illustrator Lee Edward Fodi will discuss how he gets inspiration for the fantastical settings in his books, including drawing, prop building, and visits to exotic and distant marketplaces around the world. Students will then brainstorm a magical market place of their own, which can fold in to an existing or future story.

Marcie Nestman is an actor, voice-over actor, playwright and theatre instructor. After graduating from the Theatre Arts Performance Conservatory at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Marcie continued her studies at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Marcie has appeared in numerous TV commercials, film, TV, theatre productions, and other projects. Up next she’s writing the play On My Walk with author Kari-Lynn Winters for Carousel Theatre for Young People in Vancouver.

Marcie has taught at numerous theatre and writing camps, including Vancouver, Calgary, Whistler, Korea, and as artist-in-residence in Thailand. She finds that teaching children ignites her passion for acting and writing.

Workshop: Acting and Writing: For Marcie’s portion of the afternoon session she plans on speaking to the students on how she uses her toils as an actor and integrates them into her writing. Writing for such mediums as plays, screen writing, and voice acting.

Endrene Shepherd – Tuesday afternoon special presenter. Artist/Illustrator.

British Columbia Youth Writers Camp 2016 A.M. & P.M. Schedule

Sunday – July 3: 1 – 5 P.M. only – Campers sign-in between 1- 2 p.m. at Okanagan College, Penticton Campus (Jimmy Pattison Building). Parents sign up for Friday’s Family BBQ. Keynote Speaker Event: 4 – 5 p.m. at Campus Lecture Theatre (each camper receives a copy of speaker’s book). Sign out 5 pm. Parents pick up students.
Monday – July 4: Campers arrive by 8:45 am to attend workshops with presenters 9 – noon. Snack break 10:15-10:30 am. Lunch 12 – 1. Afternoon 1 – 3 pm Campers host a book-signing event to autograph their submission in the camp anthology! Sign out 3 pm. Parents pick up.
Tuesday – July 5: Campers arrive by 8:45 to attend workshops with presenters 9 – noon. Snack break 10:15-10:30 am. Lunch 12 – 1. Afternoon 1 – 3 Welcome back: artist/illustrator, Endrene Shepherd. Sign out 3 pm.
Wednesday – July 6: Campers arrive by 8:45 am to attend workshops with presenters 9 – noon. Snack break 10:15-10:30. Lunch 12 – 1 Afternoon 1 p.m. Yasmin’s chat with campers. Sign out 3 pm. Parents pick up.
Thursday, July 7: Campers arrive by 8:45 am to attend workshops with presenters 9 – noon. Snack break 10:15-10:30. Lunch 12 – 1. Afternoon 1 – 3 pm Open Mic – Campers host their performance event: perform a skit, read, play an instrument, etc. Sign out 3 pm. Parents pick up.
Friday – July 8: Campers arrive by 8:45 to attend workshops with presenters 9 – noon. Snack break 10:15-10:30. Lunch 12 – 1: BBQ with parents. Presenters bookstore available.

Afternoon 1 p.m. Special to end the 2016 camp: we welcome back – Lee Edward Fodi withMarcie Nesman (parents can attend). Goodbye and Sign out 3 p.m. Parents pick up.

For a printable version of the above Camp Schedule, click here: Camp 2016 schedule

More 2016 BC Youth Writers Camp presenters and events will be posted here as they are confirmed.

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Books for Babies: Moms of new born children receive a cotton bag with books for baby and siblings on the first visit to the Penticton Health Unit after birth.

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Clem Battye Legacy Award Contest

As a past Honourary Lifetime Member of the Penticton Writers and Publishers, Clem bequeathed to the co-founders of PWAP, a legacy, which created a writers’ contest in his name aimed at benefiting all genres of writing as well as writers of all ages. Mr. Battye, author and poet, died at age 99. In his honour The Clem Battye Legacy Award was established in 2001. The first winner for fiction was chosen in 2003. The contest has run every year since then, except for 2015 when a lack of entries forced cancellation. But we are looking forward to the 2016 contest, so we encourage you to submit your entries.

2016 Contest Details
The 2016 writing contest is open to emerging writers of Short Fiction and Poetry. Fee is $15 for each entry. Best short fiction or poetry wins $200. Blind judging, name must not appear on the entry. Send cover letter, 5 double-spaced pages of short story or poetry with fee to Clem Battye Contest: 4011 Finnerty Road, Penticton, British Columbia V2A 8W2.

Bank draft fee payable to Penticton Writers and Publishers. Deadline is July 31, 2016. Only one winner in each category. Winners’ entries will be published, with the author’s/poet’s photo and bio on the P.W.A.P. website. Entering this contest gives organizers one time publishing rights to e-publish winning entries online.

Prizes: Best Short Fiction (5 pages) $200.00 plus published online, Best Poems (5 pages) $200.00 plus published online.

Click to download the Clem_Battye_Contest_Rules.

2014 Winners:

    • Fiction: Gwenellin Tarbet, Penticton, BC
    • Poetry: Renee Hibberd, Penticton, BC

2013 Winners:

    • Fiction: Spencer Keene, Penticton, BC
    • Poetry: Carol Thomson, Belle Ewart, Ontario

2012 Winners

    • Fiction: Linda Mary Kutt, Okanagan Falls, BC
    • Poetry: Heather Mitchell, Northern Ontario

2011 Winners

    • Fiction: John Arendt, Summerland, BC
    • Poetry: Jenaya Copithorne, Penticton, BC

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Yasmin John-Thorpe and students

Yasmin John-Thorpe mentoring Upland Elementary School students

Members of the P.W.A.P. and visiting authors offer their guidance in the classroom through ongoing mentorship of local students. Mentoring young writers is one of the great joys of P.W.A.P. cofounder Yasmin John-Thorpe.

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Workshops & Conferences

Attendees and presenter at writers' conference.

Attendees and presenter at writers’ conference.

In an effort to foster life-long learning, P.W.A.P. hosts local writing workshops and has hosted several amazing writing conferences, giving local writers a chance to mingle with industry leaders from across North America.

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Raise A Reader (RAR)

From fall 2007 to fall 2015, PWAP organized and coordinated the South Okanagan Raise a Reader Program. Co- founder Yasmin John-Thorpe brought authors, poets and illustrators into the classrooms and schools . With each visit Raise a Reader purchased copies of the presenters’ work and gifted them to students, taking part in the presentation. Other events included handing out free books at “Books for Treats,” at the Peach Festival parades, and participation in Literacy Day. Below are some snapshots of our RAR activities during that time period.

Photo collage of Raise a Reader  activities.

Clockwise from Top: RAR at Okanagan Falls Elementary, Volunteers stuff baby bags, Books for Treats at shopping centre, Literacy Day – volunteers hand out RAR book at mall, RAR at Peach Festival parade.